Located off exit 15 on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, Gateway Mall which was established in 2002, has become the shopping haven for New Yorkers that come from all over the city to take advantage of the plethora of name brand stores that have made this mall quite the suburban equivalent to shopping, amidst an urban setting.
The sprawling 605,000 square-foot East New York mall, that already boasted top stores such as Target, Best Buy, Old Navy, and Home Depot has been expanding amongst this sampling of bucolic existence over the past year to include several more sought after stores like Pier 1 Import, Nordstrom Rack, Gap, Micheal’s, TJ Maxx, and of course—first to Brooklyn—JC Penney, among others.
Although JC Penney has been having financial problems in recent years, with the shuttering of 33 of its 1,100 stores, the department chain seems confident it will see success at this booming location that attracts tons of visitors daily, and is said to even be incorporating a Brooklyn feel via murals representing the borough’s landmarks.
“The new Brooklyn store not only solidifies our presence in New York, it also signifies another milestone in JCPenney's turnaround," Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chief executive officer said in a press release via Thomson Reuters ONE. "This location displays our commitment to mindful store growth in high potential markets, and will perfectly complement our other New York City locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island."
Gateway’s expansion couldn’t have come at a better time as an alternative to Brooklyn shopping, the next closest major shopping destination is Kings Plaza Mall in Mill Basin exit 11N on the Parkway, that has somewhere over 100 stores and services including designer options like Armani Exchange and Guess as well as retail giant Macy’s. Built in 1970, the indoor mall has only recently received negative press as twice this year hundreds of rowdy teenagers made headlines for creating utter chaos in the mall as panicked shoppers waited for police to regain control, which led to a temporary ban on unaccompanied teenagers.
Gateway has indeed become the surprise destination for shoppers coming from neighboring sections of Brooklyn to as far away as Queens and Long Island, to not just take advantage of stores but its greenery, as it boasts a sports field that on any given weekend is filled with cricket players and children scooting around the adjacent park’s—also part of the mall’s grounds—pathways. Additionally, there are family friendly restaurants such as Red Lobster, the Olive Garden, and now Applebee’s that inhabit this location that has notoriously been dubbed as rough.
East New York is still one of the city’s poorest areas with residents bringing in only about 30-70% of the median average for the area and some households including families of four living on about $25,000 a year, according to the New York Times. Consequently the mall has indeed created hundreds of welcomed new jobs throughout the long list of retailers and new restaurants.