'Tell Us Again Al'

The CRIMSON news room is the most desolate spot in Cambridge on Saturday night. There's no paper the next day, but the door is open, the lights are lit and the phone rings to an empty room. Alfred E. Vellucci, vice mayor of Cambridge, sat in a chair by the night editor's desk, alone, unnoticed seeking to exercise his authority on something other than typewriters and fluorescent lamps. A girl entered from the back, bewildered at this sight.

"Can I help you?"

"No, I'm waiting for somebody."

A boy entered from the other end of the room, recognized Al Vellucci, and inquired what he wanted.

"I'm looking for a couple of writers who would like to find out what goes on in Cambridge Saturday night. I'll be going to different places where lots of things will be happening and I'm willing to take some people from here with me."


"Well I don't know, nobody's here, most people are already doing something tonight."

This was his cue. It struck a tender nerve, and he replied quickly. "None of you Harvard people know what goes on in Cambridge and none of you care. There's a wall between you and everyone else. You all stay here and you don't know what goes on in this town. You don't want to meet the people, you don't want to mix with them, you don't care the least about them. You think you're above the people. You're all sitting way up above them, way up high. Pusey and his men in their diamond cuff links-they could care less about the city. The City Council has invited them to attend its meetings but they've refused. Well, I'm going to change that. You know I can subpoena them? Did you know that?

"I found out that I can subpoena them and make them appear before us. A few years ago the Harvard Corporation promised one quarter of a million dollars for a boys' club center. Now they say they don't know anything about it, but we're going to make them keep their promise, and we're going to make them testify before the Council.

"How about you two? Would you like to come tonight? You have cameras, don't you? Bring them and take pictures. What are your names?"

"Marian and Bob."

"Marian and Bob? Well then come my children and I'll show you a world you've never seen."

We got into his '67 Bel Aire and he drove slowly into the Square. For the next forty-five minutes Vellucci conducted a tour of his Cambridge.

"Lots of people are confused, don't know what to call the Square-Harvard Square. Piazza Leprechauna, Columbus Square. You know that John Harvard really had nothing to do with Cambridge. Just gave the college some books when it moved here. Later though a lot of Italians came here and the school got better."

We came out through the underpass, proceeding past 1737 Cambridge Street.

"We're out of Harvard now... no, not yet. Now we're in Cambridge. Smell the air: it's fresher here.