April 24, 2005
CAMBRIDGE -- The subject is a landfill, and Ini Tomeu couldn't be happier because this city -- known worldwide for the universities it hosts and for the liberal patina glazed onto politics here -- has made a park where garbage once piled.
It's called Danehy Park, roughly 50 acres in size, and it's the kind of place anyone who moves here is more likely to get to know than the red brick of Harvard Yard. The park, created from the city landfill after it closed in the 1970s, offers athletic fields and a running track. Each fall for the past nine years, the city has hosted a daylong picnic for families there.
Tomeu, the city's spokeswoman, says that while Cambridge has excellent public transportation, it is compact enough so that a good pair of walking shoes can get you where you need to go. ''The fact is you can walk through town quite easily," she said.
Tomeu brags that Cambridge ''packs a lot" into its borders, and calls it a diverse city whose heritage can be found in the wide variety of ethnic restaurants and food stores throughout.
In 2002, according to the community development office, single-family homes accounted for 8.6 percent of the housing stock; two-families represented 14.4 percent of the total; and three-families accounted for 11.3 percent. Condominiums represented 21.2 percent. Larger apartment buildings -- four units and up -- along with mixed-use buildings and rooming houses accounted for the remainder.
City records show that more than 50 languages are spoken by residents, and that in the city's schools, children hail from 82 countries. Cambridge was settled by Puritans in 1630, was formally named Cambridge in 1638, and became home to Harvard University with the founding of Harvard College in 1636. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted its first four students in 1865 and Lesley University opened its doors in Cambridge in 1909.
On a recent week, Realtor.com listed 61 single-family homes, ranging from $365,000 for a four-bedroom, one-bath, 1,440-square-foot home to $10 million for a 10-bedroom, 5½-bath 7,150-square-foot home. More than 200 condominiums were listed on Realtor.com, ranging in price from $195,000 to $3.5 million.
655 Concord Ave., Unit 602 Condominium, built in 1996, 1,356 square feet, 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. $480,000
5 Fainwood Circle One-family, built in 1916, 1,155 square feet, 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1½ baths, on 1,040-square-foot lot. $565,000
13½ Hilliard St. One-family Colonial, built in 1894, 2,415 square feet, 7 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2½ baths, on 4,628-square-foot lot. $2,440,000
143 Pleasant St., Unit 3B Condominium, built in 1994, 1,260 square feet, 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1½ baths. $500,000
380 Prospect St. Three-family, built in 1903, 3,720 square feet, 20 rooms, 7 bedrooms, 3½ baths, on 2,503-square-foot lot. $685,000