The last thing Denise Hamilton was expecting to see hanging on the wall at Bergen Town Center was a photo of herself.
The Hackensack native was on a routine errand run to Whole Foods Wednesday when she saw the black and white image hanging in the Marshall's corridor, her younger self standing tall in the middle.
"I looked at it and I was like, 'That's me!'" said Hamilton, 69, who has a newspaper clipping of the photo from when it ran in the Bergen Record.
"I couldn't believe it. I'm a part of this mall."
A mall that for decades has been Hamilton's stomping grounds.
"When I first got married and had kids, that mall -- Newberry's in particular -- it was my saving grace," said Hamilton, who worked at Stern's briefly in her early 20s.
"I have very fond memories of that mall."
But that was before the mall transitioned from outdoor mall indoor. Before Target and Bobby's Burger Palace.
Before everything changed, Hamilton said.
"It's sad to see in a way," Hamilton said. "It's sad to see how things have changed. And not just at Bergen Town Center -- with all of the malls.
"Paramus Park -- my all-time favorite -- and Garden State Plaza. I remember back when they were open."
As Hamilton strolls through the halls on her trips to Whole Foods, she's reminded of the way things used to be.
"But," she said. "That's what happens. Things change -- and change is good."
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