New Haven is Awesome – Part II

Hello again, blog followers. I’m back with the other half of cool things to do in New Haven (so you new students don’t feel totally lost when you get here). I’ve decided to highlight a few more things that pass the time (in between school work and FES events) in the most excellent way.

Music: With NYC only an hour and a half away by train, you can easily access some of this biggest music venues hosting the biggest names out there. However, New Haven has some sweet spots for music as well. And who doesn’t love a little music now and again?

Toad’s Place—Toad’s is probably the most popular music venue in town. It’s right in the center of campus, which certainly makes it convenient. They are always bringing in a variety of acts—remember Hanson? Yeah, that boy band from the 90s? Yeah, they were at Toad’s last year. And I’ve seen rap to reggae to rock shows lined up (I’ve seen Dark StarOrchestra and Michael Franti there, just to give an idea). But beware Thursday and Saturday nights—the place gets overrun with messy undergrads (unless, of course, that’s your thing).

Café Nine—Café 9 has music playing just about every night. Mostly local bands come through this place, but I’ve seen some national acts (generally bluegrass bands) come through as well. The place is small and intimate, which is nice. Covers are usually pretty reasonable, generally in the $3-$10 range.

BMAD—or Bethany Music and Dance for long. Did your ears perk up when I mentioned bluegrass music? Do you love to dance and meet awesome people? Well, once a month, Bill Fisher invites everyone nearby to his house in Bethany (about 20 minutes from New Haven). He’ll call a contra dance, his friends will play some really awesome music, and you’ll have the time of your life.

Nightlife: Even though New Haven is on the smaller side, there is lots to do at night if you’re looking to let loose and have a little fun. You will be able to find anything from a quiet bar to slowly sip bourbon with one or two other people to huge clubs whose beats you can hear from 2 blocks away.

State Street—State Street is the eastern edge of East Rock neighborhood (see the post about finding a place to live in New Haven). This street is lined with restaurants and bars, and since it’s right in the neighborhood, it’s really convenient. There’s a tequila bar, a wine bar, a couple of sports bars, Thai food, Mexican food, Chinese food, breakfast joints (for the morning after), pizza, and more. So, for those of you who end up in this part of town, make sure to make good use of State Street (it took me a long time to discover it!)

GPSCY—the Graduate and Professional Student Center at Yale (pronounced like “gypsy”). GPSCY is owned an operated by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate at Yale (GPSS), which is the student government for all of the graduate and professional schools. GPSCY is open only to Yale graduate students and their guests, and is by far the cheapest place to find a drink in New Haven (free beer on Thursday Nights, you say?). Also, every night offers something special, from drink specials (buy one get one free Wednesday, $2 wells Thursday) to activities (pub trivia Monday and Karaoke Friday). The GPSS holds lots of special events at GPSCY throughout the year—Halloween Party, Mardi Gras party, Mega-Mixers, Speed Dating, and more. Also, FES hosts several of its events at GPSCY (and since you can rent the space for pretty cheap), it means we can take over the bar for a night or two each semester. Wow!

Odds and Ends: There’s just a couple other things I wanted to highlight about New Haven that didn’t really fit in any of my other categories.

Edge of the Woods—A natural grocer. I mention this store simply because it’s a grocery store that tries to follow some the same values that those of us in environment school hold dear. Edge of the Woods carries many local and/or organic foods, is a completely vegetarian grocer (get yer bacon somewhere else, folks!), and puts an emphasis on bulk buying. The only thing about this place is that it’s sort of on the other side of town from FES and East Rock, which can make it a pain to get to and from. Two miles feels a lot further when you’re biking with a big backpack of groceries on your back. That said, I’d still recommend giving it a gander, if such a store is up your alley.

Elm City Market—Our local food co-op. Elm City Market just opened 2 years ago (and was the pet-project of several FES and SOM students). Elm City allows folks around town to become member-owners of the store, paying out dividends when the store turns a profit. It also focuses on carrying local and/or organic products, and does a lot to improve the city (when you bring your own bags, you get to donate 5 cents to the charity of your choice, and the store employs many folks from the underserved populations of New Haven). Also, Elm City is much closer than any other grocery stores in town.

East Rock Park—This is probably my favorite place in the entire city. East Rock Park is our own little slice of paradise, and the land feature for which the neighborhood is named (and which is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the neighborhood). The park has lots of miles of trails for hiking, running, biking, and wandering. There’s BBQs at the bottom of the park (College Park Woods), soccer and baseball fields (Rice Fields), and a great view of the entire city from the top of the rock (elevation around 400 feet). You can also take your kayak or boat, drop it into the Mill River, which winds its way around the park, and float your way out into the Long Island Sound. For those times when you need a little outdoor break, but don’t have the time to escape the city all together, East Rock Park is the perfect little distraction.

Well, I hope that gives you a little better idea of some more of the cool stuff to find in New Haven. Do note that all the places I’ve listed are awesome, but not the only stuff in town! There’s lots to explore here! Also know that Yale does not officially endorse any of these places (except, of course, the official Yale things). They are simply things that I love about this town.

Until next time readers, where I’ll describe my favorite part of the FES program: MODS!