Observations - July 28/August 27th, 2009

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Monroeville Mall

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August 17 - I've stopped at the mall a couple of times recently. The toy store finally had a good stock of "Monroeville Zombies" t-shirts in, as well as a lot of Dawn and other horror-themed shirts. Two of the empty storefronts had "coming soon" signs on them. I didn't recognize the store names, but something's better than nothing, right?

 

July 28 - I popped into the mall today. A store called Pearls of the Orient, that sells Oriental furniture, has opened where Ann Taylor Loft was. The Deb Shop is open where the drugstore used to be. One of the lower level storefronts near Boscov's has reopened - didn't see what it was.

The Toy Galaxy has moved and changed it's name. They have at least 3 different Dawn t-shirts, though they were sold out of the Monroeville Zombies ones, as usual. The Romero display in the back wasn't open but says "Coming soon".

There was a zombie walk on Pittsurgh's South Side two Saturdays ago.

More Closings - February 21st, 2009

I stopped in briefly at the mall today. Yet another link to the past is no more. The drugstore is gone! It's been there since the mall opened, most of the time as Thrift Drug, and then as Eckerd after Eckerd bought Thift. A sign on the front says, "Coming soon-The Deb Shop".

J. Jill, where the bank used to be, has closed, and so has the Guess store next to it. That leaves 3 large empty storefronts in a row. The only store open before the hallway is Easy Spirit, and the store on the other side of the hall (where Foxmoor Casuals was back in the day) is also closed. So is Arden B, and a couple of other stores on the first floor. This isn't looking too good...

The Toy Galaxy has a small room in the back devoted to Romero's and others' zombie movies. They have posters, t-shirts, zombie busts (at $499 a pop), and a video playing. Unfortunately they were out of Monroeville Zombies shirts - the clerk said they sold out quickly.

George Romero used to live in the neighborhood I live in, by the way, but I never saw him.

Holiday Season Update - January 10th, 2009

I was at the Mall a few times recently so I figured I'd check in. (Sorry, no pics!) Boscov's is closed, with nothing lined up yet to replace it. The court in front of it has a few of those bungee swings for kids. The four stores on the first floor closest to it are still vacant. It's weird to see that parking lot totally empty while driving past it.

There's another empty storefront upstairs along the stretch where Merry Go Round was in the movie (making two there), but the empty ones diagonally across the mall from there have been filled in. I can't remember all the names, but some of the stores are a bit weird - Chinese Massage?- and there are now two "urban" clothing stores. The look of the newer stores is more downscale.

The second Walden's location seems to change stores every few months. It's latest incarnation is a calendar store ("Everything 50% off!")

There's a new Japanese restaurant just inside the front entrance to the right. It looks nice, though I haven't tried it. American Cafe still sits empty, though.

American Eagle has remodeled and doubled in size.

Piercing Pagoda is still there, but rumored to be going out of business.

Two out of three jewelry stores in the mall have closed.

Customer Service has moved back upstairs (from the base of the up escalator), closer to where it was in the movie.

PNC Bank has bought National City, so that should be changing soon.

On the plus side, the mall was very busy on the two Saturdays after Christmas.

 

Oh, and I read on a local blog that in the 70s, at Brown Derby Monday night was Ladies Night, and drinks were a quarter!

Boscov's Closing - Monday August 25th, 2008

Boscov's, which replaced Kaufmann's (originally Gimbel's), has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing it's MM store, which only opened two years ago. No word yet on a replacement.

I was at the Mall a couple of weeks ago and I don't think I've ever seen this many empty storefronts there before. The four on the ground floor closest to Boscov's were all closed, as well as scattered ones on the second floor.

Mall Memories - Tuesday April 29th, 2008

When the Mall first opened (March 1969), there were live ducks in the bridge greenery areas. Surprisingly, they usually stayed put, though I do remember seeing one fly up to a skylight. They took them out after a year or so.

At that time, Ormond's advertised "Super groovy clothes for the tight budget".

The Fountain Court fountain was originally completely encircled by flowers.

Here's a link to a good article about the Ice Rink
here.

The same writer wrote an article about the Mall, too, but it seems to have been deleted. (link found
here)


Going to the rink was popular when I was in junior high (early 70s).

Pup-A-Go-Go sold char-grilled hot dogs and burgers. In 1977 a cheeseburger was 95 cents.

di Pomodoro had a glass wall so you could watch the skaters while eating. The John Heinz History Museum in Pittsburgh has one of their menus from 1977.

Merry Go Round must have opened in the fall of '77, since it wasn't there when I left for my freshman year of college, and was when I came home on break. They sold trendy clothes (lots of disco stuff), and seemed to hire only hot chicks.

On that break, my younger sister and her friends told me they were filming a zombie movie at the Mall. They had all gone up to apply to be extras but didn't get picked. Unfortunately, when I was home for Christmas, filming was on hiatus.

The Brown Derby was originally called The Pub. It had paintings of nude women in the bar section. When it became the Derby (circa 1975?), the paintings were gone. The main entrance was the one next to Reizenstein's - the one you see in the movie was a fire exit from the restaurant section. I was a waiter at the Brown Derby for about a week in the summer of '78.

The Arcade was called Tilt! I remember playing both the cowboy game and the racing game.

I still have songbooks from The Monroeville Music Center from when I played guitar in high school. I also still have a pair of Britannia bell bottoms from 1978 or '79 from the Jeanery (I think they were $8), some teakwood coasters from A Shop Called East, and many books and records. A Shop Called East also sold "smoking implements".

I saw my first projection TV at Wander Sales. They also had a small record section, and were cheaper than the Record Mart.

Penney's originally had a record and book department on the second floor behind the escalator, but it looks like that was gone by the time the movie was made.

A T-Shirt at Chest-Tees was $4 or $5 in 1978. They were iron-on transfers.

It was the Service Merchandise Mart, not the K-Mart, that was demolished when they built the Expo-Mart in '81. The K-Mart is over on Mall Blvd. and is still open.

Marty Schiff was from the same neighborhood I was, but he was 3 years older and I didn't know him.

You could smoke anywhere in the Mall until the late '80s or early '90s.

The Monroeville Historical Society website had some great pictures of the early Mall, both inside and out, but most if not all seem to have been deleted.

As far as I can tell, the only stores in the same locations as in 1978 are Penney's, Naturalizer Shoe, Lane Bryant, Ritz Camera, and the drugstore (though it has changed names). The wooden bridge is also still in the same place. Other stores are still there but have moved, like Spencer's and Baker's Shoes. The bank moved only a few years ago. The Wild Pair and No Name were still there until '02 or '03. Walden's (in it's new location) closed in '05, I think. Baskin Robbins closed in the food court in Dec. '06 and is now a Dairy Queen. The Limited closed last year and is now Forever 21.