Harvard Square's Out of Town News is slated to close after 53 years, making the neighborhood a little less literary. (Such bookstores as Wordsworth and Reading International are long gone.) Fortunately, the space won't be empty for long, according to Mike Mennonno:
KFC/Taco Bell have expressed an interest in the property!
The restaurant chain could lend some much-needed permanence to the ever-changing square, and put something truly useful back at this crossroads of the commerce and culture in Cambridge. I mean, print media is so last millennium, but who doesn't like fried chicken and tacos — UNDER ONE ROOF! It's practically recession-proof!
I sense sarcasm, as well as complete fabrication.
But what else can we hope for, other than a more upscale eatery? Just about every other form of business that can serve as an urban meeting place -- bookstores, music stores, movie theaters, and even home furnishing stores -- is on the ropes. "Browseries," where one can kill time without necessarily buying something, are becoming extinct. Eating and drinking seem to be the only activity that can sustain a streetside business these days. (Matt Yglesias was properly astonished by a zoning law in a commercial district of Washington, D.C., limiting restaurants to 25 percent of total sidewalk frontage. Boston's North End and South End would cease to exist under such a law.)