Friday, August 13, 2004


Weary disappointment kept me from noting that the retail space at Massachusetts Avenue and Creighton Street in Porter Square will become a Big Picture Framing shop. Distant sadness kept me from reporting that the square’s Sasuga Japanese Bookstore has become a Century 21 real estate office. And a reeling sense of injustice has kept me from crying out over its Unicorn Books & Spiritual Resource Center, which once was the Bookcellar Cafe, then empty for more than two years (save for annual visits from an art cooperative at holiday time).

But replacing the Dress Barn in the Star Market shopping plaza is -- and I’m so excited I can barely get the words out -- Porter Square Books, with owners as close to rock stars as one can get in small book circles. The three managers of the Concord Bookshop, as well as former employees, have taken the 4,480 square feet of dowdy dresses and vowed to open it Oct. 1 with books, newspapers and cafe fare.

“Because of the area, we have to stay open until at least 9 p.m. every day, maybe later,” said managing director Dale Szczeblowski, also vice president of the New England Booksellers Association, to Bookselling This Week.

Unreservedly good news.

My friend Carl has also issued an alert that plans are posted for Lafayette Square, where Massachusetts Avenue meets Main Street toward the eastern edge of Central Square. This is something of a step forward for the area, the key feature of which has been a boarded-up Shell gas station, even though the move is perceived by many to be merely an effort to create a pleasant barrier between Massachusetts Institute of Technology land and the low-income Area 4. This is where eight activists were arrested in April for cleaning, according to the arrested activists, or possession of burglary tools and breaking into the station for “storage of materials,” according to city manager Robert Healey.

It’s easy to understand why local activists would clean the place up, considering that the city seized it by eminent domain a decade ago and let it lapse into eyesorehood as it crawled toward its $5.7 million park plan. It’s less easy to understand why eight people were arrested on felony charges for breaking into an empty building on an abandoned lot, even for “storage of materials” that included, Healey said, “crowbars and drills.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Lafayette Sq plans look great, but they are dated 1999.