Come to New Haven this Summer
(5/14/2009) BEST WEEKEND TO GO: June 20—21
DISTANCE: 79.6 mi – about 1 hour 37 mins (up to 2 hours 10 mins in traffic)
WHY GO: So what if you didn’t get into Yale? Every year, you can still hobnob with the high IQ’d at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas (888-ART-IDEA, artidea.org; June 13–27), which brings theater, dance and musical performers—as well as leading intellectual lights—to venues in and around the 16-acre New Haven Green. While the highbrow programming of the two-week fest reflects the Ivy League city’s big-brain bent, there’s also an emphasis on events that appeal to anyone who simply enjoys a good show. For instance, Saturday, June 20, is the last day to catch Circus ($17.50–$25), an interactive, stunt-filled performance by Ireland’s Barabbas Theatre Company. That same day, gospel queen Mavis Staples discusses music’s role in the civil-rights movement with poet Elizabeth Alexander (3pm), before performing an evening concert. And here’s something it doesn’t take a genius to appreciate: Like 80 percent of festival events, those are free. “New Haven is an unrecognized gem,” says Roslyn Meyer, a clinical psychologist who founded the festival with Anne Calabresi and Jean Handley in 1996. “And those of us who have chosen to live here really wanted to figure out how to let people know what a wonderful city it is, particularly for the arts.”
WHY STAY: Two of New Haven’s most prominent museums, the Yale Center for British Art (1080 Chapel St; 203-432-2800, ycba.yale.edu; free) and the Yale University Art Gallery (1111 Chapel St; 203-432-0600, artgallery.yale.edu; free), are conveniently located across the street from one another. A ten-minute walk away, you’ll find the Peabody Museum of Natural History (170 Whitney Ave; 203-432-5050, peabody.yale.edu; $7, seniors $6, students and children under 18 $5), where a 21-foot-long bronze Torosaurus sculpture stands sentinel at the front entrance. Watering hole Firehouse 12 (45 Crown St; 203-785-0468, firehouse12.com) marries a deep beer selection with live jazz, while rock-minded imbibers can stake out a spot at Toad’s Place (300 York St; 203-562-5694, toadsplace.com), where Ted Leo and the Pharmacists is playing on Friday, June 19. Clear your head the next day with some outdoor activity. “There are also some great bike trails along the Farmington Canal and along the shoreline,” says festival executive director Mary Lou Aleskie. “There’s a real mix of nature within this urbane environment.”
WHAT TO EAT: “You can’t end any conversation about New Haven without mentioning a pizza,” says Shubert Theater PR director Anthony Lupinacci, of the city’s odd-shaped thin-crust pies. Opened in 1925, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (157 Wooster St; 203-865-5762, pepespizzeria.com; large clam and mozzarella pie $27.50) is the eldest and most iconic of the coal-oven institutions in old-school Wooster Square. Coming in a close second is Sally’s Apizza (237 Wooster St; 203-624-5271, sallysapizza.net; large “tomato pie” $15.20, with mozzarella $17.70), which was opened in 1938 by Frank Pepe’s nephew Salvatore Consiglio. The Spot (163 Wooster St; 203-865-7602, pepespizzeria.com), Pepe’s next-door annex, handles overflow from the mammoth lines that form outside of the original. Pizza isn’t the only meal here, though. The cerebral nature of this university town comes through at Miya’s Sushi (68 Howe St; 203-777-9760, miyassushi.com). “The chef Bun Lai is very creative,” says Aleskie. “He’s creating sushi concoctions based on Blake poetry.” To experience more of New Haven’s remarkably diverse international dining scene, sign up for the June 20 “Foodie Tour” of Grand Avenue. Led by cookbook author and blogger Bonnie Tandy Leblang, it promises Puerto Rican alcapurrias and Italian pastries ($20; tickets available from artidea.org, or the Shubert Theater box office: 247 College St; 203-562-5666, 888-736-2663).
WHERE TO STAY: The education-themed Study at Yale (1157 Chapel St; 203-503-3900, studyhotels.com; rooms from $189 per night), with its bookshelf-lined guest rooms, is downtown’s newest and chicest hotel. Budget-conscious visitors can opt for the La Quinta Inn & Suites (400 Sargent Drive, 203-562-1111; rooms from $99 per night). “If you ask for rooms in the right direction, they face the Long Island Sound,” says Jack Thomas, a Manhattan theater producer and festival regular. New Haven is also home to a small handful of bed and breakfasts: The Historic Mansion Inn (600 Chapel St; 203-865-8324, thehistoricmansioninn.com; rooms from $169 per night), across from historic Wooster Square, is among the most centrally located and fairly priced. For a complete overview of New Haven accommodations, visit infonewhaven.com.
GET THERE: New Haven is about 90 minutes from Penn Station on Amtrak ($34–$51 one-way, minus a 20 percent “Visit Connecticut” discount; call 800-USA-RAIL or amtrak.com) and a two-hour Metro-North ride from Grand Central (a $48.25 festival package includes round-trip fare and a discount on a ticketed festival event; mta.info/mnr). And don’t worry: You won’t need a car once you get there, Aleskie explains. “One of the things that makes this festival is the walkability of New Haven itself.”
Contact Name: International Festival of Arts & Ideas
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org < email@example.com
Contact Phone: 889-ART-IDEA (278-4332)
Follow this link for more information.