This must be the place

By CLIF GARBODEN  |  April 23, 2010

Walking around the Square is never short of fascinating. You can watch a well-dressed middle-aged woman trying to tear down “Support Edelin” posters. Flashy guys and gals trip down the brick sidewalks in their platform shoes. Religious hustlers pester people on every corner. Some of them have developed a symbiotic relationship with Phoenix hawkers. If you stop to buy a paper, you have to hear about the Village of God salvation program in upstate New York. Cars drive past and drive past again in the unending quest for legal parking. Buses and trackless trolleys block the entrance to the Eliot Street municipal court parking lot. Meter maids lie in wait, skulking in the shadows. Frisbees sail across traffic jams or into open car windows. And there are still people who think there is such a thing as spare change. 

You can study Harvard Square – truck yourself around on a tour through the shops, cheat death crossing side streets, let the adolescent holy men take you for a quarter, loll amid the free art the Fogg or Busch-Reisinger Museums, fight with little old women for the back seat of a cab, stroll hand and hand with somebody across the Yard in autumn. You can do that forever for all the good it’ll do you. There is no sure way to understand what’s going on in Harvard Square. You might as well just do what you went there to do and be a part of it all – whatever it is. The Square is a good place to walk and gawk at other people, but remember, there’s always someone else looking at you. 

Here’s looking at you.

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