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Lifestyle Travel

Photo by Dan Schlossberg

IN THE USA NETWORK SHOW “SUITS,” EVERY ATTORNEY but one graduated from Harvard Law. And that one, Mike Ross, isn’t really an attorney at all — just a man with a sharp legal mind and a photographic memory. Earning a degree from Harvard Law School, let alone Harvard University, isn’t easy. In fact, the undergraduate school accepts only 5% of applicants per year — keeping its standards high. But there’s still a way to get into Harvard: a company called Trademark Tours runs regular walk-throughs for anyone willing to fork over ten bucks plus a tip for the student escort. Created by Dan Andrew when he was still a student at the Ivy League school, the tour takes 70 minutes, but travels several centuries. The New York Times calls his creation “a theatrical crash course in Harvard history.” And TripAdvisor rates it the top tourist attraction in Cambridge. Its name — the Hahvahd Yahd Tour — symbolizes a tongue-in-cheek approach conveyed by wise-cracking student escorts struggling to pay steep tuitions. Harvard is expensive. And it should be; the alumni roster is a virtual Who’s Who of presidents, politicians, and public figures who made their mark from Hollywood to Washington. Alan Dershowitz, Natalie Portman, and John F. Kennedy walked through the same Johnston Gate where the tour begins. Students enter once when they arrive and once when they leave but otherwise avoid the gate like the plague; it is considered bad luck to use it at any other time. Founded in 1636, nearly 150 years before the American colonies rebelled against the British empire, Harvard sits on a Red Line T stop in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston. Meeting place for the tour is the a few feet from the steps of the Harvard Square station — and next to a historic newsstand that still survives by selling international periodicals. The newsstand wasn’t there when the institution was founded but many other buildings were. George Washington not only slept there but his troops failed to respect school property. Both Massachusetts Hall and Harvard Hall were trashed by Continental Army soldiers seeking safe haven from British redcoats. Even without Dershowitz, the school sued the infant U.S. government for damages and won. Highlights of the Hahvahd Tour include the enormous Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, the largest private library on the planet; Memorial Hall, which resembles a church but is actually a memorial to Harvard students killed in the Civil War; and Kirkland House, where a Harvard sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg created “The Facebook” in an effort to meet female classmates. Although the tour strays only a stone’s throw beyond Hahvahd Yahd, it does pass the Porcellian Club building on Massachusetts Avenue. One of 11 clubs for students, it is also the oldest, most exclusive, and probably the snobbiest: it once

Harvard’s Green building

Photo by Dan Schlossberg

Narrow street near Harvard Yard

Photo by Dan Schlossberg Harvard Yard gate

Dan Andrew, former student and Trademark Tours creator

njlifestyleonline.com

LIFESTYLE | Summer 2016

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NJ Lifestyle Magazine Summer 2016  
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