Billy Ruane Square in Cambridge to be dedicated December 1


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Here’s some good news over an extended holiday weekend: On December 1, the corner of Brookline and Green streets in Cambridge’s Central Square will be renamed “Billy Ruane Square”, in honor of the late Boston music scene icon who passed away in 2010.


The square to be named in Ruane’s honor is not too far from where his ashes rest at The Middle East Upstairs, and sits next to Mark Sandman Square on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Brookline Street, dedicated to the late Morphine frontman. “Billy Ruane Square” will be just outside the doors of live music venue Sonia, at the space of the old T.T The Bear’s Place.

The dedication was approved by the City of Cambridge just last month, and details are expected to be finalized and made public by the Billy Ruane Facebook page in the days leading up to the unveiling. Ruane’s family is expected to attend, and a hang at The Middle East will go down afterwards.

“Billy’s family will be there and we would love for his friends to join,” the page states. “It will most likely be early afternoon at the new Square location (in front of Sonia, corner of Brookline Street and Green Street)… Long live Billy.”


An overly generous person with a larger-than-life personality, Ruane helped shape both the Middle East and T.T.’s by organizing and promoting shows in both rooms in the late-’80s and well into the ’90s. He is considered one of the pioneers of the city’s vibrant music scene.

The charge on securing “Billy Ruane Square” was led by The Middle East and music journalist and historian Brian Coleman, who last year compiled more than 3,000 signatures (roughly 500 online and more than 2,800 physical endorsements) to support the cause and get the measure in front of Cambridge officials.

“I honestly wasn’t that surprised, because Billy touched a nerve with so many people, almost always in the best way,” Coleman told us about the volume of support from petitioners. “You just couldn’t meet him without an impression being made. Just walking around Central Square these days isn’t as fun, because you know Billy won’t come screaming by on his scooter, almost run you over, and make you promise to go to a show. Having that as a possibility always made it more fun in to anywhere in Cambridge. I know a lot of people would agree with that.”


Ruane passed away in October 2010 at the age of 52. He would have turned 61 on November 10.

Featured photo of Billy Ruane at Bunrattys by Mark Morelli, via the David Bieber Archives. It is currently on display at The Verb Hotel in Boston.