Chapter 16
No Shortcuts

Occupy comes to the neighborhood

Harvard Yard is closed. The fabled Hahvahd Yahd is no longer accessible to tourists, visitors, gawkers. One needs a student, faculty, or staff ID to get into Harvard Yard these days. You can't walk through it, pause to get your picture taken, feel the knowledge rub off on you as you stroll down the walks. Nope. No hoi polloi permitted any more. The closure started when the "Occupy Wall Street" movement spread to Boston, and then to the local colleges. A bunch of people came in and established a tent city *in* Harvard Yard. The administration, I think, was surprised that a lot of people who were not their students, not any part of the university community, were living on their grass.

A friend of mine there related to me what he had heard from the security people. The large number of strangers showing up on the campus were a wake-up call for the university. "We let any random people walk through our gates for whatever unknown purposes? Crazies can come in with any intentions, any materials? Weapons? Bombs? Hmmm. Let's stop this for a while and think about it."

My friend thinks that the campus is likely to remain closed for some time. "Don't think a couple months. Think years."

A couple other consequences. I cannot continue to use it as a diagonal shortcut to the law school area, which is a nice dining and shopping district. Rats. Much longer to go around. Also, the tour companies that take families and tourists on guided tours through the campus now cannot include the Yard. I should point out that the Yard, while central and historic, is actually a fairly small portion of the campus. The university buildings are all over the place, covering probably ten times the area of the old Yard.

Update: The Yard was closed for only one month.