From the Editor

Changes

A new home for the magazine—and goodbye to a longtime employee.

The alumni magazine’s former home at 149 York Street. View full image

In late April, the Yale Alumni Magazine moved from Bohemia to Midtown. 

The magazine had been stationed at 149 York Street, just south of the Yale Rep, for 44 years. Our offices were on the second (top) floor of a broad brick structure previously occupied by the Yale University Press, and before that by a bakery. It’s a run-down old building; when I arrived in 2003, word was that it would be demolished in two or three years. (It’s still standing.) We had leaks in the roof almost annually, and the view across the street was a parking garage. 

But we loved the place. It’s in an area where Yale and New Haven blend together, and the flavor there is like the East Village in the ’80s: casual, with a mix of working class and artsy, of nightclubs, restaurants, and handcrafted-gift shops. The neighborhood never shuts down until after midnight. Our building stayed lively into the wee hours; we shared it with drama school administrators and arts and drama students, and as far as I can tell, the latter work 24/7. And best of all were the classes and rehearsals on our floor. We’d bump into students reciting their lines in the hallways. Sometimes, we’d glimpse the likes of Oscar winner Dianne Wiest or Paul Giamatti ’89, ’94MFA. We were always careful to tell new interns not to worry if they heard a fight or a blood-curdling scream. 

Now we’re in a different Yale–New Haven blend, literally and figuratively uptown. Our new home is 2 Whitney Avenue, a bona fide office building. Our offices are smaller but much more elegant, and the views are no longer of concrete and cars: we’re across the street from Timothy Dwight College and across a lawn from Rosenfeld Hall. I miss the drama students. But one can find oneself sharing an elevator with the provost or principal designer or secretary of Yale.

It’s a more businesslike district, so the quotient of suits and wing tips is higher, and there’s not much nightlife. Our building empties out so early that the cleaning staff is at work by 5:30 p.m. But there are some fundamental similarities to the old haunt. It’s very much an area for the arts: the Neighborhood Music School (my other favorite New Haven institution), the Creative Arts Workshop, and Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center are all within a block or two. There’s a medley of restaurants: pubs, Indian, French crêpes, locally owned coffee shops. 

Back at 149 York, you could see Indonesian sculpture or a portrait of Elizabeth I at Yale’s galleries, and then cross the street for a scone at a used-book store. Where we are now, you can watch an Ava DuVernay film in the Humanities Center, hear jazz at Neighborhood, and have spanakopita for dinner. 

Yale and New Haven do have their frictions. But they have fabulous chemistry. 

 

The Yale Alumni Magazine honors the memory of Helen Davie, who passed away on May 24. She was a previous editor of the Yale College Class Notes; for more than 37 years, she worked with some 80 class secretaries, gathering their notes and editing with finesse. She also coordinated commencement for ten years, edited several Yale College class histories, and worked tirelessly on a memorial books program in Timothy Dwight College for the Class of 1929. The Classes of ’29, ’45W, and ’47 all made her an honorary member, and the Yale Alumni Association awarded her its highest honor, the Yale Medal.

Her husband, James Davie ’45W, ’51PhD, for many years the dean of TD, died in 1984. She is survived by her brother, William Milroy; her children, Douglas ’76, Alison, and Ellen; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Post a comment