Why It's Always 12:16 at the Bank of America


Cars come and go, but time stands still here.

Harvard Square exists out of the time-space continuum.

At least it does according to the clock in front of Bank of America on Mass Ave. The freestanding timepiece is frozen at 12:16, misinforming shoppers on a daily basis. What is the significance of the 12:16? Does the clock commemorate a major point in Cambridge history? The opening of the bank? Lunchtime?

Apparently, it commemorates nothing. Enthusiastic Bank of America representative Anna Marie Dracopolous claims that the clock used to work, but stopped moving a few weeks ago.

Her answer may not be as titillating as a time warp, but it begs a further question: why hasn’t it been fixed?

No one in Cambridge knows. City Hall denied responsibility and sent the question over to the Cambridge Historical Society—which immediately declared that City Hall owned it. The Department of Public Works didn’t know, either. Its public relations manager, Rebecca Fuentes, wrote in an e-mail: “No one I have talked to seems to know the history of the clock. I think we had assumed it belonged to the bank.”

The bank also denies ownership. In her attempts to repair the clock, Dracopolous says she has also contacted the disappointingly unresponsive city institutions—City Hall and Public Works. After leaving a message with a mysterious “Steve” at Public Works, Dracopolous says, she doesn’t know where to turn to placate the “many residents” she says have complained about the busted timekeeper.

Maybe Stephen Hawking can help her.