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On the death of an icon in Harvard Square

Andreas Matern: Harvard Square is in desperate need of a new soul.

Mike Mennonno: A KFC/Taco Bell there wouldn't be so bad.

Cleary Squared says he just goes on the Internet now:

I used to go there for their various English comic magazines, like Viz, and their newspapers, since 1984. Thanks to the Internet, I can find out what scrapes Sid the Sexist and Biffa Bacon are getting into, as well as how Tarquin and Gwin will outsmart their clueless, rich, smug, faux-pious parents.

Amanda: Say it ain't so.

Martin notes the other Harvard Square closing:

I'll miss Out-of-Town News — much more than the nearby Crate & Barrel, which is also closing — and I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment.

The news seemed to hit the ink-stained wretches among us particularly hard:

Joel Brown, whose father once worked there: Holy crap:

... Out Of Town News was second only to Harvard in securing the Square's reputation as an international crossroads of learning and weirdness. You could get anything there, and it was a great relief to many that the newsstand survived the various "improvements" to the Square over the years. It maintained an eclectic clientele even as most of the Square's once-eccentric businesses gave way to the toxic blandness of chain retailing. Now it will probably turn into a f*ing Starbucks. This is heinous news. At least Charlie's Kitchen still serves a cheap martini.

Rhea Becker, another long-time newsie, sees her world spinning:

It feels like this is all happening so fast. My whole newspaper life is flashing before my eyes. And it's very sad. ...

David Harris, local scribe, is shocked:

So what now? Maybe it's a place for the city’s new bike-sharing program, as City Councilor Craig Kelley pointed out. But we really don't know. We still have to let the shock subside.

Dave Copeland, who got his start in journalism in part because of the newsstand, writes: There is something sad and unsettling about the prospect of Out Of Town News in Harvard Square closing:

... I do know that Out of Town News, and that nearly-forgotten grade school report, planted the seed that got me to where I am today. My Dad, I am certain, was equally thrilled by Out of Town News for the other side of the equation - he spent almost his entire career as a salesman for printing companies and found ways to be endlessly fascinated by offset presses, four-color processes and watermarked paper. ...

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Comments

I dont recall seeing anything in the news that any of this was definitive...

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How do you like them apples?

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This isn't the wurst news you've heard today?

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especially if you're cooped up.

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if it was in a greenhouse though..

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The Greenhouse is closed...

Maybe you were Out of Town, News probaly traveled slowly. Next time you should ask my friend who is Curious, George knows quite a bit.

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Guess it wasn't the Alpha or Omega of Harvard Square's existence.

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If only we had a picture of the disappearing establishment, then we'd have a thousand words' worth of description.

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To be honest, I'll be sad to see them go, as they're the only place I've been able to get Marie Claire Idees (kind of like Martha Stewart Living, only better) regularly, albeit at a killer markup.

Borders hasn't been to reliable in stocking them and the Amazon subscription service is kind of sketchy.

***

Also, will miss the rear awning which was always a good place to duck under while waiting for a cab during a rainstorm.

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It's the sort of place Orson Welles might have used in one of his darker films. But, yeah, hurry down and snap some photos before your options are limited.

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I've spent the last hour or so trying for a "Ferranti-Dege" pun and I can't come up with a single off-the-wall reference.

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If this little bit of real estate were in Boston, we would ask the simple question: What would Mayor Menino do with it?

  • Create a pseudo-awning structure, next to the building, that doesn't really protect against the weather.
  • Bring in a few pushcart salespeople -- fried dough, cell phone attachments, and belts, anyone?
  • Erect a couple of jersey barriers in the pit. Damn punks!
  • Turn the Out-Of-Town-News (selling $10 magazines from obscure places) into the Out-Of-Town-Farmers-Market (selling $8 loaves of bread from metro Boston bakeries with funky names).

Did I miss anything?

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Dont forget he hates Street Performers.

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I don't think that particular piece of real estate currently gets street performers very often.

Nonetheless, those jersey barriers that would block off the skateboarding punks could do double duty making the logistics difficult for the street performers.

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It's obvious, it should be turned into a combo- skate punk clothing shop / food kitchen. Maybe a Starbucks on the back. And, Harvard U t-shirts for sale.

Think of the potential profits!

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