Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Beverly Center--I'm getting older, it's getting younger.

I was at the Beverly Center mall in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills last night to see FIGHTING WORDS; this mall is a place I haven't been to since around 2000/2001.

It was interesting to see that mall management has transformed the Beverly Center into a 35-and-under shopping paradise (realizing that yuppie families and affluent middle-agers are lost to the Grove).  The stores mostly skew young, and there's youth-friendly seats to rest at; one teenage girl was sitting, legs crossed, talking on her cell phone on a chair--giving the impression that the girl was at home in her bedroom catching up on the latest peer news with her friends in the T-Mobile circle of five.

There are no bookstores in the current Beverly Center.  Or immediately across the street, either--Barnes and Noble shut down its BOOKSTAR store in the nearby Beverly Connection years ago .  And once Borders swallowed Waldenbooks, the Brentano's store (which I used to enjoy for its comfortable divan that made reading a pleasure) disappeared too.  I know, I know, younger people allegedly don't read much and if they do, they can walk a couple of blocks south on La Cienega to the large Borders store.

The only place to buy CDs (doom-laden predictions of this music format's death increased in volume the past few days) is the Sony store, where you get nothing but Sony product sold as a loss leader (you're expected to buy high-end HD equipment instead).

One improvement: the food court on the eighth level has al fresco dining with a coin-operated magnifying telescope.  This device is good for playing a simple time-marches-on game: spot the Los Angeles landmarks which haven't yet been torn down by developers or repurposed as trendy hotels/mixed-use apartment and retail properties/lofts.

But that's a game that younger consumers--now the lifeblood of the Beverly Center--may never be aware of.


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