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New exhibition – The Quantum Revolution: Handcrafted in New Haven

This is it y’all… Like a 24/7 diner hostess working night shifts lighting up a cigarette from their second pack of the day to fell any rush of nicotine, I need to increase my dose of approval to satisfy my ever expending ego. My mum’s unconditional approval is not enough anymore. I need MORE!

Writing on this blog is like a gateway drug. You start feeling the rush of endorphin with each hate comment on my Between Two Rocks satirical posts but I now need even more… Don’t get me wrong, approval from New Haven people is great, but when I see you all crawl out of the bars on Crown Street on Saturday night, I think I need to find a drug that’s not laced with Sunday morning regrets.

You know what I need? The approval of respectable audience! The kind that goes to the farmers market at the opening and make homemade kombucha. The kind of audience that has a New Yorker tote bag and a pile of said New Yorkers unread in the bathroom. The kind of audience that listens to NPR with their colleagues in the car but shamefully switches to KC101 when alone.

I think I am going to have to do it. I think I will have to partner with a dusty museum to showcase a difficult topic and use a color palette for the design of the show coming straight from an emo hot topic t-shirt from early 2000s…

Introducing: The Quantum Revolution – Handcrafted in New Haven, showing at the New Haven Museum from April 13 to September 16, 2022.

Let me catch you up! I’m a French rocket scientist turned manager of a research center on quantum science with a passion for arts & science. When I meet new people, I usually get asked what I do for a living. “I manage the Yale Quantum Institute and I work with quantum physicists”. Almost every time, I am met with blank stares and awkward silences. (The rest of the time, they call me a nerd and give me a wedgie…).

Quantum physics seems so abstract and foreign that it paralyzes my interlocutors, forcing them out of this fascinating subject. The lack of exposure to quantum physics and the cultural assumption it is one of the most complex subjects in physics might be the reasons why people are so reluctant to discuss this topic. When I think about quantum physics, I get excited about cats being dead and alive at the same time, spooky actions at a distance, entanglements… In 2016, when I became the manager of the Yale Quantum Institute (YQI), I wanted the outreach programing to be for everyone, something fun and accessible. And full of art!

Reading “Quantum Physics for babies” in the Yale Quantum Institute laboratories. Photo by Lotta Studio.

 

I met Martha W. Lewis, a New Haven based visual artist, at one of the City Wide Open Studio weekends organized by Artspace (CWOS happens every October, highly recommend!) when she showcased her work in her studio at Erector Square in Fair Haven. Her practice draws from human knowledge and history of science, and she makes, among other artwork, these beautiful abstract landscapes expending technical drawings of parts and schematic into mesmerizing pieces. I hired her as YQI first artist-in-residence in 2017 for which she developed an installation that was showcased at the Arts & Ideas Festival. Since, we continued to work together on art and book projects and on radio shows… Her amazing talent fuels my theater kid personae.

During her residency at YQI, she documented the work performed by quantum researchers (from experimentalists tinkering in the lab, theorist writing equations on whiteboards, to the group discussions in the seminar room) in a series of pencil drawings in her notebooks. Including beautiful portraits of our famous “fridges”.

Martha Lewis’ notebooks

Two of the laboratories YQI has under its umbrella (we have a total of 23 research groups working on all topics in quantum science and information) are focusing on superconducting qubits: the circuit board of quantum computers! This new technology would be able to outperform any classical computers. You might have already heard of quantum computers in the news thanks to the recent technology breakthroughs of Tech Giants like Google or IBM, or from you drunk uncle who wants you to invest in his new own crypto coin because you know… bitcoin disruptive quantum NFT blockchain! I’m sure your uncle is great but stop listening to your family for quantum computers info, stick to the science news sites.

The only teeny-tinny very small practical detail with superconducting qubits is that… they need to be cool down to ABSOLUTE ZERO to function. Yep! That damn quantum computer won’t boot Windows Vista if it’s not at -259F… To give you an idea of how cold this is, outer space is warmer!

The dilution fridges are like Matryoshka dolls (a fridge, inside a fridge, inside a fridge…) that host and cool down superconducting qubits to perform quantum experiments. This is what it looks like: left is “Tennessee”, open and warm (you can see its cans on the right hand side), right is “Vericold”, canned, cold, and running experiments. Photos by Jessica Smolinski.

Hence our fridges. Our students and researchers are using dilution refrigerators to cool down their experiment to almost absolute zero to perform their quantum experiments. The quantum lab started at Yale in the late 1990s with a single fridge called “Kelvinox” and a handful of researchers. Today, they built and run 17 other fridges, became one of the largest academic quantum computing groups in the world, and trained the majority of the superconducting qubit researchers in the quantum workforce. All that from our quint little town known for her pizzas.

The Quantum White Clam Appiza T-shirt

Since they started this field of study, researchers had to build their own prototypes from scratch and the handcrafted nature of each device gives the individual fridges a unique look, function, and characteristics, which prompted Martha to create “family portraits” of these chilly mechanisms. Her portrait are beautifully printed on large metallic sheets and displayed in the museum along cavities, qubits and substrates scattered around the exhibition.

Martha’s pencil drawing of a dilution refrigerators (in order: Badger, Blue, and Dreadnought)

The star of the show is Badger, a dilution fridge built in 2002 in the Becton laboratories on Prospect Street. It famously ran the world’s first two-qubit algorithms with a superconducting quantum processor in 2009. This might sound hard to understand but this was an important technological breakthrough. My boss explicitly forbid me to say this could be seen as the first heartbeat of a quantum computer. So I am not saying it. I AM NOT SAYING IT!

What I am saying is that experiments hosted inside Badger were the prototypes upon which all the current superconducting devices in the lab are built. And I’m saying that all the other quantum laboratories and industry leaders (Google, IBM, Intel…) across the world have since hired all our graduates, widely adopted this technology, and incorporated it in their commercial quantum computers. Our New Haven researchers must have done something right!

We are today at the very early stages of quantum computing, at the juncture when a quantum computers takes up a whole room, and yet is barely capable of an infinitesimal fraction of the computational power of your smartphone. But we are getting there and you should be very excited! In the next 5 to 10 years, we should all see quantum computers outperform any of our most powerful classical computers with applications in cybersecurity, to develop better drugs, optimize complex systems like airline scheduling or improve modeling for weather forecasting.

And probably for a lot of porn… After all, have you seen the phallic shape of that computer?

Badger, the decommissioned dilution fridge who ran the world’s first demonstration of two-qubit algorithms with a superconducting quantum processor in 2009. Photo by Jessica Smolinski.

Since the begin of the article, I’ve thrown fridges names at you. Blue, Dreadnought, Vericold, Tennessee…. Researchers working on their fridges become really attached to their experiments. Human empathy is powerful, and I remember vividly the reaction of one of the researchers who was very offended when I “badmouthed” one of their fridges. There is something extraordinarily special about this relationship. The devotion and love of researcher towards their dilution fridge is a key element of the development of this technology. And they give them names! The exhibition at the museum is also an excuse to discover the delightful stories behind these names (which is truly the best part of the show!). I’ll reveal the story for Badger here, but you will have to come to the museum for the other names!

In 2011, Badger catastrophically broke down. Repairing it would be long and painful, and researchers let Badger sat, warm and unrepaired for a year and a half to use the other new and more efficient fridges. Two researchers, Ioan Pop and Clarke Smith, were courageous enough to try to repair it, but when opening up the device, much to their dismay, they found Badger had much more complex problems requiring even more extensive work than they thought. During the repair, Nick Masluk showed Clarke this viral video:

 

Like the stung honey badger, the fridge woke up from its massive operation like nothing had ever happened (“Badger don’t care!”), and Clarke decided to name it after the very resilient, poisonous snake eating mammal. Yes, that very high-tech quantum device is named after a meme… This is the kind of information you would not see in the Nature peer-reviewed article about the experiment in Badger!

And therefore, the most important equation to ever come out of a research lab since E=mc2 is:

cutting edge tech + viral video = best fridges names ever

This silly video is actually the reason why I wanted to learn about the stories behind the other names (amongst them Moonshine, Lazarus, Smeagol, The Grechka…). For the last two years, I interviewed current and formers researchers, and realized there were something special here. Something untold that I would like to share with everyone.

Martha and I worked on the exhibition narrative, collected (and saved from the trash!) laboratory devices and artifacts to display, researched their use and function, fact checked all the details, designed the look and feel of the show, and created a beautifully illustrated exhibition companion catalog… Oh and soooo much copy editing and back and forth with the Museum. So much!! But it was all worth it.

You cannot imagine how proud I am of this exhibition. It has been a very challenging project to pull off. We made the show is visually sticking to distract you from the fact you’re actually learning! I  hope you will come visit the show and that it will make you to learn more about quantum science. Or at least, not fear it as much.

Thank you to the New Haven Museum for hosting this exhibition. Special thanks to Jason Bischoff-Wurstle and Katie Piascyk for their invaluable help on this project.

Disclaimer: Some scientific details have been altered here for humorous purposes.

Exhibition details

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The Quantum Revolution: Handcrafted in New Haven

Explore Quantum science from the Yale Quantum Institute and view original artwork from Artist-In-Residence Martha Willette Lewis.

In the late 1990s, a small revolution started in New Haven. Experimentalists and theorists at Yale started to focus their attention on quantum mechanics to leverage its properties to build a new type of computer that could, in theory, overpower any of the current computers. After a decade of hard work and several technological breakthroughs, these researchers ran in 2009 the world’s first demonstration of two-qubit algorithms with a superconducting quantum processor inside a dilution refrigerator called Badger.

With this exhibition, we hope to show you what an incredible set of achievements this is. Scattered around the room are cavities, qubits, and substrates (the nuts and bolts of quantum architecture), all invented and handcrafted in New Haven by generations of researchers. The handcrafted nature of each device gives individual fridges a unique look, function, and characteristics, which prompted YQI Artist-in-Residence Martha Willette Lewis to create “fridge portraits” of these chilly mechanisms. For over 20 years, researchers in New Haven have built strong, meaningful relationships with their machines. Each fridge has a unique name, function, and story that we invite you to discover here.

Curator: Florian Carle

Artist: Martha W Lewis

Photography: Florian Carle & Jessica Smolinski

Scientific Consultant: Zhixin Wang

New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Avenue

Open Wed, Th, Fri, 10 am to 5 pm; Sat, 12 noon to 5 pm

Masks are required

https://www.newhavenmuseum.org/

Episode 39: David Valentino

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Local New Haven history buff/gay citizen David Valentino comes in to talk economic redevelopment and life in New Haven in general.

Link to the episode for newsletter subscribers:

  • Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/between-two-rocks/id1361191097?mt=2
  • Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6DugrLlJM1cB2ScwzbUlL2?si=ByC21BYUT2GIamx9eqAvOQ
  • Social landing page: https://share.transistor.fm/s/9142bb53

My Favorite Veggie Dishes in New Haven

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Being a vegetarian is hard, which is why I only do it sometimes, when I feel like it.

But not every bar and restaurant provides fantastic vegetarian options. For many pubs, you’ll be lucky to get a veggie burger which disintegrates when you glance at it or a quesadilla which makes your seasonal depression come back.

Don’t worry, though. I’m here to spice up your life with some hot veggie recommendations.

“But Josh, isn’t unhealthy to eat out all the time?” Who are you my doctor enough with the questions.

Claire’s Corner Copia: Fire Island Sandwich

Claire’s entire menu is excellent and has a ton of amazing vegetarian and vegan options. However, the Fire Island Sandwich maintains a special place in my heart because it does something vegetarian cuisine has a hard time doing: making a really good, satisfying sandwich.

Technically, it’s more of an open-faced sandwich drenched in cheese. But I count it.

It also does the buffalo chicken-like flavor very well. Did I mention it’s covered in cheese. Or vegan cheese, if you’re better than me.

Burrito
This is actually a burrito because I couldn’t find a picture of the sandwich and I’m not a real journalist.

The only downside is they don’t serve it with fries, but it’s a pretty huge sandwich and you’re not likely to walk away thinking you missed out on a pile of fries.

Location: 1000 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510

Order online: https://www.grubhub.com/restaurant/claires-corner-copia-1000-chapel-st-new-haven

Ninth Square Market Too Caribbean Style: Combo Plates

First of all, great name.

If you consider the quality of a restaurant by the sheer quantity of words, this is definitely one of the best restaurants in New Haven.

This lil’ hole-in-the-wall across from the Abandoned LiveWorkLivePlay Dream Parking Lot serves a variety of Caribbean-style vegan food and it’s all shockingly good. You pick a few proteins for like 10-12 bucks and you get this huge plate full of stuff. Last time I got these things which were not pork ribs but they were so much like pork ribs I was like am I… is this okay?

Veggie Plate
I can name two, maybe three of the items in here.

Location: 89 George St, New Haven, CT 06510

Order online: https://www.caribbeanstylevegan.com/

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant: Lunch Buffet

Did you know that the unassuming Ethiopian restaurant right next to downtown stalwart Prime 16 actually has a very good lunch buffet for something like 12 bucks on weekdays?

And did you know that a fair amount of Ethiopian food is quite good, quite vegetarian, and also you get to eat that delicious sponge bread?

Ethiopian Food
Mmm… stuff… on the… bread… thing…

There’s just something about eating with your hands that makes you realize you’re nothing but decaying organic matter on a flying space rock.

They have meat dishes as well if you’re in mixed company.

Location: 176 Temple St, New Haven, CT 06510

Order online: https://www.grubhub.com/restaurant/lalibela-ethiopian-restaurant-176-temple-st-new-haven

They also have a food truck that’s probably somewhere.

Rawa: Hummus

Hummus? Really?

Yes. Hummus.

Normally, when you’re at a bar they have some basic hummus and old carrots and you order it to be healthy and you eat it and it makes you realize you really didn’t need to put on real pants for this.

Yet Rawa has mastered a seemingly basic dish and elevated it to something I actually order out at a restaurant. It’s that’s good.

 

Hummus
College was a pretty weird time for me

It’s not some fancy garlic-and-pepper-with-artichokes-and-heirloom-kittens or whatever hummus.

It’s just plain, awesome hummus.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try out Rawa’s dip sampler. They’ve got baba ganoush. They’ve got mujaddara. They’e got some avocado dip that isn’t Middle Eastern at all but who cares we all love avocados.

Location: 838 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515

Order online: https://www.rawainc.com/online-ordering

Rudy’s: Meatless Nugget Wrap

If you create a product called a Meatless Nugget Wrap, I will eat that product. If only to respect the absolute audacity of creating something called a Meatless Nuget and charging money for it. Goddamnit I’m in.

You know what? Pretty good, actually. And you get frites. With the aioli sauce.

Rudy's Fake Chicken Wrap
Since I don’t drink, I would probably pair this with a nice apple juice

Which means you can get Samurai Sauce which is the best sauce and there will be no arguments at this time.

Location: 1227 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06511

Order online: https://www.grubhub.com/restaurant/rudys-1227-chapel-st-new-haven

Food Mart on Whalley Ave

I don’t exactly know what this corner store is called, but it’s my corner store and it’s on Whalley Avenue and it sells two egg-and-cheese sandwiches for three dollars.

Let me repeat that. This store sells two egg-and-cheese sandwiches in the year 2022 for three dollars.

Egg and Cheese Sandwich
You can also get it on a roll!

Is it the greatest egg-and-cheese sandwich you’ve ever had in your life? Well, I don’t know you. But, no.

Still, for three bucks. Are you kidding?

Good place to buy Rap Snacks, too.

Location: 538 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06511

Order online: LOL

Honorable Mention: Firehouse 12

Okay, so people have been telling me to eat at Firehouse 12 for a long time. Which I haven’t done. Because Firehouse 12 was like one of my spots back when I was a professional Elm City Drunk. So it’s like… I don’t know, not a restaurant in my brain?

People tell me their vegan menu is bomb, though. People tell me things. So you should check it out.

Location: 45 Crown St, New Haven, CT 06510 though their website says they might be closed?? Idk.

Order online: https://firehouse12.eatzy.com/menu


What do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you just hate vegetables and need some kind of Meat List? Are you upset it isn’t just a list of pizzas?

Let me know.

Aerial Guided Tour of New Haven’s Abandoned Industrial Buildings

Yes I know, you are surprised! Finally an article on that blog that is ACTUALLY about New Haven… Taking actions in my own hand, I am here to bring back the NHV content while our lovely editor Josh uses any excuses to talk about non-New Haven related stuff, like his cool comic life in New York, or some other TRIVIAL subjects like mopeds or his crippling depression.

I want to bring you on an aerial tour of my favourite abandoned buildings of New Haven. What are my qualifications? Well… I have a drone and a lot of time to kill…

The city had a vibrant industrial past (New Haven was world famous for their clocks and Winchester firearms; told you had time to kill) but consolidation and modernization of industries, delocalization, and the building of I-95 highway through New Haven cut off entire industrial blocks and lead to the departure of many company and you can nowadays see buildings slowly deteriorating if you go for a walk down Chapel Street past Wooster Square and the overpass.

Saving the buildings, or at least recording the history of these building, is becoming a strong concern of a lot of people like Film Director Gorman Bechard who is making a crowd-sourced documentary on the Hamilton Building, New Haven Museum Curator Jason Bishoff-Wurtle who made an exhibition called Factory about the industrial past of New Haven, or Professor of Urbanism Elihu Rubin who runs community-based and student-driven research projects like New Haven Industrial Heritage Trails, the New Haven Building Archive or the Yale Urban Media Project. If you want to hear about their work, two of them were guests on the Between Two Rocks podcast (Bechard on Episode 31, Bishoff-Wurtle on Episode 35). Look at me, making synergistic blog posts!

But after all, this article is mostly an excuse to justify to my friends that living under a highway bridge near the Mill District River is rather cool, and I hope all the fancy drone footage I took will be enough to make them stop calling me a “bridge troll”.

The New Haven Clock Company Factory building

133 Hamilton St

When you talk about factory buildings, the royalty of all factory buildings is the New Haven Clock Company building on Hamilton Street! This building had many many lives. It was built in 1866 to host the clock factory where 1,500 workers, mostly immigrants made clock which were exported all over the world.

Fun fact, I grew up near the clock given by New Haven to her sister city Avignon in France (Place de l’Horloge, town hall building) before moving next to the factory that made it. Yes, you are right, I managed to turn an article about old buildings in a foreign country all about myself. It’s called talent!

The New Haven’s plans for the urban renewal of Wooster Square were enacted in 1958 and marked the end of the clock factory. While the plan did not include the destruction of the building, the factory closed a few years later.

Since, the building was used as a rave site where the Yale School of Architecture students hosted Sex Balls in the 1980s, multiples clubs that changed with the musical areas (punk and then R&B), an indoor skate park (it was basically Jordan’s without the ugly furniture), and in the 1990s, it became the largest LGBTQ club of the State with hot tubes in the courtyard! Nowadays the best you can do it get a covid igloo in a back alley… And finally, it was a strip club/steakhouse (meat on display at Score I guess) which was more or less squatting the factory and was forced to vacate the building in 2019 with $57,000 in back rent, that the eviction lawsuit stipulates, must be paid in singles. Make it rain baby!

Currently, the building is plan to undergo a massive clean up (bye-bye radium!) and will be turned, thanks to a $4M+ brownfield state investment, into a mixed-used building. For those not aware of this concept, a mixed building is a term used by investors when they want State or Federal grants and cannot really tell them they want to just build luxury condos for profit. So they say mixed and add to their renovation plans a coffee shop and an artist studio between the 500+ new $3000/m studio rentals, and highlight the one and only tiny affordable residential unit tucked in the back by the garbage chute (if possible with a separate entrance!).

A documentary about the building is currently getting filmed and should be release in late 2022.

The English Station

510 Grand Avenue

The English Station, sitting silently on Ball Island (a former lumberyard in the early 1800s) on the Mill River is probably one of the most prominent industrial building, visible from the Q Bridge when you enter New Haven. It was named after James Edward English, Governor of CT in the mid-19th century and prolific industrial who retired from the lumber business and purchased a bankrupt clock factory in 1853, re-established the business, and turned it into the biggest clock company of the world (hint hint).

Built in 1929, the United Illuminating power plant burnt coal and later oil, until the Harbor Station built in 1974 on the East Shore made it obsolete. It ran as a reserve power plant during period of high energy demand until the 1990s, and got sold in 2000. After a fail attempt to reboot the power plant in the early 2000s, an environment study highlighted an incredible amount of pollutants and UI kindly and generously offered to clean the site after the State sued them (bye-bye PCBs!). Any respectable abandoned building ought to be sued at some point, otherwise, you’re not really a New Haven building!

And for the last 20+ years now, UI is trying to clean the site to the bare legally-required minimum possible (the building would be safe if you stay less than 6.7 hours a week inside, so maybe not that safe?) while the current  owner who, you guessed it, wants to renovate the power plan into a mixed building (*cough* luxury flats with a coffee shop *cough*). UI, the current owner, and the State are in a deadlock arguing during environment meetings how much to clean and who will pay (probably us…). More info can be found in the New Haven Independent article of May 2021.

 

I am not sure what they are going to do with this beautiful building, but trying to make a place you can only stay a few hours a week profitable is going to be a challenge… Maybe some “health” guru can invent the new craze and open a polychlorinated biphenyl spa!

The English station remains one of my favourite spots in town (what can I say, I like toxic relationships) and you feel so small when you kayak on the Mill River around Ball Island and this silent giant. Silent but deadly.

Special mention: New Haven Armory

290 Goffe Street

Photo courtesy of Art Space – Taken during the City Wide Open Studio in 2018

 

Sorry no drone footage of the New Haven Armory, it is located too close to the New Haven Correctional Center and I was rather scared the guard would shoot my drone down (thinking I was filming policy brutality…?).

Located on Goffe St, this former gun factory was turned once a year into an art exhibition space thanks to Art Space’s City Wide Open Studio in October before the building became too decrepit to be safe for public. Bummer, it was a very cool space!

Outside, you can still see the 2017 art installation Pool Noodles by mathematicians/artists Dan Gries and Dan Bernier, and the students of the Common Ground School who used pool noodles to create a mosaic made of cut pool noodles. It’s always fun to walk by the building and look at the windows.

Tidal Marsh and the abandoned part of Cedar Hill Train Yard

200 Universal Dr, North Haven

On Sundays, you go to Target (Don’t lie, I see the lines out the door!)

On Sundays, I go behind the Target parking lot. (Not helping my Troll status…)

Located at the intersection of New Haven, North Haven and Hamden, if you follow the markers of the Tidal Marsh Trail, you will find hidden in the outgrown vegetation an extensive network of decommissioned train tracks, overhead lines, light poles, and switch towers. Built in the early 1890s, Cedar Hill Yard was a classification yard at the intersection of the New York, Hartford, and Boston train lines, to dispatch the freight onto their correct tracks. The Yard was expended and extensively used during the two World Wars (nothing like a good global war to boost the local economy, Shop Small might consider starting a major conflict, just saying).

Cedar Hill Yard in 1977 – Photo by Jack Boucher, National Park Services

History footnote, on August 29, 1928, the Yard was the stage of an attempted sabotage on an express train to steal the $2M worth ($30M with inflation today) of gold with spiked on the tracks. A yard employee stopped the train in time at only 30 feet from the spike. New Haven was like the Far-West with renegades attacking trains for gold! I feel the need to start wearing boots with spurs and chew tobacco!

And like the rest of New Haven industrial buildings, in the 1970s, the yard started to be successively sold to companies trying to make it work with the dwindling demand, the shift to road transport, and the deindustrialization of the region. A large chunk of the yard was left abandoned for nature to take the track over in a very Blair Witchy vibe, with only a small section left used for freight classification (and therefore you’ll be stuck behind a snail-paced Metro North for hours in your fancy Acela!).

Exploring the overgrown yard is an amazing experience: you can experience first hand an apocalyptic world where human gone instinct and nature took over once more. It’s incredible to see how much 50+ years of nature does damage to human built structures. Bricks are eroded, metal is eaten by rust, and gigantic steal towers are toppled to the ground. Make sure you have your Tdap and go play in the industrial ruins. If you explore deep enough, you will find the only inhabitant of the yard: a massive polar bear made out of freight containers.

Bonus, the marsh is next to the last standing frozen yogurt place nearby New Haven so you HAVE to get one each time to go visit the Yard. Frozen yogurt was basically the next wave of the industrial past of New Haven. And like its predecessor, the Frozendustry closed in the late 2010s and delocalized when the Pokédustry took all their storefronts. What a shame!

The images and videos in this article were taken with a DJI Mavic Pro drone with pre-approval of the FAA thorough the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) to access the airspace under Section 44809.

Additional drone footage of New Haven factory building can be found here.

Thank you to my brother-in-law Gregory and my sister Pauline for letting me use their drone (don’t tell them I crashed it into the goal post of the Yale Bowl…)

 

 

 

 

 

What New Haven Can Steal From New York

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I tried a month of New York Living and I will not shut up about it.

It made me appreciate New Haven, which I wrote about. But it also made me realize New Haven, being a much smaller city, also lacks so many of the things that make a larger city special.

Well, we should steal those things. The ones that make sense, anyway. We probably won’t be able to open as many milk-based bars or American History Museums.

Hot Dog Vendors in the Park

You can only spend so much time in a park before you need a hot dog. That’s what scientists are saying.

Sooner or later, you’ll want an ice cold beverage or some kind of snack. It doesn’t have to be anything obtrusive. Allow a few hot dot/drink vendors to setup in Edgewood Park, East Rock Park, the Green. People are way more likely to stick around for a little while if they can get a snack or a drink. People forget to pack stuff.

Taltal13, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I always make fun of my friend Monica for over-preparing, but she always has snacks. Well, the rest of us just want some snacks. Seems like an easy win for the city, people spend a few bucks, eat a hot dog, look at a few trees, everybody wins.

Public Restrooms

Imagine yourself walking on a gorgeous spring day in New Haven. The cherry blossoms are blooming. Yale’s gothic architecture towers above you, the smell of local restaurants waft through the air. It’s almost perfect.

Except you have to pee.

But what are your options? You could use a Port-a-Pottie on the Green, which is a great spot for realizing that losing your sense of smell to COVID is not entirely terrible.

Larger parks in New York City all have public restrooms. Someone works there. It’s clean. People can use it. It’s great.

Instead of going home, you use the facilities and keep walking around and spending money. Bam, I’m an economist.

How much could a bathroom possibly cost to put in, like a million bucks? Come on. That’s like 1% of a school. Let’s do this.

Developed Shoreline

It is so goddamned ridiculous that New Haven’s most valuable, ocean-front-ish property is a giant highway interchange.

But you know what? The west side of Manhattan has the West Side Highway and they still had the decency to give everyone nice running tracks and piers with bars and cute little parks which jut out from the walkway.

See, it doesn’t even have to be nice and people will still be like OOOOH WATER

Listen. Food Truck Paradise was… an idea. And it’s absolutely a great way to concentrate discarded trash in a nice, convenient area for everyone to look at together.

But we can do better. This all needs to be built out. Build out some wood piers for walking, put out vendor places to bid, some cool little waterfront dining options.

Maybe enforce some parking laws and noise ordinances, who knows, the sky’s the limit.

The Empire State Building

What if we stole… the most famous building in the world. Okay, hear me out.

We gather a ragtag bunch of con-artists, safe-crackers, ballet dancers, and hackers.

Obviously, they all have to be incredible looking.

And we steal the Empire State Building.

“What, this building? No, it’s been here the whole time.”
Aniruddhags, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We’ll just tell them this is another, different building, and we haven’t seen their building but we heard New Jersey was doing some shady shit.

Bring Back Bike Share

In early 2020, with COVID looming, New Haven’s bike share company suspended service indefinitely.

After all, what could be more dangerous than people riding their bike outside.

In fact, the implementation of New Haven’s bike share was… spotty, to be generous. The app was difficult to use. The company put ugly McDonald’s mini-billboards in a variety of neighborhoods. The whole thing was kind of a disaster. New Haven-style, if you will.

Well it’s almost 2022, and still no bike share. Even though CitiBike in New York is enjoying record numbers, we’re just sitting here using our legs like neanderthals.

Doug Hausladen enjoying headier days before anyone actually tried to use these things.

Of course, Yale has a bike share. And what could be more New Haven than a transportation service exclusively for Yale affiliates and nobody else. Free shuttles and bike share for them, and for us… well, I’m sure the bus will eventually come.


Let’s get it together, New Haven.

We aren’t going to compete with New York or Boston or even DC or Philadelphia.

But we can still do better. We can be a city that instead of people saying, “Oh, this city is a bit more fun than I thought,” they’ll say, “Oh, New Haven is significantly more fun than I thought and also it was really nice that I was able to find a bathroom and hot dog.”

Just promise me you’ll name one of the bathroom stalls after Between Two Rocks.

Episode 38: Hive Hair Studio

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A new episode of the podcast features the owners of the Hive Hair Studio! We talk everything hair, and it mostly devolves into making fun of Josh. Available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.

Direct link for Newsletter subscribers: https://share.transistor.fm/s/f12d99bd

Twitter Developer Community Chapter in New Haven

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Note: This is a guest article written by Tim Storck to try to convince you to nerd out with him about Twitter. I let Tim write it cause I am an Extremely Nice Fellow, and this counts as my One Nice Deed of 2021. Back to mean!

What Am I Talking About?

Twitter Developer Community is run by Twitter (you’ve heard of them, right?), and consists of resources for software developers who work with the Twitter APIs. Local chapters are organized by volunteers, with TDC’s assistance.

Who Is This For?

Probably not you.

Well, unless you’re a technology geek/programmer, like me. In which case, it’s for you! If you want.

What Is It?

I am starting a New Haven chapter for the Twitter Developer Community. We will be scheduling both online and in-person events. Events may include informal networking meetups, technical talks, Q&As with Twitter engineers, hack sessions and hackathons (which is like a hack session except you also lose your weekend).

Obivously for the most part Hackathons are browing Facebook.

Tell Me More…

Twitter offers a large set of capabilities through its APIs. You know. Tweets, analytics, the amount of sadness each Tweet generates (a lot).

The main API, called the Twitter API, has numerous endpoints for getting and posting data. Twitter recently launched v2 of the AP, which is much easier to work with and offers new features.

The three broad categories of people who tend to interact with the Twitter API are: professionals, academic researchers, and hobbyists (that’s us!).

This could be us, working on Twitter together.

Professionally, many developers and agencies are focused on the marketing opportunities provided by Twitter. In fact, some are focused exclusively on trying to generate viral marketing from this exact data.

Remember how much we all laughed at Wendy’s throwing shade at Burger King? Those were the days. Now it’s all very lame. We’re cooler now. But for a second we were all pretty psyched about Wendy’s Twitter account.

In the modern information ecosystem, viral marketing is essential. And it’s cheaper than traditional advertising, while also providing more exponential exposure. If utilized effectively, it can grow your online reach enormously. Professional firms know this and focus on it using systems like the Twitter API.

Look at this guy being like, this is Twitter and we need it for marketing blah blah blah

Social media integrations also work symbiotically with other forms of marketing. When you go viral with your adorable tweet about puppies or whatever, now people are coming to your Facebook page and learning about your business! Which has nothing to do with puppies! Suckers!

On an academic level, Twitter has become central to the public conversation. Journalism, current events and society at large all take place in the Twitter-verse. Hell, we had a President who basically half-existed on Twitter.

In the modern world, information is the greatest currency, and its exchange is online. Online influence is more relevant than ever, and the dynamics of how this plays out is a subject of interest among strategists, analysts, and researchers. Twitter offers an academic research track for universities interested in this kind of leading-edge social research. Many studies by major academic institutions are providing valuable insight into modern channels of influence.

Siri find me a picture about social media I won’t get sued for using

The Twitter API is also fun for hobbyists who enjoy creative software design. The API rules allow for many forms of innovative applications. Software can be a medium of creativity and many developers enjoy using their engineering skills for personal projects, and produce great work. Sometimes, a side project becomes a main project. Sometimes a side project becomes nothing (usually when Josh does it). Because Twitter is a social platform, creative tools can be tailored for social impact and even tools for activism.

So, developing Twitter apps can be fun and beneficial, fellow kids. These local Twitter Developer Community events can be a way to meet other technologists, learn about social media integrations, and discuss projects.

To join the New Haven TDC chapter, follow this link to the Meetup group, and join the group. Events will be posted soon. If you plan to begin developing for the Twitter API, get out there and request a developer account.

Episode 36: Home Sweet Home

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Josh returns home after a month in Brooklyn. Shawn almost usurps the podcast. Colin remains Colin. We talk about New York City vs New Haven and what it means to be home.

Direct link for Newsletter: https://share.transistor.fm/s/0961c0f9

Quick poll: Do you want to be notified via the website when new podcast episodes are released or just stick to text posts?

How New York Made Me Appreciate New Haven

I spent a month living in Bushwick, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

Some say this truck is still there to this day.

It was an experiment. I’ve lived in Connecticut my whole life. A feeling of stagnation was growing inside of me. I craved change in my life. New beginnings. New locations?

But before I upended my entire life, and dealt with all of the associated consequences (like my house), I figured I’d try it out for a month. See if I enjoyed it. If it was worth the cost, both financially, emotionally, and logistically.

What I found surprised me.

New York City is Amazing

First, let me say it: New York City rules. I get why people love it. There really is no place like it.

New York City
The $75 view from the Empire State Building

The amount of culture, food, things to do, tourist attractions, public transportation, weird art spaces, performances, book stores, vintage shops, and everything else is truly something to behold.

For an aspiring comic, there are open mics all over the city happening seven days a week. If you hustle, you can get on stage several times a day, every day.

For a gamer, you can find an awesome eSports Bar in Bushwick where they serve frozen Cokes and let you play League of Legends with your friends on sick PC’s.

For a dancer, the Brooklyn Mirage hosts tons of great electronic artists and features an amazing outdoor dance party where I am probably the only sober person within a full square mile.

Brooklyn Mirage
Not pictured: The quantity of MDMA coursing through everyone’s veins

The magic in New York is in its massive population: With so many people pursuing so many things, it opens up so many niche possibilities. It doesn’t matter if only 0.1% of the population enjoys something: there are enough New Yorkers to warrant its existence.

I remember after a night dancing with some new Romanian friends at the Mirage, I got home and thought, “This could only happen here, in New York.”

But the question remains: Is it worth it?

The Cost of New York

New York City, as everyone knows, is prohibitively expensive. People complain about New Haven rents, but you can live like royalty here for the price of a shitty studio in a bad neighborhood in NYC.

Rents for decent one bedroom apartments in New York? You’re looking at $3,000 at the very minimum. Probably significantly higher.

Also, everything costs more. Jar of peanut butter? Six bucks. Pint of Halo Top ice cream? NINE BUCKS?! Come on did someone have to escape Squid Game to get this thing to me?!

This joke is not going to age well.

Yet the greatest costs, to me, were not really the money (though it matters).

The greatest cost is in space.

You don’t realize how much space matters until suddenly you don’t have any. When you’re squeezing into tiny bathrooms and have nowhere to put your stuff in your bedroom. When you’re standing shoulder to shoulder on the subway. When every single park you go to is swarming with walkers, talkers, sunbathers, runners, people blasting music of every variety under the sun.

There is no escape. The only solace is in your own apartment, which is in a building with another 500 people squeezed in it. Every cough, every sneeze, every orgy is yours to hear.

What New Haven Has

One of the things I love most about New Haven is its strange combination of city and nature. It has its downtown, and its popular neighborhoods. But it also has suburbs and public parks of an enormous variety. If you want to see a ton of people, go to East Rock. If you’re looking for something more quiet, go to Edgewood Park or West Rock.

It’s really nice, actually!

The beach? It’s not an hour and a half subway ride to Coney Island. It’s a 15 minute ride to Lighthouse Point. Or West Haven. Or East Haven. Or Branford.

You can go out downtown, play some arcade games at Barcade, get some food at Pacifico, some ice cream at Arethusa, and ride your bike back to East Rock and suddenly it’s quiet again. You can hear the crickets. You can hear yourself think.

Also, you can park a car. Listen. I know. I don’t love cars. But let’s face it: If you’re buying furniture at Ikea, you don’t want to bring that shit on the subway. You probably don’t even want to put it on your scooter. You want to bring a car, and you don’t want to spend two hours parking it. Which, you’re in luck! Not a problem at all.

Plus, we have comedy. I host a monthly show at Trinity Bar! You should come to that. Please come. I’m so lonely.

What New Haven Needs

Oh boy can I fill a book about this. And I will, in a future article. I have ideas. And I am ready to yell at whatever government official I need to in order to get this done in 5-10 years.

You Should Get a Moped

I recently got a new job. Yayyyy.

And as a reward to myself for acquiring a new job, I did what any red-blooded American would do: I spent the money I didn’t even have yet with a shiny credit card.

I bought a moped.

Or a scooter. I don’t know.

See, mopeds are actually bikes with motors. Which are not e-bikes. So technically, most “mopeds” are scooters. But scooters are also those little things you stand on and stop you from dating.

I digress.

So I bought a moped.

Here it is:

Now just imagine me sitting on it and looking extremely cool.

And you know what? It’s awesome. I thought it would be fun, and I was right. It is super fun.

You should get one, too.

You don’t even need a motorcycle license if you get a 49cc model, which is the most comical workaround.

“Okay, we are going to build an engine that is so, so close to being technically not a bicycle but don’t worry it’ll be 1 CC short” you goddamn geniuses.

New Haven is a Perfect Moped City

New Haven has everything you want in a moped-friendly city:

  • Mostly flat
  • Not too big
  • Plenty of signs and bike racks to lock up to
  • Totally insane drivers who don’t respect anything
  • Ok that part isn’t good but at least they’re used to cyclists

I love bicycles as much as the next blogger. Maybe moreso.

Proof of me being extremely cool with a bicycle

But a ride to Lighthouse Point Park is almost a full hour from my house. And that’s a sweaty ride. Using my legs like some kind of caveman.

Yet on a moped it’s something like 20 minutes and I don’t have to sweat unless I think really hard about something like climate change or which pizza I like the most.

Plus, you look extremely cool. Especially if you wear a helmet. Girls and guys and others will be like “Damn who is that mysterious stranger on that lil 49cc moped I wonder if they’re single.”

I am.

Are you cooler than Jim Carrey? I don’t think so.

More Than Enough Power

When I purchased the moped (through New Haven Power Sports on Whalley Avenue), the salesman told me a lot of folks get a scooter/moped and then immediately want to get a motorcycle because they enjoy it so much.

Not me. I’m like, “Wow this thing is fast enough… I… don’t think it’s a good idea to drive something that goes like 10 times faster than this.”

via GIPHY

Granted, going up a hill reminds you that you are a tiny spec of dust in an ever-expanding universe, but you already knew that. On flat land you can get that baby up to 40 mph which is more than enough speed for any New Haven street. (More, really.)

Plus, if you hit a pedestrian, they probably won’t die! (Except of embarrassment.)

European Travel

Every time I’ve traveled to Europe (which is a lot due to being Extremely Cultured), I’ve always marveled at how many mopeds there are on the roads. Due to the high population density, mopeds are a great way to get around Europe. They’re efficient, they’re easy to drive, they can get in between cars which is both fun and dangerous.

I always wondered why we don’t have more mopeds in America. Probably because we’re so obsessed with being cool. I’m not saying it’s all James Dean’s fault, but he certainly didn’t help.

What’s your problem, James?!

So when someone is like “wow nice moped geek” just be like “I am extremely European” as they are already walking away high-fiving their friends.

Save the Earth

Lastly, driving a scooter is totally environmentally friendly. My moped gets 84 mpg. Eighty-four!!! Like that book everyone compares everything to.

Just wait until you go to fill it with gas and the things takes $3.00 worth of gas. It’s not even easy to fill you gotta go real slow cause it takes about 10 seconds to fill the thing. Think what you can do with that time! Learn Japanese! Play the piano!

This could be you!
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/frederikmagle/16077808711

The only thing stopping you from being a Japanese-speaking piano virtuoso is your car and how long it takes to fill the gas tank, plus the enormous cost as gas prices rise.

While everyone else is bitching and moaning about gas prices, you can just laugh on your way to the bank (via moped).

Isn’t it Dangerous?

Sure is!

But life is short, so you might as well enjoy it a little bit. Is it more dangerous than, say, sky diving or bungee jumping? I don’t know and I refuse to look it up, but probably.

But I am still alive as the time of this publication, so it’s probably fine! (And if I die afterwards, think how funny this will be!).

We Can Start a Moped Gang

Let me know when you get your moped so we can start a gang where we travel around and harass business owners by telling them how much we enjoy their delicious products.

via GIPHY