Exploring Harvard Square on foot.
Favorite thing: I really loved exploring all the shops and restaurants along Harvard Square. Harvard Square consists of the few blocks across the street from Harvard campus. What's nice about it is that everything's accessible by walking, so you can just casually meander around without a real plan, for there will always be things to see.
What I also really liked about this part of Cambridge was the colonial architecture. I felt like I was somewhere else! Coming from the west coast where you just don't see this type of architecture because everything's too new, I'd often associate this style of architecture with England, or Europe. But here it was, and it was everywhere in Cambridge! It gave me a completely new experience in North America, and a real genuine appreciation for Massachusetts in general.
Harvard Square buskers
Fondest memory: One of my favourite things in Cambridge was simply watching the buskers outside of the Out of Town News stand at Harvard Square. This little (err, big) news stand is a popular landmark right outside of the Harvard Square 'T' station in the heart of Cambridge. This is where you'll find your talented buskers singing their hearts out and selling CD's. It's where you'll see students, punks, artists, musicians and tourists mingling about. Across the street is Harvard University, and it's here where I truly felt the vibrant spirit of community.
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BOOKSTORES: THE GLOBE...
Favorite thing: BOOKSTORES: (Or perhaps, as I watch them vanish, I should say that they were my favorite thing about Cambridge.
CURIOUS GEORGE GOES TO WORDSWORTH (Harvard Square)
(1 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 Tel. 617-498- 0062)
Extensive selection of children's books and toys.
HARVARD BOOKSTORE (Harvard Square)
(1256 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. Tel 617-661-1515)
Great selection of books, good history section,
especially good African history section. There is a
basement where used books are sold. The selection in the used section is
also very good.
SCHOENHOF'S FOREIGN BOOKS (Harvard Square)
76A Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge. Tel. 617-547-8855
Books in many different languages and a huge
selection of English/Foreign Language
dictionaries (English/Arabic, for example).
GROLIER POETRY BOOK SHOP (Harvard Square)
(6 Plympton Street Cambridge 02138 Tel.(617)547-4648)
Poetry Bookstore founded in 1927. A Classic.
THE HARVARD COOP (Harvard Square)
1400 Mass. Ave. Cambridge 02138 Tel. (617)499-2000
Very large bookstore with both children's and adult books. There is a cafe inside, too.
THE GLOBE CORNER BOOKSTORE (Harvard Square)
Out of Business, now. This is an example of why people should not give their custom to the huge and lifeless chains which now dominate the square.
WORDSWORTH (Harvard Square)
Another Cambridge landmark out of business. I can still picture this lovely bookstore in my mind. I've lived near Harvard Square since the early 80's and finally I believe that with the loss of the bookstores, the heart has gone out of it.
Favorite thing: Naturally, Harvard Square, is the most famous of all of the squares in Cambridge. At the intersection of Masschusetts Avenue, Mt Auburn Street and JFK Street, this is where all the Harvard kids hang out and shop at the Abercombie & Fitch...Harvard Square also attracts lots of freaks too....there's the ever present hacky sack kids, the constant band of merry minstrels, and lets not forget my beloved Harvard Square Clown...and I guarantee at least two or three protesters....of something.....
Favorite thing: Located at the intersection of Massachusetts and Somerville Avenues, Porter Square seems to be that no-man's land between Somerville and Cambridge...where the brains meet the muscle....the upper class rubs elbows with the working class...naturally there's a Dunken Donuts located in the Square to ease the tension...
Porter Square lacks the shopping mall feel of Corporate America that has overrun Harvard Square, so, everything that's in Porter Square is all the more practical...so, roll up your sleeves and pull up a bar stool at Christopher's and order a round or two...
Behind the scenes at the Stata Center
Favorite thing: I guess I am fascinated with this construction site, LOL!
Fondest memory: The anticapation of the newest contruction growing before my eyes...... Hahaha, you must think that also, since I take so many pictures of the Stata Center, huh?
Must see the MIT Stata Center
Favorite thing: The Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences is a 430,000 sq. ft. facility designed by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry. Rising from the Building site on Vassar Street, the design is bold--somewhat like solid, rectangular structures with popout parts, aligned with giant crushed cans.
Fondest memory: Working here!!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Favorite thing: See the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is Cambridge's 'other' major university, catering mainly to technical students. The campus and area around it is quite staid and boring compared to Harvard's vibrancy, but Kendall Square is waking up with a new movie theatre and some great new architecture by Frank Gehry. The Great Dome is the most photographed landmark here. The photo shows many of the university's associated buildings seen from Boston.
Favorite thing: Although the character of the stores has faded somewhat with the invasion of chains, old-time favourites such as Wordsworth's Books, the Harvard Cooperative Society, J. August, Leavitt and Peirce Tobacco, and the Harvard Book Store remain. Out of Town News, a popular newstand and a local landmark, stands at the centre of the square, right near 'The Pit' where bands can be found playing. Shops and restaurants extend in every direction- along Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and JFK Street. If you're not into shopping, the Square is a great place to watch the interesting variety of people who frequent it. Some of the sidestreets around the square are great too- quiet and lined with old colonial houses which have survived the test of time. It's accessible from the Harvard T stop.
Favorite thing: Kendall Square is located at the intersection of Main Street, Broadway Street and Memorial Drive right near the Longfellow Bridge crossing the Charles River into Boston. This Square is mostly surrounding by office buildings; and, therefore, seems mostly deserted after 5pm.
However, you can find a few bars around the movie theater, including a nice pool hall.
Fondest memory: One Friday night my roomate and I went to Flat Top Johnny's after work and proceeding to drink pitcher after pitcher of Newcastle Brown Ale (one of my favorite beers) at the bar. The place was mostly filled with the university kids from MIT and Harvard.
Anyway, as the night wore on, the bartender started cutting off some of the college kids who were getting a little too drunk. After cutting one particular guy off, the bartender looked at Charles and I and said "I should be cutting you guys off, how many ptichers have you guys had?" We replied, "well, not sure, but we are empty...can you get us another?" To that the bartender replaced our empty pitcher with a full one... It was just one of those Friday nights after a bad week of work that no amount of beer could resolve the amount of stress built up...
Favorite thing: Central Square is a little more 'edgey' than most squares, but is undergoing lots of renovations. I am afraid it may too far like Harvard Square and start to look like a suburban shopping mall. Anyway, Central Square is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Western Avenue, Magazine Street and River Street which turns into 'Cambridge Street' after it leaves Cambridge and crosses the Charles River into Allston another Boston borough (go figure).
Favorite thing: Inman Square is located at the intersection of Inman Street, Antrim Street, Springfield Street and Cambridge Street where Beacon Street turns into Hampshire Street. Get it? Confusioning, eh! Well, that's Boston for you, they let the damn cows determine the streets...absolutely no city planning.
See the view of Boston from...
Favorite thing: See the view of Boston from across the river. Here's a view of Boston from MIT in Winter (no snow this winter)-- I'll always be adding and changing this page. Can't help it ... I'm here everyday and there is always something new to learn, see and to take a picture of. Story of my life!!
Fondest memory: Finding the best job I've ever had! I've had some good jobs and met some very nice people and made great friends on other jobs ... but this is by far the best.
Visit MIT and the other school...
Favorite thing: Visit MIT and the other school in Cambridge (Harvard). Harvard Square is a huge tourist area, but there's a lot of shops and restaurants there and tons to do. Usually there are buskers performing in the square near Au bon Pain or the T stop. Walk on Memorial Drive along the Charles River and cross Harvard bridge (which is actually right by MIT). If the weather is nice, you'll see a lot of small sail boats on the river and maybe some 8's (crew boats) if you visit during the school year. Definitely go to Cafe Mami at the Porter Exchange (near Porter Sq T stop, Red Line, one stop past Harvard Sq towards Alewife). They have excellent chicken katsu curry and spicy sirloin beef yakiniku. mmmm :)
Fondest memory: MIT. Sadly enough, a lot of students here develop a kind of masochistic attitude toward school work. I hate working on impossible problem sets and staying up until 3am every night, but there are a lot of times when you really appreciate the effort you've put into an assignment when you finally get it done as the sun is rising.
I'll definitely miss running bridge loops along the Esplanade (paved walk/runway along the Charles River). It's also gorgeous to walk around Cambridge just after a lot of snow has fallen.
Favorite thing: Head down to Central Square, Cambridge's eclectic downtown. Central Square is an ethnic delight...filled with a plethora of stores selling food and goods originating from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The multiculturalism is further emphasized through the great number of churches and music stores in the area catering to every different taste. Central Square is positioned midway between Harvard Square and MIT, making it the true anchor and soul of Cambridge, a city defined by its two major colleges. In stark contrast to the chic yuppie/suburban/tourist crowds of Central Square and the staid poured concrete of MIT, however, Central Square shows off what Cambridge is really about- diversity, acceptance, liveliness, and joie de vivre. The square itself is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Western Avenue, and River Street, but its influence extends for about a mile in either direction along Mass. Ave.
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