After 17 Years, American Dream Meadowlands Has An Opening Date — And That Date Won’t Change


A mere 17 years after it was proposed and just 16 years after New Jersey officials gave their approval, American Dream Meadowlands — the end result of the project once known as Meadowlands Xanadu — is set to open its doors on Oct. 25.

Why should we believe this opening date, after a long series of failures that began as early as 2005?

The first reason is that developer Triple Five — which operates the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada — does not seem committed any longer to having every single attraction open when the doors first unlock.

So even as the indoor amusement park and indoor water park complex, as well as the indoor snow park — the latter was constructed more than a decade ago — are touted along with the NHL-sized ice rink (the Devils left for Newark a decade ago, alas) and the “Angry Birds” mini-golf course, there is now time for other attractions to make their mark.

That means LegoLand Discovery Center, the massive London Eye-knockoff observation wheel (no longer the “Pepsi Globe,” since Coca-Cola is now the official beverage partner), the “world’s largest kosher food hall,” and the luxury movie complex have more time, if needed.

An NFL-friendly kickoff

But the Oct. 25 date is no accident of timing.

According to the NFL schedule, the Giants play at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 20 and the Jets are home on Monday night a day later, and both teams are on the road the following week.

So Friday, Oct. 25 is a fine opening day. The stadium will not be used by either team two days after American Dream opens. That’s rare. And the following weekend also features only a Monday night game, with the Giants home on Nov. 4 against Dallas.

Coincidence? Not a chance.

Things do get messy with a Nov. 10 “Giants at Jets” game, but by then, consumers will be getting used to the complicated schedules that will ensue. That’s why this latest “opening day” won’t be delayed.

The late fall schedule

Neither the Giants nor Jets are home on Nov. 17, as Thanksgiving nears, so the other November fly in the ointment is a Jets 1 p.m. home game against Oakland on Nov. 24. Mark that day down as a gridlock alert, as well as a Jets game against Pittsburgh on Dec. 22.

The more than 1 million square feet of retail at American Dream supposedly won’t be open on Sundays, but the more than a dozen attractions can be. American Dream is located across Route 120 from the stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack, so it should have fewer headaches than the track has had.

Ideally, Triple Five executives and the owners of the Giants and Jets will come to an accord that makes life easier for football fans — as well as lovers of shopping and family entertainment.

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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