Eye of the Beholder

A writer goes more than skin deep into beauty pageant culture.

Photo Courtesy of Ernest Hendersen “Contestant number 19.” The announcer’s amplified voice reverberates through the auditorium. I look down at the number pinned to my dress. My legs snap into position, and I begin my walk into the bright light: one and a half large circles around the stage, just as I practiced this morning. I try to smile at the three female judges seated at a table below me and at the audience in rows of school cafeteria chairs beyond, but it’s the mechanical. . . Read more
Arielle Stambler
Building Up

A new take on an old building.

Illustration by Madeleine Witt In 1912, just months after opening, the Taft Hotel was already known for its distinctive modern grandeur. With its domed Tiffany stained glass, the lobby served as a meeting place for the hotel’s notable guests. On a typical weekend night, Yale students and guests crowded the oak-paneled room’s Persian carpets and perched on Colonial Revival-style carved chairs. In the dining room, their conversation rose to meet the glittering crystal chandeliers hanging from an elaborately molded soaring ceiling. Today, a guest at. . . Read more
Caroline Sydney
A Match Made in New Haven

An alternative furniture shop and its quirky owner weather the decades.

Illustration by Madeleine Witt In the late seventies, Yale students flocked to a three-story furniture shop on Whalley Avenue called Rubber Match to buy waterbeds for their dorm rooms. Owner George Zito told the Yale Daily News in 1978 that in the past month he had sold at least a dozen waterbeds to Yale students. On the whole, students were enthusiastically in praise of the mattresses, though one interviewed student noted that “waterbeds are terrible when you’re drunk.”  Her story concluded with the claim that. . . Read more
Isabelle Taft
Guts and Glory

An expert in his field and the “gut” course he teaches.

Illustration by Madeleine Witt In 2006, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Sarah Hughes told Sports Illustrated that “Natural Hazards” was the hardest class she took at Yale. She had caught Professor David Bercovici’s lecture, now called “Natural Disasters,” in an unfortunate semester. After a hopelessly easy 2004 version, “Natty D,” as Bercovici and his students refer to it, was swinging too far in the other direction. Sarah Hughes had fallen into a course with serious math and serious science. Along with most every other non-science. . . Read more
Ben Lempert

The best of course evaluations.

As you write course evaluations for your fall classes or read them compulsively to pick your spring ones (and then throughout the semester to bask in what could have been), pick and choose from these categories of answers to: “How would you summarize this course for a fellow student? Would you recommend it to another student? Why or why not?” These quotes are real. So is their pain and their ecstasy. Short & sweet: Sure Matter of fact: I would recommend [Ethnography of Everyday Political. . . Read more
Vital Signs

A group of activist nurses rethink health care.

“I’ve always had an uncomfortable relationship with institutions,” Peggy Chinn, a professor of nursing, declares from the podium. The audience laughs in agreement. They don’t tend to get along with authority, either. They’ve gathered at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing on a September weekend to find others like themselves at the first Rebellious Nursing! conference. For these nurses, who bring a far-left perspective that’s uncommon in their profession, the weekend promises to be part homecoming, part summit; part protest, part celebration. These “rebellious. . . Read more
Julia Calagiovanni
Brothers’ Keepers

The other side of Project Longevity, New Haven’s much-touted gangs initiative.

On November 26, 2012, twenty-five alleged members of two of the most violent gangs in New Haven filed into the Hall of Records, an imposing stone building with wide white columns on Orange Street. At the door, Reverend William Mathis greeted the young people, all of whom were on probation or parole. Those twenty-five were about to attend the first “call-in” of Project Longevity, a new police initiative that has come to exemplify the practical challenges even the most progressive anti-violence programs face. New Haven. . . Read more
Zoe Greenberg
Top of His Glass

A journey to glassblowing at Yale.

Photo by Caroline Lester Four thin blue flames lick the underbelly of a glass flask as Daryl Smith steadies his blowtorch. With sweat dripping from his forehead, he directs the heat at one of three stumpy tubes attached to the spherical flask. The glass glows white-hot and starts to melt. Just as the tube begins to droop, Smith snatches it away with a pair of tweezers. The tube stretches until all that connects it to the flask is a long, thin thread. When the thread. . . Read more
Ike Swetlitz

How budget cuts will affect New Haven’s hungry.

Photo by Maya Averbuch In a small apartment in Fair Haven, Patricia Stuart goes to get a letter from her bedroom. Family Feud plays in the background as she emerges with an envelope in hand, and begins to read in a low, gravelly voice: “In accordance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, maximum allotments can only remain the same each year until the regular Thrifty Food Plan adjustment increased allotments above those set by the Recovery Act.” In comprehensible terms, the news. . . Read more
Maya Averbuch
Another Bid

A holistic approach to prison reentry.

When Dan Jusino addresses you, he repeats your name at least twice, once toward the beginning, and again at the end. “Juan, come talk to Lara here. Come over, Juan,” Jusino calls to Juan Figueroa, a small 35-year-old with jet-black hair. Other than his tan work boots, he wears all black. When asked what his first impression of Jusino, his boss, was, Figueora immediately responds in a soft-spoken voice: “Intimidating.” Two nearby workers nod in agreement. Jusino believes in honesty and has a strict “no-bullshit”. . . Read more
Lara Sokoloff