After its 17 years in the making, the billion-dollar American Dream complex finally opened its doors Oct. 25 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just a half-hour ride from campus.
The American Dream’s main attraction, a Nickelodeon theme park and ice skating rink, completely sold out of tickets for the opening weekend. The theme park is home to more than 35 rides and attractions, including three record-breaking roller coasters.
The Triple Five Group real estate developers also plan on adding North America’s largest DreamWorks indoor waterpark, along with an indoor snow park. They are expecting around 40 million visitors annually, similar to the attendance of the largest mall in the country, the Mall of America in Minnesota.
Junior biology major, Jen Golias discussed her experience at the American Dream mall opening and mentioned how impressive it is. She described it with encompassing beautiful, white marble detail everywhere that brightens the rooms, making it look even bigger. Now during the fall months they are also having the harvest fest with pumpkins, haystacks, and mazes, which Golias believes is a way to attract the public’s attention and increase the inclusion of the mall.
Living near this project that has been in the making for over the past 17 years, she could definitely see how the mall would be the next big thing where people will travel from all over the tri-state area to visit.
“My experience was just so wonderful, the staff was all so welcoming, and I actually went into the Nickelodeon Universe and rode the rides and took pictures with all of the characters,” Golias said. “It was so nostalgic because it is like your childhood comes to live in the park”.
Golias concluded that she trusts that the American Dream is definitely something that will have a hype circulating it if not already, no just because of the already captivating attractions, but also because of everything else that will be available soon, such as the waterpark in November and the shopping and food centers in March. “This place is going to be a great escape from life because you can essentially spend your whole day there,” Golias said.
Interestingly enough, these retail stores that will cover roughly 45% of the mall’s layout will only be open six days of the week, as Bergen County still implements blue laws that prohibit shopping on Sundays.
When inquiring whether she would venture out to the American Dream mall because of the close proximity from the Seton Hall campus, junior biology major Sam Russo, said she would certainly go “mostly just to see the product of what they have been building for 17 years”. She included that she is not exactly attracted to the retail stores since there are so many other malls that are more easily accessible, but that the ice rink or other attractions are very appealing.
Beneficially speaking, Russo thought that the introduction of the mall is a great opportunity to increase jobs for the community. However, she also pointed out the negative consequences, which is the troubling amount of traffic that could follow by having such a popular attraction in an already congested area.
To rectify any transportation issues that may follow from a gigantic mall being placed right next to the city, the New Jersey Transit is adding a new route, called the 355 express bus that will run every hour from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the American Dream mall.
For any student potentially interested in checking out this new megamall, a new ferry service also started running on Friday from the West Side of Manhattan to the megamall.
Caitlin Gartley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.