Iconic Newsstand Ends 53-Year Reign

Word junkies frequenting Cambridge, Massachusetts (Click & Clack’s “Our Fair City”) will soon find the Out of Town News another victim of online competition. Harvard Square’s iconic newsstand of 53 years will no longer anchor perhaps the most visible urban intersection on the planet.

Visibility and breadth of selection was not sufficient for Out of Town News to offset a receding customer base whose reading patterns shifted to the Internet.

In my daze of rambling youth, Harvard Square was the place to see, hear, and be included in world culture. Living close to the Boston area, my music tastes often took me to the Harvard Cooperative (The Coop) in search of psychedelic vinyl and the contrasting folk sounds from Passim’s coffee house nearby. Starved for a car fix, Out of Town News had just about any title one grease monkey could hope for. Local newsstands were limited to Hot Rod and a few mainstream mags, but little else. Harvard Square and Out of Town News fed generations of news junkies.

Sad to see it go, but guess I’m part of the reason: I simply don’t purchase single copy issues unless a specific mission requires it, relying instead on the comfort of my PC and an ever decreasing number of mailed magazine subscriptions.

News reports indicate that the current owners of Out of Town News will not renew their property lease with the city of Cambridge effective November 30, though the town is planning to retain a newsstand at the same location sometime in early 2009.

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