Posted by Leonard Steinberg of COMPASS on April 12th, 2015

A recent visit to the highly anticipated new mall at BROOKFIELD PLACE left me cold: Granted the designers inherited some rather bland architecture to begin with, but what they have done with it is truly disappointing. Nothing about this mall is much different or enticing than a bland mall anywhere else in the world. Time Warner Center benefits by striking architecture, but even that cold mass of steel and granite feels warm and cozy to Brookfield Place where they have achieved new heights in sterility. Surely being set alongside the water’s edge could have influenced some form of human charm?  This place feels so cold to me, so un-inviting. Miles of boring granite or marble. Those massive palm trees while novelty for sure could be interesting…. but feel like a Floridian suburb to me. Huge open spaces that could be ANYWHERE MALL AMERICA…..

The LE DISTRICT food court looks more like a newly minted Starbucks than anything remotely as interesting and vibrant as Eataly. It repeated the dating design language of white subway tiles, steel, wood and concrete in a manner not unlike fifty other retail environments around the city….and hundreds (if not thousands) around the globe. It is about as French-charming as an Eiffel Tower  T-shirt, although the smell of the food is beyond incredible. But where is the French charm we all love so dearly? There are thousands of French design elements that could have been inspiring and this is all they could muster? Disney-Parisian is not the style I am referring to, but surely there is something that could be both authentically New York AND French?

If you are looking to buy a Michael Kors handbag or a pair of Ferragamo shoes, this mall will deliver. The food quality is strong. The environment needs help. It needs CHARM. Right now its as cold as a Battery Park City winter.


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