Bergen Mall Basement

Visited 9/01
Written 7/02

This isn’t really exciting, but I did go to it, so I feel I must write about it. When I first read a small blurb about Bergen Mall and the strangeness of its basement level, I was pretty excited. Apparently, the mall looks like it’s from the 50’s or 60’s and the basement contained some kind of Christmas village. A few months back, my brother, Cat, and I decided to check it out. We read about the ‘mall that time forgot’ and were expecting a small, near-empty mall with really old designs and lighting. Either the kid wrote up the article a while ago and they’ve since redone the place, or he was on something. The only thing ‘old-fashioned’ were the chandelier-type lights hanging from the ceiling. Everything thing else about the mall was just that – a mall: lots of stores, crowded hallways, and a decent food court. Of course, this was the ground floor. We then proceeded to the basement level…….

Taking the escalator down, the first thing we saw in the fabled basement was a mob of people and 2 TV’s. The people were all crowded around the entrance to….a chapel? That’s right, there’s a chapel in the mall basement. We went sometime after the 9/11 attacks, and a priest or minister or whatever he was was talking about the attacks. Inside the chapel was packed, hence the crowd outside. Looking further down, we saw signs for an auditorium and even a dance studio. We passed the management office, and I was starting to get annoyed because I saw nothing about the Christmas village I read about. We finally came across it further down the long hallway. This was the highlight of the trip; rows and rows of tiny red & green buildings. I think only 3 or 4 were occupied at the time, which made it even stranger. There were almost no lights to light the little ‘roads’ between rows of stores (they did have street signs). It looked like a town out of one of those old claymation Christmas movies, but in a basement of a mall, and nearly abandoned.

After walking around down there for a little bit, we left quasi-disappointed. Sure, the place was kinda bizarre, but not really enough to make the 2 hour trip worth it. Stokes was only an hour away, so we went there the rest of the day. There’s only 2 things that would make me go back to Bergen Mall: to see if anyone else uses the village during the Christmas season, and that mall has one of the coolest Burger Kings I’ve ever been to.

Author: Stu