Satisfying Students' McCravings
Harvard Square Desperately Needs a Set of Golden Arches
If you're like me, you're not quite willing to let your entire generation slip through the historical cracks. "Generation X" just doesn't cut it. It's time to show 'em what we're made of. It's time to bring a McDonald's to the Square.
Since we are at Hahvahd, it just might come to sit-ins. The local community is very attached to its precious conception of quaint old Cambridge. Anything bordering on a Mcburger might as well be the Mcplague.
Despite the whiny Harvard rhetoric, the fast food question really boils down to one thing: simple Ec 10 supply and demand. Students are sick and tired of Peking ravioli. A Mcanything would be wonderful.
Guarding the gates to hog heaven is the formidable, if mysterious. Harvard Square Defense Fund. It's mysterious in that it is what one neighborhood business owner has called a "phantom organization." A local land court has ruled that the Defense Fund has no standing on which to file official zoning board appeals.
The Fund is nonetheless formidable in that it has almost singlehandedly stonewalled the efforts of many Mcbusinesses from entering the square. If it weren't for the Fund, we could be enjoying Dunkin Donuts in the Garage by now. Instead, our doughnuts are going stale in court.
That's fine by pebble Gifford, the Fund's most outspoken member. As quoted in the Cambridge Chronicle, Gifford claims national chains will displace already existing mom-and-pop stores. "What's to keep people coming to Harvard Square if they can get anything they want here in any mall in America?" she asks.
How about Harvard University? The fact is that most people come to Harvard Square because that's where they go to school. Students don't just visit the Square--they live in the Square, eat in the Square, and often can't escape from the Square.
Sure, students appreciate the novelty of one-of-a-kind video stores and unique-to-the-world pseudo-German restaurants. But not every student can fork over $6.25 for knockwurst and sauerkraut.
That's where Mcprices come in. Students need food that is cheap and quick. It's hard to beat a Big Mac on those counts. Students also need something nearby. Traipsing down to Central for a cheeseburger doesn't make sense.
Moreover, McDonald's is a topnotch organization. Their restaurants are sanitary and professional. The Tasty might be tasty, but McDonald's quality and service are first rate.
We should also ask whether the Square is as unique as it claims to be. Is the Square as unique as it claims to be? While the Tasty is one of a kind, does the rest of the Square deserve the same bragging rights? Urban Outfitters, The Gap and Tower Records certainly aren't run by mom and pop.
Even the once-singular Au Bon Pain is now the big-gest French bakery-cafe this side of Marseilles.
Indeed, most of the arguments against a local McDonald's don't' hold water. The problem of preserving the Square's character is easily rectified. In Freeport, Maine, for example, they built a McDonald's inside an old home. One can imagine how a similar plan could be employed in the Square.
Phoebe Brook, chair of the Harvard Square Advisory Committee, thinks the golden arches would create traffic problems. Yet it's common knowledge that drivers of all creeds avoid the Square like savory baked tofu. Hungry drivers would easily opt for Porter Square burgers.
How about the argument that while students vacate Cambridge after four years, locals must bear the evils of fast food forever? The truth is that students will be here for years to come as well. Each outgoing crop makes room for a new crowd with a new appetite. Moreover, we can't dismiss student demands so easily. Without students, the Square would dry up.
The time to act is Mcnow. Even Yale has a Burger King a block away from the first year dorms. We wouldn't want U.S. News World Report to find out.
McDonald's officials can't remember the last time the chain tried to set up shop in the Square. Whenever it was, though, I'll bet there wasn't a Condom World around. Times have changed.
McDonald's knows it. too. That's why they reportedly are prepared to shell out $500,000 to fight this battle out in court. Once they've actually chosen a desired location, all they'll need is some public support.
That's where you and I come in That's when Generation X can show its true colors.
The revolution is coming your way, right away. Think Happy Meal.