The NY Times looks at how the Time Warner "Don't Call Me a Mall!" Center is doing, a day after news that famed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter won't be opening a restaurant there. The Whole Foods and the Borders are doing well, as is the Williams-Sonoma, but no word on the other stores who are tucked into the sides or on upper floors, which would be more interesting to learn about, since whenever Gothamist happens to be there, the upper floors seem way too empty, save for the thirty tired husbands and children resting their feet at chairs. We liked this mini-history of malls in the heart of the city:

Manhattan has never fervently embraced the mall concept. While Trump Tower's 22-year-old shopping atrium on Fifth Avenue draws some tourists (thanks to its supporting role in "The Apprentice"), Herald Center, the 10-story mall inside the former Gimbel's department store on Herald Square, has had a troubled history. Originally bankrolled by Ferdinand E. Marcos, the Philippine dictator, it opened in 1985 with tenants that included Ann Taylor, Brookstone and Caswell-Massey. After a mortgage default and an auction, it was reinvented as a discount mall, with stores like Payless Shoes.

Of course, Gothamist stands by the idea that if you put a glass roof over Soho, you'd be able to call it a mall, but the Soho business development group refuses to do that, do far. One NJ woman tells the TImes she thinks the Time Warner Center " is a place to escape, an oasis in the city. I come here as often as I can." Gothamist knows from experience that this statement is the product of insane parking and crowded malls in NJ; the really ferocious shoppers like to go at 10AM on Sundays, to avoid the crowds.

Gothamist on how the Time Warner Center didn't want to be known as a mall, the restaurants all-stars there, how construction hurt pedestrians, and its Whole Foods.