Once known as Xanadu, the long-germinating American Dream mega-mall was rescued from development hell when Triple Five Group, the team behind Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall, purchased it in 2011 with the hope of creating a retail destination designed for the future. Since then, the sprawling complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, has slowly transformed from an eyesore into a gleaming avatar of late capitalism, armed with an amusement park, a water park, an indoor ski hill, a 300-foot-tall observation wheel, an ice rink, an aquarium, and more than 450 retail shops—scheduled to start opening their doors later this month. Here, five things you should know about this suburban fever dream.
1. American Dream’s indoor ski hill, Big Snow, will feature a 180,000-square-foot, 16-story-high, 800-foot-long slope that will let customers test out their winter gear before they buy it.
2. A Nickelodeon-themed amusement park will include a record-breaking rollercoaster with the world’s steepest vertical drop, at 121.5 degrees.
3. A 60-foot so-called “fashion fountain” will transform into a catwalk in a matter of seconds, when the occasion calls for it.
4. Seventy-five thousand LEDs and 25,000 chrome leaves will make up “Albero dei Sogni” (“Tree of Dreams,” in English), a sculpture that will play music several times throughout the day.
5. All pizza…probably still courtesy of SBARRO.