Arts and Ideas Festival

Hey, did you hear there was something going on last weekend in New Haven?

Yeah, there was this totally cool bike race, the New Haven Grand Prix. Annnnnd the New Haven Apizza Feast (not to be confused with the New Haven Pizza Festival?). Annnnnnnd the Q Bridge Grand Opening Celebration.

Are you not entertained?!

Well, are you? Because New Haven desperately wants you to be entertained with their food truck festivals and bicycle races and bridge parties.

Blur speed activated!

You like New Haven, don’t you? He’s your buddy. He’s got tons of cool events and stuff.

Oh, sure, he’s a murderous little fuck. He’s got a few blighted parts. And he has some spectacularly deranged friends who keep asking you for money and for some reason can’t seem to just get bus fare together even though it’s been like two years.

But he also knows this cool bar that’s opening up. And he knows about some really great restaurants that make these duck nachos that are to die for.

New Haven wants so badly for you to love it. It wants to be The Greatest Small City in America and even has a hashtag. #GSCIA!

Is it?


… probably not.

But so what? Why does it have to be The Greatest? Can’t it just be a pretty awesome, if not flawed, place?

Yeah, New Haven has problems. Serious problems.

We’ve got some complex crime problems that aren’t going to be eradicated without long-term cultural shifts in parenting, youth intervention, etc. The kinds of problems you can’t solve by just having more cops walking around.

Church Street South (public housing project) is in the middle of one of the most ridiculous, drawn-out, ugly conflicts I’ve ever seen. Apartments condemned, families forced to relocate. I’m sure the city would love to just wipe it off the face of the Earth and build some shiny new apartment complex welcoming people to their visionary Hill-to-Downtown region (utopia?).

Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t.

But say what you want about this city: It’s trying.

Heck, they’re even thinking about these sweet new public toilets.

I can bring my bike into the bathroom with me?!

It’s like the perfect metaphor for the city. We are attempting to create something for the public good which serves us all and provides a fair aesthetic. But there’s also a solid chance it’ll just be ruined by people who don’t give a shit.

But you have to try. You have to pour those blood, sweat, and tears into the city because it is what you make it. And New Haven is small enough that each and every contribution we make counts.

Like the prolific murals of Kwadwo Adae. Or the lovely photographs of I Love New Haven.

Not pictured: Kwadwo’s also prolific retro style.

All around us the changes are palpable. New apartment buildings are seemingly going up overnight. New restaurants are opening all the time.

Hell, we’re even getting a Barcade. FINALLY.

(Which, btw, is pretty much where I’m going to live from now on.)

Listen, I love New Haven. I think it’s awesome. I love that I can walk to work. That I can bike to any bar or house party or Stop & Shop I want (even if that Stop & Shop comes with a lot of street cred).

But it’s a work in progress, and that’s good, too. We’re part of that transformation. As people gravitate towards cities for their culture and events and connectedness, New Haven is at the forefront of growing with that.

I don’t know where the future lies with New Haven. Will the downtown housing boom really work? Are there really enough working professionals to fill all these new apartment buildings?

Will every new restaurant succeed? (Hahhahaha… no.) Will we ever finally get the Canal Trail to go all the way to the beach? Please?

Hey, you never know.

Even the State Street Bridge eventually got fixed.