The Square is living modern. With nearby Quincy a geometrical tombstone to Georgian elegance, Cronin's due to explode into a seven-story hygenic skyscraper, and the Harvard Trust new-faced with fresh brick and steel, the Square sloughs off its gingerbread and tries to make "form fit function."
A regression in this general trend is the shelf that even now creeps from the Coop, over Albiani's towards Church Street. The Square's better (liberal progressive twentieth century) half can still triumph over its reactionary rival, though, if it makes the Shelf functional and therefore gloriously modern. Let's make it a nesting place for local pigeons. Or let's run up a block and tackle and turn it into a parking place for motorscooters. The Shelf might make a fine vantage point for cheerleaders, of either sex, to stir the hearts of a Square pep rally. And at other times, sections and tutorials could meet there.
All sorts of possibilities open up. Beach umbrellas could be set up for rainy days. Little wrought iron tables could be put the length of the Shelf by some enterprising individual who wants to give the Mozart and Tulla's some competition.
However the shelf may be employed, its full utilitarian potential certainly should be exploited. Embarrasingly enough, the Square now has a form to which some function must be fitted. There's no reason why Harvard Square, like any other square, should not toe the modern American line. No matter how ugly it is--if it works, use it.