May 30

The world-famous Monroeville Mall is not the biggest mall in the world, nor is it in a particularly convenient location for college students who live downtown. It has a few major stores, a couple of good places to eat at the food court, and it’s surrounded by a bunch of other interesting stores in the plazas that invariably surround a shopping mall. The mall itself is not inherently worthy of the attention that made it world-famous.
However, the fact remains that a certain subset of the population knows the Monroeville Mall quite intimately. Monroeville itself also knows this, though it downplays the connection every day of the year but one. And it all comes back to Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.
Kyle and I walk into the mall’s lower entrance near the run-down arcade. This entrance opens up to the mall’s play area, which is themed after the Land of Make-Believe. The show obviously has a place in the hearts of many people my age; it’s an affection that is amplified around these parts by the fact that the show is produced here in Pittsburgh. That’s why, if you’ve ever wondered, the opening credits of the show portray his house as being set on a hill. Most Pittsburgh natives would instantly recognize the hill and could tell you where it is.

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