TV satirist draws line: He’ll give up East Cambridge to get Davis Square


Cambridge will annex Somerville’s Davis Square and Somerville gets East Cambridge in return, according to a plan laid out Sunday on “The Cambridge Rag,” a Cambridge Community Television show hosted by Roger Nicholson.

Nicholson was talking about his intentions to run for City Council and reap a $70,000 salary, but could not describe his platform. At the same time, he noted the amount of time his guest — me, the editor of Cambridge Day — spends in Diesel, the Davis Square coffee shop, and complained that the offices of the Cambridge Chronicle were also in Davis Square, rather than having a Cambridge address. (For the record, Cambridge Day is in Cambridge, near Porter Square.)

On a suggestion Cambridge could incorporate Davis Square, which is the MBTA red line’s only stop outside Cambridge above the Charles River, Nicholson was off and running, delivering an extemporaneous rant about winning not just Diesel, but The Somerville Theatre (to be renamed The Cambridge Theatre), the Burren and other cultural hot spots. At the same time, he suggested residents of East Cambridge would be happy to be reunited with their soul mates in Somerville.

“East Somerville has ruined Somerville and East Cambridge has ruined Cambridge,” said Nicholson, a former resident of East Cambridge.

His plans are sketchy at best. He hopes to hang on to the CambridgeSide Galleria but agrees that the Lechmere MBTA station, Cambridge’s only green line stop, would go to Somerville. Cambridge would also lose several signature restaurants, such as Portugalia and the East Side Bar & Grille, although Nicholson plans to hang onto and possibly expand Inman Square.

A message was left Sunday with Joseph Curtatone, the mayor of Somerville, to warn him of Nicholson’s possibly armed incursion.

People found Sunday night in a deserted Davis Square seemed intrigued by the idea, once they thought about it (and ignored the impossibility).

“Davis Square is expensive enough without being part of Cambridge officially,” said Ana K., a server at Redbones Barbecue who has lived most of her life in the square. “People say it all the time, anyway, that Davis Square is part of Cambridge.”

Micala S., a Cambridge native found studying at the square’s Starbucks (and another person who didn’t want to give a full name) rejected the idea at first, but realized an upside for an area where she regularly spends time.

“Maybe it should switch to Cambridge. I wouldn’t have to find parking every morning — I could park with my Cambridge permit,” she said.

Nicholson said he would return to his plan on future shows, possibly revealing his proposed city borders — and whether he would try to claim Allston and Boston land bought by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — in a week. The show runs at 8 p.m. Sundays on local cable Channel 9.

Update: This story has been updated to say Nicholson is a former resident of East Cambridge, not a current one.


6 Responses to "TV satirist draws line: He’ll give up East Cambridge to get Davis Square"

  1. HeatherHoffman   Monday, March 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    In what way does Mr. Nicholson think East Cambridge has ruined Cambridge (or East Somerville Somerville, for that matter)? Is it by the residents’ being involved and aware of what’s going on rather than complacent? Is it by our fighting for the interests of our neighborhood? I imagine quite a bit of Cambridge government would agree that we should sit down and shut up, but I truly don’t know what Mr. Nicholson is trying to say here.

    Somerville would probably be thrilled to have us, especially if Kendall Square comes with the deal, but Cambridge’s budget would take a huge blow if that happened. After all, East Cambridge (and, to a slightly lesser extent, the rest of eastern Cambridge) are the economic engine of the city, although, from our perspective, the city takes us for granted and is generally unwilling to give much back to us. Somerville, on the other hand, is looking for a commercial base, and we can provide that in spades.

  2. Roger Nicholson   Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Ms Hoffman,
    All I’m trying to say is once I’m elected to City Council I will put forth my agenda of annexing Davis Sq to become a part of Cambridge, and in return, grant East Cambridge to Somerville.

    The reasons for this are quite simple and logical. Cambridge is a wonderful international city, a city full of neighborhoods with forward thinking, politically progressive people which attracts a great deal or artist, writers and musicians. It also is a mecca of higher education, scientific and biological research, and attracts some the worlds greatest scholars and leaders from all over the globe.

    All Somerville is known for it’s lumber yards, domestic violence, and it’s alarmingly high crime rate of armed robberies of pharmacies my drug addled OC junkies.

    The logic is that we in Cambridge should liberate the progressives, the artists and the those living an alternative lifestyle of Davis Sq and free them from the Somervillian oppression they are made to suffer.

    In return, Cambridge would be wise to unburden itself from a neighborhood that contributes exactly nothing to it’s international prestige and to be quite honest, a bit of an embarrassment.

    Kind of like an old rusting Pinto in the back yard that doesn’t run? That’s kind of the way I see East Cambridge.

    The people of East Cambridge have far more in common with the those living in Sullivan Sq anyway, way more than they do with the folks living in Harvard Sq. So why not secede over to them?

    I’m not sure any of us feel that East Cambridge should “sit down and shut up” as you put it, Ms. Hoffman. It’s not like we’re listening away.

    I’m sure i’m not the only one who feels that Davis Sq is a wonderful place in the wrong city. And to show Somerville that we aren’t greedy and selfish, I’d be willing to hand to Somerville a neighborhood more akin to it’s own residents. (And, no, Kendall Square would not be part of the deal..)

    It’s not that I have anything against East Cambridge, its just that every time I’m there it feels like Somerville and how often do I need live poultry freshly killed.

    That and Somerville can inherit James William Lewis, the Tylenol Killer who lives at Pavilion. I almost forgot about him!

    I think it’s a fair trade. The folks in East Somerville certainly can’t be a fan of all the left wing freaks, gays and lesbians that have flocked to Davis Square over the years, and I’m sure East Cambridge would love keep their neighborhood a strong hold of Catholicism and family values. East Cambridge to Somerville and Davis SQ to Cambridge is a perfect swap.

    I hope this cleared up any misunderstandings. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

    Vote Nicholson for Cambridge City Council 2011

  3. Mark Jaquith   Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I invite you to come to the East Cambridge Planning Team meeting tomorrow night. It will be at 7:00 at East End House. 105 Spring Street.

    You could get to know some of the substance that you would sacrifice to style.

    Wear a raincoat and helmet. Just kidding.

  4. Roger Nicholson   Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the invitation Mark!Can I count your vote?

  5. HeatherHoffman   Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Apparently you couldn’t make it last night, Mr. Nicholson. Too bad. I get that you think you’re funny, but attempts to be funny work best when there’s a grain of truth. You obviously know little or nothing about East Cambridge, who lives here or what it has to offer. Many developers have made your mistake of thinking we’re just a bunch of gap-toothed, ignorant yokels, and they’ve had their heads (and occasionally other stray body parts) handed to them. Ask around. You might find out you’re the ignorant one. Then, if you really do live in East Cambridge, join the neighborhood. It’s a great place to live.

  6. Roger Nicholson   Friday, March 12, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    As a matter of fact Ms. Hoffman I could make it last, but then I just went on living my life.
    As a person raised in upstate NY I and I’m no stranger to gap toothed ignorant yokels, and if you need any proof of what I’m taking about, drop in on Puglieses some night, or try the Court Side on karaoke night.
    And who are you to say I’m ignorant, or imply I’m not funny? Do you even know what it is that I do? I get that you think you’re a very smart person, but if that were true you wouldn’t be so unfamiliar with what a satirist is.
    And for the record I do not live in East Cambridge. I did many years ago, but no longer. I live in Cambridge now, which, (just ask anybody)is a HUGE difference.

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