Monday, October 26, 2009

the importance of urban design

Today I was walking down Vassar St. and Mass Ave and I was struck for the zillionth time how ugly the MIT campus is. My parents were visiting this past weekend, and they thought MIT was very impressive, but that Harvard was much more beautiful. Not only do many buildings have that this-was-trendy-in-the-70s architectural aesthetic going on (mine, of course, excluded), the campus is very badly laid out. I associate college campuses with cute cafes, a wide variety of cheap international food, hippie stores selling nag champa and tie-dye that couldn't survive anywhere else, and lots of culture. MIT has one crappy diner that no one goes to (maybe cause it closes at 4 PM) and a gay dance bar*. Seriously. That's it. These are the businesses in the center of campus. Oh, aside from the parking lot and Bank of America ATM.

I don't understand how this happened! Is this because they moved to Cambridge in 1916? It takes 93 years and counting to develop a proper urban landscape? We have over 10,000 students. 1,000 faculty. There are countless biotech firms in the area. Don't you think we could support a cafe closer than Central Square? Berkeley has Euclid and Telegraph (among others, I'm sure). Harvard has the entire square, even Dartmouth had a lot of great stuff in Hanover (I actually miss Dirt Cowboy Cafe and Rosey's was a great place to hide away).

I'm not really sure what to do about this, since I'm not about to get into the cafe business. But if you are, and you are thinking about opening something new, put it near MIT! I feel like a late-night source of caffeine would be totally packed. Better yet, a cafe that turns into a bar at night, European-style. Raze the BoA ATM. My last-ditch hope is that Clover ends up closer to campus. I think they are amazing and their truck is a really great addition to the area -- food that is healthy, organic, tasty, and fun.

* i have no issues with gay dance bars. I have a lot of issues with crappy diners serving boring food.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crazy with Cuteness

Something is wrong with me today.

Also, yesterday my mom and dad were fasting for Karva Chauth. Only the woman is supposed to fast, for the well being of her husband, but whatever. My dad was doing it out of solidarity. In the afternoon we had the following chat conversation:

dad: u have no concern for your starving parents!!!!!!!!!
3:58 PM me: what
of course i do
how are you
4:01 PM hello did you faint
how are you
4:05 PM dad: We just did puja and had cup of tea since 5am.No water,food till 8.30pm.
what time moon is visible?
me: i don't know
you'll have to go outside and look
4:08 PM dad: It is visible around 8.30pm.
4:13 PM dad: guinea pig?
me: piggy pig