Remembering the Old Danbury Fair Mall Water Fountain, A Grand Spectacle in the Hat City
With digital shopping being the economic force that it is, shopping malls have seen better days. Malls used to be a center for more than just shopping, they were a place to gather with friends, eat and be seen.
Every city in America once had a shopping mall, and virtually all of them thrived from the day they opened their doors. This is a different time and the country is dotted with abandoned mega-structures that used to be bustling malls.
To stay in business and to compete with Amazon, you really need to be on trend and very marketing savvy. The Danbury Fair Mall qualifies in both categories, it's not only been able to stay in business, but it has thrived.
The mall is owned by Macerich, a massive real-estate investment trust that specializes in shopping centers in America. In fact, Macerich is the third-largest American company of its kind. They seem to know who their customers are and what they want. With all that brain power and market knowledge, how did they swing and miss on the water fountain?
Recently, I wrote an article about a grown man who stripped down to his underwear and jumped into the "new" water fountain in the Danbury Mall. The incident was caught on camera, shared on TikTok and is featured prominently in my article.
We discussed the article, the video and the daring act on my radio show. Once the topic kicked off, we quickly transitioned away from the semi-nude bath and onto the water fountain itself.
The general consensus between us and the listeners was the old water fountain at the mall was way better than the one they have today. The old fountain was a grand spectacle that featured a massive pool and a stream of water that shot up two stories in the air.
You think I'm overstating this? Then how do you explain this adult man taking his attention away from his small child to stare at the fountain like he's in love with it?
We got a lot of listener mail on the subject and it became clear, this was not a fair fight. The old fountain beat the new one and it was a landslide. I wanted to poll this again and get a bigger sample size from more then just the people who texted our app when we had this discussion. Let's run it back, which do you prefer?
They say you can't go back, and that is true but you can certainly remember and acknowledge. This subject had a lot of people feeling very nostalgic. Fun Info Nuggets from Mall Fandom:
- The mall opened in 1986
- The mall was built by the Wilmorite Corporation
- During construction, allegations were made that two Wilmorite executives paid Danbury's then-mayor, James Dyer, $60,000 in cash.They claimed he demanded the money to assure his support for the mall. The allegations contributed to Dyer's defeat for re-election in 1987. He was acquitted of corruption charges in 1990; other charges were dismissed later.
- The fountain renovation was part of an overall mall renovation that started in 2007 and was completed in 2008.
- The renovation also included new light fixtures which replaced the original globe bulb lighting, new stone style floors which replaced the original tan, brown, and green tile floors, soft seating areas throughout the mall, new stained wood accents, and new paint.
P.S. Apologies to the designer/artist behind the "new" fountain, the other one reminds me of my childhood, what can I tell you? I do love many of the design elements, I can stare at the water running over that sphere for days, I just wish it was bigger and I wish it was 1986.
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