Friday, August 10, 2012

Skull&Bones 9

The first and lonely week in the life of the Yale cohort chaperon, after his charges abandoned him.

The best way to get to know a city is to walk it. So, every morning, I ran: through the colleges, past the cemetery and the engineering buildings, up Science Hill, around the sustainable farm, and up Prospect all the way to East Rock Road, where Yale’s  Hogwarts impression is reinforced by the gates and campus of another university, Albertus Magnus College.

view of New Haven and harbor

East Rock Road leads—down a leafy, opulent lane—to East Rock Park, with its river, its marshes, and the rock itself, crowned by New Haven’s old War(s) Memorial (Revolutionary, 1812, Mexican, and Civil), with 360 degrees of city vistas. Up the rock, down the rock, and back to Whitney Ave. via Willow St. through slightly less imposing, but nevertheless charming neighborhoods adjacent to campus on its eastern side. South on Whitney, past the Peabody Natural History Museum, through campus and back to New Haven Green—about an hour and a half, two hours.
War Memorial, East Rock Park summit

Bordering the west side of town is West Rock Park. Running College St. all the way to Edgewood Park, and then running north through it will take one to West Rock Park. No river, but plenty of trails and woods, which empty out onto Common Ground High School, with its organic gardens, then the Jewish cemetery, then SCSU, Southern Connecticut State University. Down Crescent St. along Beaver Creek Park, onto Goffe, and all the way back to campus. Two hours.

So these were two of my favorite, most tiring runs. There were others, just as interesting. Here’s a thing worth mentioning: New Haven, especially downtown and its environs, are often put down as dangerous, ghetto-like areas, to be feared and avoided. (As Americans, we despise the poor when they are white; we despise and fear them when they are brown.) And while it is true that there are many poor, and/or homeless, and/or inebriated people the area (the latter two mostly concentrated around the Green), I never felt in the least bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, there are many more areas of town that are stereotypically charming; one just has to ambulate more than a couple of blocks from the hotel. (But, as Americans, fat chance of that…)

So, every mid-morning, I’d get back to the hotel drenched and tired; and running water, air conditioning, and some midday Olympic action would restore me. That first week in New Haven was hot, so I avoided the outside in the hours around noon, instead spending them reading, or doing some online research.

There are many summer programs that East Coast Schools offer. Most of them, however, aren’t really “programs.” Boston College (http://www.bc.edu/schools/summer/bce/), for example, has an incredibly wide range of classes that it offers to high school students, as well as residency options; further phone calls confirmed that they actually prefer out-of-state kids. So does Amherst (http://www.giftedstudy.org/Residential/amherst/). The most interesting summer program is the Tufts Adventures in Veterinary Medicine program (http://www.tufts.edu/vet/avm/resources/avm_schedule_2012.pdf), run by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. This program also prefers students from out-of-state, and is not averse to taking multiple kids from the same district, although they say it’s never happened before. To get into this AVM program, one has to not only have the highest academic credentials, but also the animal credentials. I imagine that for those WCCUSD students who volunteer at animal shelters, or raise dogs for the blind, or for hospitals/hospices—who’ve worked with animals in some capacity and have a real passion for the work—the Tufts AVM summer courses would be a dream-come-true.

In the afternoons, once the worst of the heat was past, I’d go on campus and read, and wander some more. One of the days I actually took the Yale Tour, something the cohort missed because we got in late that Friday and only had time for the info session and the engineering tour. One of the highlights of the tour is the introductory video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGn3-RW8Ajk. (For the actual—paraphrased—tour, see Skull&Bones 11.)
Our Lady of Circulation, Yale Library

Evenings that week were dedicated to developing my taste as a connoisseur of New Haven’s pizzas and beers, which are varied and absolutely heavenly. Just as Yale is the cat’s meow of colleges, so must New Haven be the same for the college cuisine. The Yale student, I imagine, is no glutton, but rather a refined palate; and once of age, the Yale student is no swiller, but rather a discriminating sipper.

Class all around, then. 


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