Square Gentrifies Again

Both Bow and Arrow and Dunkin' Donuts likely to be forced out

How about them apples, indeed. The Bow and Arrow Pub and Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins duo made famous by Good Will Hunting seem to be doomed to the same fate as The Tasty. Because of the gentrification of Harvard Square and rising rents, these landmarks that added a dash of local flavor to our increasingly bland surroundings might soon be replaced by yet another Starbucks and Gap.

Because of renovations to the building owned by The Coop, these tenants will most likely be forced out. Prohibitively high rents after the redevelopment will probably make their return impossible. Coop President Jeremiah P. Murphy '73 said last Wednesday that the owners are seeking "the best type of tenants for Harvard Square." It is doubtful that the Coop would consider these two businesses up to its exacting standards for suitable tenants.

Regardless, these two businesses are Square establishments. Thousands of Harvard students have commiserated over a pint at the Bow and grabbed a late-night scoop of ice cream or a donut at the Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins. Though Dunkin' Donuts is a chain establishment, this store has been a Square mainstay since 1971 and has been owned by the same family for the last 14 years. Countless Cambridge students have been greeted by the Latzanakises' warm smiles as they bought their daily cup of coffee. But more than the actual businesses themselves, the gradual decline of the Square's quirkiness is the biggest loss. Even if the red brick facades stay the same, the replacement of two Square landmarks by insipid chain stores underscores the depressing shift towards homogeneity that grips our national psyche. Admittedly, it is comforting to be able to order your favorite Frappuccino or buy that Gap shirt that everyone in your blocking group owns in any corner of the country, but is it worth losing the little touches that make a place unique?

Especially in a thriving intellectual community like Cambridge, ideally the surroundings would effect a collegiate feel. But as the Square slowly becomes just another incarnation of the suburban strip mall, will we mourn the change? Perhaps next year the Bow and Arrow Pub, along with the Dunkin' Donuts, will just exist in the minds of upperclass students as first-years wander the brick sidewalks looking for "that bar in Good Will Hunting."