to the Center for Astrophysics
Local Bus and Subway System
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), locally known
as the "T," operates area subway, bus, and commuter rail systems.
The closest subway or T stop is at Harvard Square on the Red Line, which
connects the Orange, Blue, Green and Silver Lines (see map).
While fares can vary according to destination, most local travel is $1.70
and requires the exact amount.
Three bus routes (72 Huron Avenue, 74/75 Belmont Center, and 78 Arlmont
Village) begin in Harvard Square and continue up Concord Avenue, with
stops at Bond Street and Buckingham Street that are within easy walking
distance to the Observatory. The bus fare is currently $1.50.
Good bus transportation is also available for those commuting from surrounding
communities such as Arlington and Somerville.
Note: It is possible to buy monthly passes for the subway, the bus, or
a combination. To purchase a pass, go to the MBTA
Website or to the Harvard Square subway stop for more information.
for Astrophysics Map
The Harvard Housing Office provides listings of non-Harvard housing to
Harvard affiliates. Click here
for information on office location and hours of operation. You will need
to show your SAO ID or, if not yet available, a letter of introduction
from the HCO Administrative Office. Please ask Judith
Schwab in the Harvard Business Office, (617) 495-7540, for a letter
of introduction if required.
A Harvard I.D. will qualify an SAO Fellowship recipient to apply for Harvard Housing. Make sure an appointment letter is forwarded for approval. Any applicant must visit the website below and process the on-line application. It is a self service process. Once approved, an SAO Fellow will always have access to the Currently Available List.
Other Housing Resources
Boston area housing can be expensive. If you do not have a car, you will
probably want to live in Cambridge or near public transportation. Boston,
Watertown, Arlington, Somerville, and most parts of Cambridge all offer
good connections and service to Harvard. For more space, then Arlington,
Watertown, Newton, Belmont, Winchester, Lexington, and Concord are good
locations to consider. Outside of Cambridge and immediate areas, a car
In general, a large number of apartments, house rentals, sublets, and
single rooms in shared apartments or rooming houses are available although
prices and accommodations can vary widely. Unless you are extremely lucky,
it will probably take some time before you find a place that meets your
needs. If time is short, a real estate agent can do some of the "foot
work" for you…for a fee. Some items to consider when choosing
an apartment (and before signing a lease) are the following:
- What are the upfront costs: First and last month’s rent? Security
- Who pays for utilities (electricity, gas, water)?
- Does the building have a fire escape or emergency exit?
- Are adequate locks on doors and windows in place?
- Is the building near public transportation?
- Is parking available?
- Is the property well-lighted?
- Whom do you call for emergency repairs?
- Where is trash disposed?
- Are there laundry facilities nearby or in the building?
- What are the requirements for a full refund of the security deposit?
Note: A "lease" is a binding legal contract between you and
the property owner or landlord. Since a lease usually runs from 9 months
to a year, with an obligation to pay monthly rent for the duration of
the lease, it is usually very difficult to break or change. Your landlord
may or many not allow you to find another tenant or sublease your apartment
if you must leave early.
Single-family homes are also available for rent throughout the area, but
are easier to find outside of Cambridge. Keep in mind that utilities—especially
heating costs--can add significantly to the monthly total. If you are
here for a few months or a semester, you may be able to sublet the home
or apartment of an academic on sabbatical leave.
Single rooms in shared apartments are very common in Cambridge. Because
of the high prices of housing, many young professionals, as well as students,
share homes. Rooms in shared apartments are generally not furnished. Rooming
houses are also quite common. They are furnished and usually include linen
service and kitchen privileges. Quality varies.
The two most convenient banks are Cambridge
Trust Company (353 Huron Avenue) and Bank of America in Harvard Square (1414 Massachusetts Avenue). Visitors
from abroad may find it easier to cash a stipend check at Bank of America
branch offices, either in Harvard Square or Porter Square (1847 Massachusetts
When establishing an account, consider the services that best suit your
needs: bank location, availability of automated teller machines, cost
of maintaining a checking account, and ease of banking from home computers.
It is also recommended that you have your passport, Smithsonian ID (if
available), and funds for deposit when setting up your account. A social
security number is often requested but is not required to open a bank
The Center for Astrophysics does not provide child care. But, several
places throughout the Boston/Cambridge area do provide care at varying
costs depending on your particular needs.
Six independently incorporated, tuition-funded day-care centers at Harvard
University are available. The Office
of Work and Family provides information about these centers as well
as a variety of child-care options in Cambridge, Boston, and surrounding
areas. Additionally, the office distributes the Harvard University and
Affiliates Family Resource Handbook, a useful collection of information
on many family resources in the greater Boston area, and schedules lunch-time
seminars for parents on a variety of topics.
The web site
Child Care @ Harvard provides information about
a variety of child care options in the Cambridge area. The child care sites on University
property are independent non-profits and accept applications from everyone.
Unfortunately, the child care scholarships offered by Harvard are for employees only.
Information about nearby school districts is also available.
Public School District
Public School District
English Lessons in the Cambridge Area
Harvard Neighbors Association
Local Language Centers
Cambridge Center Adult Education
The Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center (aka the QRAC, ext. 5-8666)
is located on Observatory grounds beneath the left-hand side tennis courts
(as you enter from Garden Street). Open only during the academic year,
CfA staff may use the facility at lunch time (between 12 noon and 3:00
pm). The QRAC boasts a basketball court, 4 squash courts, 2 racketball
courts, weight room with 50 new exercise machines, and a pool table. Iinformation
about purchasing a pass is available.
Also check out Harvard
Recreation and Sports for information on all Harvard athletic facilities
and membership details.
and Recreational Club, established to help develop a sense of community
at the CfA, supports social and extracurricular events. The Club does
this by raising money from CfA Logo Sales and other
ventures, and using this money to subsidize party gatherings, trips, etc.
Tennis Club extends membership to any CfA employee or student to enjoy
the privileges of a tennis court on campus.
Other opportunities for local recreation can be found in the City
of Cambridge Guide for Visitors.