Boston Globe

In Porter Square, a fight rages for the future of Cambridge streets

Bike lane expansion worries small business owners along Mass. Ave. as city pares street parking.

Katherine B. and her family used a bike lane in Cambridge. Because she uses the bike lane with her young children daily, she is hoping the protected bike lanes will come together as soon as possible.
Katherine B. and her family used a bike lane in Cambridge. Because she uses the bike lane with her young children daily, she is hoping the protected bike lanes will come together as soon as possible.JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

CAMBRIDGE — Daniel Spirer is a self-proclaimed “Porter Square institution.”

He crafts gemstone rings and keshi pearl necklaces inside a brick storefront on Massachusetts Avenue. But an initiative to reconfigure the busy street — by removing parking in favor of bike-friendly infrastructure — has soured Spirer on the city where he set up shop in 1982.

Over 85 percent of his income comes from out-of-town customers who arrive in cars, Spirer said. When Cambridge scraps the parking spots, he believes, he will have no choice but to move.

“The problem I have is THAT I ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS and I know when it won’t work. So you can congratulate yourselves,” Spirer wrote in a letter to the City Council. “You’ve managed to drive me out.”

Boston Globe

Where to play chess in Boston: 4 places to deliver checkmate around town

A typical afternoon of speed chess and trash talk outside Harvard Square's Pavement Coffeehouse.
A typical afternoon of speed chess and trash talk outside Harvard Square’s Pavement Coffeehouse. PHOTO BY SAM TROTTENBERG

It’s time to dust off the discarded tennis racket, dig through the closet for a forgotten Tommy Bahama shirt, and say “hello, old friend” to the summertime blues. While far from the most physical activity (although a three-minute blitz game is sure to get your heart rate up), chess is a fine addition to your repertoire of sunny, by-the-river or in-the-park activities.

The game has exploded in popularity over the past few years with help from 2020′s record-breaking Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit” (or as I like to call it: 1.d4 d5 2.c4) and the streaming Internet celebrity tournament series “PogChamps.” Board and accessory sales skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, grandmasters are now livestreaming for fans on Twitch, and it looks like the uptick in popularity isn’t just a fad: Free online game site reported 5.3 million new users in the last quarter of 2021 alone. If you’re dying to show off your vicious Stafford Gambit prep, or your tactical mastery, or just your love of the game, here are four places in the Boston area where you can play chess.

Mirror Spectator

Balakian Brings New Poetry to the Boston Area and Dialogues with Writer Askold Melnyczuk

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Peter Balakian is one of the most masterful English-language poets Armenians have as a voice in the contemporary world. The Boston area had a rare opportunity on May 17 to hear him recite some of his newest works and engage in a dialogue with multitalented writer Askold Melnyczuk. The literary evening was hybrid in nature, allowing a broader audience on Zoom. However, people who came in person had the extra benefit of enjoying the refined atmosphere of a historic Victorian mansion, the home of Marceline Donaldson and Rev. Dr. Robert Bennett, in Cambridge, Mass. The event was cosponsored by the Grolier Poetry Book Shop and the Harvard Square Business Association. 

Armenian Weekly

A Parlor Poetry Reading with Peter Balakian

A beautiful home in Cambridge, Massachusetts was the setting for an evening with Peter Balakian on Tuesday. “A totally unique ambience – I never read in a Victorian parlor before,” the guest of honor observed. Dozens of devotees filled the room to capacity and beyond in anticipation of an in-person reading by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. The event was presented by the Grolier Poetry Book Shop and the Harvard Square Business Association, and thanks to the continuing pandemic, was also available over Zoom.

Balakian is the author of eight books of poems, including Ozone Journal, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and Ziggurat, both published by the University of Chicago Press. His memoir Black Dog of Fate won the PEN/Albrand Award and was a New York Times notable book, and The Burning Tigris won the Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times bestseller and New York Times notable book. He is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English at Colgate University.


10 things to do in Boston this weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to the best events and coolest happenings in and around Boston.

Celebrate spring with the 2022 Harvard Square MayFair

After a two-year hiatus, the Harvard Square Business Association will have its own outdoor party this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with its 37th annual MayFair. Along with local businesses selling food from outdoor tents, there will be 40 artisanal booths featuring local vendors, several outdoor beer gardens, and four music stages scattered around the square featuring a multitude of genres. The musical highlight comes at 4 p.m. on the main stage, where reggae-rock group Roots of Creation. For a full list of performers and additional details, check out the HSBA website— Kevin Slane


Developer Looks To Add 40 Apartments On Top Of Harvard Square Retail Property

A plan to transform a Harvard Square retail property that has had multiple previous redevelopment efforts fall through is set to be revived with a public hearing May 24.

The plan, a vertical expansion of the Crimson Galeria retail property at 57 John F. Kennedy St., would add three floors with 40 rental units on top of the existing two-story structure. Filed March 30 with the Cambridge Planning Board, the proposal would include eight affordable units. 

Boston Magazine

The Best Restaurants in Harvard Square Right Now

Harvard Square offers a cuisine crash-course you won’t find in a classroom. Hit the books (well, the menus) at these ten restaurants to discover ahead-of-the-curve farm-to-table fare, pizza with legacy sourdough starters, and sushi that’s a study in simplicity. Rounded out by house-made pastas swimming in sauce and more, the meals on the syllabus here ace the taste test.