Thursday, June 20, 2024


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.