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Destiny USA
(photos by Michael Grace-Martin)

Destiny USA is a six-story super-regional shopping and entertainment complex on the shore of Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York.

When Destiny USA officially opened this year (2012), it doubled the size of the original mall–which was called Carousel Center (featuring a prominent and centrally located amusement carousel)–to 2.4 million square feet of retail space. The mall’s new larger size made it the sixth largest mall in the United States.

Carousel Center/Destiny USA is located on land referred to as “Oil City” due to the numerous oil tanks that used to reside there. Cleaning up the environmental contamination caused by the oil tanks resulted in numerous construction delays.

When Destiny USA was proposed, there were concerns that such a “one stop destination” would kill business in Syracuse’s central downtown area and surrounding suburbs. Despite these concerns, the project went ahead as planned.

In June 2012, it was announced that any further expansions to Destiny USA (including the glass enclosed park, water features, hotels and technology park) were officially cancelled.

From Destiny USA’s Facebook page: “Destiny USA is a destination for local residents, tourists, and travelers worldwide; a place to bring together friends and family for events and entertainment, a place to shop for the holidays, or a place just to spend the day shopping and relaxing. With all amenities provided under one roof, Destiny USA is your destination.”

Gigantic malls are a uniquely American phenomenon and have gone way past being simply a place to go shopping. They’ve become one-stop destinations where Americans can get food, entertainment, and social interaction. No need to go anywhere else! I attempted to capture some of the energy and magnitude of this commercial-social spectacle in photographs.

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