The New Haven Shit List

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.

Empty Intersection

“Hmmm, better hit the walk signal.”

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.)

Anna Liffey's

Home sweet blackout.

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.

Parking Meter Enforcer

I hope you sleep well at night, Voldemort.

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.

Vagrants Everywhere

“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.

Bad choice.

Wind Walker

Just your normal, every day Church St walk.

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.

Leave a comment ?


  1. > First of all, any line that doesn’t end in a roller coaster is bullshit.


  2. Hilarious! Great post, and I love your captions.

  3. Josh – Whoever you are – this is spot on! Can I post it onto my radio station website? Do you want to call in to my show to discuss it?? Let me know.

    • Hey Vinnie,

      Go ahead and post it wherever you like, always happy to spread the, er, gospel. And let me know, would love to call in, thanks!

  4. Don’t for get pro park ,The “parkin Saprano’s”. I use to have a business on Temple st. and would pay 26,000 a year to validate my customers and then they would screw the customers on top of it. A real joke!

  5. “Look what we’ve got here in New Haven….” I hope this jingle stays in your head for a week

  6. I’ve never been, but I’m pretty sure York Cafe has all you can drink brunch. Regarding The Pantry, it is a breakfast place not a brunch place for one simple reason, no booze. You can’t have brunch w/o booze. fact!

  7. Totally hilarious. ..hahahahaha
    It made my day….lol

  8. Does anyone remember when The Daily Café was closing due to rent problems or something of that nature? The walk light had the hand giving the middle finger? Someone covered all the fingers but the middle one? It was genius and beautiful.

    • Steve told me Yale wouldn’t renew their lease because Yale wanted to kick out “lower class” establishments in order to bring in higher rent ones.

  9. I just found out that Rudy’s has a Saturday and Sunday brunch. How is it? Anyone?

  10. York does not have all you can drink brunch. They do have (very weak) 10 dollar pitchers of mimosas.

    However-Box 63 110% has an all you can drink brunch. One bundled price. And it ain’t half bad! You can thank me later 🙂

  11. Ah, lots of Westville love, or angst. Either way, yay!

    And now there’s another good brunch place over here: Stone Hearth, right on the corner of West Rock and Whalley. And there’s booze, albiet not all-you-can-drink.

    • 1. The city is in the United States.
      2. CT Yankees do not understand African American culture.

      • Because Yale and out of state realtors keep driving rents up, forcing tenants out who then can only afford to move to the projects, or the bad neighborhoods.

  12. This is fantastic! And like any great love affair – you have to take the good AND the bad. I love New Haven!

  13. I laughed til I cried,or was it the other way around.

  14. This made me miss my old hometown!

  15. Seconding the enthusiasm for the roller coaster line.

  16. Manjares in Westville and a little further up West Rock Deja Brew (Coffee, baked goods sandwiches… though Bella’s and Lena’s do have more expensive menus. The Pantry does make bangin’ pancakes.

  17. I meant more expansive menus, but come to think of it, both are probably correct.

  18. Dont forget about the people that stand outside in Fair Haven who yell and scream and hit women on the sidewalk for people to see! Love this town! Lol. Been a resident my whole 26 years of life.

  19. I love it!!! And u couldnt be more right @ Lenas or Bellas…Those 2 places are outrageously priced but then so is most of the stuff and I do mean STUFF in W’Ville..Even the people who live in W’Ville think there r higher priced!!! What is infuriating to me is how much of New Haven is owned by Yale!!! B’Way might as well be called a part of their campus!!! I LOVE NEW HAVEN!!!! Love it, but cant stand the Yalies and their b.s.!!!! TY for this article it is great!!!!
    Manjares has HORRIBLE customer service and overpriced pretentious crappy coffee!!!!

  20. Are you kidding? Manjares has some of the best coffee in town, and is the kind of place that makes me proud to live in Westville!

  21. Like it or not, without Yale, New Haven would be Bridgeport.

  22. I have only lived in New Haven for 5 years but this is spot on!! BUT lets face it…without Yale, New Haven would be Detroit.

  23. I gew up on Ellsworth and, before I got my driver’s license at 16 (1983), I had to get home from downtown by midnight to make curfew. I had to choose between Goffe and Whalley. Goffe was shorter but darker. Whalley just plain sucked but had better lighting and more people (for better or worse). I pedaled very quickly! Still got yelled at, swung at by baseball bats, chased, etc. Those were the days…

  24. This is great ! I do too so love New Haven and will defend it to its death. Easy does it on Westville though –

  25. Shockingly, it is in fact legal to take a right turn on a red light in connecticut. You’ll never know it in New Haven, however, because EVERY SINGLE INTERSECTION has a no turn on red sign. Remember that at two a.m. on edgewood avenue with not a single car in sight. You’ll still get a ticket. Cause, like, actually patrolling the hill or grasso might be dangerous, dude.

  26. Thanks for the Lena’s recommendation. We loved it.

  27. Fiesta of all, Marty, WE New Haveners say all manner of things.

    And I just wanna say, no disrespect to this fine article, but merely as a defense of New Haven– or perhaps as a criticism of the wider world– that many of the issues describe here are issues in many places. I live in Venice, CA, and for vagrancy and the have & have-not rift, this place has New Haven beat. But yeah, I would love to see these issues improve in the Elm City and everywhere… There are no easy answers, there.

  28. Hey genius, if you took the smallest modicum of responsibility you might realize that the poor schmuck who you in incredibly bad form compared to the Nazis has jack shit to do with why you get a parking ticket. That guy who is only trying to put food on his familys table didn’t give it to you, you gave it to you. That guy works a shit job and if he gets off at 9 he probably has to work until then. If you know you’re supposed to pay until 9 is it his fault you were too cheap/stupid to splurge on the extra dime that would have gotten you safely through his shift? Yeah, that’s totally comparable to trying to exterminate the Jews. And its $20 bucks. Do you realize in most, pretty much all cities of comparable size its more? Norwalk is even $25. And that dude doesn’t do his job because he’s a sick fuck who gets off on enforcing the city’s ordinances, he does it because its a job. And when you’re too big of a dumbass to avoid one I’m sure you let him know that he’s a cross between Hitler and Voldemort. What does that accomplish besides putting a chip on his shoulder and making him a bigger dick. At best you can make him feel bad enough quit, only so the 300 people who desperately need a job like his will take his place. Instead of shaming the working class for making a living why not get mad at your elected board of aldermen who were trying to make the meters run until midnight? Or if you’re not bright enough to avoid a ticket stick to your bike? Or move to a city that doesn’t write parking tickets? Oh yeah, because they don’t exist. Stfu and take responsibility for yourself, crybaby.

  29. How about the restaurants like Miya’s who lie about their ingredients and their freshness, screw over their employees by stealing their tips and not putting them on the books and then overcharge like hell for supbar product???

  30. This was a funny read.. for those that love New Haven, grew up in New Haven or live here now I invite you to Join this group on Facebook that is all about New Haven! All are welcomed!

  31. Happy Birthday, New Haven! | Shades of Zero - pingback on April 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm
  32. Sorry, but I lived there for six years. I’d sooner cut my throat than step foot in that shithole again.

  33. Many people will say how much they love New Haven. I don’t. I won’t say that I hate it, because I’m looking for a stronger word than “hate”. Our illustrious ten term “mayor” John DeStefano is largely to blame for many of the problems that exist today. Remember all those promises that “the arts” were going to fix everything? Yeah, didn’t happen. He moved Gateway downtown and took acres of prime real estate off the tax rolls FOREVER. Cutler’s, GONE. Rents keep rising and keep forcing long time residents out of their homes. For now there’s wealthy Yale students moving in, but that bubble will burst soon when they realize you can live in Hamden for HALF of what you’re paying to live in an over priced 360 State St. apartment, and have to worry about wading through a foot of trash in the street, and getting mugged as you leave and enter the building. And mark my words, the Coliseum is going to be a hole in the ground for the next twenty five years.

    They’ve been trying to correct the mistakes of Urban Renewal in the 60’s, that they’re creating a whole new plethora of mistakes in the process. So much potential, WASTED. A lesson in how not to run a city.

  34. How about drivers who ignore the walk light at state and elm to take a right turn on red

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