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Stay-at-Home Dad: The Westchester Maul

Fun for all...complete with competitive parking!

Every now and then, the planets align and all the members of my family find themselves at home with nothing to do. There are no good films in the theaters, and it is too darn cold to do anything outside. Dare I suggest it? Ah, what the heck. Let's go to the mall! 

There are several malls in and around the county, but only one of them is “,” so that’s where we are heading. This high-end assembly of shops has something for everyone, as long as you aren’t looking for books or toys.  That’s right, our largest mall has long lost its bookstore, and worse -- there isn’t even a toy store. It’s not that I am in the market for toys (not to mention that my kids are too old for them). It’s all about the tantrums. There is nothing better than watching a little kid go apoplectic for a toy, especially in a crowded mall.  

Oh wait, yes there is -- seeing how their flustered parents handle the situation.

If there is any one destination left in the mall for kids, it might have to be the Apple store. Kudos to the people at Apple for making cool stuff and coming up with even cooler stores to sell it in. My favorite part of the is the Genius Bar. This is usually manned by a snotty 20-something-year-old who is condescending to people who couldn’t figure out how to do something with their new product (or didn’t take the time to read the manual). I’m pretty tech- savvy, so I’ve never needed the help of a genius. But I would love to bring in my 1983 Apple 2e just to teach this kid a lesson. OK, genius, see if you can get my A and B drives to sync up.

While my kids are busy checking out the tech stuff, my wife wants to head out to pick up some mascara. As a guy, it is amazing just to step foot into the cosmetics section of any large department store. There is an intricate maze of different display counters manned by people all in black; it’s like being on some type of German game show. In this myriad of products, if you don’t know exactly what you want and who makes it, you may never get out alive. As much fun as this labyrinth may seem, even better is the free stuff that they give away with purchases. If you buy this tube of lipstick and a moisturizer with SPF-1000, we will give you a travel bag AND round trip tickets to Ibiza!

As we make our way through the mall, we find that the establishment now has a bunch of kiosk carts scattered throughout the premises. It is a little strange that in such an upscale mall, there are little stands that resemble an Arab market in the Middle East. These carts and their pushy snake oil peddling employees sell a wide variety of goods, from cell phone cases to foreign language CD’s to hair extensions. It is usually a good goof for the kids to try on some of the hair and see how they would look if they ever decided to grow a mullet...after they move out of the house, of course.  

All this shopping has made me hungry. And believe it or not, the Westchester doesn’t have that many dining options. Sure, there is the obligatory food court, but if you want sit-down service there is only or The Zodiac. 

The Zodiac is hidden in the second floor of . It is right next to the St. Johns department, and although my hagiography might be rusty, it appears that he was the patron saint of the $3,500 cashmere pantsuit! As manly as I am (even while wearing numerous cologne spritzes and a free sample of sparkling tinted moisturizer), The Zodiac makes me feel like a little kid. It reminds me of the places that my grandmother would take me as a child. That, and the fact that the age of the average diner there is 85!  The $18 salads are good and are served with a popover pastry and a tiny little thimble of consommé. Nothing makes you feel more manly than sipping soup out of a cup so small that your pinky has no place to grip. Then, it has no choice but to stray away from the rest of your hand. 

After a long day, my oldest son has luckily remembered where we parked, so getting out of the mall is pretty easy. And aside from the $7 parking charge, it was a great way to spend the day --  even as per usual, I was the only one who got nothing.

Leslie Lawler January 23, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I really don't care. It's my right to disagree and I do.
Aintthatascam January 23, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Not too mention most of the people in McDonald's commercials are black. I Guess Leslie on concerned that patch is not censoring too well..... Are they suppsoed to?
Heron January 23, 2012 at 07:29 PM
This article is pretty funny. I know what the author is saying about those stands outside the stores. Some of the people who work at them are very aggressive. They occasionally come running up to me and say, "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" It seriously scares me. I always run away! But I do wonder what they want to ask.
Buddy January 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I think you might be a bit oversensitive here. Replace arab with chinese or mexican. If you've ever been to these markets you understand the frantic salesmanship that goes on and you get a sense of what the writer is getting at. I don't think he intended to insult. You do realise it is a comedic piece?
Praetell Boch January 23, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Both Casablanca and Raiders of the Lost Ark have very authentic Arab market scenes, especially Raiders with the little monkey dude prancing about with Indy. That little guy stole the scene.

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