Welcome to the Rockies (aka Best of New Haven 2017 Awards)

Happy Snow Day, Everyone Except People With Mean Bosses Or Important Jobs!

Welcome to the WORLD OF TOMORROW, where we only use Bitcoins. Here from 2018, we can properly reflect on all of the GREAT and not so great things which happened in 2017.

In this article, I’ll present a list of totally random awards that I’ve made up for things/places in New Haven. The awards will be fun and topical, like the Ellen DeGeneres show, but if Ellen was a deranged sociopath.

Let’s do this.


The Open-Shirt Jeff Goldblum Award (The Place We Need Now More Than Ever)

Winner: Manic Presents

Jeff Goldblum
New year, same sexy Jeff Goldlbum.

The last year certainly had its share of ups and downs, but the New Haven music and comedy scene was thriving thanks to Manic Presents (as well as Fistful of Jokes and Premier Concerts).

They brought a bunch of huge bands to New Haven, like Phoenix, the Pixies, Regina Spektor, Phantogram, and Explosions in the Sky.

They also brought in comedians Marc Marcon, ,Iliza Shlesinger, Demetri Martin, and Kyle Kinane.

College Street Music Hall
Will College Street sue me for promoting them?! Let’s find out!

Plus, they just booked my all-time favorite band, Godspeed You! Black Emperor into my all-time favorite city, New Haven.

Thank you, Manic Mark. Not all heroes wear capes.

The Brooklyn 99 Award (Thing I Just Realized Is Actually Pretty Awesome)

Winner: Harvest Restaurant

When I first checked out Harvest, I always found it a little touch-and-go. Service was spotty, the food was good but expensive. I don’t know. My initial impressions of it were that it was a lot like a lot of other fancy places in New Haven.

I came here recently for a birthday dinner for a friend, and we ordered a bunch of stuff for the table, and I have to say — I was really impressed by everything.

The octopus, the croquettes, the crab cakes. My meat-loving friends loved the meatballs and steak tartare.

I don’t know what you are, but you are definitely going in my mouth.

Overall brilliant. Like realizing I actually love the zany comedy of Brooklyn 99, Harvest really blew me away.

The Bitcoins Are Real Money Now?! Award (Interesting New Development)

Winners: Pokémoto/Pokelicious/Dashi/Anaya

I haven’t tried them all yet (I’m working on it!) but it’s official: The Poké Bowl Hype Train has arrived in New Haven.

A Poké Bowl is basically deconstructed sushi where you get to pick all of your ingredients (or a pre-made bowl) and bam, you have a giant bowl of sushi-like amazingness. Thanks again, Hawaii. First Obama, now this. You’re killing it.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Stay tuned for a Poke Ratings Article once I get off my lazy butt and actually try all these places. I’m looking for volunteers for a panel if you’re interested.

The Nintendo Switch Award (Coolest New Place)

Winner: ChengDu Food Trail

I assume this place is still owned by the Kudeta/K2/Whatever Other Places this place has been, but despite the same decor and neon chandeliers, ChengDu brings a new concept to New Haven: the hot pot.

Basically, you order some kind of base, whether it’s fish or vegetarian, and they bring you a ton of ingredients, and two sets of broth. They boil the broth inside this recessed heating element in the table in what I can only assume is some ancient alien technology.

ChengDu Food Trail
Who’s the chef now?!

It’s not the fastest way to eat. But it’s pretty neat. I went there with my father recently and we had a really good time. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had a lot of fun doing it. And I burned my mouth quite a bit lacking the patience to wait for my food to cool off.

But overall, you should check this place out.

Edit: Apparently Hot Pot has been around New Haven forever and I’ve just been missing out. You could say it’s my fault, but in a way, isn’t it also really your fault for not telling me about it?

The Seasonal Affective Disorder Award (Saddest Story)

The Not Really Winner: The Trinity Building Fire


Just… ugh.

Yeah, I love Barcade and Ordinary and Firehouse 12 and all those cool hipster bars, but sometimes, you just want to drink a pint and watch some soccer with your friends.

Trinity Bar

Trinity was that home to me, and so many others. Where we gathered at the beginning or ends of nights. Where the bartenders knew your name and penchant for cheap vodka.

Last I heard, they’re hoping to be open for St. Patrick’s Parade Day. I am holding out hope. We all are.

Along with the closing of Anna Liffey’s, Trinity’s closing left a big hole in the New Haven scene. One we hope heals and returns better than ever.

Trinity Wall

The Solar Eclipse of the Heart Award (Best Story)

Winner: New Haven Homicide Rate Hits 50-Year Low

If New Haven is going to continue to grow as Connecticut’s cultural/nightlife/hip center, it’s going to have to shake the image as a dangerous hellscape ruled by the merciless fury of Wesley Snipes.

Demolition Man

New Haven had only 7 homicides in 2017, which was a 50 year record. The city has been making great strides by using a multi-faceted approach to crime.

Project Fresh Start helps released prisoners try to find new jobs and start new lives for themselves. Project Longevity helps identify people who are at a high risk of becoming victims of gun violence, or committing violence against others, and helps convince them to become members of the community.

Project Longevity
Love this logo.

New Haven is full of people who care so, so much about New Haven. Who are invested in their community. Who attend meetings and fight for their beliefs.

People from all stretches of life working together.

And that’s what I love about New Haven: It’s a lot of different kinds of people working together to stitch something together that’s bigger than the sum of its parts.

You had your ups and downs, 2017. But overall, I think you were good for New Haven, and I hope we continue to grow and flourish, culturally, economically, educationally, and beyond.

See you all soon!

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