Elizabeth Center Shops are Closing

The Elizabeth Center is one of the most popular indoor malls in Chinatown, located on 13 Elizabeth Street. This used to be a place for young people, mostly teenagers, to hang out and shop with their friends. In fact, many people have a lot of childhood memories in this mall. Unfortunately, most of the shops are now closing.

The 20 shops in the basement mostly sell products that capture young people’s attention, such as stuffed animals, accessories, anime and manga. Many are upset now that 11 of those stores that sell those products are closed for approximately a year or two mainly due to a lack of business and high rents.

Amanda Chan, a rising freshmen at LaGuardia High School, said, “There is a store that use to sell a lot of manga, but it closed.”

A teenage female said, “I don’t feel so happy because all the cute stores are closing.” One example of the stores she referred to sold accessories and pairings, which are products that come in a pair, such as love necklaces and bracelets. Now, it is closed and became a store that sells very expensive clothes and sneakers.

Her friend, also a teenage female, said, “The store that sold all the food sets closed.”

Another teenager female said her favorite store was the anime store, but it is no longer in existence. “It’s the only store that had what I wanted. Now, I don’t know where to shop anymore.”

Many also said they came here all the time in the past, when most of the shops were opened. Now, they feel nostalgic about that. Furthermore, many do not find a purpose in coming to this mall anymore with their friends to hang out or meet up since most of the shops are closed.

A young male also said, “All my life had been a certain way and now it’s different. There is a force of habit. Every time I come here, I expect to see anime, videogames and figurines.”

His friend, Marco, said, “We usually come here once a week. Now, we don’t even come here anymore since all the stores are closed.”

Toby said, “It’s pretty ashamed. I came here a lot since I was little. I have a lot of childhood memories here.”

“I think it’s quite sad because when I was in middle school, I came here a lot. I never bought anything, but I browsed around. Looking back, I feel nostalgic,” Herman said.

Cindy also said that The Elizabeth Center use to be a meeting place for her friends, but now that all the shops are closed, they don’t come to the mall anymore.

Sharon feels sad because she comes to New York City from New Jersey just for this mall. Browsing around this mall was her favorite pastime.

“It is kind of sad because this place use to be really filled and it’s fun to come down here. Half of your childhood is gone,” Linda, an employee of a shop, said.

When asked if she was worried about her workplace closing down, she said, “I’m not sure if it will close, but the rent is high and it is hard to keep up with the rent. In one day, we have to sell a lot of things to pay for the rent.” The store she currently works in use to be a game store, but now it sells yarn, stickers, and phone cases. This is one example of a shop that took over a shop that closed 2 years ago.

Even though most of the shops are closed, people still come by to hang out with their friends, browse around, and to recall the memorable moments they had in this mall.