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By any sense of the imagination, it should be primarily populated by Vikings who have a side gig working at Jamba Juice. Instead, it’s a legitimately fascinating commercial marvel staffed by congenial midwesterners.At one point, I ducked into a Nike store for less than a minute. During that time, four people greeted me and asked how I was doing. A fifth wished me a nice day as I tried to quietly slink out without buying anything and staring at the ground because that’s what people in Massachusetts do.When I left the mall later that night, it was 20 degrees and snowing with a strong wind. People in a place this cold have no business being this nice. It’s weird. I miss being surrounded by surly New Englanders.Yet, here I am for the rest of this week as MassLive prepares for its Super Bowl coverage. Initially, I didn’t think I’d really get a chance to visit Mall of America since we’re usually a little short on personal time during work trips.Oh no. That’s not how things went at all. It turns out that most of the media activity is operating out of this giant complex of stores, atriums and mini golf courses including interviews with New England Patriots players.So yeah, it turns out that I just live in Mall of America now. I spent about 16 hours there on Tuesday.So, welcome to my house. It’s a mall, it’s wonderful and I’m never leaving.What is Mall of America? It’s basically the opposite of Soviet Russia.If I ever found myself in a spot where I had to fight the ghost of Joseph Stalin, I’d do it right at the top of the Spongebob roller coaster in the Mall of America theme park. The capitalist spirit would give me to the power to roundhouse kick him clear across into the American Girl Boutique Bistro.That would place things right next to one of the dozen or so coffee shops in here. It’d also be right next to the giant LEGO store, the aquarium and one of the two Orange Juliuses. (Or is it Orange Julii?)Mall of America has every mall store you’ve ever heard of, some you haven’t and a bunch that I’m still convinced aren’t real stores.Here’s a journey through the last building you’ll ever need to enter, because sunlight is overrated and it’s too far to walk back to the hotel in the cold.It turns out that, not only are the Patriots doing their interviews in Mall of America, they’re also staying at the JW Marriott that’s attached to it. And it turns out that, no, they’re not all getting room service.Kevin Duffy and I discovered this as we walked through the food court this week and noticed that just about half of the entire Patriots defense was grabbing Chick Fil A for dinner. Safety Duron Harmon walked by with a delicious looking milkshake as we realized that A) both we and the players are both trapped here all week, B) Harmon can eat whatever he wants because that dude is ripped, and C) I really wanted a chicken sandwich and a milkshake.
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