The coolest map of independent coffee shops in Cambridge you'll see all day

Independent coffee shops in Cambridge

You Are Here is a project at the MIT Media Lab in which participants are releasing a map a day of interesting things in the places they come from.

A few days ago, they posted a map of non-chain coffee shops in Cambridge. Even if you could care less about coffee, it's still fun to watch the map appear on screen.

Also see the more somber Bicycle accidents in Cambridge.

H/t Chris Devers.



Free tagging: 


Color picking algorithm

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I'm not sure how their color picking algorithm works for shading the areas, but they need to improve on it. Some areas are the same (or similar) red color as the pinpoint of the coffee shops themselves. Other areas abut areas of similar shade of color too making their boundaries hard to determine.

I'd love to see "overlap" maps

I understand the geographic centroid approach they are using, and I love how the Mass Ave shops are so evenly spaced to the north, but there are a lot of overlaps that are not reflected here - spaces that you could go any of several ways according to which you like best.

Wow, the data bears out what I observe every day.

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The Inman triangle along Hampshire St is absurdly hazardous right where delivery trucks constantly squat on the bike lanes in the rush to ensure that The Asshole Deli can flog 12 buck omelets to elderly patrons from the burbs.

I'll glance out the window and see insanely complex line of sight blockage messes where several mobile parties will nearly carom off of each other trying to dodge each others messes.

This place is about as awful as a neighbor biz can be without running a crack house.

Employees routinely go the wrong way down one way Amory as a shortcut to their VIP parking lot.

They'll haul in tour buses from Garden games for catered box lunches and chow all the parking in addition to squatting on bike lanes.

I even had to shoo two fat Canadian bus drivers off my building steps once.

And on Sunday, when street parking is free, their asshole employees will hog it all to save a few yards of walking even though they have free employee parking.

Then we have Friday night at their scuzzy jazz bar with drunk assholes spilling out of dance night at 2:15 am doing drag races on Hampshire.

It should be noted that all the other gin mills in the vicinity run their booze service way more skillfully.

I do take some comfort in knowing that their demographic is packing graveyards and a replacement is unlikely. Van Morrison used to sip beers in a bar they wrecked to expand seating areas now increasingly empty.

Payback is a bitch.

Bitter. Very Bitter...

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Wow. The SandS does really suck ("It is our policy not to seat INCOMPLETE PARTIES") for any number of reasons. Not least of which is the food. It's not the high price of quality, it's the high price of mediocrity, as some one said. I mean, the phrase "delusions of adequacy" comes to mind.

But this is one bitter post for a barely average place, in every respect.

I just have to look out the window.

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To me it is unusual as I worked for the Middle East for a couple of years and the owners there were extremely anxious to keep neighbors happy. And they would freak if an employee antagonized said neighbors.

They'd have me out on Brookline Street with a decibel meter during loud shows to make sure the noise was below 60Db outside.

This is more like some autistic moron biz that assumes the rest of us who live here are somehow lucky it is there.

I don't care about the hospitality biz much anyway, but am normally happy to cut it slack.

Hospitality biz wretches are like old compadres and their job description agonies are familiar to me.

And as an aging pedestrian, I have no dog in the bike/car fight.

As a former gin mill worker, I know what responsible beverage service looks like and this ain't it.

And, as noted, the data doesn't lie. Those are some fat collision spots in that small bit of street frontage.

And there is no other biz in the vicinity that is such a disruptive half assed hazard.

The other gin mills are fine and the other restaurants manage to get their stuff without making a borderline death trap of the vicinity.

I give em another 5 to 10 years before the last regulars take their dirt nap. But then, that's probably the pattern in general. Affluent empty nesters who returned to neo glitz cities will be gone in 10 years.

Will others take up the slack or will all this luxury huffing and puffing become a mere case of speculation vapors?

Excuse me.. Socially autistic'

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It's deliberate rather than genetic.

Much of America has the social form.

Also called self absorbed, sado-narcissistic,

Delusions of significance,
Legends in ones own mind.

See also "It's my world and you're just living in it."

And my personal favorite "usher in one's own bad home movie'.

Cutthroat biz practices and general malevolence are common features..

As is my favorite asshole deli practice, being swine about clearing the extensive sidewalk frontage they own on Hampshire in winter even though the city requires it.

This is particularly comical as I get to watch their very elderly dwindling customer base with geezer bone problems and falling problems navigate a treacherous icy stretch of sidewalk to waste money on crappy food served by the very assholes that made the geezers do the ice dance.

I think that it's a fair characterization.

But Demographics is no friend to these skanks. Notice how many of the old crappy mid 20th century restaurant models in the area have gone tits up of late. Hi Fi, The Hilltop, etc.

The world is less white now and the Leave it to Beaver demographic is vaporizing.

I guess it would have killed

I guess it would have killed you just apologize for the inappropriate use of the word and left it at that.

I had never even heard of this business before I read this post and your comments. Now I want to patronize it out of sheer defiance.

BTW, I checked their Website. Their most expensive omelet (which contains lox) is $10.95, not $12, so right off the bat we know you're prone to exaggeration.

By All Means Do..

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Don't let me stop you.

Nothing beats sheer defiance. The stubbly version is less effective.

You'll want a good weekend brunch... 11am should be perfect.

It's a pity winter is over as I bet you'd love the Ice Dance.

Or if you want to be really adventurous, why not take in Dance Night in the dump across the street?

Friday is the best. And you can pound booze in the parking lot before you head in as the staff won't care or notice. The usual custom is to show up around 10 to 11 pm, pound a six pack in the lot and saunter on over for the jammed portion of the evening.

Fortified Malt Beverages or cheap vodka are the weapons of choice.

And who knows? A whole new avenue of experience may make way for you.

Now there's easily more wrong going on here in the intertoobz... so get busy.

Yes to Mariposa

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If you're at that end of Central Square (Lafayette Square, anyone?) then Mariposa is your best bet. High quality, low attitude. Ten times less precious than "Flour" which seems to think that faux hipness compensates for $5 oatmeal and $3 seltzer water.

In Central, Mariposa and 1369 bracket things well.

Too bad the "Putnam Cafe"

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Too bad the "Putnam Cafe" part of the River St. Whole Foods didn't work out - it fit that geographic niche nicely.

Putnam Cafe

Why is that just sitting there closed and empty, instead of being replaced by some other business that could pay rent to Whole Foods?

Clever, but not correct.

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The site says "First, we used the Google Places API to locate all coffee shops in a given city..." [emphasis added], which assumes that GP data is complete, or even accurate - and it's not even close.

For example, Tealuxe and Dado - neither of which serve coffee - are included, but Verna's and Burdick's aren't! And the map includes a lot of places that are primarily food oriented (like Clover), but omits loads of other neighborhood cafes, especially in the western end of town.

Far from reflecting a true map of Cambridge's "collective [coffee house] experience", this map seems to demonstrate the limits of depending on easily accessed but poorly curated data.

It doesn't make me particularly confident in their other maps.

"You Are Here" is an intriguing and potentially illumminating project, but it would be nice to see more openess about their data and methodology, and more attention to accuracy.

"Even if you could care less..."

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...than you still care a little. If you meant you "couldn't" care less, meaning you don't care at all then I believe "couldn't" is the word you were looking for.

Good question. According to wikipedia (ymmv)...

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"Chain stores are retail outlets that share a brand and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. Before considered a chain, stores must meet a litmus test; it must have more than 10 units under the same brand and have a central headquarters, otherwise it offers franchise contracts or is publicly traded."

I'm not sure that the number '10' is as set in stone as the quote above implies, but I suspect that "more than a handful of locations and designed to keep growing" is pretty universally agreed upon. So 1369 and even Burdick's would not count as chains... but Clover is getting pretty close.