Here's a postcard, probably from the late 1960s, showing the Monkey Cage at the Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, New Jersey.1 A group of shoppers is staring intently at the monkeys, while another group of shoppers is contemplating the existential pros and cons of entering Florsheim Shoes. The text on the back of this unused postcard states:
"Always a pleasurable point for a moment of leisure2 is the Monkey Cage where a number of amusing monkeys are in residence to provide continuous entertainment for young and old alike."The Moorestown Mall, which opened in 1963, is still in existence, having survived, so far, our country's ongoing Mall-pocalypse.
The monkeys are, of course, long gone. We're no longer quite that horrible as a society in our treatment of wild animals.
Here are some (lightly edited) tidbits I found about the Monkey Cage:
- John on Flickr: "This Monkey Cage was located in the central court at Moorestown Mall until the early 1970s."
- Malls of America website commenters: "They were Gibbon apes. I worked @ Flagg Bros.from 1968-1972." ... "We used to go to the Moorestown and Cherry Hill malls all the time when I was a kid. One time the monkeys (actually, I believe they were gibbons) escaped from the cage, and some people were bitten. I think the monkey cage was taken out after that incident."3 ... "My father and I used to go to the Harvest House to eat and see the monkeys."
For more on the topic of American Mall Monkey Cages, check out this 2005 Malls of America post.
Finally, in case you're scoring at home, this postcard was published and distributed by WYCO Products of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
1. Moorestown has been home to many Philadelphia pro athletes over the years, including Bobby Clarke, Jevon Kearse, Tim Kerr, Donovan McNabb, Freddie "4th and 26" Mitchell, Terrell Owens, Jeremy Roenick, Ulf Samuelsson and Jon Runyan.
2. But only a MOMENT of leisure. It is your duty as a American to get back to shopping.
3. I tried and failed to find additional confirmation of the monkeys-escaping-and-biting-people incident. Anyone know anything?