Tuesday, October 1, 2019

[NEW HAVEN] Yale Campus Tour


After Brown came Yale. Both Providence and New Haven are accessible via the I-95 and some buses coming from NYC will usually stop in New Haven first before heading to Providence. New Haven is a two-hour bus trip from Manhattan, with both Bolt Bus and Greyhound stopping at Union Station. If you prefer trains, it’s also where Amtrak and Acela stop, but train tickets are much more expensive than bus fares, so this really depends whether you value comfort over money. Travel time is the same, more or less.


My itinerary was to bus to Rhode Island on Monday morning to go sightseeing at Brown, stay overnight at Downtown Providence, and then leave early Tuesday morning for Connecticut for a day tour of Yale. The plan succeeded, albeit with plenty of downtime. What I hate about buses here is how infrequent they are. The only available bus ride from Providence to New Haven was early in the morning. The only bus ride from New Haven heading back to Manhattan left late night, and even got delayed by an hour.


Union Station is not as big as Grand Central. New Haven’s main land transport hub is way smaller, but well-equipped. If you arrive just in time for brunch, then you can choose between Subway and Dunkin Donuts. The terminal also has a food court somewhere, but I wasn’t able to explore it. There are signs saying that no loitering is allowed and that benches are only for passengers with tickets. I stayed there for 3 hours or so but my bus ticket was never checked. Security personnel are ever present, though.


Walking to Yale from Union Station is feasible. On the way, you will pass by downtown New Haven. A leisurely stroll would probably take less than half an hour. I guess this is where my bias for Providence comes in. New Haven has beaches but not downtown, obviously. The capital of RI has the river, and you can always take a scenic stroll there. Downtown New Haven does not have that luxury. What you get is your typical urban grid system devoid of anything noteworthy, until you reach New Haven Green at least.


As the name suggests, it’s a large park where you can just chill and relax and watch people come and go about their daily activities. When I say “people” I mean all kinds of people, including the weird ones. I spent around an hour here in the afternoon after I was done with my campus tour. I sat on a bench and started reading a book but there was a middle-aged guy acting weird, and then a police car came around and two officers talked to the guy. He seemed high as fuck. It’s a public park, but people like that always ruin the mood. Instead of a relaxing time you end up feeling paranoid for your safety. Annoying, honestly.


People aside, New Haven Green can be a good starting point to see New Haven’s old buildings as you make your way to the vicinity of Yale. In fact, the university’s old campus is located just right across the park, with the Phelps Gate unavoidable in all its Old Brick Row glory. These buildings now serve as student residence halls and department offices which include the Connecticut Hall, erected in the 1750’s and said to be the oldest surviving building in the area. Once done chilling here, it’s time to go to Yale!


It’s not that far, and the stroll is blessed with good views as the red brick buildings begin to multiply. Perhaps the downside is that everything starts to look the same after a while given the motif. Aside from Yale campus buildings, the area is also littered with churches, many of them in Gothic style which is always imposing for the unacquainted. If you have spent considerable time in Europe, though, then your amazement will be rather limited. In any case it is a different facade for such a young nation like the US, a more historic side closely linked to its colonial European past. They don’t call it New England for nothing.


Before I reached Yale, though, I passed by this street with shops along Broadway Street. I forgot what the area was called and I think it is technically part of the Yale campus grounds anyway. Aside from shops and a church, the Yale Bookstore could also be found there if you want to buy books and souvenirs like notebooks and the like. It’s right next to Morse College and from there I saw a curious looking tower which turned out to be a gymnasium. Selfie time! Hahaha. And then I walked again. And then some more.


There was a cemetery to my left while I was taking a stroll along Prospect St. I’m not sure if it was this street that was lined up with what looked like colonial suburban houses that I guess also housed various department offices. The tour ended across the modern building of Yale School of Management where you will find the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History with a triceratops statue in front. They had a Babylonian exhibit but since it required paid admission and I am an insufferable cheapskate, I decided against it despite having a lot of time to kill.


So, between Brown and Yale? I like downtown Providence better than downtown New Haven, but Brown’s post-grad offerings are quite limited. They do have a Spanish/Portuguese PhD program hailed as the best on this side of the Atlantic but that’s about it. Yale has more terminal master’s degrees in languages and literature and the campus is way bigger and there are many places where you can just get lost and loiter, which I like. In a parallel universe I’d be pursuing a Yale master’s degree in European Studies, but Yale would be in Providence in that alternate reality, not New Haven. Paging the multiverse. LOL.

[NEW HAVEN] Yale Campus Tour

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