New Haven was founded in 1637-38 by Puritans led by Theophilus Eaton and John Davenport. It was one of the first planned communities in America and was the chief town of a colony that later included Milford, Guilford, Stamford, Branford, and Southold (on Long Island). Its government was theocratic; religion was a test for citizenship, and life was regulated by strict rules (see blue laws). In 1665 the colony was reluctantly united with Connecticut; it was joint capital with Hartford from 1701 to 1875.
In the late 18th and early 19th cent., New Haven was a thriving port. Manufacturing grew, and New Haven firearms, hardware, coaches, and carriages became famous products. New Haven was raided by a British and Tory force in the American Revolution, and the port was blockaded during the War of 1812. The world's first commercial telephone exchange was established there in 1879.
Since the 1950s, New Haven has received national attention for its pioneering urban renewal projects. The nation's first antipoverty program began there in 1962. Despite these improvements, the city suffered a serious race riot in 1967. New Haven's manufacturing-based economy has since declined, and by 1990 manufacturing employed less than 20% of city's workforce.
The city centers upon a large public green, dating from 1680, on which stand three churches built between 1812 and 1816—Center and United churches (both Congregational) and Trinity Church (Episcopal). Many old buildings have been preserved, and there is a historic district. Landmarks in the city are two traprock cliffs—West Rock, with the Judges' Cave, and East Rock. Noah Webster and Eli Whitney lived and are buried in the city.
See R. G. Osterweis, Three Centuries of New Haven, 1638-1938 (1953); N. W. Polsby, Community, Power, and Political Theory (1980).
One year after its founding in 1638 eight streets were laid out in a grid of four streets by four streets creating what is now commonly known as the "Nine Square Plan," which is recognized by the American Institute of Certified Planners as a National Historic Planning Landmark. The central common block is New Haven Green a 16 acre square, now a National Historic Landmark and the center of Downtown New Haven.
New Haven had the first public tree planting program in America, producing a canopy of mature trees (including some large elms) that gave New Haven the nickname "The Elm City."
The city is the home of Yale University. Along with Yale, health care (hospitals, biotechnology), professional services (legal, architectural, marketing, engineering), financial services and retail trade form the base of the economy. Since the mid-1990s, the city's downtown area has seen extensive revitalization.
Before European arrival, the New Haven area was the home of the Quinnipiac tribe of Native Americans, who lived in villages around the harbor and subsisted off local fisheries and the farming of maize. The area was briefly visited by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block in 1614. Dutch traders set up a small trading system of beaver pelts with the local inhabitants, but trade was sporadic and the Dutch did not settle permanently in the area.
In April 1638, five hundred Puritans who left the Massachusetts Bay Colony under the leadership of the Reverend John Davenport and the London merchant Theophilus Eaton sailed into the harbor. These settlers were hoping to establish a better theological community than the one they left in Massachusetts and sought to take advantage of the excellent port capabilities of the harbor. The Quinnipiacs, who were under attack by neighboring Pequots, sold their land to the settlers in return for protection.
By 1640, the town's theocratic government and nine square grid plan were in place, and the town was renamed Newhaven from Quinnipiac. However, the area north of New Haven remained Quinnipiac until 1678, when it was renamed Hamden. The settlement became the headquarters of the New Haven Colony. At the time, the New Haven Colony was separate from the Connecticut Colony which had been established to the north focusing on Hartford. One of the principal differences between the two colonies was that the New Haven colony was an intolerant theocracy that did not permit other churches to be established while the Connecticut colony permitted the establishment of other churches.
Economic disaster struck the colony in 1646, however, when the town sent its first fully loaded ship of local goods back to England. This ship never reached the Old World, and its disappearance stymied New Haven's development in the face of the rising trade power of Boston and New Amsterdam. In 1660, founder John Davenport's wishes were fulfilled and Hopkins School was founded in New Haven with money from the estate of Edward Hopkins.
In 1661, the judges who had signed the death warrant of Charles I of England were pursued by Charles II. Two judges, Colonel Edward Whalley and Colonel William Goffe, fled to New Haven to seek refuge from the king's forces. John Davenport arranged for these "Regicides" to hide in the West Rock hills northwest of the town. A third judge, John Dixwell, joined the other regicides at a later time.
New Haven became part of the Connecticut Colony in 1664, when the two colonies were merged under political pressure from England, according to folklore as punishment for harboring the three judges (in reality, done in order to strengthen the case for the takeover of nearby New Amsterdam, which was rapidly losing territory to migrants from Connecticut). Some members of the New Haven Colony seeking to establish a new theocracy elsewhere went on to establish Newark, New Jersey.
It was made co-capital of Connecticut in 1701, a status it retained until 1873. In 1716, the Collegiate School relocated from Old Saybrook to New Haven and established New Haven as a center of learning. In 1718, the name of the Collegiate School was changed to Yale College in response to a large donation from Welsh merchant Elihu Yale.
For over a century, New Haven citizens had fought alongside British forces, as in the French and Indian War. As the American Revolution approached, General David Wooster and other influential residents hoped that the conflict with Britain could be resolved short of rebellion. But on April 23, 1775 (still celebrated in New Haven as Powder House Day), the Second Company, Governor's Foot Guard, of New Haven entered the struggle against the British. Under Captain Benedict Arnold, they broke into the powder house to arm themselves and began a three-day march to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Other New Haven militia members were on hand to escort George Washington from his overnight stay in New Haven on his way to Cambridge. Contemporary reports, from both sides, remark on the New Haven volunteers' professional military bearing, including uniforms.
British forces under General William Tryon raided the 3,500-person town in July 1779, but did not torch it as they had with Danbury in 1777, or Fairfield and Norwalk a week after the New Haven raid, leaving many of the town's colonial features preserved.
|Towns created from the original New Haven Colony|
|New town||Split from||Incorporated|
|Woodbridge||New Haven and Milford||1784|
|East Haven||New Haven||1785|
|North Haven||New Haven||1786|
|Orange||New Haven and Milford||1822|
The city struck fortune in the late 18th-century with the inventions and industrial activity of Eli Whitney, a Yale graduate who remained in New Haven to develop the cotton gin and establish a gun-manufacturing factory in the northern part of the city near the Hamden town line. That area is still known as Whitneyville, and the main road through both towns is known as Whitney Avenue. The factory is now the Eli Whitney Museum which has a particular emphasis on activities for children, and exhibits pertaining to the A. C. Gilbert Company. His factory, along with that of Simeon North, and the lively clock-making and brass hardware sectors, contributed to making early Connecticut a powerful manufacturing economy; so many arms manufacturers sprang up that the state became known as 'The Arsenal of America'. It was in Whitney's gun-manufacturing plant that Samuel Colt invented the automatic revolver in 1836.
The Farmington Canal, created in the early 1800s, was a short-lived transporter of goods into the interior regions of Connecticut and Massachusetts, and ran from New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts.
New Haven was home to one of the important early events in the burgeoning anti-slavery movement when, in 1839, the trial of mutineering Mendi tribesmen being transported as slaves on the Spanish slaveship Amistad was held in New Haven's United States District Court. There is a statue of Joseph Cinqué, the informal leader of the slaves, beside City Hall. See "Museums" below for more information.
The Civil War boosted the local economy with wartime purchases of industrial goods. After the war, New Haven's population grew and doubled by the start of the 20th century, most notably due to the influx of immigrants from southern Europe, particularly Italy. Today, roughly half the populations of East Haven, West Haven, and North Haven are Italian-American. Jewish immigration to New Haven has left an enduring mark on the city. Westville was the center of Jewish life in New Haven, though today many have fanned out to suburban communities such as Woodbridge and Cheshire.
New Haven's growth continued during the two World Wars, with most new inhabitants being African Americans from the South and Puerto Ricans. The city reached its peak population after World War II. The area of New Haven is only , encouraging further development of new housing after 1950 in adjacent, suburban towns. Moreover, as in other US cities in 1950s, New Haven began to suffer from an exodus of middle-class workers.
In 1954, then-mayor Richard C. Lee began some of the earliest major urban renewal projects in the United States. Certain sections of Downtown New Haven were destroyed and rebuilt with new office towers, a hotel, and large shopping complexes. Other parts of the city were affected by the construction of Interstate 95 along the Long Wharf section, Interstate 91 and the Oak Street Connector. The Oak Street Connector (Route 34), running between Interstate 95, downtown and The Hill neighborhood, was originally intended as a highway to the city's western suburbs but was only completed as a highway to the downtown area, with the area to the west becoming a boulevard.
From the 1960s through the early 1990s, central areas of New Haven continued to decline both economically and in terms of population despite attempts to resurrect certain neighborhoods through renewal projects. In the mid-1990s New Haven began to stabilize and grow, though poverty in some central neighborhoods remains a problem.
New Haven in 1970 witnessed the largest trial in Connecticut history. Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale and ten other Party members were tried for murdering an alleged informant. May Day, 1970 saw the beginning of the pretrial proceedings for the first of the two New Haven Black Panther trials; it was met with a demonstration by twelve thousand Black Panther supporters, including a large number of college students, who had come to New Haven individually and in organized groups and were housed and fed by community organizations and by Yale students in their dorms.
The demonstrations continued through the Spring. By day protesters assembled on the New Haven Green across the street from the Courthouse to hear speakers including Jean Genet, Benjamin Spock, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and John Froines; afterwards, many taunted the New Haven police, and in return were tear gassed and retreated to their temporary quarters. The police behind them half-heartedly assaulted the dormitories, as was customary for such demonstrations at the time, but on the whole it was peaceful, with very little injury or property damage and only two minor bombings. The National Guard were kept ready on the highways into the city, but police chief Jim Ahern determined that the city police were controlling the situation adequately, and that the presence of the Guard would only inflame the situation; the events at Kent State University a few days later were to prove him prescient.
This coincided with the beginning of the national student strike of May 1970. Yale (and many other colleges) went "on strike" from just before May Day until the end of the term; as at many colleges it was not actually "shut down", but classes were made "voluntarily optional" for the time and students were graded pass/fail for work done up to then.
Since the mid-1950s and spearheaded by its former long-serving mayor, Richard C. Lee, New Haven has undertaken numerous urban redevelopment projects, but with overall mixed results. The downtown area in particular has been the site of sometimes dubious experiments in urban redesign, with new hotels, retail complexes, parking structures, a sports colliseum, and office towers built under a labyrinth of city, state, federal and private efforts. Of recent note, as each of these pieces of the redevelopment puzzle transform, become obsolete or again redeveloped, New Haven tends to bear the brunt of a fair share of painful analysis in regard to its ongoing rebuilding efforts, mostly in response to the overhyped claims of success that many similar projects touted over a generation ago.
During the 1950s and 60s, New Haven received more urban renewal funding per capita than any city in the U.S. New Haven became the de facto showcase of the new modern redeveloped city and plans for its downtown development were featured on the cover of Time Magazine in the early 1960s. Some projects, such as the brutalist-styled New Haven Coliseum (demolished in 2007), drew major crowds but were ultimately considered to be victims of modernist over-design and rapid obsolescence. In 2004, the central structure of the mall was converted to luxury apartments, joining a renovated 4-star Omni hotel and new street-level retail. Other numerous smaller projects have in-fill design qualities and are mixed-use.
Current plans for downtown include developing the sites of the Colliseum and Macy's and Malley's department stores and relocating Gateway Community College, Long Wharf Theatre and a mixed-use development there. A major focus has been the "Ninth Square", named from the original nine square layout of New Haven center. This area has experienced an influx of hundreds of new and renovated apartment and condominium units, plus a significant number of upscale restaurants and nightclubs have opened.
John DeStefano, Jr., the current mayor of New Haven, has served seven consecutive terms and was re-elected for an eighth term in November 2007. Mayor DeStefano has focused his tenure on improving education and public safety, as well as on economic development. Notable initiatives include the Livable City Initiative, begun in 1996, which promotes homeownership and removes blight, and the Citywide Youth Initiative. In 1995, DeStefano launched a 15-year, $1.5 billion School Construction Program, already half finished, to replace or renovate every New Haven public school.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.2 square miles (52.4 km²), of which, 18.9 square miles (48.8 km²) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²) of it (6.91%) is water.
New Haven's best-known geographic features are its large deep harbor, and two reddish basalt "trap rocks" which rise to the northeast and northwest of the city core. These trap rocks are known respectively as East Rock and West Rock, and both serve as extensive parks. West Rock has been tunneled through to make way for the east-west passage of the Wilbur Cross Parkway (the only highway tunnel through a natural obstacle in Connecticut), and once served as the hideout of the "Regicides" (see: Regicides Trail). Most New Haveners refer to these men as "The Three Judges." East Rock features the prominent Soldiers and Sailors war monument on its peak as well as the "Great/Giant Steps" which run up the rock's cliffside.
The city is drained by three rivers, the West, Mill, and Quinnipiac, named in order from west to east. The West River discharges into the West Haven Harbor, while the Mill and Quinnipiac Rivers discharge into the New Haven Harbor. Both harbors are embayments of Long Island Sound. In addition, several smaller streams flow through the city's neighborhoods, including Wintergreen Brook, the Beaver Ponds Outlet, Wilmot Brook, Belden Brook, and Prospect Creek. Not all of these small streams have continuous flow year-round.
Downtown New Haven, occupied by nearly 7,000 residents, has a more residential character than most downtowns. The downtown area provides about half of the city's jobs and half of its tax base and in recent years has become filled with dozens of new upscale restaurants, several of which have garnered national praise (such as Ibiza, recognized by Esquire (magazine) and Wine Spectator magazines as well as the New York Times as the best Spanish food in the country), in addition to shops and thousands of apartments and condominium units.
New Haven's economy originally was based in manufacturing, but the postwar period brought rapid industrial decline and factories were shuttered; the entire Northeast was affected, and medium-sized cities with large working-class populations, like New Haven, were hit particularly hard. Simultaneously, the growth and expansion of Yale University further effected the economic shift. Over half (56%) of the city's economy is now made up of services, in particular education and healthcare; Yale is the city's largest employer, followed by Yale-New Haven Hospital. Yale and Yale-New Haven are also among the largest employers in the state, and provide more $100,000+-salaried positions than any other employer in Connecticut.
The US Census Bureau estimates a 2006 population of 124,001; the 2000 census lists 47,094 households and 25,854 families within the central municipality, the City of New Haven. The population density is 6,558.4 people per square mile (2,532.2/km²). There are 52,941 housing units at an average density of 2,808.5/sq mi (1,084.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 43.46% White, 37.36% African American, 0.43% Native American, 3.90% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 10.89% from other races, and 3.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.39% of the population. Non-Hispanic whites make 35.57% of the population, but demographics are shifting rapidly: New Haven has always been a city of immigrants and currently the Latino population is growing rapidly. Previous influxes among ethnic groups have been: African-American's in the postwar era, and Irish, Italian and (to a lesser degree) Slavic peoples in the prewar period. The large undocumented population in New Haven is also severely undercounted; estimates place as many as 10,000 illegal immigrants (mostly Hispanics) living within the city.
As of the 2000 census, of the 47,094 households, 29.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.5% include married couples living together, 22.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 45.1% are non-families. 36.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.40 and the average family size 3.19.
The ages of New Haven's residents are: 25.4% under the age of 18, 16.4% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age is 29 years, which is statistically very young. There are 91.8 males per 100 females. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $29,604, and the median income for a family is $35,950. Median income for males is $33,605, compared with $28,424 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,393. About 20.5% of families and 24.4% of the population live below the poverty line, including 32.2% of those under age 18 and 17.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2001, the New Haven metropolitan area has the third-highest per capita income in the country, third behind San Francisco and Silicon Valley, California. Yet a 2006 analysis of a slightly differently-defined urban area showed New Haven to have the 32nd-highest per capita income; while a significantly lower figure, this still placed New Haven in the top 10% highest per-capita income metropolitan areas in the country.
Today New Haven is a predominantly Catholic city, as the city's Dominican, Irish, Italian, Mexican, and Puerto Rican populations are overwhelmingly Catholic. Jews also make up a considerable portion of the population, as do Black Baptists. There is a growing number of (mostly Puerto Rican) Pentacostals as well. New Haven is part of the Archdiocese of Hartford. There are churches for all major branches of Christianity within the city, several Jewish synagogues, multiple store-front churches and ministries (especially in working-class Latino and Black neighborhoods), mosques, and other places of worship; the level of religious diversity in the city is high.
There are institutions immediately outside of New Haven, as well. Quinnipiac University is located just to the north, in the town of Hamden. The University of New Haven is located not in New Haven but in West Haven.
The school district is called New Haven Public Schools Almost all have been renovated under a 15-year, $1.5 billion School Construction Program; the immense effort to improve city public schools is slowly erasing the bad reputation that New Haven public schools had acquired in past decades, though it will yet take years to see if the program has truly been a success.
New Haven has many architectural landmarks dating from every important time period and architectural style in American history. The city has been home to a number of architects and architectural firms that have also left their mark on the city including Ithiel Town and Henry Austin in the 19th century and Cesar Pelli, Warren Platner, Kevin Roche, Herbert Newman and Barry Svigals in the 20th. The Yale School of Architecture has fostered this important component of the city's economy. Cass Gilbert, of the Beaux-Arts school, designed New Haven's Union Station and the New Haven Free Public Library and was also commissioned for a City Beautiful plan in 1919. Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, Alexander Jackson Davis, Philip C. Johnson, Gordon Bunshaft, Louis Kahn, James Gamble Rogers, Frank Gehry, Charles Moore, Stefan Behnisch, James Polshek, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen and Robert Venturi all have designed buildings in New Haven.
Many of the city's neighborhoods are well-preserved as walkable "museums" of 19th and 20th century American architecture, particularly by the New Haven Green, Hillhouse Avenue and other residential sections close to Downtown New Haven. Overall, a large proportion of the city's land area is National (NRHP) historic districts. One of the best sources on local architecture is "New Haven: Architecture and Urban Design", by Elizabeth Mills Brown.
The five tallest buildings in New Haven are:
New Haven boasts an overwhelming array of restaurants, surprisingly many for a city its size. Though choices are extremely varied, eateries serving pizza, hamburgers, and Southeast Asian foods are especially abundant.
New-Haven-style pizza, called apizza (pronounced ah-BEETS in the local Italian dialect), made its debut here in 1925. It is baked in coal- or wood-fired brick ovens, and is notable for its thin crust. Apizza may be Red (with a tomato-based sauce) or White (garlic and olive oil), and pies ordered "plain" are made without the otherwise customary mozzarella cheese (pronounced sca-MOTZ, as it was originally smoked mozzarella, known as "scamorza" in Italian). A white clam pie is a well known specialty of the restaurants on Wooster Street in the Little Italy section of New Haven.
Louis' Lunch, located in a small brick building on Crown Street, has been serving fast food since 1895. Louis' Lunch broils hamburgers, steak sandwiches and hot dogs vertically in original antique 1898 cast iron stoves using gridirons, patented by Luigi Pieragostini, to hold the meat in place while it cooks. Though fiercely debated, Louis Lassen is credited with inventing the hamburger and steak sandwich by the Library of Congress American Folklife Center Local Legacies web page
The tradition of immigration in New Haven has continued to a significant extent, particularly in the late 1990s and 2000s, and as a result there are now literally hundreds of ethnic restaurants and small markets specializing in various foreign foods. Represented cuisines include: Malaysian (Bentara, Kari), Spanish (Barcelona, Ibiza), Latino (Pacifico), Thai (Bangkok Gardens, Thai Taste, Rice Pot), Chinese (Chow, Royal Palace), Japanese (Akasaka, Miya's), Vietnamese (Pot-au-Pho), Indian (Tandoor, Thali), Jamaican, Cuban (Soul De Cuba), Syrian/Lebanese, Turkish, etc.
There are 61 top Zagat-rated restaurants, more than anywhere in Connecticut save Stamford, including new additions such as upmarket downtown restaurants Bentara, Foster's, Pacifico, ZINC, Ibiza and recently the historic Leon's restaurant in the Long Wharf area of downtown. Over 120 restaurants are located within two blocks of the New Haven Green. Claire's Corner Copia at Chapel and College Streets claims to be the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the country. Also of note are "The Carts", about 20-something lunch carts from neighborhood restaurants that cater to different student populations throughout the university's campus during weekday lunchtime in three main points: by Yale-New Haven Hospital in the center of the Hospital Green (Cedar and York Streets), by Yale's Trumbull College (Elm and York Streets), and on the intersection of Prospect and Sachem Streets by the Yale School of Management.
The Shubert Theater once premiered many major theatrical productions before their Broadway debuts. Productions that premiered at the Shubert include Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, as well as the Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire.
Bow Tie Cinemas owns and operates the Criterion Cinemas, the first new movie theater to open in New Haven in over 30 years. The Criterion opened in November, 2004 showing a mix of upscale first run commercial and independent film. The theater is home to the popular "Movies & Mimosas" Classic Film Series, held on Sunday mornings at 11 am, and the "Insomnia Theater" Cult Film Series, held each Friday and Saturday night at 11:30 pm. The Criterion also has two private deluxe screening rooms, with party space, available for rental.
New Haven is also the home port of a life-size replica of the historical Freedom Schooner Amistad, which is open for tours at Long Wharf pier at certain times during the summer. Also at Long Wharf pier is the Quinnipiack schooner, offering sailing cruises of the harbor area throughout the summer. The Quinnipiack also functions as a floating classroom for hundreds of local students.
New Haven is also home to the concert venue Toad's Place. The city has retained an alternative art and music underground that has helped to influence post-punk era music movements such as indie/college rock and underground hip-hop. Other local venues include Cafe Nine, BAR, Firehouse 12, and Rudy's.
The Yale School of Music also contributes to the city's music scene by offering hundreds of free concerts throughout the year at venues in and around the Yale campus.
Though both WTNH and WCTX are located in New Haven, CT, their Master Control, and Traffic departments are located in Springfield, Massachusetts in a former section of the city called Chicopee.
Much like other mid-sized Northeastern industrial cities, New Haven has historically supported its minor league hockey teams enthusiastically, having had a hockey team for 76 years. The New Haven Eagles were founding members of the American Hockey League in 1936, playing at the old New Haven Arena on Grove Street. The New Haven Blades of the Eastern Hockey League played from 1954 to 1972 before being succeeded by the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL, which played at the then-new New Haven Coliseum, a sports and entertainment facility that hosted such performers and others as the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, Aerosmith, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Yes, and the Steve Miller Band before closing in 2003, when the state-funded Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport later became the preferred venue.
The Nighthawks were replaced by the short-lived Senators in 1993. After a hiatus, hockey returned in 1997, with the Beast of New Haven, a team famous for its ugly logo. Playing in a newly refurbished Coliseum, this team lasted only two seasons, ending AHL hockey in New Haven.
The New Haven Knights of the United Hockey League then took up residence in the Coliseum, playing there until the Coliseum closed in 2002. Afterward, fans' allegiance shifted to the Yale University hockey team, which plays at Ingalls Rink; the Quinnipiac University hockey team; or United Hockey League's Danbury Trashers, owned by James Galante, who attempted to purchase and save the New Haven Coliseum and the New Haven Knights, though the Trashers have been disbanded and Galante is currently incarcerated for alleged mob ties.
New Haven had been known for its blue collar fans who favor rough play, especially the "Crazies" who sat in "The Jungle" — Section 14 at the Coliseum, behind and adjacent to the opposing team's bench. These fans were renowned for being extremely tough on opposing teams, relentlessly screaming obscenities and taunts at opposing players (and sometimes at hometown players), making New Haven an intimidating place to play even though outright physical violence in the stands was rare. Section 14ers maintain a website called "Section 14 Online" which can be found at Section14.com.
New Haven was home to the minor league baseball team the New Haven Ravens, an Eastern League AA unit, from 1994 to 2003. Many of the older Ravens fans fondly recalled their days watching the West Haven Yankees in neighboring West Haven from 1972 to 1979.The Yankees were also the New Haven area's entry in the AA Eastern League. Many future Yankees made their way though West Haven, including Ron Guidry. The Yankees finished 1st five times in their eight years and won the championship four times. In 1980, the New York Yankees moved their farm team else where and the Oakland A's fielded a team for three years in West Haven. They were know as the Whitecaps their first year, then the A's for the last two. They were to give the New Haven area a final championship in 1982 and then the team moved to Albany in 1983. The New Haven area was without professional baseball until the Ravens came to town in 1994.
As was the case for with the prior teams, the Ravens played in neighboring West Haven at Yale Field, just across the town line. Yale Field was renovated for the team, which was very successful in its first few seasons before losing support. The Ravens won the Eastern League championship in 2000, giving New Haven proper its first professional championship since the New Haven Blades' championship in 1956. The Ravens have since moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, becoming the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The New Haven County Cutters baseball team began play at Yale Field in 2004 in the independent Northeast (now Can-Am) League. They suspended operation after the 2007 season leaving New Haven without baseball for the 2008 season.
In 1974, a little league team from New Haven reached the quarterfinals in the Little League World Series.
The New York Giants of the NFL played an exhibition game against the Detroit Lions in 1960 in the Yale Bowl, a pro-football first for the city. The New York Jets played exhibition games in the Bowl through the 1970s, and in 1973 and 1974, the Giants made the Yale Bowl their home field while Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey was under construction. As of 2006, the Yale Bowl is the second-largest stadium in New England, and is often full when rivals Yale and Harvard play what has become known as "The Game". The Yale Bowl received a thorough and long-overdue renovation in 2007.
On March 20, 1914, the first United States figure skating championship was held here.
From July 1 — July 9, 1995, the city hosted the Ninth Special Olympics World Summer Games.
The Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University hosts the Pilot Pen International, a professional men's and women's tennis event, every August. The 15,000 seat Tennis Center Stadium at the Connecticut Tennis Center is the fifth largest tennis venue in the world by capacity.
The Hartford Whalers played some preseason games in New Haven in their last few years, in a late, overdue, and futile attempt to win support around New Haven.
New Haven has a very large cycling community, represented by the advocacy and community group ElmCityCycling. Group rides are held several times per week.
In competition with competing explanations, the Frisbee is said to have originated on the Yale campus, based on the tin pans of the Frisbie Pie Company which were tossed around by students on the New Haven Green.
New Haven serves as the world headquarters of the Knights of Columbus organization, which maintains its headquarters and nearby museum downtown. The organization was founded in the city in 1882.
New Haven hosted the first Bell PSTN (telephone) switch office. The District Telephone Company of New Haven created the world's first telephone exchange and first telephone directory (1878) and installed the first public phone (1880). The company expanded and became the Connecticut Telephone Company, then the Southern New England Telephone Company (now part of ATT).
The Erector Set, the popular and culturally important construction toy, was invented in New Haven by A.C. Gilbert in 1911, and was manufactured by the A. C. Gilbert Company at the Erector Square factory in New Haven, Connecticut, from 1913 until the company's bankruptcy in 1967.
The first memorial to victims of the Holocaust on public land in America stands in New Haven's Edgewood Park at the corner of Whalley and West Park Avenues; it was built in 1977 with funds collected from the community and is maintained by Greater New Haven Holocaust Memory, Inc. The ashes of victims killed and cremated at Auschwitz are buried under the memorial.
New Haven was the location of one of Jim Morrison's infamous arrests while he fronted the rock group The Doors. The near-riotous concert and arrest in 1967 at the New Haven Arena was commemorated by Morrison in the lyrics to "Peace Frog" which include the line "...blood in the streets in the town of New Haven..." This was also the first time a rock star had ever been arrested in concert.
New Haven serves as the home city of the annual International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
Doonesbury comic-strip creator Garry Trudeau attended Yale University. There he met fellow student and later Green Party candidate for senator Charlie Pillsbury, a long-time New Haven resident for whom Trudeau's comic strip is named. During his college years, Pillsbury was known by the nickname "The Doones".
New Haven has been depicted in a number of movies. Scenes in the film All About Eve (1950) are set at the Taft Hotel on the corner of College and Chapel Streets. The hotel was since converted into apartments. New Haven was fictionalized in the movie The Skulls, which focused on conspiracy theories surrounding the real-life Skull and Bones secret society which is located in New Haven. The city was also fictionally portrayed in the movie Amistad concerning the events around the mutiny trial of that ship's rebelling captives.
Several recent movies have been filmed in New Haven, including The Life Before Her Eyes, with Uma Thurman, Mona Lisa Smile, with Julia Roberts, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett. The TV show Gilmore Girls is set (but not filmed) in New Haven and at Yale University.
In 2008, the country of Ecuador opened a consulate in New Haven to serve the large Ecuadorean immigrant population in the area. It is the first foreign mission to open in New Haven since Italy opened a consulate (now closed) in the city in 1910.
Yale and New Haven are working to build a medical and biotechnology research mecca in the city and Greater New Haven region, and are succeeding to some extent, albeit slowly. Yale has take over operations for Science Park, a large site three blocks north-west of Yale's Science Hill campus area. This multi-block site, approximately bordered by Mansfield Street, Division Street, and Shelton Avenue is a former industrial site and the former home of Winchester's rifle factories. Currently, Science Park exists mostly in name, as 75% of the site is still abandoned and crumbling factory buildings, some dating back to the mid-1800s, or on-site parking lots where buildings have already been demolished; still, there is a large remodeled and functioning area, and biotech companies have slowly been opening at the site. It is quite likely that future growth will come faster, as the proximity and affiliation of the site to Yale University's sciences departments serves a major incentive. A second biotechnology district is being planned for the median strip on Frontage Road, on land cleared for the never-built Route 34 extension. So far, only a Pfizer drug-testing clinic has been constructed on Park Street. A former SNET telephone building at 300 George Street is being converted into lab space, and has been so far quite successful in attracting biotechnology and medical firms. A full list of its current tenants is available online. Finally, Yale recently purchased the gigantic Bayer campus in Orange when Bayer shuttered the site in 2006. Though the site is currently empty and future plans are vague, it consists of modern laboratory space that needs no major renovation; it by all means a valuable acquisition for Yale and fits into New Haven's and the university's plans to foster a biotechnology magnet in the region. It would be surprising if the former Bayer site were not put to use as soon as possible.
The start of the New Haven Railroad began in a small area of New Haven called Cedar Hill Area. It has long been forgotten since its days of grandeur, but still has all the elements in place from the great railroad days.
A commuter rail line to run along the existing Amtrak line from New Haven through Hartford to Springfield, MA has been proposed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and is currently in the planning phase.
The City of New Haven is in the very early stages of considering restoring light-rail (streetcar) service, which has been absent since the immediate postwar period.
The Oak Street Connector (Route 34) intersects I-91 at exit 1, just south of the I-95/I-91 interchange, and runs northwest for a few blocks as an expressway spur into downtown before emptying onto surface roads. The Wilbur Cross Parkway (Route 15) runs parallel to I-95 west of New Haven, turning northwards as it nears the city and then running northwards parallel to I-91 through the outer rim of New Haven, and Hamden, offering an alternative to the I-95/I-91 journey (restricted to non-commercial vehicles). Route 15 in New Haven is also the site of the only highway tunnel in the state (officially designated as Heroes' Tunnel), running through West Rock, home to West Rock Park and the Three Judges Cave.
In addition to these expressways, the city also has several major surface arteries. U.S. Route 1 (Columbus Avenue, Union Avenue, Water Street, Forbes Avenue) runs in an east-west direction south of downtown serving Union Station and leading out of the city to Milford, West Haven, East Haven and Branford. The main road from downtown heading northwest is Whalley Avenue (partly signed as Route 63) leading to Westville and Woodbridge. Heading north towards Hamden, there are two major thoroughfares, Dixwell Avenue and Whitney Avenue. To the northeast are Middletown Avenue (Route 17) to the Montowese section of North Haven, and Foxon Boulevard to the Foxon section of East Haven and to the town of North Branford. To the west is also Route 34 which leads to the city of Derby. Other major intracity routes are Ella Grasso Boulevard (Route 10), College Street, Temple Street, Church Street, Elm Street, and Grove Street.
New Haven Harbor is home to The Port of New Haven, a deep-water seaport with three berths capable of hosting vessels and barges as well as the facilities required to handle break-bulk cargo. The port has the capacity to load 200 trucks a day from the ground or via loading docks. Rail transportation access is available, with a private switch engine for yard movements and private siding for loading and unloading. There is approximately of inside storage and 50 acres of outside storage available at the site. Five shore cranes with a 250-ton capacity and 26 forklifts, each with a 26-ton capacity, are also available.
The last high-rise/major structure built in New Haven was the Connecticut Financial Center, the city's tallest building, in 1990. Since then, there has been very little new construction outside Yale University. Recently, however, New Haven has seen an upswing in new development.
Yale-New Haven Hospital is currently adding a new pavilion, to be named the Smilow Cancer Hospital. This 14-story structure due to be completed in 2009. The site is bordered by Park Street and Legion Ave./South Frontage Road.
The city of New Haven is building a new magnet school on the south block bounded by College, George, and Crown Streets.
Directly across College Street, Residences and Shops at College Square is to be a 19-story condominium complex, with street-front shops. A hotel is also being debated. Ground is yet to break on this project, but one small building has been demolished, and plans call for a May 2008 groundbreaking. However, the site is currently being used to store materials for the school construction across the street; it is reasonable to assume that construction will be held off until completion of the magnet school project later this summer. Despite the delays, the College Square project appears to be a done deal and, when completed, this will be the tallest building built in New Haven since 1990.
An even taller condominium tower, at 30 stories, is proposed for the former Shartenberg site at Chapel and State Street. No work has been done yet, and the groundbreaking date has been pushed forward several times; currently, construction is scheduled to start in June 2008. Controversy over the height and nature of the project has caused delays and it has long been hard to tell if the project was to actually be realized. It finally looks like all major approval hurdles have been cleared and the Shartenberg project is ready to enter the construction phase. Furthermore a fire across the street and subsequent demolition of several buildings seems to have underscored the need for development and revitalization of the neighborhood, which currently hosts more empty lots than any location downtown save the former Coliseum site. Further encouraging news for the Shartenberg tower: a parking lot at the site has been closed, and the entire block-long site has been fenced-in; the fencing features somewhat ambiguous advertising, which fails to mention specific construction plans, but hints at redevelopment with text including: "What do you love most about New Haven?" and further referencing "something new [...] rising [...] downtown.
Yale University is planning two new colleges behind Grove Street Cemetery. While Yale has long considered expansion of its undergraduate housing, this is the first time in recent years that a proposal seems close to realization; Yale currently has the land, the money, and a reasonable level of approval from both town and gown sides. However, any major Yale expansion tends to draw some controversy and there are no architectural plans or other documentation; this project is years from being realized. More current Yale construction includes:
The site of the former New Haven Coliseum is a major candidate for new construction, but plans are still vague at this point. There is now an asphalt parking lot at the site, and it is expected to remain until the completion of a second Union Station garage, which itself is not anticipated within the next year or two. Additionally, the Gateway College proposal for the former Macy's/Malley's sites is proceeding slowly, with only demolition work complete for now. While the relocation of Gateway College is settled, the building itself seems to be delayed with no specific groundbreaking date.
Finally, the widening of I-95 promises to bring New Haven a new harbor crossing, in the form of an extradosed bridge; it shall replace the Q-bridge when completed, but delays have pushed the completion date beyond 2012. No work on the bridge has begun, though the I-95 improvement project as a whole is ongoing.
Some of these were selected because of historical connection — Freetown because of the Amistad trial. Others, such as Amalfi and Afula-Gilboa, reflect ethnic groups in New Haven.