The Long Road Home

Poppo is standing barefoot in the tiny kitchen, flipping mealy Bisquik pancakes. He is used to cooking for his family; his mother Mary Anne is blind in one eye and reeling from respiratory disease. Poppo drenches three half-cooked pancakes in syrup for Mary Anne, who is sitting on a sunken couch, the only item of … Continue reading The Long Road Home

Blunder Bus

"I’ve never been on a bus before!" said the red-haired toddler seated across from me. He got up and sat down again on the wooden bench in excitement. "It’s your first trolley ride," corrected his companion, a stout black woman. She dabbed her forehead with a handkerchief. But the toddler was right. Though the machine … Continue reading Blunder Bus


The night I met Bobby Speers at the Circle Lanes in East Haven, he was holding a bowler’s cocktail: lukewarm beer in a large plastic cup. I could see why he needed it. The windowless building reeked of stale cigar and pipe smoke, and the neon ceiling lights bathed the alley in a harsh, sterile … Continue reading Pinheads

We Built This City

He cannot help himself: In the small Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (lmdc) office, Alexander Garvin is ever the professor. In the conference room, Garvin, Vice President for Planning, Design, and Development at the lmdc, gestures out the glass window overlooking Ground Zero. He could be pointing at a chalkboard as he traces his finger in … Continue reading We Built This City

Voice of America

On September 19, 600 people packed the seats of New Haven’s Center Church on the Green. Wherever they sat, stood, or squatted, they listened in silence, breathless, their eyes trained on a small, ancient man hunched behind a podium at the front of the church. They listened as his voice, cracked with age, sang out … Continue reading Voice of America

Organized Crime

In the days before 675 people were arrested on College Street, New Haven’s labor unions prepared for action. At the First Methodist Church, 100 students, workers, and interested community members listened to the instructions of Steve Thornton. Thornton is a veteran national labor activist who calls himself a "non-violent direct action civil disobedience organizer." This … Continue reading Organized Crime

True Blue

Yale began creating its own history from the moment its history began. "The Victorious Crew of 1859," a painting held in Sterling Memorial Library’s Manuscripts and Archives, is prime evidence. The rowers in the picture are enjoying their moment, but not in the way the adult coaches in the painting would like. They are not … Continue reading True Blue

A Formal Feeling Comes

The logo was everywhere-popping out from behind doors, cast down from walls, scattered on tables. This cartoony triptych was the spokespicture for Yale’s "September 11th, One Year Later" programming. It was printed on every poster, flyer, and handout advertising the memorial events scheduled a year after the attacks. The logo consists of three pictographs-the first … Continue reading A Formal Feeling Comes

Appraise and Fall

It has stood through years of kiss concerts, third-rate minor league hockey matches, and the debacles of Yale basketball-but for the first time ever, one day this fall, the main attraction at the New Haven Coliseum was the ill-fated Coliseum itself. The concrete and steel monstrosity was transformed into a hammed-up flea market, and everything, … Continue reading Appraise and Fall

Peculiar Institutions

The man sitting next to me pushes his rimless glasses farther up his sunburnt nose, his graying blond hair flipped across his head. Under a navy cardigan, his starched t-shirt is emblazoned with the words "reparations now!" He is one of about a hundred attendees of the "Yale, New Haven, and American Slavery Conference." Co-sponsored … Continue reading Peculiar Institutions