Why do you love Cambridge?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCJoeAllenBlack. Show BDCJoeAllenBlack's posts

    Why do you love Cambridge?

    Last Saturday was the first time I had really experienced Cambridge. I got off the T, wandered aimlessly (some might say I got lost ...) and met up with some friends for an amazing Bartley's burger and then a comedy show. Since I'm new around here, can you all help me figure out the best things about Cambridge? 

    If you had to pick the best restaurant, spot to people watch or shop what would you say? As someone coming in mostly lost, what do I need to experience in Cambridge? And, really, what makes you love Cambridge?

    Thank you for all for your help and time!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from CambridgeResident. Show CambridgeResident's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    Great food at an inexpensive price (buffet) Friendly staff, cozy surroundings and a great view of the world outside. 
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from teaperson. Show teaperson's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I know I like it a lot more this time of year, when there's a lot fewer Harvard students around. Cool

    Seriously, it's the bookstores and restaurants and tree-lined streets for me.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from DoriaHughes. Show DoriaHughes's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    In Response to Why do you love Cambridge?:

    I love the amazing variety of cultural and community events available to the public in Cambridge!  Many are free, and most are a lot of fun. Mayfair, Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese New Year Parade, Solstice Parades, and this weekend is the annual Cambridge River Festival.  Check it out at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CAC/Community/river.cfm

    There will be massmouth Storytellers there as well, telling Haitian stories in collaboration with artists on the Weeks pedestrian bridge over the Charles River.  Not to be missed!  http://massmouth.ning.com/events/massmouth-at-cambridge-river
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from mahler9. Show mahler9's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    There are some nice places left in Cambridge, like Danehy Park, or the start of the Minute Man bike path. And a lot of good ethnic restaurants. The Harvard libraries and facilities if you have access to them (or MIT's, etc). But Cambridge is becoming more and more a rich people's city -- less and less affordable to lower and mid-income earners. It's lost a lot of the old charm (Harvard Square has lost ALL of its charm). Big money has made big changes, not always for the better.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCJoeAllenBlack. Show BDCJoeAllenBlack's posts

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    @DoriaHughes: All those events sound like fun. Thanks for the awesome links! The culture in Cambridge is what attracts me to it so far. So much going on.

    @mahler9: What do you mean when you say Harvard Square has lost its charm? I'm coming in totally blind to what was there beyond last month, but I loved the Square when I hung out there recently. What was there before that's not there now?
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from policestate. Show policestate's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I actually don't love Cambridge. In fact, it's getting so that I hate the place. I realize this whenever I go to places that are great. For instance, this past weekend my husband and I spent a night in Lowell. Now THAT'S a great community. It never ceases to amaze me at how friendly people can be. Spending too much time in Cambridge and Boston, you forget that and can get quite disheartened by the cold, unfriendly, and downright rudeness of the people here. Even NYC isn't this bad. Unfortunately, I live here because I work here and don't like commuting. But if I had my way, and if I could find work there, I'd leave Cambridge immediately and go to where truly good, friendly, neighborly, and community minded people live - Lowell.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from mahler9. Show mahler9's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    In Response to Re: Why do you love Cambridge?:
    @ DoriaHughes : All those events sound like fun. Thanks for the awesome links! The culture in Cambridge is what attracts me to it so far. So much going on. @mahler9: What do you mean when you say Harvard Square has lost its charm? I'm coming in totally blind to what was there beyond last month, but I loved the Square when I hung out there recently. What was there before that's not there now?
    Posted by BDCJoeAllenBlack


    Harvard Square used to have lots of small book stores, record stores, numerous small eating places, and lots off-beat shops. It had character and a sort of post-hippy charm about it. The big money came in and swept it all away, bringing in high-end retail chains that only add to the increasing anonymity of the square. Too bad you missed those daysCry
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from MikeQu. Show MikeQu's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I love our fair city for many reasons.
    !) Thanks to MIT & Harvard, and a few other schools, the world comes to Cambridge for an education. The ancillary effect is a dynamic, intelligent, diverse, population. There's always something interesting & worthwhile going on.

    2) I like walking home late at night on Mass Ave. Thanks to the restaurants, theatres, music clubs, universites, etc., I can always be around other people on my walk home. I feel safe.

    3) My neighbors (in Porter Square) all live close enough that when I simply sit on my front steps with a glass of wine or plate of food or some good conversation to share, we say hello and connect with one another in the best way that neighbors do.

    4) I got rid of my car three years ago. I can get around very conveniently by using: MBTA trains, MBTA buses, MBCR trains, inter-city buses, Amtrak trains, Logan Airport in Boston, clever iPhone transit apps, Zipcars, the occasional rental car, bicycles, and (my favorite) walking.

    I thought it would be a pain not having a car, and it turned out to be much easier than I thought -- especially with the new next bus technology that we're about to get on our apps.

    5) Living in the city lets me show my love for nature simply by letting it be. Nature doesn't need suburban sprawl, one of the dumbest and most wasteful things to come out of the 20th Century.

    6) Nowhere on earth can I find a collection of people as engaged & intelligent as I have found here in Cambridge. I certainly do hope it's out there, but for now, this will do just fine, thank you.  ;-)
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from LocalCelebrity. Show LocalCelebrity's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I guess I'd have to agree with both policestate and mahler9.  I've lived in Cambridge for the past 15 years and on and off since 1970. Harvard Sq is now one giant ATM machine and/or boring chain or high-end coutouriers - take you pick. Most if not all 'local' shops with individuality or character have long since departed. No one that I know who actually lives in Cambridge goes to Harvard Sq. for anything. We use Central Sq., Inman and Porter and Davis Sq. in Somerville. Davis in Somerville is much closer to what Harvard Sq 'used to be' but, alas, it is also changing.  Central Sq is more 'street' and lively and more like NYC than anyplace I know out side of NYC.  It has character (and characters). Many pluses to Cambridge, as others have pointed out, but 'community' is ephemeral since many don't stay here long (only for grad school & then gone) and don't build attachments or keep them shallow.  If you want the taste of what Cambridge used to feel like - spend time in Central Sq. & Davis Sq in Somerville.   
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from SlimPickensII. Show SlimPickensII's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I love dropping 20 quarters into the meters near Porter Square so I can spend 15 minutes taking in all the attractions,  before rushing back just ahead of the meter maid.

    I love trying to parallel park further down Mass Ave and having a T driver ignore my turn signal and come right up to my bumper. I love watching his furious expression as I show my gratitude by refusing to move a single inch down the road.

    I love driving in circles for an hour, trying to find a place, any place, even a pay lot, to park in Central Square.

    The entire economy of Cambridge seems to be based on parking meters and - jackpot!  - parking tickets.  God bless their pointy little heads.

    I also love the pedestrians who continue to stream across the street,  long after their turn to cross has come and gone.

    I love the way two lanes of Mem Drive aburptly turn into one.  Combine that with our famously friendly drivers who would rather cut off a limb than let someone else in, and it keeps the blood flowing.

    When I leave my auto behind I love the smell of urine in the T stations. I love the rats scurrying about as I wait for the train.  I love that the crowd rushes in while you're trying to get off the train.  I love the Charlie Brown quality intercom system. I love the newspapers strewn all over the floor of the cars.

    And the pan handlers.  Let's not forget the panhandlers.  Brother somebody loan me a dime. 

    Seriously, I do love Inman Square, and parts of Porter and Central.  I'd love them even more if I didn't have an automobile.  I have absolutely no use at all for Harvard Square anymore, but it was fun back in the 70's. 
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from ddsuburbs. Show ddsuburbs's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    The closure of Memorial Drive on Sundays to permit bicyclists and skaters to ride safely is cool. What does everyone think of bicycling in Camb?
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from tdh712. Show tdh712's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    In Response to Re: Why do you love Cambridge?:
    [QUOTE]I love dropping 20 quarters into the meters near Porter Square so I can spend 15 minutes taking in all the attractions,  before rushing back just ahead of the meter maid. I love trying to parallel park further down Mass Ave and having a T driver ignore my turn signal and come right up to my bumper. I love watching his furious expression as I show my gratitude by refusing to move a single inch down the road. I love driving in circles for an hour, trying to find a place, any place, even a pay lot, to park in Central Square. The entire economy of Cambridge seems to be based on parking meters and - jackpot!  - parking tickets.  God bless their pointy little heads. I also love the pedestrians who continue to stream across the street,  long after their turn to cross has come and gone. I love the way two lanes of Mem Drive aburptly turn into one.  Combine that with our famously friendly drivers who would rather cut off a limb than let someone else in, and it keeps the blood flowing. When I leave my auto behind I love the smell of urine in the T stations. I love the rats scurrying about as I wait for the train.  I love that the crowd rushes in while you're trying to get off the train.  I love the Charlie Brown quality intercom system. I love the newspapers strewn all over the floor of the cars. And the pan handlers.  Let's not forget the panhandlers.  Brother somebody loan me a dime.  Seriously, I do love Inman Square, and parts of Porter and Central.  I'd love them even more if I didn't have an automobile.  I have absolutely no use at all for Harvard Square anymore, but it was fun back in the 70's. 
    Posted by SlimPickensII[/QUOTE]
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from tdh712. Show tdh712's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I love this post. Ah! Cambridge.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from BDCJoeAllenBlack. Show BDCJoeAllenBlack's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    Wow! Thank you for all your posts. It's fun to hear both sides of this conversation. Any more recommendations or info is always appreciated!
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from BenWhite. Show BenWhite's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    Because it is there!

    And I am here...
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from lmwalker. Show lmwalker's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I've lived in Cambridge and environs most of the time since 1974. What I love about the city first and foremost is its walkability. When I lived in NJ for a while, a friend who visited Cambridge reported that "there sure are a lot of women walking around by themselves even at night" there -- it's a good place for walkers, as well as a good place to be a woman by yourself. So in response to SlimPickensII's post, it's inconvenient to drive and park here on on purpose, to encourage the use of the very-nearly-adequate public transportation system, and reduce traffic congestion. If you want to drive everywhere, there are plenty of suburbs.

    One thing that I used to love about Cambridge that I don't see so much any more was that its properties of being a good place to be a woman alone and a good place for people who walk also made it a pretty good place for elderly women of a particularly independent sort. I used to see them on cold winter days braving the trip to the Evergood or the old Broadway Supermarket, armed with a single ski-pole to keep their balance on the ice. I resolved that if I had a choice, this was the kind of old lady I wanted to be, and this was the place that allowed it.

    I love the way the presence of the colleges also makes this a place full of young people, full of ideas and humor.

    I love the old buildings and big trees. I love the view of Boston from the river, and the way the ocean smell comes in on the afternoon breeze in Kendall Square. I love brick sidewalks, and the way they enforce a tolerance for flat, comfortable shoes, because you'll break your ankle in heels out there.

    I love the three-family houses (I live in one).

    To know about how Cambridge has changed, you need to understand the years of rent control, the end of rent control, and how those things changed the politics of the city, as well as its economics. As others have complained, Cambridge increasingly has become a place for rich people. Gentrification is good for the housing stock, but not so good for community; the loss of a voting majority of activist tenants has changed the city's character, and somehow the homeowners (mostly, the condo-owners) haven't become the same kind of political block -- they seem more detached from local politics, perhaps because they have more money with which to insulate themselves from city policy -- they need the city less. And they know less of its history, partly because those who might have told them about it are often priced out of the market now, but not least because the changes in local journalism mean people like you, who've never seen the place before, come in relatively cold and can only report on what they see today. Cambridge is a place that is still marked by nearly 400 years of internecine squabbling, and the experience of the city is enhanced by everything you can learn about it.

    The change in affordabilty of real estate also changed Harvard Square, and increasingly, Porter and Central squares as well, replacing local specialty shops with national chains in a way that inevitably reduced the specific local character. These trends were exacerbated by trends in the greater economy -- Harvard Square used to be full of bookstores of different kinds -- Wordsworth, Paperback Booksmith, a very different, non-chain Harvard Coop, as well as the surviving Harvard Bookstore and Grolier Poetry Bookshop and Pangloss and Globe Corner Travel Books, and several used bookstores. In the long-forgotten time when books were not available on line, a trip to Harvard Square and a little digging could often turn up anything you might now find on Amazon or Abebooks. As well as a population of folks who were looking for such obscure finds. If you're under a certain age, you can't imagine what a wonder it was -- sort of like Harry Potter's experience of finding Diagon Alley.

    I am lucky enough to be able to afford Harvard library privileges, which adds to my experience of the place.

    I love the city's persistent liberal politics, but I used to love the balance between them and the working-class, pro-union sense of family represented by the "independent slate" -- in a city where everyone was a Democrat, the need for local political divisions created these two entities, but both groups really did want what was best for kids and those who fell on hard times. Now, maybe not so much.

    I love the prevalence of public art. The gloves in the Porter Square subway station are priceless.

    I love the parks and green spaces -- the pocket parks, the Common, Fresh Pond, the bike paths. I love the stillness of the quads in summer, especially the Harvard Law School one. It can be an unexpected oasis of cool, green, quiet on a summer afternoon.

    I love Bob Slate's, and hope those stores don't change too much under new ownership.

    I love that there is still, after everything, a Dunkin' Donuts in Porter Square.

    I love being able to tell time by the various steeple bells -- Harvard's Mem Church, St. Pauls, St. John's in North Cambridge.

    Ask me sometime what I miss.
    Good luck with your new beat. It will be interesting, and soon you will love Cambridge, too.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from LilianeC. Show LilianeC's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    In Response to Re: Why do you love Cambridge?:
    In Response to Re: Why do you love Cambridge? : Harvard Square used to have lots of small book stores, record stores, numerous small eating places, and lots off-beat shops. It had character and a sort of post-hippy charm about it. The big money came in and swept it all away, bringing in high-end retail chains that only add to the increasing anonymity of the square. Too bad you missed those days
    Posted by mahler9


    THANK YOU Mahler, the Square was indeed a wonderful place to hang out in the 70's, bookstores were open until 2:00 am, you could linger at Out of Town and read the news in all languages peacefully, you could catch Tracy Chapman singing in front of the Coop, Ah the Coop! best music and art store: REAL Dali lithographs, Ansel Adams photographs and great posters as well; the Wuersthaus, Ferdinands... sigh... it was crowded with FRIENDLY people of all kinds and convictions who would gladly get into interesting discussions with you... you were surrounded by a like minded intiguing, provoking, entertaining, STIMULATING crowd! I'm sorry to have to admit those qualities are now quite "passe"... sigh
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from IVoteToo. Show IVoteToo's posts

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    In Response to Why do you love Cambridge?:
    Last Saturday was the first time I had really experienced Cambridge. I got off the T, wandered aimlessly (some might say I got lost ...) and met up with some friends for an amazing  Bartley's burger  and then a  comedy show . Since I'm new around here, can you all help me figure out the best things about Cambridge?  If you had to pick the best restaurant, spot to people watch or shop what would you say? As someone coming in mostly lost, what do I need to experience in Cambridge? And, really, what makes you love Cambridge? Thank you for all for your help and time!
    Posted by BDCJoeAllenBlack

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from IVoteToo. Show IVoteToo's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    Walk around - every day you will see something unusual, hear a beautiful song, find diverse people getting along, or arguing their way through their differences. Cambridge is not a place exactly, as much as a state of mind where people try to be tolerant, try to include peacefulness in their daily lives, try to embrace art and practice it wherever, and try to let lives flower as they will. Cambridge has vestiges of past generations who worked hard to make homes and feed their children in a new land; it has buildings built by Puritans, and by software giants; it has carnivals and festivals, city poets and generous scientists. I guess it also has spies and people who are grouchy and children who misbehave. But mostly those people stay inside and watch tv. Get a map, have fun and walk the walk!
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from CambridgeResident. Show CambridgeResident's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    In Response to Re: Why do you love Cambridge?:
    I love our fair city for many reasons. !) Thanks to MIT & Harvard, and a few other schools, the world comes to Cambridge for an education. The ancillary effect is a dynamic, intelligent, diverse, population. There's always something interesting & worthwhile going on. 2) I like walking home late at night on Mass Ave. Thanks to the restaurants, theatres, music clubs, universites, etc., I can always be around other people on my walk home. I feel safe. 3) My neighbors (in Porter Square) all live close enough that when I simply sit on my front steps with a glass of wine or plate of food or some good conversation to share, we say hello and connect with one another in the best way that neighbors do. 4) I got rid of my car three years ago. I can get around very conveniently by using: MBTA trains, MBTA buses, MBCR trains, inter-city buses, Amtrak trains, Logan Airport in Boston, clever iPhone transit apps, Zipcars, the occasional rental car, bicycles, and (my favorite) walking. I thought it would be a pain not having a car, and it turned out to be much easier than I thought -- especially with the new next bus technology that we're about to get on our apps. 5) Living in the city lets me show my love for nature simply by letting it be. Nature doesn't need suburban sprawl, one of the dumbest and most wasteful things to come out of the 20th Century. 6) Nowhere on earth can I find a collection of people as engaged & intelligent as I have found here in Cambridge. I certainly do hope it's out there, but for now, this will do just fine, thank you.  ;-)
    Posted by MikeQu

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from CambridgeResident. Show CambridgeResident's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    Mike:

    I agree with you 100 percent and got around town, Boston, and points east and north, the same way, that is until I developed joint problems running for the T.  (up to this past December) When I got a car again, I realize that I wouldn't trade it for the world!  It's handy to have the T in the event the weather turns crappy or I want to have some work done on the car (not often) but having wheels is a dream I want to hold on to -- even if I have to look for space in Harvard Square.

    To each his own!
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Nasochkas. Show Nasochkas's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    I really do love parts of Cambridge, but not all of Cambridge. Cambridge is made of neighborhoods. The area around Kendall for example has many great places to work but I would not go there for a night on the town or live there as options are few.

    I also do not like Central Square much. It has many places to catch live music if that is your thing, but I find it to be too grungy and dirty for my taste.

    I love Porter Square where I currently live. The area is residential yet has many options for dining and shopping on Mass Ave. Harvard square has become very commercialized and is too packed with tourists but it still has its gems I think for dining and shopping.

    Two of my favorites for food and drinks - West Side lounge on Mass ave between Harvard and Porter and Russell House Tavern in Harvard square - amazing food and drinks. Christopher's in Porter has one of the best burgers around.
    Inman square is also wanderful for food. Check out Christina's for good ice cream and its sister shop next door which has every spice and herv you may ever need. Cambridge st. also has some great fish stores.

    Alas, the average Cambridge resident can only afford to rent, and as someone who is thinking of becoming a first time buyer, I am afraid I may have to say goodbye to Cambridge, as I can not afford even the seadiest parts. I can not imagine a better place to live than Porter though.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Nasochkas. Show Nasochkas's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?


    lmwalker- I love your post!
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from TarheelChief. Show TarheelChief's posts

    Re: Why do you love Cambridge?

    The Coop.
     
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