A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I haven’t been to the Mall at Steamtown in probably ten years. I think I have been in Scranton about twice in that time frame. Make no mistake; I have nothing against the “Electric City.” I worked there for about seven years and it has some great memories for me. It’s just that I have everything I want or need south of the Lackawanna county line. I guess I am becoming like so many in NEPA-never venturing outside of their community.

In any case I worked in Scranton well before the Mall at Steamtown was constructed. I have been watching with interest recent news reports that things are not going so great there. The recent closing of the Ground Round, the low occupancy level and the fact that the food court could be used for cannon practice without any injury all seem to me to be somewhat telling.

Down the street a joint named Molly Ringwalds or Branigans or something like that also closed up. The new mall and all the “urban renewal” associated with it were heralded as a renaissance for downtown Scranton. Looks like it’s not quite worked out that way. Before they imploded the area to make room for the mall there was a bar about where the Ground Round now stands shuttered. I don’t think it had a sign out front. It was known to everyone as “Bordi’s” because the owner was a gentleman named Pete Bordi. Bordi’s was not a fancy place. It did have some things that made it an “experience”, chief among them the restroom which was well…horrifying. But, in spite of the fact that it was a pretty big place (the circular bar could hold 75 seated) it was packed every day and every hour it was open, and it opened at 7am. It was a safe place for two reasons. One because every other bar stool might have an off duty police officer or fireman enjoying a beverage. But the real reason was if you caused any trouble you were banned and for life if you really got out of hand. And that was the worst imaginable fate because at Pete’s the beer was 15 cents a glass. Of course the catch was you had to buy two at a time. The glasses were six ounces so for 12 ounces of golden bubbly refreshment you paid 30 cents. A five dollar bill would leave you in need of a designated driver, Pete Bordi made a nice living, had a nice house and vacationed in Florida. Grown men wept when his doors closed forever. My suspicions are that if Bordi’s was still there, it would still be thriving. But then again…

1 comment:

John said...

I think we told Pete that when the Globe Store closed and they were buying up all the properties (his included) to make way for the Mall at Steamtown, he ought to purchase the Globe and make it five big floors of Pete Bordi's. They wanted to attract people to the downtown? I can see the buses lined up now for a chance at two beers, two chili dogs, and twenty cents back from a dollar bill.