Last Sunday I ventured to Glendale to Brand Bookshop, one of my favorite used bookstores, for its 30 percent off sale. (Which continues through June 1.) The new Grove-like outdoor mall, Americana at Brand, turns out to be just three blocks south on Brand.
Thus, I left my car in the parking garage and hoofed it down to Americana to check it out.
My initial impression was positive, although I didn’t spend much time there. The $400 million Americana seems to be modeled on early 20th century downtowns. At least one streetcorner has an antique-like clock jutting from the building, as if it were the town bank. A residential tower maybe nine stories high has a glass elevator fronting the central plaza; gears and a counterweight on the elevator exterior rise and fall with the cars. Again, it’s a visual reminder of long-past times.
Plenty of families were enjoying the plaza’s lawn and massive pool-like fountain as a rock band played.
I noticed a kiosk selling pizza by the slice and a small round building modeled on a ’50s diner, both of which bear culinary investigation. A Good Humor ice cream wagon was parked, apparently permanently, and employees sold treats from its freezer compartment.
Like the Grove, there’s not a lot of shops that appeal to me, but there is, like the Grove, a three-story Barnes and Noble.
The buildings are several stories taller than at the Grove but Americana does repeat some elements, including the trolley (although I never saw it, just the tracks). The movie theater has more screens than the Grove — 18 vs. 14 — but lacks the limited-release arty movies the Grove usually includes. Glendale must be considered the boonies.
I’ll go back sometime…while visiting the Alex Theater or downtown’s two used bookstores (the other one is Bookfellows). To me, downtown is the real reason to visit Glendale. Americana just adds another element of interest.