Flyby Remembers: A Simpler (And Sweatier) Time

By Madison A. Shirazi

Thinking about how a whole generation of Harvard undergrads don’t know what the Pfoho Igloo, Belltower, Mather JCR, Lev G-Hutch, or Cabot Aquarium are makes me a bit sad, really. These places have been relegated to the same fate that LamCaf and Barker Cafe share: freshmen and academic sophomores have no idea what we — the people who were on campus for at least a semester before all hell broke loose — mean when we refer to the former hot-spots.

Long gone are the days when you’d ask your entryway mates where they’re going this weekend and they’d tell you Mather JCR — a (literal) steamy cube of a party space always sure to be blasting music as you walk past. The Aquarium in Cabot used to be the place to be on a Friday night, with lines going out the door and a stampede of people trying to get in. But, as with the many cafes and events that we’ve lost this semester (R.I.P. Crimson Jam and B.o.B.), these party spaces are added to the list. The loss of inclusive, on-campus party spots make it that much harder for freshmen students to find their communities. While keeping in mind Covid is very much still a thing, we can’t ignore that parties are still happening — they just are not happening at these iconic (freshmen) spaces.

I fondly talk about the good ol’ days of trying to navigate the Quad shuttle or find my way through the Cambridge Commons, searching for “Cabot House” or “Pforzheimer” in Google Maps. Though as a Quadling I’ve now become fully acquainted with the (short) walk from the Yard to the Quad, I remember the days of putting in “Mather JCR” into my Google Maps, getting lost, somehow ending up at Pfoho, trying to go home, and then ending up BACK at Mather.

I almost miss the sound of the Quad shuttle dropping off gaggles of excited and boisterous freshmen every weekend. They may have not known where the Igloo was and would be running around the maze that is the Pfoho basement, but it always made me nostalgic to see these ever-eager youngins roaming campus at 9:30 p.m. every Friday night.

But maybe I’m just sugarcoating it here, and some nights the *very loud* energy of the freshmen just served as a reminder that even as a then-sophomore (and current senior), I had lost that naïveté and was a bit jaded. And maybe all the Aquarium parties wouldn’t serve as a pivotal scene in a coming-of-age movie, but, let’s be honest – who doesn’t miss the tried-and-true treks to the Quad that you could always count on for a fun time? Whether it was a party hosted by Model UN or a random club that you’d never heard of but your roommate swore they had a friend in Expos who told them it would be fun…these cringe worthy memories were baked into the transformative Harvard experience.

The Igloo may now be housing extra furniture and storage instead of packed and sweaty freshmen, but the sentiment still remains. We’ll dust off the cobwebs and return to the dance floor soon. Cheers to the mostly good, mostly memorable, and sometimes downright not great (but it’s for the plot!) times we’ve had.

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