The Crimson

Younger Siblings: Here’s Where in Harvard Square is Actually Cool

Yeah, your sibling is graduating from Harvard. Big whoop. They’re taking photos, hanging out with friends, hogging your parents… but what is there for you to do? Well, you’re in luck, because I have a Bostonian fifteen-year-old sister and have been secretly observing where she and the other Teens like to hang out in Harvard Square. Sneak away to one of these spots and luxuriate in your youthful coolness.

Gong Cha

This is arguably the best boba in the square, both for taste and coolness. Get “half sugar” if you really want to flex on the haters.

The Attic

Ok, this place is pretty expensive for a thrift store. But if you like thrifting, you can kill about forty-five minutes here. They have an extensive sweater collection if you’re shocked by how cold it is here, even in May.

Taiyaki NYC

The ice cream is both excellent …

The Crimson

Dear Parents: Here’s Where You Should Hang Out in Harvard Square

Hello Harvard parents and welcome to the thing your child reads in lecture instead of paying attention our quirky student life blog. Have you been abandoned by your child even though you came all the way to Cambridge to see them? Here’s some places you should visit in the Square while your soon-to-be college graduate is busy taking graduation photos or catching up with their freshmen year best friends.

Harvard Art Museums

Out of all the places on this list, this may be the one you can tell your kid about rather than the other way around. This museum is free to the public, very aesthetic for family pictures, and has five levels of exhibits to explore. I have no idea how many hours it might take you to go through all of this art, but it’s definitely a way to kill time and make your camera roll look more cultured. The cafe is definitely more popular among Harvard students, so be sure to grab a vanilla cardamom latte on your way out!

The River / The Quad

If your student lives at The River, go visit The Quad or vice versa.

The Charles River is beautiful in the summer and your student probably has sent you pictures they took standing on Weeks Bridge or on Memorial Drive. You may even be able to recreate pictures you have been sent by your kid, and show them you can take better photos than they can. You can make them jealous of the free time they gave you by choosing not to spend them with you.

And Elizabeth Warren lives near the Quad, so maybe you’ll see her taking a stroll around the Cambridge Commons. The area also has a myriad of restaurants, a Starbucks, and an ice cream place which are all much more peaceful than any location within Harvard Square. If you want a break from the city atmosphere of the Square, head to the Quad for a more suburban environment.

The Arts Fuse

Design Review: A Singular Art Nouveau Shopfront in Harvard Square

Made 100 years before the current marketing phrase went abuzz, 1304 Massachusetts Avenue is an enticing example of a true immersive retail experience.

Art Nouveau façade of 1304 Massachusetts Avenue, Harvard Square. Photo: Mark Favermann

Located across the street from Harvard Yard at 1304 Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts is one  of the most distinctively Art Nouveau storefronts to be found anywhere in the United States. Its visually appealing character and personality are gloriously magnetic.

For sophisticated consumers in the post-Covid-19 world, online shopping has become a habit. In response, retailers and designers have increasingly taken to transforming retail environments; they are no longer mere product displays, but spaces that creatively tell stories, even offer experiences that might become powerful memories. The 1304 Massachusetts Avenue storefront was ahead of this beautifying game well over a century ago.

To be fair, Harvard Square in the City of Cambridge has fostered a charming commercial showplace via a wonderful array of colorful storefronts and quirky projecting signs. The scale and qualitative visual mixture of what’s been done is impressive. Still, the storefront, now in the hands of the Felix Shoe Repair, stands out.

Art Nouveau is characterized by its use of a long and sinuous organic line. Its visual “flow” was meant to correspond to musical movement. A self-conscious attempt to create a “modern” look — free of the imitative historicism that had dominated much of 19th-century art and design — the style was most often used in architecture, interior design, jewelry, glass objects, and illustration. The emphasis on refinement was a cultural reaction to the excesses of the industrial revolution’s twin accomplishments — technological triumphs and deplorable social conditions. In England, influential social critic and artist/designer William Morris was a vocal proponent of Art Nouveau. He and his followers viewed aesthetic and social problems as inseparable, insisting that artists should create work that was both beautiful and practical.

As a design motif, the style peaked around 1890, falling out of favor at the beginning of World War I in 1914. Countries interpreted Art Nouveau in divergent ways — the flowery French style became the most universally prevalent. Much later, the latter influenced what became Psychedelic Art in the ’60s and early ’70s. Though Art Nouveau buildings are now rare in the United States, numerous examples of buildings, houses, and apartments still stand in Paris, Brussels, Prague, Glasgow, Turin, and Riga.

The Crimson

Clover to Keep All Cambridge Locations Open After Surviving Bankruptcy

All of Clover Food Lab’s locations will stay open following a corporate restructuring after the company declared bankruptcy in November, Clover CEO Julia Wrin Piper said Friday.

The locally sourced vegetarian fast food chain, which has multiple Cambridge locations — including one on Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square and another inside Harvard’s Science Center — struggled to adapt to the post-Covid-19 environment and the shift toward remote or part-remote work, Piper said in an interview with The Crimson.

In its November filing, the company also cited a drop in investment funding just as they were attempting to expand, which left them spread thin.

Piper said the company took advantage of Subchapter V, a relatively new addition to federal bankruptcy law, which offers businesses with lighter debt such as Clover more license to negotiate restructuring with their creditors.

Piper took over as CEO of the company last fall, replacing Ayr Muir, an MIT and Harvard Business School alum who founded the business as a food truck 16 years ago.

After going through the bankruptcy process, the chain emerged with 13 of its 15 former locations still running. “That’s almost unheard of — most businesses have to substantially scale down” when they declare bankruptcy, Piper said, listing amenable landlords and financial transparency as factors in their stability.

Boston Restaurants

Luxor Cafe Plans to Replace Roust in Cambridge’s Harvard Square

A new coffee shop may be replacing a cafe in Cambridge, and the space had previously been the flagship location of a local group of sandwich/coffee shops.

According to an article in Cambridge Day, Luxor Cafe is looking to open in Harvard Square, taking over the space on Mt Auburn Street that has been home to Roust, and which had previously been home to a location of Darwin’s. The post mentions that Abdelrahman Hassan–who would run the new spot–wishes to have a concept similar to Roust though with additions to the menu and expanded hours, while also telling the licensing commission that “I’m trying to kind of return back to what Darwin was….The way it is right now, it’s a smaller operation. [Valentin Terteliu Hefco] has done amazing at Roust. I’m just trying to extend it out a little bit.”

Roust first opened in early 2023, a short time after all four locations of Darwin’s in Cambridge closed.

The address for the proposed Luxor Cafe (and Roust) is 148 Mt Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138.

The Boston Globe

Union dispute bubbles up at Harvard Book Store

The labor dispute comes just two months after management canceled the planned second location in the Prudential Center.

Unionized staff at the Harvard Book Store have filed an unfair labor charge against the owners of the Cambridge institutionand launched a public campaign for higher pay, just two months after the business scrapped plans for a second location in the Prudential Center.

It’s the latest in a growing wave of union activism at colleges, coffee shops, and other small businesses around Greater Boston as workers push for higher pay and protections after the pandemic.

The roughly 30 workers at the store — which sits across the street from Harvard’s brick-walled Yard, but is not affiliated with the university — allege that management, and Book Store owner John Henry, have refused to bargain with them in good faith and disclose financial information about spending on the store’s abandoned Back Bay expansion. (Henry also owns The Boston Globe.)

In an e-mail to the Globe, part-owner Jeff Mayersohn disputes those claims, saying the workers are paid well above industry standards — indeed nearly all the store’s gross profits are spent on pay — and that the company has shared all documents it has with the union. The scuttled Back Bay store, he said, was being funded separately and had no impact on worker pay.

The National Labor Relations Board has not yet assessed the complaint, which a fairly common tactic used by unions in labor disputes.

Three Book Store employees told the Globe that management in recent bargaining sessions declined to institute raises for union workers — all of whom make below $20 an hour — beyond annual cost-of-living raises in their contract. They requested a $22.50 hourly wage floor, and were denied. (Minimum wage in Massachusetts is $15 an hour.)

“We have asked how HBS could afford two years of rent on an empty 29,000 square foot retail space, but cannot afford to pay us a living wage,” the Harvard Book Store Union wrote in an ongoing petition. “We are still waiting for answers. We are still waiting for a living wage.”

In an e-mail Thursday, Mayersohn added that the Book Store is suffering “operating losses” as-is, which are “entirely subsidized by ownership.” Workers negotiated a new contract in 2022 which included annual 50-cent-per-hour raises, and currently earn “50 percent more than the industry benchmark (as a percentage of store revenue).”

“Most other bookstores would be forced to close their doors at this point,” he wrote, noting that the store already shared available financial information with the union.

The Pru location, Mayersohn wrote, was an effort to balance the books, to leverage the business’ existing infrastructure to bring in more sales and reduce losses. He and Henry said in February that they were not opening the Prudential location because of “considerable” economic challenges after the pandemic.

“It was an attempt to make the business sustainable,” he wrote. “Once we realized that this particular project was not going to accomplish this goal, we canceled it.”

Henry first bought into the Harvard Book Store in December 2021. His arrival was soon followed by the living wage campaign, the Book Store union’s first public effort since it launched and affiliated with the United Auto Workers in 1993.

Rachel Schneck, an 11-year employee at the Book Store, saidshe and many other workers there believed the Prudential location would usher in higher wages and improved conditions for employees — the fulfillment of the Henrys’ promise to support and invest in the Book Store after several financially challenging years.

They said that they began hiring for jobs, expanding web services, and planning the design of the upcoming Pru storefront for over a year, while maintaining operations at the Massachusetts Avenue location. In the meantime, the size of the staff shrunk considerably and wages increased only slightly.

“The Book Store is a cultural center, an icon of Boston and Cambridge,” Schneck said. “The people who run it want to stay and build their careers, and the store suffers when we can’t maintain that level of staffing and expertise.”

The Harvard Crimson

Harvard Innovation Labs Co-Founder Jodi Goldstein To Serve as Coop CEO

Harvard Innovation Labs Co-Founder Jodi Goldstein will serve as the next chief executive officer of the Harvard Cooperative Society, a joint MIT-Harvard clothing and gift store, the organization announced on Monday.

Goldstein will succeed Jerry Murphy ’73, who has led the Coop since 1991 and is set to step down from the top post on September 1.

Goldstein said in a Monday press release that she was excited to “drive the growth and transformation of this historic institution.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into the role of CEO at the Harvard Cooperative Society,” Goldstein said. “I look forward to working with the Coop’s talented team, engaging with our members, and serving the Harvard and MIT communities.”

According to the press release, Goldstein aims to “enhance member services, expand student engagement, refresh the Coop’s digital presence, and further activate the Coop’s real estate presence” as CEO.

Goldstein — who co-founded the Harvard Innovation Labs in 2011 — led the center for nearly one decade before stepping down in 2020 to assume advisory roles for several startup incubators, including TechStars, a technology-focused accelerator. Since 2018, Goldstein has also served as a member of the University of Vermont Board of Trustees.

In the press release, Murphy said he was “proud” of what he had accomplished in his time as CEO.

“I have truly enjoyed working with fantastic colleagues and students along the way,” Murphy said. “I am confident that Jodi’s leadership will propel the Coop to new heights, and I look forward to witnessing its continued success.”

Over his three-decade tenure at the Coop, Murphy oversaw several major projects, including the Coop’s famous 1996 renovation to install a spiral staircase in its main Harvard Square property. Murphy was also responsible for introducing the Coop’s website and further expanding the store into Cambridge and Boston.

Goldstein said in the press release that she was “deeply grateful” to Murphy for “his outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the Coop and its members.”

John P. Reardon Jr. — the chair of the Coop’s Board of Directors — also praised Murphy’s leadership and said Goldstein was the right pick to carry the Coop forward.

“Jerry has been a fantastic CEO for over 30 years and has made his mark on the Coop, leaving it in an excellent position,” Reardon said in the press release. “He leaves large shoes to fill, but Jodi’s strategic vision and innovative mindset make her the ideal leader for the next chapter.”

“We are thrilled to welcome her aboard, and we are forever grateful to Jerry,” he added.

Harvard Magazine

Harvard Coop’s Changing of the Guard

New leadership for a staple Square retailer

THE HARVARD COOP announced today that CEO Jerry Murphy ’73, M.B.A. ’77, will retire on September 1, concluding a Harvard Square career that began when he joined the historic retailer in 1991 after earlier experience at Neiman Marcus. He will be succeeded by Jodi Goldstein, M.B.A. ’96, who was a founder of the Harvard Innovation Labs in 2011 and served as managing director from 2015 to 2020; she has since been strategic adviser and executive in residence at the i-Lab.

Murphy has overseen the Coop’s transition from department store to hybrid academic and community bookstore (in partnership with the Barnes and Noble college division), and the shift from a member rebate to member discounts—an important adaptation to online retailing competition. The Coop was renovated extensively during his tenure as CEO, most significantly in 1996-1997 when it installed the Harvard-themed interior and spiral staircase visitors see today, and again during the pandemic, when it consolidated operations formerly in the Palmer Street annexThe café, introduced in the earlier renovation, was eliminated during the more recent configuration. Those renovations both updated the selling facility and responded to changing markets for both student textbooks (increasingly delivered online) and trade books.

Murphy also remained engaged with the community through his mentorship of Harvard and MIT students, hundreds of whom served on the Coop board of directors. Many have gone on to business careers. In a statement in the announcement, Murphy said, “It has been an honor to serve as CEO of the Harvard Cooperative Society these last 30+ years. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I have truly enjoyed working with fantastic colleagues and students along the way. I am confident that Jodi’s leadership will propel the Coop to new heights, and I look forward to witnessing its continued success.”

According to the announcement, Goldstein “aims to enhance member services, expand student engagement, refresh the Coop’s digital presence, and further activate the Coop’s real estate presence”—the latter perhaps referring to repurposing the owned Palmer Street facility. In a statement, she said, “I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into the role of CEO at the Harvard Cooperative Society. I am deeply grateful to Jerry Murphy for his outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the Coop and its members. I am excited to build on his legacy and continue to drive the growth and transformation of this historic institution. I look forward to working with the Coop’s talented team, engaging with our members, and serving the Harvard and MIT communities.”

John P. Reardon Jr., former Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) executive director, chair of the Coop’s board, said, “Jerry has been a fantastic CEO for over 30 years and has made his mark on the Coop, leaving it in an excellent position. He leaves large shoes to fill, but Jodi’s strategic vision and innovative mindset make her the ideal leader for the next chapter. We are thrilled to welcome her aboard, and we are forever grateful to Jerry.”

Boston Business Journal

Coop in Harvard Square to get a new leader after 30-plus years

The Coop, a Harvard Square institution, is undergoing a leadership change. Jerry Murphy, left, is retiring after leading the store as CEO since 1991. He’ll be succeeded by Jodi Goldstein starting Sept. 1.

The official campus bookstore for Harvard and MIT will undergo its first leadership change in more than three decades in September.


Food, Street Performers, And More At 39th Annual Harvard Square Mayfair

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — It was not your typical Cinco de Mayo celebration, but Colin knew his routine would make a lasting impression.

“Please, God, let me get this,” Colin warbled as he prepared to juggle, play the bagpipes, and balance on a 20-foot unicycle all at once. He nailed the performance and shouted, “Goodnight, everybody!” to the applause of the crowd.

Read More: Graduating Northeastern Students Reflect On College Experience

Colin was one of several street performers entertaining audiences at the 39th annual Mayfair in Harvard Square Sunday.

Throngs of people milled through streets closed to vehicular traffic, sampling food and drink from local restaurants, browsing wares of arts and crafts sellers, or taking in one of the many music and dance concerts happening around the square.

Despite having the attention of thousands up for grabs, street performer Cate told WBZ NewsRadio the competitive spirit around the fair was friendly, not fierce.

“Colin and I have known each other for over a decade,” Cate said. “We’re friends, we usually share or we’ll trade off.”

The good mood was shared by vendors pleased with Sunday’s sales.

“It’s great,” said Brian Ruhlmann, founder of Craic Sauce, a craft hot sauce company based out of Lowell. “We always just get people stumbling by that have never heard of us and are intrigued to try, but then we also get a lot of visitors that found us here and are excited to try the new flavors.”