The days of strolling the outdoor city streets, window shopping as you walk past store fronts is becoming such a rare experience. Attribute this fact to the proliferation of malls, which has replaced sidewalks with their wide corridors, lined on both sides with shops of all sorts. The ubiquitous mall has become the new and undisputed shopping arena, bringing you convenience, comfort and relative safety as you indulge in some form of buying activity.
It would be difficult to imagine a mall usually teeming with people as an empty abandoned structure, but there is one mall in Thailand that defies this notion. Over in Bangkok, a mall lies empty and neglected, but its strangeness does not stop there. Its ground floor has since filled with water given that it stopped operations and has become a humongous fish pond!
Constructed in 1982, the New World shopping mall operated for only 15 years before it became embroiled in legal issues. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration demolished seven of the mall’s 11 floors in 1997 after it was determined that the owner only had a construction permit to erect a four floor structure. Add to that a fire in 1999 that gutted what was left, and what you have is a roofless mall. More misfortune befell the building in 2004 as someone was killed by falling debris during further demolition activity.
The accumulating water on the ground floor soon became a breeding ground for mosquitoes. These insects are notorious for carrying deadly diseases in their bite, such as malaria and dengue fever. Quick to solve this potentially unsafe situation, people in the area decided to turn to natural means to mitigate the problem.
They introduced a fish species that is known to prey on mosquito wrigglers and other insects. Chef and travel writer/blogger Jesse Rockwell was able to shoot these images of the bizarre urban ecosystem. It may seem weird, but it’s a smart and simple solution to an otherwise hazardous problem.