The moment I stepped onto the premises of The Americana at Brand this afternoon, a $400 million upscale outdoor shopping center and residential development, I started to cry. I immediately called up Loren and declared, "It's like heaven exists, and they decided to put it my backyard!" You see, The Americana is a scant four blocks away from my apartment, and, although I am by no means a spend-happy consumer (I rarely shop), I have a deep appreciation for what this decadent display of mass consumerism and excess represents—it's like America's hopes and dreams in physical form. Seriously. So that's why I cried. Seriously.
"I have to get off the phone now," I told Loren, "so I can wipe away my tears." And I also wanted to give The Americana, which had its grand opening on Thursday night, the full attention that it deserved. As I took it all in, I thought to myself, "I now know how all those immigrants felt when they passed through Ellis Island."
Aside from the 70+ shops and restaurants, 100 luxury condos, and 238 apartments, The Americana boasts an 18-screen movie theater (I just blew a load in my pants), a lavish fountain and waterfall (complete with a ridiculous fountain show every half hour), tacky bronze sculptures (public art—gotta love it), and trolleys (just in case you don't want walk around the 15.5 acre development). (And why would you want to? This is L.A.! For all you SoCal residents, the Los Angeles Times described it as "The Grove on steroids.")
What's even more ridiculous (and lovable) about it all is that The Americana opened up right next to the Glendale Galleria, one of the biggest indoor malls in the Southland. Out of all the people I've talked to so far, only Loren has truly displayed the excitement necessary to match the cheesy awesomeness of The Americana. So tomorrow I'm bringing my mother. And when her jaw drops at the sight of it all, I will ask her, "Is this how you felt when you first came to America?"