Let’s Talk About Speech

A flashy “free speech debate” takes the stage.

The empty stage of the Yale Repertory Theatre looked like the set of a talk show. A black-and-white photograph of the New York City skyline hung in three panels in the center, and two empty frosted-glass tables stood on either side of the stage, each flanked by a black podium. Lights on the walls shifted sunset-like from orange to pink. On March 1, Yale students, professors, New Haven locals, and even high school debate teams shuffled into the Rep clutching grey pamphlets that declared: “Free. . . Read more
Eleanor Womack
Autism at Yale

Navigating the limits of the university’s support.

Elise* ’16 speaks the way most people write—without garden-path syntax, unnecessary repetition, or filler words. Her tone is even and detached, simultaneously emphatic and matter-of-fact. Her lack of facial and auditory expressiveness is common in autistic people and brilliant but abrasive television detectives—but then, I knew what to look for. We didn’t make eye contact. Like many women with autism, Elise received her diagnosis relatively late in life. She was frank about the process. “It sucked. I always knew something was wrong, or off, and. . . Read more
Clara Collier
It’s Easier Not to Think About It

Sewage contamination in New Haven’s out-of-sight River.

Photo by Jen Lu New Haven is a city of unseen rivers. In addition to sitting on the shores of the Long Island Sound, it is part of three separate watersheds—water runs off into three different rivers that run through the city: the Quinnipiac River, the Mill River, and the West River, the last of which is twenty-five miles long and, in New Haven, largely out of sight of the city dwellers. “Some people honestly don’t even know that the river exists,” said Kendall Barbery,. . . Read more
Libbie Katsev
Indaba on Edgewood

A canon for the neighborhood.

Photo by Edward Columbia A three-storey building on the corner of Day Street and Edgewood Avenue bears two side-by-side signs. The first reads, “A Walk in Truth: Christian Books”; the other, “blackPRINT: a Black-American Heritage Gallery.” Hanging in the window to the right of the entrance is a large banner with the words “TELL ALL THE CHILDREN OUR STORY—WE’VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH” in red, black, and green, the colors of the Pan-African flag. Campaign signs for Mayor Toni Harp run along the windowsills,. . . Read more
Edward Columbia
The Second Frontline

Afghan Interpreters face the costs of political refuge.

David Williams (left), Reza Noori (right) As we walk down the unlit hallway of his apartment near West River Memorial Park in New Haven, Reza Noori allows me just a glance into the bedroom that he shares with two other men. Their mattresses lie edge-to-edge on the floor. Smiling shyly, he pushes back his full, black curls. He’s tired from his day of work at a deli in Westport, bookended by an hour-long commute in rush hour traffic. “What I am earning here, this is. . . Read more
Semhal Tsegaye
Missing the Mark

Do the recent changes to the GED close an avenue for social mobility?

In the computer lab at Keefe Community Center in Hamden, Connecticut, Steven Barnes pecks at his keyboard with his right index finger. He is retyping an essay about reusable bags and the environment. Neatly dressed in a checkered blue shirt and rectangular black glasses, Barnes has the clean-cut air of a model student. He runs his own business moving heavy machinery, but he is unfamiliar with the one kind of machine that every small business owner seems to need nowadays. “The first time I sat. . . Read more
Rachel Brown
Evergreen’s Memory Upload

A cemetery app brings the dead to the cloud

The walk to New Haven’s Evergreen Cemetery prepares you for where you’re going. Yale New Haven Hospital, a nursing facility, and the Jewish Home for the Aged line Davenport Avenue leading up to the wrought iron gates. “RIP” is written in Sharpie on metal lampposts surrounding the grounds. Once, I saw the leathery face of a butchered pig lying in the street. But on a Sunday morning, as I passed through Evergreen’s brick entrance, the words “Hello and Welcome…” appeared on my phone over a. . . Read more
Elena Saavedra Buckley
An Urban Love Affair

How photogenic is New Haven?

Self-portrait by Chris Randall Chris Randall spins around to stop a stoop-shouldered elderly woman, moving so quickly that I have to duck his arm. “Hi, Miss, I love your face—may I take your picture?” “Sure, where’s it going?” “I Love New Haven—it’s a website that celebrates people, places, and things in New Haven, and I want to celebrate you!” “Nah, that’s all right.” Randall shrugs off the rejection. “I always start out thinking, oh, no one’s going to let me do this, no one’s going. . . Read more
Elizabeth Miles
The Yarn Bombers

A writer searches for radical knitting activists.

The yarn hung in purple skeins from the ceilings of small tents. It was wrapped into rainbow spirals inside plastic boxes, and interwoven with bright green feathers and small iridescent sequins. Yarn stared up at me from book covers, from brochures, from multicolored quilts stretched over tables, and from the hands of women clicking knitting needles. On a Saturday in October, I was at Stitches East, an annual “fiber experience” for knitters, crocheters, spinners, and dyers. The three-day-long event boasted a marketplace, a fashion show,. . . Read more
Ariel Katz
Paint the Streets

New Haven finds simple solutions to unfriendly roads.

On the morning of Sunday, May 1, 2011, residents of the Audubon district awoke to find a bold new crosswalk at the intersection of Whitney Avenue and Audubon Street. Spray-painted and slightly crooked, the rogue act made headlines around town. Opinions differed—officials said the sight lines weren’t clear enough for a crosswalk, business owners liked that it made it easier for people to get to their stores, and some just thought it looked a little funny. Useful or not, the crosswalk was illegal and officials had. . . Read more
Jillian Kravatz