Midtown Plaza: A Time Remembered
A staple in Our community
You could not have been born in Rochester, NY or have lived in Rochester for any length of time between 1962-2008 and not remember Midtown Plaza. Midtown Plaza was an indoor shopping mall that was filled with a variety of specialty stores, eateries and even a Wegmans grocery store.
One of the fondest memories I have of Midtown was during the Christmas season when the monorail would go up. The monorail was a small elevated train that ran on a single track and would take children on a ride a short distance through the mail.
Thinking back to those moments, I can still hear the squeals and laughter of my kindergarten classmates as we climbed the stairs that led us to the train door. Once the monorail started to move, we would look at each other with looks of curiosity and excitement as we came closer to the best part of the ride… Santa’s Mountain.
Santa’s Mountain was a splendor on it’s own, covered in sparkles and Christmas decorations. Always a long line of children waiting to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted to find under the tree Christmas morning and at the end of the visit, walking away with a picture of them sitting on Santa’s lap.
For me, the real excitement was wondering what I was going to see once we entered the opening of the mountain. My young imagination hard at work, envisioning Santa’s elves making toys or maybe I would see Mrs. Clause baking Christmas cookies.
Once we were inside of the mountain, I had to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me because all I saw was darkness with just a touch of light. No elves, no toys and Mrs. Clause. At the end of the ride I was left with confusion as my five year old mind could not comprehend how Santa and his crew could work in a dark cave. I can remember telling my mother how upset I was, and once I realized the inside of Santa’s mountain did not look the way I thought it would. My mother patiently explained to me that the work that Santa does is magic and how toys are made and how the reindeer fly is a secret so it had to be kept dark. Surprisingly, I felt better hearing that and my faith in Santa’s Mountain and the monorail rail was restored.
As I lay in bed that night, I fell asleep with a smile on my face eagerly anticipating the next trip to Midtown so that I could take another magical ride on one of Midtown Mall’s most exciting and historical holiday traditions.
Yolanda Clark is a native of Rochester, NY and has always had a passion for
writing. She has written and completed four children’s books and is
currently in the process of having her first book published.