I like that little architectural detail above the window. Enjoy, b/c unlikely to see sometime like that in new construction.
That is called keystone (or capstone) in the masonry world, when I was doing the Lull forklifts and ALL the masonry equipment involved in the commercial/industrial masonry company, The owner was also a co-owner of a small capstone etc making company and I ran all the overhead water supply and helped set up the new bigger building with all the drop downs and hoses for all the big saws as well as repaired the equipment for it… Neat setup…
Is that outside Tom & Ray’s old studio? lolol
Space has a new tenant but the window is a landmark, city made the developer keep it.
Yes. I’m not sure if it is still there, but the last time that I was in Cambridge, MA, it was nice to be able to look up and see that sight.
Yep a keystone but it is also functional and locks in the brick arch. Pull it out and the arch will collapse.
I have been known to simulate that detail on cabinets with an arch. Non functional in my case but I like the look.
I’ll bet the new tenants are not Lawyers!
Is that area gutted - no floor I mean, just beams?
If they leave it that way and just occupy the floor below the one with that window, then less chance a someone trying to open and breaks it.
It was there about 3 years ago.
Now a gym with rock wall and yoga studio, according to the article.
The last part of the Boston globe article about the sign and it’s new home.
Magliozzi and Berman still remember the day the sign was put up. While the installer, an older man, worked quietly at the window, the Magliozzis and Berman were putting together a newspaper column responding to a reader who’d been swindled by a car insurance salesmen. They were loudly ranting about the insurance industry when they heard the man clear his throat.
“This old guy got off his little stepladder and he turned to us and with a quavering voice said, ‘You know, my brother was an insurance agent,’” Magliozzi recalled. “And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, we’ve insulted this guy and his family!’ And in the next breath, he said, ‘And he screwed everybody!’”
They had no idea just how long the man’s handiwork would remain in its perch atop the square.
“We didn’t even know how long the show was going to last on NPR,” Magliozzi said. “But they foolishly kept renewing our contract.”
They did have an inkling that the sign would make an impression on people who spotted it from the street, whether they knew about the show or not.
“We did hope it would be a landmark of sorts,” said Berman. “Not like the Widener Library, but something fun. A reminder not to take life too seriously.”
It certainly generated laughs along the way.
Magliozzi said a man and his girlfriend knocked on the office door once to inquire about the name of the supposed firm, and whether they knew that when spoken out loud it made them sound like crooks.
The Magliozzi brothers and Berman played along, pretending they were actually attorneys, and insisting that the combination of surnames “had a nice flow to it.”
The man “had a bewildered look on his face, Magliozzi said, and as he was closing the door, “I could hear him say to his girlfriend, ‘What a bunch of dopes!’ And he was right!”
The office was never anything fancy. A small staff worked there at a couple of desks editing, receiving mail, and sending out demo tapes.
The brothers recorded the show at Boston’s WBUR radio station, but would swing by to write their syndicated column — or host late-night poker games while puffing cigars.
To “Car Talk” fans, meanwhile, the sign became part of the lore of the show, which at its height played on more than 600 public radio stations. Some would even pop in to say hello.
“They’d all ask the same thing: ‘Is this really Car Talk Plaza?’,” Berman said. “And we’d apologize and say, ‘Yeah, this is it. Pretty shabby, huh?’”
Things are a lot less shabby now. In the recent renovation of the building, the cigar smoke-inflected office and the floor it sat on were removed. The window now sits in the second-story wall above a sparkling new yoga studio in a rock climbing gym.
“I’ll have to visit them someday,” said Magliozzi, when told about the current tenant. “Maybe I’ll get a free class.”
It wasn’t always a sure thing it would remain in its place. There were rumors — never confirmed — that a prior owner had planned to remove the sign, and put it on display in a New York office.
But the city would never allow such a thing, said Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission.
The sign was preserved as part of a years-long approval process that included around 25 hours of public commentary. While plenty of specifics were weighed, Sullivan said, the sign’s status was never up for debate.
“It’s a character-defining feature of that building,” he said.
Many tourists come specifically to see it, said Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association.
Recently, she met two women from North Carolina who told her it was on their “bucket list” to have their photo taken in front of the sign.
Its survival sends an important message that the city is capable of preserving its cultural touchstones, Jillson said — even, or perhaps especially, the quirkiest ones.
“While there’s a lot of change going on in Harvard Square, the thoughtful discussion with input from the public, particularly around what that window means to people, is all part of a much bigger discussion,” she said.
It isn’t the only “Car Talk” landmark in Harvard Square. A plaque honoring Tom Magliozzi, who died in 2014, was installed in Brattle Square in 2019.
Magliozzi and Berman, meanwhile, are just pleased, and maybe a little surprised, that people can still get a kick out of their tongue-in-cheek signage.
“We didn’t think we were building our legacy or anything like that. That was the farthest thing from our minds,” Magliozzi said. “We were just really having some laughs.”
Gosh, but how I miss my weekly visits with Ray and Tom. Before podcasts, you had to catch the program on the radio, or not hear it at all. I’d schedule my life around those programs. RIP, Tom. And hope Ray is doing well.
Ray’s still doing a weekly column and voice over work such as E-Bay motors. It was a great run for the show and I still listen to the podcasts and old favorites. Used to catch them on Sunday afternoons if I worked Sat Morning’s with a repeat airing on one of our NPR stations.
My mother’s law firm was Cheatham, Cumming, and Gowan
Do you folks ever hear somebody on the podcast-interludes who seems to be trying to imitate Ray’s voice?
That’s downright terrifying!
Maybe AI? If so, you won’t catch me listening/tuning in.