If you want to avoid the steep sales tax of New York City, why not hop a bridge or tunnel to the Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This retail giant establishment promises low tax rates and plenty of variety in shopping. It is however, a Byzantine maze for the unprepared, so prep yourself for one of the longest shopping trips of your life.
The Jersey Gardens Mall is built over a remediated landfill that was zoned as an Urban Redevelopment Zone. In plain English, it went from a dump to a reduced taxes zone. With the lower taxes, developers installed a massive mall, among the largest in New Jersey, to create room for outlet stores and shopping. The mall is a great place to shop. The cheap prices are noticeable, and the relatively low incomes of the surrounding population has turned this mall into a great place to find low prices. It has a mix of big name and little stores, typically with strong specialization in the smaller establishments. It is one of the best malls for shoe shopping in the area, especially for sneakers, since it houses multiple brand outlets as well as liquidators for brand names. Generally it has deals comparable or better than you would find online.
The big drawback of the mall is its shape. Most malls are quasi-linear, with distinct starts and stops at “anchor stores.” This mall is like a bisected parallelogram, cut on a diagonal. The odd angles and alarmingly repetitive nature of the decoration make it easy to get lost, especially if you try to take a shortcut or only use a glance at the map kiosk to orient yourself. If you haven’t been here more than once, you will probably take a few wrong turns, and possibly the same wrong turn multiple times. On a map, it really appears more simple than it tends to be in person.
The mall space is oddly colored in greens, purples, and swirl shapes. The aesthetic seems to be universally off-putting, but the extremely wide spaces tend to negate some of the hideousness of the decoration. It does have a very nice food court, which I use to reorient myself in the event I get lost. It is a large space, so be ready to walk quite a bit when you go. Fortunately, if you don’t have walking shoes, they sell them at the mall!
The Jersey Gardens Mall is the least intimate mall along routes 1 & 9. If you want a more relaxed, less dizzying experience, choose the Woodbridge or Menlo Park Malls, located just a bit further along Route 1. If you just want low taxes or sneakers, take some Dramamine and head to the Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, New Jersey.