New Haven vs. Cambridge: Who wins?
Want to hear a joke?
Although Harvard and Yale’s football players have yet to strap on their shoulder pads and hit the field, Cambridge and New Haven have been battling all week in other forms. The Boston Globe printed an article titled “Smackdown: Cambridge vs. New Haven,” which placed the two cities in an Ivy League brawl. While The Globe made some legitimate points about the Elm City, its fundamental conclusion that the dispute would result in a tie is misguided: New Haven is clearly superior.
“The best thing about Cambridge is New Haven is but a train ride away,” Yale spokesman Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said.
As a general matter, New Haven is the place to be.
Take it from Kate Young GRD ’16, who was an undergraduate at Harvard.
“I think New Haven has a lot more character to it than Cambridge does,” Young said. “Harvard Square is sterile and commercialized.”
The Globe’s article looked at nine categories: Lying Statues, Famous Music Club, Sports Bar, Dinner on Mom and Dad, Souvenir, Hamburger, Art Museum, Best Dinosaurs Without Tenure and Historic Moment. In the first four of these items, according to The Globe, Harvard reigned superior. The second four belonged to Yale, and the last category was called a tie.
There are several flaws in The Globe’s reasoning. First, the fact that Toad’s Place is even listed as a “Famous Music Club” is an automatic win for New Haven.
As for the lying statue, Harvard rightfully owns this category: Harvard students do tell better lies. Just ask the entire class of “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.”
University Properties Director Abigail Rider disagreed with Harvard’s argument that Cambridge is superior because of its available shops and myriad of tourists, though she admitted that New Haven tourists have “balked” at offers of a free Yale tattoo while waiting for a tour of the University.
The Globe gave one food category each to New Haven and Cambridge. New Haven was named the hamburger champ and Cambridge won the “Dinner on Mom and Dad” category.
But New Haven dominated the hamburger scene, thanks to Louis’ Lunch. Billy Bartley, the general manager of the Cambridge burger joint that was competing with Louis’, said he was not impressed with the choice. Though Louis’ may have invented the hamburger, Bartley said Mr. Bartley’s perfected it.
“A caveman invented how to cook, but I don’t want to do it that way,” he said. A century ago, when the hamburger sandwich was invented at Louis’ Lunch, people were still going to the bathroom outside, he added.
On the other hand, the owner of Louis’s Lunch, Jeff Lassen, was honored to be named number one.
“We’re proud to be a part of that tradition, and be included in the occasion,” Lassen said. “We stand tall with New Haven and Yale.”
The Crimson most notably went wrong in the category that it created: football.
The Crimson asserted that football is “the most important comparison” and that history shows Harvard is the “clear victor.”
Other than being patently untrue, as Yale leads the overall series 65-55-8, it is not the most important measure of Cambridge or New Haven. Like any other metropolis, these cities are defined by people, and this is where New Haven has the clear advantage.
“New Haven has kind of a more small town feel,” Steffina Yuli ’16 said, “It’s more homey.”
Jennifer Bimonte-Kelly, one of the seven grandchildren of Frank Pepe, who founded New Haven’s famous Pepe’s Pizzeria 87 years ago, certainly feels that way.
“What do I love about New Haven? It’s like I’m part of the family of New Haven,” Bimonte-Kelly said, “The people in the streets, Libby’s, Consiglio’s, and even Sally’s, we’re all a family.”
As for the Yale-Harvard rivalry, over the years she has seen plenty of Yale-Harvard weekends, and each is full of liveliness.
“When it’s the Yale-Harvard game, it’s the buzz, there’s a different kind of energy,” she said. “Even the night before, it’s strange, it’s fun, it’s crazy.”
Whatever you want to call it, the Yale-Harvard weekend is upon us.
Let the best football team win, and let the best city always be the Elm City.