Trucks from several glass companies, strolling spectators with cameras, and men selling iron grates and burglar alarms filled the Square yesterday as businessmen surveyed the damage from Wednesday night's riot.
Most shopkeepers were optimistic enough to replace the glass in their windows immediately, but they talked about getting stronger glass and gratings. Many of the stores which regularly remain open on Thursday nights followed the Coop's lead and closed in the late afternoon.
A great deal of speculation centered around why some establishments were heavily hit while others went untouched. Banks and jewelry stores seemed popular as targets. Beyond that, most business men whose stores were damaged felt that there was no pattern to the destruction. "I don't see what kind of selectivity it is when Saks is hit but J. August isn't," one spectator commented.
Executives at Northeast Federal Savings Bank, scene of smashed windows and a fire, said that they were not surprised by the riot. "We felt that pressure was building," Bob Stoughton said. "Something of this nature had to come about-not this drastic perhaps."
The young manager of the bank, Bob Mossgraeber, placed peace signs on the boarded-up windows yesterday. He admitted that passers-by might think the signs hypocritical, but said that they are intended seriously.
Store owners also puzzled over what might happen in the next few days. Most of them denied hearing any threats yesterday. But Miss Bobbi Baker, owner of the heavily-looted clothing store, said, "We had a lot of people coming here today who I feel in my bones were here last night."
A Cambridge policeman in the Square said that kids "look at us like they'd like to kill us." He said that many "people in the generation gap" told him they thought the police did a good job,but that some merchants told him the police were too slow in acting.
Store owners told of remaining in their shops late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. Alexander Cahaly, owner of the men's clothing store, explained, "You can't go home and watch TV. What are you going to do at home? Blow your brains out, maybe?"
Most business men just sat in their stores, but in Krackerjacks the owner and five employees warded off potential, looters with clubs and a fire extinguisher, which demonstrators apparently mistook for tear gas.
Late yesterday afternoon a young secretary wearing a peace button approached the manager of a looted jewelry store to tell him that she was "disgusted, and sympathetic with you." She said she wanted him to know that "the people who are interested in peace were not the people who broke your windows."
The manager appeared tense and walked away. The girl left the store, explaining that she had already visited six other damaged places, and continued down the street to the next one.