Since 1928, visitors and locals arriving at Cambridge’s bustling Harvard Square have been greeted by a modest, 500-square-foot kiosk. Originally built to cover the subway entrance, it was occupied by Out of Town newsstand in 1984—which has been presiding over every arrival and departure (some 10 million people a year) since.
But the beloved kiosk, which hawks everything from newspapers and international magazines to maps, lottery tickets, and bottled soda, is on the verge of closure. The City of Cambridge aims to transform the surrounding brick plaza, during an impending $4.6 million renovation—and, potentially, the historic newsstand at Zero Harvard Square.
While the basic structure cannot be altered, thanks to its position on the National Register of Historic Places, the city can terminate Out of Town’s month-to-month lease.
As The New York Times reports, the future of this Cambridge landmark is still unclear. But if the neon red Out of Town News sign blinks off, there will be plenty to miss, regardless of what follows in its place.
We’ll miss popping in for a cold drink or a pack of gum before catching the T, or thumbing through odd periodicals and glossy new magazines (Vanity Fair Italia, for example, and French Saveur) while waiting to meet with friends.
This iconic rendezvous spot may also sell kitschy Harvard University baseball caps and postcards, but it’s an integral part of the Harvard Square community—something of an anchor— even as the surrounding shops shutter and transform at an alarming pace. And this vintage Cambridge kiosk just won’t be the same if its polished to a shine, and filled with anything but stacks of unopened new issues and bound newspapers.
It’s hard to imagine the crooked bricks of Harvard Square leading to anything but Out of Town News.
Photo courtesy of @tshabani on Instagram.