Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fly through the ruins of the White Flint Mall demolition in this drone video

The Dark Side of White Flint, Part 37

Welcome to The Dark Side of White Flint, an ongoing series about the not-so-wonnerful, wonnerful, wonnerful side of urbanizing the suburbs of Montgomery County.

I found an interesting video searching for "White Flint Mall" on YouTube. Videographer Mike Purks somehow was able to get inside the wreckage of White Flint Mall, and fly a drone over and through the gutted structure, as well. The result is an impressive trip through a temporary monument to greed and the urbanization of the suburbs.

Among the recognizable objects you'll notice during the flyover and fly-through: the iconic and stylish center elevator, escalators, and a few letters that remain in place over the entrance to the now-obliterated Turbo Theater at Dave and Buster's.

I do wonder how it was possible to film this. In the experience of other sincere fans of the mall I've spoken to, it's been nearly impossible to get any photos of the mall exterior in recent months. The minute you enter the parking lot and pause for even a second, a security guard aggressively drives right toward you.

In contrast, check out a few interesting moments in the Mike Purks video. Notice that white Dodge Charger patrolling near the mall structure in the opening scenes? That's the usually-aggressive security vehicle.

Yet, you'll notice he doesn't bother Purks, even as he proceeds to place a drone on the ground and - one assumes - operate it to lift off toward the mall. I find this incredible. They've been trying to stop people who just want to take a cellphone picture for posterity of the mall from a safe distance in the lot, but they let somebody actually operate a drone through the mall structure itself, a sealed-off demolition zone, to boot?

Also, look carefully when the camera approaches to actually enter the mall structure at 0:56 - in the right glass panel, you can see a person reflected in the glass. So some of this was filmed by someone actually walking on or through parts of the mall? How? Wouldn't that be extremely dangerous, as well as illegal at this point?

I just wonder if he had some kind of clearance or permission from Lerner to do this, given the apparent time it would have taken to film all of this.

However it was done, fans of White Flint Mall are glad for what is likely a final photographic record of this great mall.

Top photo: ©2015 Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row

Explore the Dark Side of White Flint further:

Part 1: Where it all began

Part 30: The final hours of Dave and Buster's


26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lawrence Welk references, again? What an old coot.

Robert Dyer said...

5:08: To catch a Lawrence Welk reference, you must be an "old coot" yourself.

Anonymous said...

"a temporary monument to greed"

Yes, it was. I'm glad they're tearing it down.

Anonymous said...

Great video though a bit long. I'm guessing either he slipped the security guard a $20 or he is affiliated with the construction company.

Anonymous said...

Surely more than $20.00

G. Money said...

Surely Hans Riemer is behind this outrage! Let Dyer inside the Mall corpse!

Anonymous said...

More than a $20? Probably a blow job.

Anonymous said...

"a temporary monument to greed", and your sorry ass was living in D&B off mommy's dime, yah weasel.

Anonymous said...

Before clicking on this, I expected it to be footage from Dan Hoffman's drone fleet.

Robert Dyer said...

6:09: I'm talking about the mall in its destroyed state, not the mall itself. Tearing down a 1977 building is embarrassing. People in the Third World must think such demolitions are crazy. A lot of people in poor areas wish they had a grand building with architecture like White Flint Mall.

Anonymous said...

"Tearing down a 1977 building is embarrassing. People in the Third World must think such demolitions are crazy."

You don't travel much outside the USA, do you?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Montgomery County developers build these expensive developments then tear them down when they get bored rather than trying to repurpose them.
It is quite shameful..and yes, embarrassing - especially when so many of the county's underserved get shafted when it comes to taxpayer dollar-funded services. Millions - and now nearly billions - of dollars get funneled to Montgomery County nonprofit groups that are supposed to help the low-and no-income families - most of whom get dollars from these developers as tax write offs. It is a shameful cycle of financial waste. www.povertyforprofit.com

Anonymous said...

Great find Robert and Washington Business Journal picked up your story.
http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2015/07/an-eerie-look-inside-the-white-flint-mall.html

I want to know where they are going to dump all the building materials.

Anonymous said...

looks like a black ops 2 map

Robert Dyer said...

7:41: It sounds like you don't get outside of the USA much, or only travel to first world destinations, if you are so oblivious to the extreme poverty that exists over large areas of the globe. Actually, you could just read about it to stay informed.

Anonymous said...

1:49 PM - you missed my point entirely, as usual, you dunce.

Buildings in the developing world tend to be replaced much more quickly than here. than here. The folks there would be amazed that such an old, unused building was still standing. Lower construction standards, therefore shorter building lifepans, and quickly growing cities.

Anonymous said...

How come Dyer doesn't have the keywords #DeadWhiteFlint, #DeadMall, like in the title of the video?

Robert Dyer said...

12:31: Thanks. I appreciate the professionalism of the Washington Business Journal, too - they gave me a hat tip in their article giving me credit for the find and my initial report. In contrast, some other local outlets simply cut-and-pasted the video onto their sites, capitalizing on my work, but giving me no credit.

I'm reminded of the classic scene in Star Wars, where Obi Wan Kenobi seems shaken up suddenly, and says, "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced."

Apparently those kind of psychic realizations of breaking news occur regularly in some local offices.

Robert Dyer said...

4:12: I was on the Dean's List every semester in college. Hardly a dunce. Your suggestion that people living in makeshift shelters in jungles and deserts "would be amazed" that a perfectly fine 1977 building "was still standing" reveals a person completely out of touch with the real world. If Lerner is paying you, or the Developers, er, Friends of White Flint, I hope they get their money back.

Anonymous said...

The father of the American mall died hating them:

http://qz.com/454214/the-father-of-the-american-shopping-mall-hated-cars-and-suburban-sprawl/?utm_source=parSM

Anonymous said...

"I was on the Dean's List every semester in college. Hardly a dunce."

Anyone who had a laughably easy major such as yours could have done the same. But now what do you have to show for that?

Robert Dyer said...

12:56: You just revealed who you are. Only one of the handful of trolls on here knows what my major and specialization were in college. #Oops. You have less to show than I do for your work, by the way.

Anonymous said...

You said it here, you dunce.

http://robertdyer.blogspot.com/2015/03/former-french-video-store-begins.html

Robert Dyer said...

4:41: How is history, especially one that requires use of a foreign language to research, an "easy major"? You sound like a complete idiot.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for sharing this video. Makes me sad as White Flint was where I spent a lot of time when I was a teenager. My first job (at the Eatery!), lots of movies, shopping and hanging out with family and friends. I don't think they were ever able to recover from Montgomery Mall's expansion, which was too bad.

I think you do a great job reporting on Rockville and appreciate your great stories.

Anonymous said...

We live nearby, and while neither huge fans of the mall nor detractors, it's aggravating to see an eyesore just sitting there. It seems to me that the powers that be in MC really doesn't care about the built environment, or fears antagonizing hyper-rich folks like the Lerners. It's been what, seven years that the redevelopment of WF has been in the works? And we've very little to show for it as far as WFM goes.