Forty-Five Steps Down . . .
Forty-five steps below Massachusetts Avenue is a world where wind, sun, and week-end rain never penetrate. Row on row of bare bulbs cast their glare on shadowy caverns. The only moisture to reach the tile and litter clings loosely to the windows and roofs of swaying trolley cars.
The M.T.A. is a man-made world. Blasted from bedrock and pushed through Charles River mud, three tubes criss-cross beneath Boston's houses and streets in a frenzied, asymmetrical pattern, like a line drawing of a frantic dancer. Daily, subways and trolleys carry thousands of commuters into the city from the outer reaches of the metropolitan area.
In 1901 the city's first elevavated structure, the Forest Hills lines, was completed. Eight years later, the Cambridge-Boston tube replaced the hourse cars on Massachusetts Avenue, and much of the transit equipment has been in constant use since that time.
When trains break down, those that can be repaired are painted and hammered and welded at the Cambridge Carshops across from Eliot House.
After the entering freshman steps off the railroad train at South Station, he walks down a confusing maze of stairways to await a subway train to the Square. Once he is crowded into the unesthetic interior of the subway car, he has begun his first trip on what will form one of the staples of his life at Harvard.
For even a Jaguar breaks down sometimes, and all income brackets of students are forced to find that 80 cents can buy a College man and his date an evening of isolation in Boston's crowded places. And the M.T.A. is almost indispensable to the commuter and the Beacon Hill professor on their way to class, and to the student who takes Fine Arts 13, or just wants to explore the city.
In one week, the Harvard Square-Arlington line will be replaced by buses. Traffic in the Square will become a little more congested, and the carbon monoxide fumes a little thicker. But down below, the lights will still cast their eerie shadows, and footsteps will rattle in the sooty vaults to the same regular, timed changor and roar of the subway