The American Dream Mall DreamWorks Water Park reopened a week after a decorative helicopter that was suspended above a pool fell while people were in the water.
Four people were injured when the ornamental device came crashing down at around 3 p.m. on Feb. 19, but this is hardly the first or the worst thing to have happened at the giant shopping center.
The American Dream Mall was temporarily placed on lockdown and New Jersey State Police said that 20-year-old Anwar Stuart of Brooklyn shot a 37-year-old man during an attempted robbery in the East Rutherford megamall on April 7, 2022.
That shooting capped a dispute involving a “sleight-of-hand betting game” in a parking deck involving Stuart, the victim and one other man, according to the New Jersey State Police. Stuart was charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery, conspiracy and weapon possession charges.
American Dream is a large retail entertainment complex in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, that has been mired in financial and physical problems since it was conceived. Taxpayers have taken one bath after another during the decades that politicians threw good money after bad.
The first and second of four opening stages occurred on October 25, 2019, and on December 5, 2019. The remaining opening stages occurred on October 1, 2020, and thereafter.
The Mills Corporation first began working on plans for a mall in the New Jersey Meadowlands in 1994. The project was finally proposed in 2003 as the Meadowlands Xanadu, with construction planned to begin in 2004.
Mills broke ground in 2005 for what it called Xanadu, ironically unaware that the epic Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem about the “stately pleasure dome” was never finished, the same fate that befell the mall when the developer ran out of money.
After the Mills Corporation’s bankruptcy in 2007, the project was taken over by Colony Capital. In May 2009, construction stalled due to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.
Triple Five Group announced intent to take over the mall in May 2011, and on July 31, 2013, officially gained control of the mall and the surrounding site.
As a result of its series of ownership changes, financing issues, construction delays, and legal challenges, the project opening dates were chronically delayed until the first attractions that opened in 2019.
Those were the Nickelodeon Universe theme park and the Big Snow American Dream ski slope.
The DreamWorks Water Park, which was scheduled to open March 19, 2020, along with the mall’s retail shops and restaurants but consequent to the COVID-19 pandemic, those launch dates were also delayed.
Its nearly 3 million-square-foot interior houses the indoor Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and DreamWorks Water Park—16 acres of fully enclosed family amusement experience; Big Snow Ski and Snowboard Park – North America’s first indoor snow sports center; the Ice Rink—a NHL‐size skating and hockey facility—plus the Angry Birds 18‐hole Miniature Golf experience.