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Harvard looks to move the American Repertory Theatre across the river

The Crimson reports the university at some point will ask the BPDA for permission to build a new home for the theater - and new housing for grad students - at 175 North Harvard St in Allston, next to Harvard Stadium.

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A 20 minute walk, about a mile, from either Harvard (Red Line) or Boston Landing (commuter rail). The current ART is just a few steps away from the Brattle entrance to Harvard station.

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Voting closed 75

Take your pick: 66, 86, 70...

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Voting closed 22

While I'll walk it myself, making what was a one-to-three leg public transit trip for most people into a two-to-four leg public transit trip is a dealbreaker for many, and a huge pain in the ass for the rest of us who don't drive, given that this is a move that's not too far away from the original site. And I say this as regular on the 66 for many, many years.

I waited tables in Harvard Square & lived in Allston for a hell of a long time, and I am dreading that walk over the bridge in January again. The heart of the A R T season is winter. I'm 100% with Ron on this-- this is a lousy site for public transportation, buses or not, and given the ART schedule, I think they'll take a hit in attendance. Furthermore, whether you walk or transfer to a bus, this adds 15-25 minutes from Harvard Square, which means that if you leave work downtown at 6:00 PM for a 7:30 show, dinner or drinks beforehand with a friend is off the table.

I'm an A R T member (albeit on the low end of the scale) and it brightens my winter. This is an unfortunate decision.

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Voting closed 47

The majority of the patrons, especially the subscribers are eligible for social security.

They do not take the T. They park on the street or University Place.

Very, very few take the T.

Trust me, I used to work on the subscriptions. I know what I’m talking about.

The Loeb is pushing 60 and is in need of an upgrade. The land Is too valuable for the tryout palace the ART has become.

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especially not compared to the capacity of the main theatre, about 550 seats. There's a pay parking lot off Church Street, but it's not very large either. I bet that taxis and Uber/Lyft do a good business here.

(However, why wouldn't seniors take the T? We get a substantial discount, $1.10 on the subway, and half fare on buses and commuter rail.)

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The most common reasons why people choose not to use the T do not involve the price.

People with the means to subscribe to the ART are not motivated by the subway fare being $1.10.

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...when ART used to do classic drama rather than candidates for Broadway we had a family subscription and pretty much always took public transportation to get there.

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Voting closed 11

It's February.

You live in a $2.8M house in Newton.

Are you really going to walk to Harvard, go to Park Street, and then take the Riverside out to Waban and get home 75 to 90 minutes later?

Nah. I'm taking the $85,000 warm Audi, be home in 15, and the T be damned.

Do you people realize that most people don't think about saving a $1.40 to save an hour of time?

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Voting closed 17

Unless it's a Sunday, when meters and resident parking are not in effect, you're going to have to pay to park. That's a more important cost than the T fare would be.

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Perhaps you throw around quarters like they are manhole covers.

Others don’t mind paying a few bucks so they have to wait between Central and Kendall while they have to get a junkie who fell in a drug stupor onto the tracks at Park Street.

Understand now? Many more have my mentality than yours.

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Not every location is near public transit.

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Are there other Boston-area live-performance venues that are not near public transit?

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There are a few. Four near me that come to mind are the Armory in Somerville (which still won't be especially close to the Green Line once the extension opens), the Mosesian Center at the old Watertown Arsenal, the Chevalier Theatre in Medford Square, and the Stoneham Theatre.

None of these, however, were moved to their current locations from places that are more transit-friendly. They do all have bus service, but then so does the proposed new location of the ART.

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Voting closed 13

It's Boston Landing and about twenty minutes (20 min) is correct, maybe a little less from Boston Landing, like a couple of minutes.

I dunno, one can catch the 86 at Western about ten minutes (10 min) or the 66 in Union Square about six minutes (6 min).

I think one reason to like the move will be parking availability outside Harvard Square.
Not that I give a flying flip. But ticket holders coming in on the Pike might.

Also, unless someone dies during construction, no ghosts haunting the theatre.

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I don't know what caused me to write "Boston Crossing", which was a long-ago failed proposal to redevelop Jordan Marsh and Lafayette Place downtown.

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... And Harvard wants only the best for the public transit demographic?

It is to laugh.

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Prepare to be impressed by the nuance of my argument:

That is a seriously shitty idea, the current theater and siting are *perfect*. If Harvard needs/wants a bigger venue accessible to their benefactors in the 'burbs build another one.

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Voting closed 41

This site may be more convenient for some potential theater-goers south of the river. Cambridge's loss is Boston's gain (as Mahty said when the move was first announced, in 2019).

Allston resident Tim McHale lauded the announcement of the new theater location, saying that he hopes the University would provide gallery and performance spaces for Allston-Brighton artists and musicians.

“A.R.T. moving into our neighborhood is as good as it gets,” McHale said during the meeting. “It’s like putting gas on a fire, man. We could do some real bold, imaginative, and visionary things here.”

I'm wondering which burbs this would be more accessible to. It's not like it's easy to park around there. (Tip: circle the block and park under the TJ's).

Also, reading in a bit, the theater is just part of the plan - there will be more graduate student housing too. So imagine a tower, with the theater at the bottom.

I'll be interested to see if they tear down the Loeb theater, and if so what they build there to maximize income from that very valuable parcel. It's a very low building; one wonders how much taller they could get away with building. On the other hand, Harvard might just renovate it, after completion of the TBD Theater, for use by their ailing theater department.

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Voting closed 13

the new building for the econ department that Penny Pritzker gave them $100 million dollars for will end up at 64 Brattle.

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… the venue for undergraduate theatre. I recall seeing the likes of John Lithgow and Stockard Channing in student productions there. When Brustein came over from Yale and brought with him the training program from the School of Drama, he took over the venue and undergraduate theater was frozen out. Something similar had happened at Yale. However the undergraduate Dramat had such strong alumni support that he had to share the University Theater. Eventually the Yale Rep moved into an old church which was completely gutted and renovated. I have no idea what the state of undergraduate drama at Harvard is these days, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it reclaimed the Loeb. Plus the ART could still use the space when necessary and the university could lease it to other productions. As for tearing it down, I wonder how the Loeb family would feel about that and whether the university might be bound by the donation in some way?

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Voting closed 14

harvard released a 50 year plan a while back. this plan mentioned a monorail system to take students back and forth from harvard square, along north harvard street, up to all the western ave buildings being planned. this was before the 2008 financial crisis which slowed or stopped many of the plans.

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Voting closed 10

going under Brattle Street towards the JFK School of Government and the Charles Hotel, where the MBTA Eliot Yards used to be. It was orphaned in the early 1980s when the Red Line was extended north to Alewife. It could conceivably be turned into a stub-end terminal for a light-rail line -- if you had the money and desire to extend the tunnel under the Charles River towards Allston.

That might even had been part of Harvard's pre-2008 blue-sky plan. Didn't Harvard also consider moving the Charles River to the other side of the Business School?

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Yes, this is where you could avoid paying fares by walking through an open gate and walking to the Brattle stop. This spared me some extra dough when I was a high school student buying vibyl records.

Thank you for your lax scrutiny, MBTA!

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Voting closed 8

This would be nothing short of amazing. Depending on the time of day, the frequency of the 66/86 is...not what you'd want if you were looking to facilitate a lot of back-and-forth foot traffic between the two sides of the river.

Time to speed up "West Station"? (Pipe dream, maybe, but that area could use a major transit hub that connects Boston Landing, Harvard, and so on.)

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Voting closed 9

What a dumb idea

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