Harvard Square could lose iconic Out of Town News

The Boston Globe | By Kathleen Conti
August 26, 2016

harvard squareOut of Town News, the iconic newsstand in Harvard Square that for decades served as a gathering place for academics, students, residents, and reading fans in search of newspapers and publications from around the world, may soon be leaving its landmark location.

The tiny 500-square-foot kiosk is owned by the city of Cambridge, which has a $4.6 million redesign and renovation planned for the brick plaza used by about 10 million people a year.

Not included in the city’s plans for the future of the plaza, however, is the newsstand itself, a 20th-century relic that has battled the onset of digital media by adding a wider selection of magazines, as well as souvenirs, lottery tickets, snacks and drinks.

Cambridge has spent three years mulling ideas for the plaza and historic structure. Although they have yet to settle on a final plan, officials said they want the kiosk to be used by the public, not a private business.

“It is a very special place and a lot of people have memories associated with it,” said Iram Farooq, assistant city manager for community development. But she said the periodicals business that the kiosk is so well known for “has not been as financially viable, so a lot of people will be sad to see it go. In our conversations there is an understanding that use will have to go away because it lacks viability, so our conversation. . . is that it needs a new use,” Farooq said.

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