I had recently seen on social media that The Garage in Harvard Square was finally going to be remade and replaced, and so another piece of a Harvard Square institution goes the way of the dodo. I have a couple of memories of The Garage having gone down there a lot in my youth. The earliest memory of it that I can recall is walking up that iconic ramp inside that would lead to the second floor, which is were Newbury Comics is/soon to be was. This was back in the late 1980s. Later on an escalator was installed parallel to the ramp but I can remember before even that was there. Anyways, walking into that store when I was a kid was eye opening.
Earlier in my youth I had got a comic book or two at a local drugstore up the street from my house (which later became the o2 yoga studio, also now gone) but the pickings were slim and once an issue was gone, it was gone, if they had it at all. This was back in the days when Newbury was primarily a comic book store and nothing else, way before they became more the record store they are today. This was around the time the direct market selling of comics was happening – literally places that only sold the books and had back issues that you could buy, and new stuff would come out weekly. That still goes on now but back then it was a new concept. Anyways my mom would always walk with me to The Garage and I would feast my eyes on all the books. In fact, that’s when I seriously got into collecting comics. I stopped doing that now but I did do it for years and still have lots of key issues. I was just glad that I found a place where I could find all the back issues of ROM:Spaceknight that I could find.
After buying my weekly collections of Marvels (never was much of a DC person) we would then head down the ramp and up the stairs to the pizza place that resided in the top front of The Garage before having to walk home, happy with my haul for the week. And we walked in all kinds of weather, even with snow on the ground and bone chilling cold. And we did this FOR YEARS. Towards the end, one of probably my last trips there I can distinctly recall having a slice while My Fair Brady was on the television set up against the back wall.
Eventually I stopped going to the Garage, having gotten older and finding closer and easier ways to get my stuff but I’ll never forget the many times that I did go there, sometimes waiting inside at the top of the ramp, hanging by the payphone waiting for the store to open, looking across the way at the anime store that had all these expensive skimpily attired female anime statuettes behind the glass. Or seeing the punk rockers with all their crazy piercings goofing around after hanging around in “the pit” the next block over. It’s there where I first saw someone sporting an actual blue tall spiky mohawk back in the punk days.
Ok, so maybe that wasn’t much of a story or a poignant remembrance. But I’ll never forget walking up and down that ramp.
I just learned that HBO Max is going to have a documentary on the Janes. Kinda weird how I just finished reading a book about them. Pure coincidence. I might just have to check out it.