Living in the Area
Your Smithsonian Identification Card (I.D.) provides you with free access to many museums both locally and nationally. The list below, and the amount of visitors allowed free entry to the museum, is always changing. Consequently, please contact the Fellowship Coordinator if you learn of new and old museums that welcome the Smithsonian Card.
- DeCordova Museum - Lincoln, Massachusetts
- Franklin Park Zoo (+ Guests) - Boston, Massachusetts
- Harvard University Museums - Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (+ Guest) - Boston, Massachusetts
- MIT Museum - Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Museum of Fine Arts (+ Guest) - Boston, Massachusetts
- Museum of Science - Boston, Massachusetts
- Peabody Essex Museum - Salem, Massachusetts
- Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, Illinois
- California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park - San Francisco, California
- Cooper Hewitt Museum (+ Guest) - New York City
- Frick Collection (+ Guest) - New York City
- Huntington Gardens and Gallery - Los Angeles
- Intrepid Air and Space Museum - New York City
- Maryland Science Center - Baltimore, Maryland
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (Donation Suggested) - New York City
- Museum of Modern Art (+ Guest) - New York City
- Robie House - Chicago, Illinois
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 $2.75 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 $2.00.
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.
The Harvard Housing Office provides listings of non-Harvard housing to Harvard affiliates. Click here for information on office location and hours of operation.
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 is necessary.
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 of rent? Security deposit?
- 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 Ave.).
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 account.
Facilities for Working Mothers
Nursing women working, or visiting the CfA, have access to two nice and private lactation rooms. One is located at 60 Garden Street - equipped with a hospital-grade pump, a refrigerator and a sink. The other is located at Cambridge Discovery Park - equipped with a refrigerator. A sink is down the hall and a hospital-grade pump can be leased upon request.
If you require more detailed information, please contact Dr. Antonella Fruscione at #6-7851 or visit her in B-438.
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.
English Lessons in the Cambridge Area
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. Information about purchasing a pass is available.
Also check out Harvard Recreation and Sports for information on all Harvard athletic facilities and membership details.
The Social 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.
The HCO 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.