Rebuilt and Recultured

A mixed-income housing development now stands on the site of New Haven’s oldest project. How can the spirit of the old community help us evaluate the change?

An empty storefront on Dixwell Avenue reflects the manicured homes of Monterey Place across the street. The offer of a tour of several New Haven neighborhoods by a self-described “ex-hustler” was hard to turn down for two reasons. The first is that I study cities, specifically housing policy, and have written many a story and paper about what happens to communities when the government changes the type of buildings in a neighborhood and the rules about who is allowed to stay. The second is that. . . Read more
Catherine Osborn
The Pardoners

America’s prisoners attempt to reenter a society that doesn’t want them back.

Virginia Downing, 61, can legally say she’s never committed a crime. Search “Virginia Downing” on any database of court records, and you’ll get nothing. Her record is spotless, indistinguishable from that of the most average, law-abiding citizen. Yet ask her, and she’ll tell you that she’s been arrested “three or four times” in Fair Haven. She began cooking and selling crack in the early 1990s, when she was bored and unemployed. Her friends would come to her apartment after work, begging her to supply them.. . . Read more
Nikita Lalwani
Making Cents of Space

Google Map Maker provides mappers with the tools to chart their own communities, but the corporation’s restrictive policies may limit the scope of these efforts.

Google Maps images of Pachacutec, Peru before and after Daniel Mugaburu began making additions with Google Map Maker. The Peru that Yale librarian Daniel Mugaburu left with his family at age thirteen was a broken country. On August 8, 1990, the night before his departure, the price of gasoline had risen by 3,000 percent. The highway into Lima, once bustling with street vendors and microbuses from the seventies, was lined with mounds of rotting garbage. Terrorist bombings had forced Mugaburu to do his homework by. . . Read more
Ben Mueller
Crossing Streams

New Haven implements single-stream recycling, but some neighborhoods are slow to take advantage of the change.

As I walked through Dwight, a largely residential neighborhood west of downtown New Haven, I saw trash and recycling bins crammed into alleys between buildings and, occasionally, waiting out at the curb. Pickup for most residents was still two days away, but many of the bins were already brimming. The recycling waiting inside those bins, or toters, has recently become a major focus for the city in recent years. In late 2009, the Board of Aldermen authorized a new single stream recycling policy that the. . . Read more
Julia Calagiovanni
Pulling Back the Curtain

The Undergraduate Organizing Committee disbands in an effort to make student activism more visible.

It’s the dead of night. Most of Yale is fast asleep. A handful of students sneak around, using chalk and fliers to “rename” a few residential colleges. They put up signs on Jonathan Edwards College that read “Titus X College,” renaming the seventy-six year old college after one of Edwards’ slaves. On Cross Campus, they chalk the phrase “Emancipate Yale.” Students wake up to these messages the next morning, more confused than angry. Who took the time and energy to do this? And why? Founded. . . Read more
Zach Schloss
We Started the Fire

A small band of eccentric academics tries to use the methods of cognitive science to address questions of classical philosophy—are they crazy, or just cutting edge?

The flaming armchair is the symbol of the experimental philosophy movement. Joshua Knobe isn’t forty yet, but he already has a discovery named after him. Imagine that a chairman of a large company is deciding whether or not to implement a new—and very lucrative—green initiative. The chairman thinks about it for a minute and says, “I actually don’t care about the environment at all. I just want to make as much money as I can.” He implements the policy, the air gets cleaner, and the. . . Read more
Vlad Chituc
A Conversation with Sarah Stillman

Sarah Stillman ’06, journalist, sat down with The New Journal for an interview.

Sarah Stillman '06, journalist, sat down with The New Journal for an interview. Reading Sarah Stillman’s resume is scary. Six years after she graduated from Yale with a Marshall Scholarship, as well as both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Anthropology, Stillman has written for The Nation, The Washington Post, The, and The New Yorker. “The Invisible Army,” which The New Yorker published last June, is a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She sat down with The New Journal to talk about finding her. . . Read more
Flying the Stars

A feng shui consultant converts one skeptic along with her apartment.

My Four Pillars chart is weighted heavily toward Fire. Anyone schooled in feng shui would be alarmed at its extreme skew after performing the requisite set of calculations with my gender and date and time of birth. Fire is associated with red, green, triangles, and rectangles. These colors and shapes in my environment will bring out Fire. Being “born of Fire,” as it’s called, I am susceptible to ailments of the heart and tongue and might seek to improve my health by consuming mushrooms and. . . Read more
Jacqueline Feldman
Apocalypse Now?

Fear of the Mayan Apocalypse is an American cultural phenomenon.

A painting of a dark apocalyptic landscape, John Martin’s 1835 Destruction of the Cities of the Plain, hangs in Michael Coe’s East Rock living room. The Yale professor emeritus of anthropology, still sprightly in his eighties, blinked up at it. The bright-eyed, gray-haired professor pulled from one bookshelf an 1827 print of Paradise Lost illustrated with Martin’s mezzotints. “You could buy these for a song back in the sixties,” he said. Images of the apocalypse recur in Coe’s life. “I went to a church school. . . Read more
Caroline Durlacher
Eagle Eyes

A team of citizen scientists are helping collect data that could improve New Haven’s urban ecology.

“I like to know the names of things,” David Heiser tells me, and his office proves it. The table where we sit is covered with piles of framed and labeled insects with a jewel-like turquoise beetle at the very top. Behind him is an enormous, pastel-colored model of a flower’s insides, which looks vaguely pornographic. And near my hand, the tip of a hairy leg is just visible through the crack in a pouch marked “Tarantula.” As Head of Education and Outreach at the Peabody. . . Read more
Eric Boodman