Archive for the ‘Harvard Square’ category

A Harvard Square Saturday

May 15, 2011

Although the weather was pretty bleak, I spent a nice afternoon in Harvard Square on Saturday. I walked there from Porter Square, where I had just gone to the gym.

These photos were taken at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Everett Street, where Harvard University is constructing a new law school building. The building is almost ready, it appears (construction has sure taken awhile!)

Part of the new building

Some of the project crew members

One of the building's arches

As I approached Harvard Square, I spotted a crowd encircling some martial art practitioners/dancers. Here’s a pic:

Listen to the music the martial arts people were moving to by checking out this video:

As I waited for my fiance to finish up an exam at Harvard, I read some of the history displays near Garden Street.

Part of one of the history displays

I learned a bunch of new things about Cambridge, including:

  • Cambridge was first called “Newtowne”
  • The name was changed to Cambridge when Harvard University was founded. Cambridge is a reference to the university city of Cambridge, England.
  • Harvard is named after John Harvard, the university’s first benefactor
  • The Puritans founded Cambridge in 1630. It was meant to be their permanent capital, as the location was safe from an attack by sea. It didn’t last as a political capital, though it became an educational one (with the establishment of Harvard).
  • The community criticized some of Harvard’s early buildings, saying they were “too gorgeous for a wilderness.”
  • In the 18th century wealthy royalists built elaborate mansions and gardens along Brattle Street (the stretch of mansions was called “Tory Row). They had grown  rich from service to the crown and the rum and slavery trade. When the revolution broke, they fled to Canada and England.

Fittingly, on Saturday my fiance and I had lunch at a relatively new restaurant in Harvard Square named Tory Row.

I had some fresh pineapple juice ($2.50) and a grilled marinated chicken breast sandwich with chipotle aioli, mixed greens, and roasted potatoes ($11).

My meal

The roll was nice and soft, the aioli had the perfect kick to it, and the mixed greens and roasted potatoes provided a nice accompaniment to the sandwich.

After lunch, I saw Harvard Square’s newest Starbuck’s. It’s by Citizens Bank and the T.

A sign on the door states the cafe will be opening on May 20 (this Friday). According to comments at the end of this local news post, several business have failed at that location (including an Abercrombie & Fitch).

Harvard Square is such a fun place to walk through. You see guys like this painter, selling their wares.

One of the history displays had mentioned that the country’s first printing press arrived in Cambridge (from England) in the 1630s. I shared this tidbit with my fiance; he told me he knew where the printing press was housed. He took me to Dunster Street, where there’s this plaque.

A little ways down the street we saw this:

What a coincidence! I look forward to trying this place out!

New Year’s resolution #6 (or was it #7 or #10?): Join a French conversation group

January 28, 2011

A photo from my first time in France (on a beach in Nice in 2000)

Prior to moving to Boston two and a half years ago, I pretty much spoke French every week. Whether I was conversing with a French friend over the webcam, speaking French with some fellow francophiles where I was living, or thinking out loud in French, the French language was clearly an important part of my life.

Well, since I arrived here I’ve been really bad at keeping up with the language. I initially joined a French conversation Meetup group, but I wasn’t a fan of the setting. I found that Tommy Doyle’s Irish pub in Cambridge’s Harvard Square was too loud and crowded of a backdrop. So after two sessions I stopped attending the group. I began working as a reporter, and found my evenings taken up with public meetings and article assignments.

When I stopped working as a reporter, I thought I might be able to get involved with another conversation group. But I ended up taking on a part-time restaurant job and signing up for an evening class, eliminating my ability to attend the groups I knew of. Well, my schedule is now more normal, and I see there’s a group that meets one Sunday per month at 5 p.m., a good day and time for me.

The group gathers at The Asgard Irish pub in Cambridge’s Central Square. Because they meet during the day, I’m hoping the clientele isn’t too rowdy. I’m trying out the group this Sunday, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck (I’ll surely need it with my out-of-practice French)!