Bow Stays Open While Fight To Keep it in the Square Continues
Despite facing impending eviction since this January, the Bow and Arrow Pub and the Dunkin' Donuts in Harvard Square will remain open--at least for one more month.
And L. Stuart Rosenberg, a first year public policy student at the Kennedy School of Government, intends to keep it that way.
Rosenberg, who organized the "Save the Bow" rally on Feb. 17, is now vying to be a student representative on the board of directors of the Harvard Cooperative Society, which owns the building.
And regardless of the election's outcome, Rosenberg is trying to take his campaign to the powers-to-be at the Coop, hoping he can persuade them to take an active role in keeping the Bow and Dunkin' Donuts as Square landmarks.
In With the New, Out With the Old?
Extensive internal and external renovation has already begun on the building, but has not yet reached the level that requires the businesses to leave.
That day will come, assures Coop President Jeremiah P. Murphy Jr. '73, and the stores will inevitably have to leave, at least temporarily. And that makes the real issue whether or not they will be able to return.
According to Murphy, the Coop has no say in structuring the new lease, as they have handed over all control to the IDM Inc., a development group, who are responsible for finding and signing tenants.
"We have input on the economics and mechanics, but they have full control over the lease right now," Murphy says.
As of yet no tenants have been signed, and the group has been unable to accomplish their goal of finding a single occupant for the whole building.
"We don't talk to them every day, but as soon as they have a game plan in terms of tenants and lease, etc. then we'll sit down with them," Murphy says. "The ball is basically in their court, there is a lot of real estate available in Harvard Square now, which is sure to affect the decision."
Murphy also pointed out there is nothing preventing the Bow and Dunkin' Donuts from returning, but they will have to deal with increased rents and be able to secure a new lease.
Steve Latzanakis, owner of the Dunkin' Donuts franchise, has been hoping for a right of first refusal--which would give him first crack at any lease--from IDM. But currently he has only been able to secure an agreement which would give him at least a 30 day notice before being forced to leave during the renovation period.
To compensate for increased rent, Latzanakis plans on including a new component to the current Baskin Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts motif: a California-based sandwich shop called Togo, to tap the lunch and dinner market.
"The real question is if we get to come back, which I would like to do, after the renovations," Latzanakis said.
When asked what he would do if served the notice today, he responded, "[If] they give me the notice, after a month I'm going to leave, [and] take a vacation. A well-deserved one."
A Man on a Mission
Stuart Rosenberg has been a Bow patron for several years, and as a Coop member he says it was his duty to show the board that evicting the bar was not in the best interests of all Coop members.
This ambition led to a "Save the Bow" rally at the pub, helping to net over 600 signatures in support of keeping the establishment in Harvard Square.
The day after the rally, Rosenberg's friend and collaborator, Jane Aceituno, discovered it was possible to petition to run as a student representative to the Coop board of directors.
The rally had stoked the fire inside Rosenberg to take action, and this culminated in his last minute bid to be a student representative.
With only a week to fill out a petition with 75 Coop members' signatures and their elusive Coop numbers, Rosenberg worked every day to secure his name on the ballot.
Elections have already been opened, and Coop members can vote online or with ballots, which have already been mailed, until April 7th.
Along with running for the board, Rosenberg yesterday delivered the 600 signatures collected at the rally along with a letter advising Murphy to insure the Bow's existence to his office.
"The Bow & Arrow Pub is a Harvard Square icon. When individuals think of Harvard Square, they think of places like The Bow & Arrow Pub. Chain store operations and shopping mall ambience is not high on their priority list when going to Harvard Square," Rosenberg writes in his letter.
"As you are aware, there is substantial concern over the removal of the Bow & Arrow Bar by the Harvard Coop and its developer partner. I am asking that the Harvard Coop reconsider this decision," he continues.
"More specifically, I am asking to attend the April Harvard Coop Board of Directors meeting to discuss the issue in more detail and discuss alternatives that can benefit both the Harvard Coop and the Bow & Arrow Pub," he writes.
A Foot in the Door
"I'm a Coop member, I don't think its unreasonable to want to go to their board meeting," Rosenberg says. "I understand if people just showing up at the board meeting could be unruly, but I've given them plenty of notice."
Dearing offered to arrange a meeting between Rosenberg, herself, and Murphy instead of with the general board.
This meeting was never finalized and did not happen, but both Dearing and Murphy say this was a simple case of miscommunication.
"Although I can understand why Stu would be upset about it, this really was strictly a situation of not knowing...[Murphy] didn't get the email in time," Dearing says.
But Murphy says he is willing to give Rosenberg an opportunity to talk to either him or the board as a whole.
"I have to talk to the chairman, but I don't see why having Stu present at the next meeting would be a problem," Murphy says. "These meetings are closed except for invited guests who have something important to contribute."
Whither the Bow?
"The Bow is not the only issue I want to focus on; more troublesome, is that we can't go to the board meeting. It's egregious that individuals should have to go through all the hoops I have had to go through," Rosenberg says. "I still haven't seen the contract, which was the original goal of this drive."
His campaign, with a focus on the Bow situation, is drawing a lot of support from KSG students, and the school's newspaper, The Citizen, endorsed Rosenberg. Its top front page headline ran the slogan, "Just Stu it!"
While the "Save the Bow" campaign has done a lot to inspire Rosenberg and other KSG students, its impact on the eventual survival of the Bow is hard to determine.
But Bow owner Ben Soble, while praising the efforts, doubts one student can affect the issue.
"I think it's laudable, but it's not going to have any effect," he said.