Ah, New Haven: The Elm City, home to our blessed University. A home that for many means ivory towers, Neo-Gothic architecture and preppy boys in Polo shirts (collars up, of course). But, believe it or not, life does exist beyond the key-card guarded gates of residential college life.

For those students who are willing to risk the off-campus move, living at large in New Haven can prove to be a rip-roaring good time. Think personal kitchen, microwave (in plain view) and best of all, a glorious king-sized bed.

The following off-campus residences, homes that represent the best of what New Haven real estate has to offer, suggest that life sans dorm room is worth a closer look.

The Park Street Posse: The Lodge, The Hockey House and The Barn

“Living in a house with my best friends and across the street from Partners — I couldn’t really ask for more,” Nick Shalek ’05 said of life in the so-called “Hockey House” located on the corner of Park and Crown Streets.

For the past two years, the men of the Hockey House — a three-story, three-bathroom, seven-bedroom pleasure palace – have opened their doors to the public (about once a month) for parties, festivities and general debauchery.

Here’s the skinny: The first floor offers a sizeable kitchen, comfy common room and a built-in bar with room to boogie. The second and third floors hold the bedrooms, of varying shapes and sizes, with one bathroom per floor. Parking space is readily available right outside the front door.

Adjacent to the Hockey House stands the Lodge, home to some of Yale’s hottest male swimmers. Similar in structure and interior to the Hockey House, the Lodge offers many of the same perks as its neighbor. Lodge denizen Brendan Everman ’06 said that, in addition to the joys of living with his best friends, he likes the Lodge’s close location to bars and restaurants.

Rounding out the Park Street triple threat, the Barn boasts space enough for twelve Yalies. Highlights of the home include a rec-room style basement (perfect for a saucy Saturday night), singles far bigger than the average dorm room and a spacious backyard — always a plus during the year’s warmer months. BBQ!

But which pad reigns supreme on Park Street?

According to Will Blodgett ’06, there’s no contest. Blodgett, a Barn resident, has a healthy competition going with his friend Brian Mulholland ’05, who lives in the Hockey House, as to which casa is cooler.

“Brian Mulholland ’05 lives at [the Hockey House] but prefers hanging out here because it’s so much sicker, and he knows it,” Blodgett said in an e-mail. “The third floor of the barn is especially unique for a number of reasons that I can’t really talk about with you.”


Cozy by Cosi: Life on Elm Street

If intimate living is more your thing — let’s say you prefer two roomies to ten — check out the quaint quarters located along Elm Street. Sitting pretty on the corner of Elm and Lynwood, 350 Elm St. (hint: the blue awning can’t be missed) offers eight apartments, both singles and doubles. As an added bonus, living in the Elm St. area guarantees a good meal, at every meal. From Ivy Noodle to Alpha Delta Pizza, from Cosi to Rudy’s (does it get any better than beer and frites?), Elm Street knows what’s cooking. And it’s good. All of it.

Elisha Barron ’06, who shares a two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment with Leslie Cacciapaglia ’06, explained the benefits of one-roommate living.

“It’s a lot easier to get along with one other person, to coordinate schedules and to meet each other’s needs,” Barron said.

But don’t worry — a two-person apartment won’t cramp your style. The front door opens into a large kitchen/dining area. To the right of the entrance, glass doors lead to a spacious living room, and to the left, a hallway extends towards the bedrooms and bath. FYI: this apartment comes with a piano. Seriously.

Top of the Taft: Life in the Penthouse

“It’s probably the biggest apartment in New Haven with the sickest view,” Andrew Vinci ’06 said, referring to the luxurious duplex he calls home.

Not a lie. The ceilings are high, the rooms are huge and the kitchen itself is bigger than any suite on campus. Located on College St., between Chapel and Crown, the Taft Apartment building is known for its posh marble lobby and even more posh inhabitants.

“The penthouse is a slice of heaven, and, I mean, the men [who live there] are all Greek Gods,” Lucy Byrd ’06 said. Note: Byrd does not live in the Taft, she just wishes she did.

The Taft’s immediate neighborhood includes classy restaurants like Hot Tomatoes and Samurai, shops such as Trailblazer and Bottega and even the famed Shubert Theater. And for those worried about safety in New Haven, the Taft operates on a buzzer system and employs a doorman 24/7.

Pierson’s Backside: Orleton Court

If you’re looking for a little extra freedom, but are reluctant to give up the residential college life, why not move across the street?

People do it. Uh-huh. They do.

Take for example, the lovely ladies of Orleton Court, an apartment building located across from Pierson College on Park St. Katie Brownson ’05 said that Orleton Court’s proximity to Pierson makes her feel safe on those late-night walks home from the “library”. And since the area has become a niche for senior Bulldogs, the neighborhood is even more fun, Brownson said.

Orleton Court consists of four floors of sweet, sweet off-campus living, with two three-bedroom apartments per floor.

Three people can share one bathroom, right?

Life in the Frat Lane: Lake Place Living

Located at 23 Lake Place, behind the Payne-Whitney Gym, the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity (more commonly known as ADPhi) houses nine of Yale’s sexiest men. The frat consists of three newly renovated floors — four, if you include the party-perfect basement — with nine bedrooms, four bathrooms and plenty of lounge space in between. (Many rooms have more than one TV to ensure that, no matter what, Sports Center is always on).

Fraternity president Dan Brillman ’06 said that he likes living in the ADPhi house with his best friends and teammates on the Yale Men’s Lacrosse Team. David Wright ’06 echoed Brillman’s sentiment.

“I like living with all guys,” Wright said.

But, in truth, the camaraderie among the brothers of ADPhi goes beyond the bond of being housemates. ADPhi brother James Rump ’07 said he cannot wait to move out of his Berkeley digs to Lake Place.

“I hope to live in the house next year because you are always around your closest friends,” Rump said. “You can hang out at any time and have an especially good time on the weekends. Having all of your friends in one place makes for a good time, it’s awesome.”

Of course, living off-campus has its downside. For instance, utility bills can be a pain-in-the-you-know-what, and in-house laundry rooms are not always a guarantee.

“Electric, cable, water: it’s all pretty annoying. Especially when the ‘World Financial Bank Collecting agency’ calls you warning that if you don’t pay Comcast $200 by tomorrow they are sending scary people after you,” Orleton Court resident Emily Field ’05 said. “So I guess you have to be pretty financially responsible.”

But the advantages often outweigh the negatives. Barron said she values the change of pace from chaotic campus life and the different perspective her non-Yalie neighbors offer.

“Living off-campus, you get to see a side of New Haven that you wouldn’t necessarily see living in a dorm [on-campus],” Barron said.

In the end, on or off-campus, nothing beats living with friends.