8000 Cooper Ave., at 80th St., Glendale 718-326-3300
You live in New York, so why exactly do you want a mall experience? Because this is the coolest mall. The open-air Shops at Atlas Park look straight out of the burbs: a series of white, classical-inspired buildings surrounding a grassy elliptical center plaza. In reality, the shopping center is located on a former industrial site in Glendale, Queens (take the L or the E, then the Q54), and is designed as what owner Damon Hemmerdinger describes as a “social experience,” where visitors can shop, eat, or just lie on a blanket on the grass. The 53 tenants run the gamut, from mid-range clothing shops and a quirky pet-supply store to a Borders and a gym. As an homage to the site’s former life, three of the complex’s six buildings are restored structures from its previous incarnation, meaning the onetime factory that manufactured the first transatlantic telephone cable now houses a gourmet market and a wine shop.