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Old Man River

Sporting a faded blue sweater, worn jeans, and scuffed white tennis shoes, Peter Davis could almost pass for the average New Havener. That is, until I spot the half-filled eight-gallon oil can in his hand, its contents clearly visible through the plastic. His brow furrowing, he tells me, "I just picked this up ten minutes… Keep Reading

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It Takes Two

On a bright Saturday afternoon, I find my way to the Educational Center for the Arts and stand in the doorway ready to watch the free tango session offered as a part of its quiet reopening celebration. Several people mill around, but no one makes eye contact. The only person in the room, a man… Keep Reading

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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… Keep Reading

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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… Keep Reading

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Pinheads

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… Keep Reading

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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… Keep Reading

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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… Keep Reading

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Cultural Engineering

In the early hours of September 19, 1999, five white men chased down and assaulted a Yale student of Asian descent outside a Howe Street laundromat. The Yale Police Department classified the attack as a "violent crime with apparent racial undertones" but released few details of the case to the public. According to rumors, the… Keep Reading

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What Lies Beneath

This is the story of something invisible. A new power line linking the Connecticut and Long Island electrical grids now lies six feet under the floor of New Haven Harbor. Depending on whom you ask, its placement there last May was either a godsend to a nation in the throes of an energy crisis or… Keep Reading

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Assembly Line Justice

On a crisp afternoon in December, Dora Shaw sent her 15-year-old son Derek to the store for groceries. Somewhere between his house and the corner, two police officers stopped Derek, pinned his arms behind his back, cuffed his hands, and read him his rights. Derek, surprised and afraid, did not resist. The officers were holding… Keep Reading

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