Many Yalies know that New Haven made the first pizza, but many don’t know that it was also home to the first lollipop, corkscrew, fire-sprinkler system and pay phone.
But freshmen, new to Yale and to its hometown, learned these facts and many others at this weekend’s CityScape, an annual program aimed at introducing New Haven to first-year students. About 100 members of the class of 2012 boarded air-conditioned buses by the Sterling Law Building on Saturday afternoon to embark on a two-hour tour of New Haven’s neighborhoods, courtesy of the Office of New Haven and State Affairs.
Tour guides, most of them upperclassmen or graduate students, alerted freshmen to historical monuments and pointed out parts of town that are good for recreational activities such as jogging, hiking and biking. Marie Calvert-Kilbane ’10, one of the tour guides, said she got involved in CityScape because she wishes she had known more about New Haven as a freshman.
“As a freshman, I had a less-than-stellar idea about what New Haven was, and the past three years have changed that,” Calvert-Kilbane said. “A program like this allows freshmen a chance, early on, to realize how great a part of their college experience New Haven can be.”
Megan Altizer ’12 said she signed up for the tour to feel more at home in New Haven.
“CityScape sounded like a good resource to see New Haven, and since this will be our home for the next four years, it will be a good chance to learn what the city has to offer,” she said.
The tour allowed freshmen to see many of New Haven’s neighborhoods as well as to familiarize themselves with the farther reaches of the Yale campus. Freshmen on the tour were driven by such famous eateries as Pepe’s Pizzreia and Sally’s Apizza, as well as told directions to Rite-Aid and IKEA. The tour guides also talked about Yale history as the bus went around neighborhoods near Edgerton Park and East Rock. The tour culminated with a panoramic view of New Haven atop East Rock and a meal of Chinese or Thai food, and students left with more free T-shirts and gift certificates.
Patricia Alejandro ’12 said the high point of the trip for her was the buses’ stop at East Rock, which gave the students time to appreciate the view of New Haven.
“My favorite part was definitely when we got off from the buses and got a chance to view part of the city from above,” she said, “Beautiful park, beautiful trees, certainly irresistible.”
Laura Kling ’12 said she appreciated sampling some of New Haven’s cuisine at the Royal Palace Chinese Restaurant.
“The food was great, and it was nice to get to sit with our tour guides and ask them questions about their experiences at Yale and in New Haven,” she said.
Added Alejandro: “I think I was expecting a bit more information on places, not just restaurants and community service options, but what we got was all right … It did give me a new perspective on New Haven.”