Check, Please

Kenmore Square, I will miss you.

Things will never be the same between us now that you’ve been bought up and destroyed by the corporation that is Boston University.

I still remember our first encounter. I was touring colleges in ye ol’ spring of ‘97, when I wandered onto your streets in front of what used to be The Dollar Store. It was a quarter ’til midnight, and must admit, I was a little frightened by the big city. Although, I’ve since been assured by about 7,000 students from New York that Boston is only a “pretend city.”

Yes, on that faithful night, I heard a bum yelling at some guy named “Turkey” who didn’t actually appear to exist. Apparently, “Turkey” had done something really nasty, so nasty that the bum felt the need to hurl his half-empty Black Label 40 oz. Apparently, imaginary people are immune to flying 40s, and it passed right through him and landed on the concrete by my feet, showering me with broken glass. It was at that moment I knew I was going to be a Terrier.

Thanks to you, BU, my disgusting late night meals will never be the same again.

Never, anywhere other than Boston, would a restaurant have cornered the undeserved late night market like the exotic tastes of the International House of Pancakes. While it existed, it was the only non-Store 24 enterprise within walking distance open after 3 a.m. Of course, the pancakes sucked and the service was worse, but the food at IHOP was about as important to the overall experience as the plot of the movie is to a Shannon Tweed thriller.

Yes, sweet deceased IHOP, I still remember the time I came over and ordered spaghetti at the end of freshman year, after my roommate and I had successfully drank an entire 24-pack each of the since discontinued “Miller Lite Ice.”

When my friends found me passed out in your bathroom, right next to where someone else had already thrown-up, I managed to walk back to my table, put down some money on the table and stumble outside before puking in the sweet, decorative bushes in front of Cornwall’s.

Ever since then, every time I’ve walked by those bushes I’ve remembered that beautiful night, and I had planned to show them to my kids before they went to college as an important lesson.

But now my bushes are gone, replaced by a mess of construction vehicles and dirt, and now my kids are going to end up dying of alcohol poisoning. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad I moved to Allston.

It was never your fault when we got sick from drinking, sweet Kenmore. When all the clubs and bars, which had happily taken our money all night long, coolly booted us onto the street at 2:01 a.m., regardless of our condition, you were there to take us in.

What about “Kenmore Pizza and Chinese Food?” You closed after a matter of months, not because of the disgusting combination of foodstuffs suggested by your title, but because a fire destroyed your building and you couldn’t replace it just to have BU tear it down again.

I will always remember my one encounter with you at 2:45 a.m. sophomore year. My friend Jeremy, who could barely keep his eyes open, was taking pictures of club girls while an extremely intoxicated man hung over the railing and yelled “JUICE!” After the 40th yell, the owner finally gave in a handed him an apple juice to get him to go away. If only that worked with girls. If only.

I often walked into “Super Socks” with a specific challenge: finding a single item, any item, in the store that I would want to buy. I never once succeeded.

And what about the Rat? I bet you didn’t know that there used to be live music played in the square, with bands that don’t play in Avalon-style venues. Of course, I never got to go there, because the closed it before I found out about the explosive “Fake ID” market.

Kenmore Square used to be a place that had something I like to call “character.” It was the gateway to Fenway Park, filled with guys selling five-dollar hats and two-dollar pizzas. There never was, and there never will be, any other place like it. Sure, it wasn’t attracting the Beacon Hill 100K+ crowd, but us normal folks need a place to go, too.

And now it’s a mall. It’s Copley Square #2, complete with overpriced chains stores and soon, a luxury hotel. Thanks to BU, the former home of the Rat is now the home of The Gap #246,893 and Barnes and Noble #152,326.

Who knows what exciting new stores will be occupying the hotel’s new storefront? I’m guessing it won’t be the return of The Dollar Store. Maybe it will be that much needed Armani Exchange outlet. For all your shortcomings, BU, you’re sure good at shutting things down. What is “Turkey” going to do now?

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