Histories of Change, Continuity, and Community: Yonkers presents two new
episodes focused on local malls. Yonkers, New York is home to two shopping centers,
the historic Cross County Shopping Center and the contemporary Ridge Hill. The two
complexes, at present, are remarkably similar, as both are deeply commercialized
outdoor shopping centers with residential components.
The Local History of Cross County: Stories, Bygone Eras and Nostalgia of
Yonkers Premiere Shopping Center is an episode exploring personal narratives and
nostalgia for the center during the first forty years after its opening. Sharing stories from
five Yonkers residents, ranging from ages 45 – 70, the podcast details how Cross
County expanded beyond just a shopping mall to the centerpiece of a community and
played an integral role in the childhood of Yonkers residents.
The second episode, Ridge Hill: Product of Corruption or Capitalism? centers
around the corruption case that played a complicated role in the complex’s construction
as well as its legacy. The podcast considers the positive and negative impact of Ridge
Hill on the community with the goal of presenting facts from which the listener can form
their own opinions. This process is aided by an interview with the former Yonkers City
Council President Chuck Lesnick, in addition to a local resident that worked for years in
the outdoor mall’s Whole Foods.
Both podcasts explore the impact a consumer hub can have on a community,
producing fond memories of hangouts and Driver’s Tests, or conversely cynicism
towards the government that allowed it to be built. Within a capitalist society such as
ours, shopping centers are more than just places to buy clothing, eat food, and see a
movie. They form a central part of a community’s identity, whether we like it or not. They
are the difference between showcasing local businesses, and cookie cutter consumer
experiences that are identical whether you’re in Los Angeles or New York. Together,
these two podcasts encourage listeners to dissect stories, uncover truths, and explore
the mundanities of Yonkers’ shopping malls.
Both podcasts can be listened to on the digital archive.