On a spurious tip that local constables frequent a certain table at
Harvard’s newly 24/7 Au Bon Pain, FM rises at the ungodly hour of 6:40
a.m. on a Friday morning to investigate.
Sure enough, the corner table facing Dunster Street is occupied. Constituting the kaffeeklastch are an officer of the Cambridge Police Department, a Harvard alum, and a young woman hunched over the table, nodding in and out of consciousness.
“There are some crazies that come in, but Au Bon Pain is in HUPD’s jurisdiction,” the cop says, adding wryly, “They’re great backup.”
A “crazy” comes over, rambling loudly. The cop retorts with a faux-hostile “Are you talkin’ to me?” from Taxi Driver before chatting him up.
“I’m a little more friendly than most people. I learn names and keep a low profile—a low profile,” he emphasizes, pointing to the reporter’s notebook on the table. “Then I learn stuff.”
He turns his cap backwards and flashes his badge, and he talks about his experience with Square characters.
“You see a lot of Harvard or MIT guys with drug habits and alcohol habits,” the cop says. “They gravitate back to Harvard, and what Harvard usually does is [to place no-] trespass [orders against] them. They seem intelligent, they’ve been somewhere. These people stay hidden because no one goes up and talks to them.”
The alum—John M. Hallowell ’63—is one of these unlikely personalities. He drops names from his stint with Life magazine in the 1960s in slightly stroke-slurred speech.
“I was friends with Andy Warhol...[He] was a voyeur,” says Hallowell, who played himself in Warhol’s 1972 film, “Heat.”
After coffee, the cop steps outside to tell FM that the semiconscious girl is strung out at the moment. He’s talking her straight, but circa 7:40 a.m., it’s slow going.