Downtown Ghost Town

SCRANTON -- Courthouse Square is usually bustling during the work week, but that was not the case Wednesday.

People called off work. Appointments were canceled, but some businesses tried to make the best of it.

Shoveled sidewalks served as a sign that certain downtown businesses were open in the storm.

For Pete Ventura, the shoveling was worth it. He found his restaurant, Coney Island Lunch, would be busier than expected on this snow day.

"A hot dog in the winter when it's snowing reminds you of summer," Ventura said. "I have baseball stuff all over here, so maybe I'll put a baseball game on later with a nice sunny day so it will look better."

Outside, it was snowy and cold. Shovelers and plow drivers were some of the only people in sight in what is usually the most bustling part of the city.

Pizza by Pappas is typically packed come lunch time. That wasn't the case today.

"We're starting to get inquiries about what's going on, but like I said, I start looking at the weather, trying to find out if the state building is closed or the city is closed, which is the bulk of our lunchtime business," Tom Sheakoski said.

Pappas planned to close a bit early before the streets got icy, but enough time to serve some customers who came downtown for a doctor's appointment.

"A lot of cancellations, because my appointment was at 1:00 and they jumped up to 10:30, but I came earlier and they took me earlier, so that's fine," said Frank Jurkiewicz.

It's rare to have quite so many options for parking on Courthouse Square, but the businesses that are open say even though many of their customers aren't here, there's still plenty to do.

"I like to stay open. It's easy to open on regular days. These are the days you need to be open for people that need you. There's a lot of apartment complexes downtown that need deliveries if they can't get out. We like to take care of them. Plus, it's good to stay open," said Renato Lungo at Abe's Deli.

The staff at Abe's Deli planned to also get a jump start on prep work for the coming weekend. There's no sense in slowing down.

"No snow days for restaurant owners, no way."

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