Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Streets Can Set Tone for Cities

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Streets Can Set Tone for Cities

Article excerpt

The streets are filled with students, young people, tourists and others.

On this afternoon they fill the streets of Cambridge, this home to five major educational institutions, including Harvard and Radcliffe. Guys with baggy shorts, earrings and blond hair with auburn roots. Women who've adopted the Sinead O'Connor buzz look, complete with T-shirts, jeans and sweaters tied fashionably around their waists. A street vendor selling a dozen types of smoked wurst.

The streets are filled with entertainment.

"Boom-boppa-boom-boppa-boom-ba-boom-ba-ba-boom!"

Each sound fires off like individual cracks of thunder as two young men with drumsticks play upside down white plastic buckets to the delight of an appreciative crowd. Around the corner a blind woman plays a guitar and sings Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1972 classic, "Alone Again Naturally." A block away a man is playing guitar and singing songs in French. Two blocks away, a couple of young men are displaying their juggling talents with bowling pins as a small group circles and applauds.

There's no shortage of fun things here to tease the ears, tempt the eyes and tickle the nose.

The streets are filled with unusual people.

A bearded man who looks to be in his early 40s is dressed up in an Uncle Sam outfit - without shoes - as he sells handmade puppets. He performs a puppet show, and he takes a survey each day of those who stop by. Today's question: "Legalize hemp?" A woman in a tie-dyed dress dances around and around to taped music by the Grateful Dead.

These streets are alive. People are in constant motion, partaking of all these streets have to offer. The people who populate these streets add color to the colorless, life to the lifeless.

The streets are filled with people who buy.

These streets are interesting. People walk along them to see what they can see. And as they walk along, they spend money. Restaurants and cafes along these streets do a brisk business at all hours of the day. Customers pop into newsstands, souvenir shops and bookstores. The color on these streets is the bait that lures the tourists out; the stores are the hooks that bag the catch. Before they even know what's happening, tourists pull out their wallets to buy T-shirts that say "Boston," coffee mugs that say "Harvard," and red, stuffed-animal lobsters that cost $25 each and say nothing at all. …

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