I love writing about New Haven. It’s my home. It’s where a good number of my friends live. I made a surprisingly popular bucket list list about all the things I’d like to check out. It’s where I play kickball. When I can remember playing kickball.
But it ain’t perfect. In fact, when you tell some people you live in New Haven on purpose and not because Yale makes you, some people go wide eyed with disbelief.
Besides, it’s a lot easier to make fun of the things you hate than the things you love. The material practically writes itself!
So without further adieu, I present the New Haven Shit List, i.e., here’s a bunch of crappy things about this awesome city full of crappy crap.
(I need a thesaurus.)
New Haven Pedestrians Seem to Suffer from Collective Brain Damage
Seriously. Every single day of my life, I see some sad excuse of a human being walk up to a completely empty intersection and hit the “Walk” signal without even looking up. Then, they look around, realize they live in New Haven, and cross the street.
Then I pull up in my car and sit at a Walk signal for approximately seven bajillion hours without a pedestrian in site.
Newsflash, asshole. You don’t live in Manhattan. It’s not that hard to cross a fucking street. Sure, some intersections, like Chapel and Church or Elm and York absolutely require a walk signal. I get it.
But in East Rock? At night? Without anybody around? Come on man/lady. Fucking pay attention.
Nevermind the insane teenagers determined to wander blindly into traffic. Good job, kid. Yeah, I’m not gonna hit you. But in the end, Darwin works in not-so-mysterious ways.
More Irish Pubs Than You Can Throw A Guinness At
I really don’t understand how New Haven supports approximately 800 Irish pubs. I remember when O’Toole’s was opening, thinking to myself, “you know what New Haven needs? Another giant Irish pub with overpriced pints and overly loud cover bands.”
Luckily, they opened up and saved me from being stuck with only Anna Liffey’s, Christy’s, Kelly’s, and Sullivan’s.
(For the record, I love Anna Liffey’s and won’t say anything terrible about it except some people do things in the bathroom which should be probably be illegal in a space that small.)
Westville is Approximately 100 Miles Away
Oh, you want me to come out to Westville and drink at Delaney’s? Oh hey, that’s great. And how am I going to ride my bicycle home? Through the 300 traffic lights on Whalley Ave?
Or, you know… not get stabbed to death in the oh-so-fun part of Whalley and Ella Grasso where the fun really starts. I do wish this neighborhood was a little safer, I guess. But on a plus note… pawn shops everywhere!
(Note: I did once go to an awesome punk rock party on Ella Grasso which was only slightly less awesome due to being the oldest person at the party by about a decade.)
No Bus Has Been On Time, Ever
No, not your fancy-ass Yale shuttle. I mean the real bus. Seriously. you.. do know that people actually ride that thing, right? That shit is always late.
I don’t really have anything to add. Let’s get it together, CT Transit.
The Parking Meter Gestapo
Oooh, you paid for 2 and a half hours but you time ran out at 8:57 when they stop ticketing at 9?
Too fucking bad, plebian, enjoy your $20.00 ticket. You know, if you can even find a spot anywhere near anything remotely interesting. Which you’re not. Don’t be ridiculous.
You’re going to see the people you’re avoiding. Everywhere.
Oh, sure, the nice thing about living in a small city is that when you go out, chances are you’ll see someone you know! You’re never alone!
There’s a dark side, however. That dude you probably shouldn’t have gone out on a date with and ended up texting you 200 times and not taking the hint? Oh yeah. Enjoy running into him at Prime 16.
And once you start crossing off places on the list, (“Can’t go there, that’s where Crazy Lies-About-Birth-Control Mary Hangs out!”), you start running out of options fast.
“Excuse me, sir, do you have a minute to-”
Oh god how do I think of a polite way to say I don’t think giving you money directly is a proper way to help you but while I understand your plight, there are quite a few resources out there to help you out and I suspect panhandling is only making the situation worse?
Nevermind, I’ll just stammer and say sorry and walk by.
Church Street Category 5 Winds
I don’t know if New Haven was designed specifically to create the maximum amount of wind traveling on Church Street as you head downtown. But I hope you’re dressed for a mild tornado.
And that cute skirt? Well. Yeah. About that.
Housing: All the Crime of Bridgeport… with Twice the Rent!
Somehow, New Haven retains the nation’s lowest vacancy rate, which means residents get the pleasure of slumlords charging 2 grand for a downtrodden 2-bedroom apartment in Westville. Sure, you can’t ride you bike to the bar, but hey… at least, uh… you’re near… all the good brunch places!
Come on. This isn’t Manhattan. What’s going on here?
Speaking of brunch…
All the good brunch places are in Westville.
“But Josh, what about The Pantry!”
Psht. First of all, any line that doesn’t end in a roller coaster is bullshit. Second of all, cash only?! What year is it?!
Also, I’m sorry, but.. it’s no Lena’s or Bella’s. There, I said it. (Though many smart people have disagreed.)
And why don’t we have all-you-can-drink brunch like in New York?! The restaurant which figures this out first is going to make a killing. And will receive a nice thank-you card from my therapist for the… damages.
(Edit: Okay, turns out Box 63 does, in fact, have all-you-can-drink brunch. Thanks, readers!)
The Widening Gap Between the Haves and the Have Nots
Sure, your apartment downtown is very extravagant and chic. I’m super impressed with your private pool and your gym and your security lock that keeps all the riff raff like me out.
We hang out at fancy galleries and go to nice bars and drink cheap beer on purpose but it’s easy to forget that New Haven is a large city and not all of it is doing very well.
Newhalville, The Hill, Fair Haven… these neighborhoods need help. And all the downtown development in the world isn’t going to solve their problems. New schools aren’t going to solve their problems (though they probably won’t hurt).
Long-term cultural issues exist. I don’t have any solutions. But for the most part, this city is tragically segregated with little end in sight.
… but I really do love New Haven.
Like everything in this world that isn’t bacon, New Haven isn’t perfect. But goddamnit, it’s my home, and there’s nowhere I’d rather cheat death.
All my love to the Elm City.