Campus & Community

A look ’round the Square

Rainbow in Harvard Square.

Harvard University and a rainbow provide the backdrop for Harvard Square.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

3 min read

The seasons and the shops may change, but the spirit and streets are ever-exciting

How to describe Harvard Square? Busy and bustling with bikes and buses, cars and crowds, trucks and kick-scooters fighting for space on streets and crossways. Intimate with its hidden alleys and entryways, venerable (quirky tobacconist Leavitt and Peirce), modern (a fine wine shop, a cannabis boutique), upscale (Harvest Restaurant), and working-class (late-night standby Charlie’s Kitchen). Preppies in polo shirts and grunge punks in ragged jeans, coffee-table books and counter-culture comics, tweedy professors and four-year drop-ins and the drop-outs who never left … in short, the Square epitomizes all that’s eclectic, and that is precisely why we like it. With stylistic contrasts at every corner, the energy here is catching, challenging us to understand how the pieces all fit.

Selling books.

A man browses used books for sale on the brick terrace at the Harvard Square T Station. Harvard Square.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Christos Soillis, owner of Felix Shoe Repair

Christos Soillis, the owner of Felix Shoe Repair in Harvard Square since 1969. Personable and hard-working, Soillis stitches, mends, and dyes anything made of leather, including belts, handbags, saddlebags, jackets … and shoes, of course.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

People walking by.

Harvard Square’s brick sidewalks are always filled with foot traffic.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

A street evangelist, one of many who pop up in the Square from time to time.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

A street evangelist,.
Calum Walter and his Vibe Check Band

Calum Walter and his Vibe Check Band perform by the Harvard Coop on a cool but sunny weekday afternoon.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

re. Cut steel street map of the Square

A fan of Fauci — that’s director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci — dines on an unseasonably warm February day. A cut-steel street map of the Square, showing the footprints of buildings, marks the entrance to 25 JFK Street.

Photos by Rose Lincoln and Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographers

A person on a scooter.

A scooter whizzes up Massachusetts Avenue.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

A punker.
Man riding a bike.

Halloween 2021 makes a mark in the Square.

Photos by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

People in Halloween costumes.

Halloween revelers walked up Mount Auburn Street during last year’s festivities.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Entrance to Harvard T station.

Silhouetted late-night travelers enter and exit the Harvard T Station in the Square.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Building with birds.

Pigeons (and a few sparrows) hang out along the ledges of the building housing CVS in the middle of Harvard Square. A photo of the uniquely designed Harvard Lampoon building is reflected in the window.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Dutchman on keyboard.

“The Dutchman” plays his keyboard on Palmer Street on a summer evening. Dutch played and lectured at Harvard many years ago as part of a professor’s course on bringing the blues to a new generation. The Square has been a common venue for street performers for generations.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

H in ivy
Two men wearing green stockings.

A jogger runs past an oversized, ivy-decorated “H” outside the Harvard Coop, long a fixture in the Square. Two green-legged men walk up Plympton Street past Leverett Hou

Photos by Jon Chase and Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Holiday decorations.
Santa playing a guitar.

Holiday decorations in Harvard Square. A street musician wearing a Santa hat plays with his band in the run-up to the holidays

Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photograph

Snow falling outside a coffee shop.

Students inside Peets Coffee can look up for a view of the Square in the snow.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer