One of the reasons I love New Haven is its diversity. Not only is New Haven the most representative example of America, but we have literally every kind of weirdo you can imagine.
Elbow-patched Yalies? Oh yeah. Punk rock townies? Absolutely. Publicly intoxicated drunks rambling about the government? Definitely.
Unlike New York City, where they shovel poor people into the Hudson River, probably, New Haven doesn’t just hide its problems. Oh, no. Our problems are right there for everybody to see.
But that’s just part of the wonder of New Haven. So let me introduce you to all of the strange, wonderful, terrible, amazing people you’ll meet in New Haven.
Disclaimer: This is meant to be humorous and not at all inclusive of the many, many different types of people who live in New Haven, so just delete that angry email draft right now.
The Hipster Townie
The Hipster Townie has several large tattoos, probably on their thighs. Their jean jackets are covered in patches with obscure bands and enamel pins describing exactly how they feel about you: Not great.
They are the anti-Yalie. They resent Yale and generally anything Yale does. They drink PBR, both to save money and because hey, man, it’s the working class beer.
Found at: Three Sheets, Firehouse 12, a DIY house party that will probably end in a fire.
The Inside-the-Bubble Yalie
They didn’t get into Harvard and they’re fucking pissed off about it.
They resent New Haven and see it as a trash city simply because it’s full of and smells like trash.
These people are here for exactly four years (maybe longer cause of med school UGH), but they can’t wait to get out. They might sign up for a local organization to pad their resume, but don’t bother talking to them if you aren’t also counting down the seconds until you can leave New Haven.
They wear almost exclusively Yale outfits and look like they’d drug you if you didn’t have that disgusting thigh tattoo.
Their typical response to finding out you’re a townie is, “You’re FROM here?!”
Usually Found At: GPSCY, Blue State Coffee, Tinder because they do have basic human needs
The Actually Just a Decent Person Yalie
There’s actually a bunch of Yalies who are not totally rich or conceited and totally like New Haven and want to be a part of it.
A lot of these folks are totally great and we make friends with them and those friendships blossom into four-year Rent-a-Friendships before they go on to find jobs at whatever city they’re from or somewhere more exciting (NY, probably).
A few actually stay here to build something, just like Caroline Smith, the first guest on the B2R Podcast.
Usually Found At: Bradley St Bicycle Co-Op, Getting Way Too Involved in Local Alder Meetings
Super-Friendly Homeless Guy With Great Backstory
There’s a few very familiar faces who wander around downtown. For whatever reason, they are down on their luck and tend to either panhandle or just chill around downtown. Most of them are very chill. They don’t bother anybody, all the locals know them.
If they do ask for money at all, it’s usually with a polite sign and they tend to hang at the same spots and even say “God Bless You” when you acknowledge them, which, granted, is just using your guilt, but whatever. Could be worse.
Usually Found At: The Green, Wandering Downtown
Super Unfriendly or Angry Panhandler With Made-Up Story
On the flip side, someone is going to say “hey sir can I ask you a question” and no matter what the next five sentences are, it’s going to end in a requirement of money, typically for a bus pass to get back to <Insert Destination Here>.
Even if you do give them a buck, often they’ll end up demanding more, and then try the same thing on you tomorrow.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t give them money. They probably need it more than you or me. Nor do I want to dismiss whatever they’re going through. But boy getting yelled at by a guy who you gave money to yesterday is certainly not the most pleasant experience.
Usually Found At: Also the Green/Downtown, but Typically at Night, Accosting Pub Drinkers
Forty Year Resident Who’s Seen This Shit Before
These people have been in New Haven for several decades. They’ve seen the good and the bad. Mostly bad.
They saw the “revitalization” of downtown and how that turned into an ugly highway. They know this latest newfangled urban revitalization will probably come crashing down any week now.
They remember bars you’ve never heard of, which they fondly recall despite that fact they mostly sold disgusting light beer and used to beat people up in the streets.
Usually Found At: The New Haven Independent Comments Section, Whatever Bar Is At Regal Beagle
The Pub Goon
These people are often seen sporting their favorite European football club (soccer to us filthy Americans) to bars, restaurants, funerals, you name it.
They drink in the mornings while their teams play. They drink in the evenings because that’s what evenings are for. Do bars even close for them? Nobody knows.
They’re a sub-set of townies, but they’re definitely not hipsters, though they do chain smoke like hipsters.
Found at: Christy’s, cause every other Irish pub burned down or closed shop.
The Quinnipiac/Southern Party Animal
Is it 4 degrees out, but somehow this girl on College St is wearing the smallest, tightest dress you’ve ever seen, and she’s flanked by a guy in shorts and a tank top?
They’re not Yalies. They may not even be New Haven residents. But in some sort of weird reverse bus segregation phenomenon, they’re actually bused in from nearby Quinnipiac (Hamden) and Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven — barely).
They’re going to go line up outside Brother Jimmy’s or Vanity for reasons that are totally beyond your grasp, and you’re just going to want to fetch them a coat, but it’s best not to make direct eye contact, lest you been vomited upon.
Found at: Brother Jimmy’s, Vanity, shouting “woo” random street corners.
Thanks for reading, folks! While you’re here, why not check out the B2R Podcast! We had a lot of fun with Collaboratory’s Caroline Smith and my co-host, Colin Ryan.
Next episode, we interview Trinity co-owner Eddie Higgins, along with my co-host, Dave Form.
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