Drizzle didn’t fizzle grand opening of Shops at Nanuet

“Culinary” appeal—especially  for Apple lovers-helped fill Shops at Nanuet’s parking lot quickly

BY KATHY KAHN

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Shops at Nanuet, as promised, opens doors October 10

Get your walking shoes on:  The Shops at Nanuet officially opened for business on Thursday, October 10, and its filled parking lot was a testament to its potential.

Once the ribbon was cut and the open-air mall officially opened at 10:00am, no retail store was as packed as Apple, where hundreds of shoppers were lined up and ready to browse or buy. Apple moved its Palisades Center store to its new Route 59 location, where more space and more training classes for Apple aficionados will be available. I love it!” said Dale Pizzo, who drove down from Orange County to see the new store. “I was totally surprised by the crowd…I think it’s great!”

Fairway Market was equally as packed as soon as its doors opened to the throngs of shoppers who lined up outside to be the first to explore the new store. It is Fairway’s 14th market in the metropolitan area, and its first for Rockland.

For shoppers Betty Palumbo of West Nyack and Violet Pollack of Pearl River, they loved the new mall, but the biggest attraction for them was “No more traveling down to Paramus,” declared both women. Employees were ready for questions and promptly got shoppers to items they were looking for in the 65,000 square foot marketplace, which offered everything from traditional groceries to freshly made mozzarella and dozens of New York State craft beers available.

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Cutting the ribbon to welcome shoppers: Tom Schneider, Senior Vice President, Simon Property Group; Ryan Hidalgo, Shops at Nanuet General Manager; Town of Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack; Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef; NYS Senator David Carlucci; NYS Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe; and Fairways Chairman Charles Santoro.

During the ribbon cutting, Town of Clarkstown Supervisor Gromack said Rockland anticipates the new mall’s fourth quarter of 2013 will bring an additional $4 million of much needed money into county coffers and an expectation of $15.5-$18 million in sales tax revenue in 2014.

The original Nanuet Mall, which opened in 1969, was then considered to be one of the biggest events to hit New York’s smallest county. The 40-year old mall’s popularity quickly wanted once Palisades Center opened its doors in 1998. The Nanuet Mall offically closed at the end of 2010.

During demolition of the old mall in 2012, two stores remained open, Sears and Macy’s, which both received an exterior  facelift gratis  from Simon Property Group in the process.  Both have entrances on Fashion Drive, the

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“American Bombshells” sang the National Anthem for the ribbon cutting, then promptly headed to Fairway Market to serenade the crowd, which included several veterans who appreciated the ladies—and their singing

“main street” of the new shopping destination.

Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan said Simon Property Group has worked closely with his department and established an auxiliary office for the police next to its security center. “It won’t be manned, but it will make it easier for us to assist,” said Sullivan.  Simon has contributed to us financially for emergency events, and that money is in escrow. We already have the Palisades Mall to take care of, so even though our staff remains the same, we expect we’ll be able to handle Shops at Nanuet.

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Shoppers lined up around the corner and flooded the new Apple store when it opened at 10 a.m. It has moved its Palisades Center store to the Route 59 shopping center.

The 750,000 square feet of shopping and recreation, which includes a 12-screen stadium seating Regal Cinemas (opening in November) and 24 Hour Fitness (opening in December) already has 90 percent of its stores open and expects to be filled by 2014.  A few of its new  restaurants—Bonefish Grill and P.F. Chang’s– will not be open until after the Columbus Day holiday, so shoppers with an appetite will be pleased to find eight food trucks with Manhattan-style offerings to choose from.

Holiday weekend events include complimentary health screenings on Friday by Nyack Hospital and WHUD to hold a  $1,000 Simon Gift card giveaway. Saturday will cater to kids, including a “Then and Now” handprint on a new monument to replicate the original mall’s 1969 attraction, as well as appearances by cartoon characters throughout the afternoon.   The entire weekend will be filled with live music and entertainment, store giveaways and much more, all designed to get Rocklanders to visit the Shops at Nanuet. No doubt there will be traffic along Route 59 as residents and visitors check out the county’s latest destination.

Pyramid Co.’s Palisades Center, the eighth largest mall in the U.S. with 875,000 square feet of retail/entertainment space, is already getting in the process of giving itself a makeover in anticipation of keeping the public’s attention as shoppers explore what its owners no doubt consider new competition.

“We don’t see Shops at Nanuet ‘competition’ for the Palisades Center,” said Simon Property Group’s Senior Vice President Tom Schneider during an earlier tour. “It’s a different shopping experience, something people in Rockland were clamoring for. Now they have it, and we are expecting it to be a great success and a boost for Rockland County and the area.”