Is Crystals the saddest shopping center in the world?
A New York Times magazine writer on -- O! the loneliness of luxury! the splendid aridity! of CityCenter's hyperexpensive haute consumer palace, Crystals:
Perhaps there’s something poignant about shopping anywhere right now, at this moment when the American consumer is so beleaguered. But Las Vegas — in its tendency to dilate every phenomenon to its supersize extreme — has produced the saddest shopping center on the planet. Crystals is the world’s most splendid ghost mall. That’s not to say that Crystals is devoid of people, only that the people shopping at Crystals seem devoid of spirit. The handful who have come to stroll its echoing arcades — the couples sipping from three-foot-long bong-shaped plastic tubes of alcohol, the wandering party girls wearing handkerchief-size dresses purchased at H&M or Target — rarely enter a store. And who can blame them? The shops are intimidating showcases, as forbidding and isolating as empty stages. Standing in Louis Vuitton or Gucci surrounded by woefully understimulated salespeople is like eating a meal in a restaurant when you’re the only customer and the owner is hovering beside your table, asking how you like your food.