Instead of complaining about Porter Square, perhaps it makes more sense to secede.
Thanks to the city’s endless gratitude for soldiers and firefighters, there is no shortage of subsquares clustering about and overlapping the larger ones, along the lines of Harvard Square including Brattle Square, but obscure to the point of uselessness (as honors go, it’s sort of like getting an award named after you that’s never given out), and I live in one.
I can be visited in Galvin Square, or, fully, Vincent P. Galvin Square, where Blake Street meets Massachusetts Avenue a couple of blocks down from Porter. It’s where the fire station is, which is reasonable: Galvin was fire chief from May 17, 1960, to Feb. 16, 1965.
In addition to a fire station, Galvin Square is loaded with amenities (car wash, gas station, an automated teller or two and a bank, optometrist, hair stylist, nail salon, dry cleaner and cellular phone shop), and, in the same way I found out upon graduating that I’d minored in history, specializes in limited foods. What does that mean? Well, it has Andy’s, which is open for breakfast and lunch but not dinner, and Buzkashi and Elephant Walk, which are open for dinner and nothing else. It has a combination KFC and Taco Bell, which has limited menus for each crowded cuisine because doing twice as much means having half as much. We have a culinary school that doesn’t serve food and a language institute that, well, doesn’t either. We have a senior center that serves as a polling place during elections and churches for every denomination that happens to be episcopalian.
It’s a good-looking church. And it has places to sit.
It’s a grand place, Galvin Square.
Somewhere out there must be squares for Cambridge’s other fire chiefs, especially for those who served more than five years. I will look around; I suspect I live in those squares, too, and just haven’t seen the signs yet.