Vanderbilt Hall

The words "no photo yet"We lived in Vanderbilt Hall our freshman year and I loved the way that building looked and felt. Still, it had a Jekyll and Hyde quality to it. When I entered the Old Campus through Phelps Gate on College Street, I would turn left, pass through Vanderbilt’s archway, and come around to the front of the building. It was large, solid, rounded, and comforting. I always felt that it was welcoming and reassuring. On the other hand, when I looked at the same building from Chapel Street, I had to look through a large wrought iron and stone fence. That same building now looked like a prison – cold, heartless, and afraid. I guess it really was both.

Matt Epstein

Payne Whitney Gym

The tower of Payne Whitney GymI always loved looking at Payne Whitney Gym. It was 9 stories tall, large and stone and proud, with spires going up to the sky. Across Tower Parkway, a multilane street, it seemed quite separated from the campus. The way it stood there let me know it did not care and was comfortable within its own skin. It was not diminished by its location. To the contrary, it was a force to be reckoned with wherever it might be found. I used to think how nice it would be to feel like Payne Whitney, to be that secure and comfortable with myself.

Matt Epstein

Beinecke Plaza

The words "no photo yet"On the walk from Old Campus to University Commons, where we ate freshman year, we passed through a plaza that was home to the Beinecke Rare Book Library. Almost all of Yale was built many years ago and is very beautiful. Stone buildings look and feel like they could survive forever and provide protection whenever called upon. New buildings, like Morse and Stiles Colleges or Medical Center buildings, are well separated by distance and other parts of New Haven. Beinecke is of modern design, sits right in the middle, and just does not fit. Looking back, I realize it really did bother me every time I saw it. It made me uncomfortable, like there was a violation. I avoided that courtyard whenever I could.

Matt Epstein

Harkness Tower

View of Harkness Tower from Old CampusIt hit me: “As if Yale isn’t intimidating enough!” I stand in the middle of Old Campus for the first time as an 18-year-old male and am confronted with a gigantic phallus. Hadn’t thought about that before. I had strong images of Yale from photographs taken by the artist Samuel Chamberlain who lived in my town and who was somewhat famous for his books which captured the images of New England, including some Ivy campuses. I was familiar with the genteel Gothic ambiance, but right then it was immediate and personal. I reminded myself I was admitted for a reason. They knew I had “the right stuff” whether I knew it or not. And it didn’t take long for Harkness to retreat to its rightful place as the lynchpin in the mosaic of resident colleges, space, and movement.

F. Richard Bowen

Tiffany windows in Linsly-Chittenden 102

The words "no photo yet"Attending class in L-C 102 reminded me that Yale was someplace special. Where else would the classroom windows be designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany? The window, named Education, depicts the Arts, Science, Music, and Religion as muses or angels. It is serious and seriously beautiful. I always return to the room when I am on campus, and I am proud to show it to guests as an example of Yale. And personally, I continue to be haunted with the challenge, a life-long one, to respond to the muses and to be led out of darkness to light.

F. Richard Bowen

Sterling Memorial Library

The entrance to Sterling Memorial LibrarySterling Memorial Library was it. The monumental granite, the stained glass, the statuary, the arched entrance more foreboding than welcoming, it represented the accumulated knowledge of the ages, an intimidating mountain, its upper reaches unscalable. I couldn’t look it in the face.

In Hungry Charlie’s across York Street I tilted the blank wall of my face toward the articulated rear of knowledge, considering procrastination over a beer at base camp in the shadow of that frozen peak. Later, I would find a seat in the main hall or in a reading room, or sometimes in the stacks, but now I’ll just finish this beer and return to my walnut cubby at Morse and consider things further.

Bill Peck

Rooftop perch

A nook in the Branford roofJunior year, I lived in Branford over the archway closest to York St. by the walkway between Branford and JE. We had a memorable two-room “suite”, small and wonderfully unique. Complete with fireplace. Our common room, the one you walked into, had a small window that opened onto a sloping slate roof. I would climb out that window, climb over the top of the small peaked roof, and nestle into the crevice formed by the angles in the roof. I loved the architecture of the sloping roof lines, loved the perch, and most especially enjoyed hiding in plain sight. Someone on the Branford/JE walkway would occasionally see me but I was mostly invisible. It was a sweet spot to relax and breathe.

Joel Bard

The back of the whale

Inside Ingalls hockey rinkMost of us hockey players loved Ingalls rink, certainly the country’s most architecturally significant college hockey rink (or possibly any rink). Most rink structures are just functional boxes, e.g., Harvard’s. My particular fond memory is of standing at center ice and looking up at the swooping arch that supports the “whale-back” roof. I think of that arch as a cousin to Saarinen’s St. Louis Gateway Arch, though of course the shapes and dimensions are very different.

Joel Bard

The world’s a stage

A staircase in a Vanderbilt entrywayIt started when I joined the donutmen freshman year. After selling donuts I would improvise, a little faux Shakespearean tale for those gathered in the Vanderbilt entryway up the staircase. And by our departure, it had moved to the Silliman courtyard, where on one extraordinary spring day in ‘70 Craig Slutzker and I, and the first flash mob in recorded history, presented a fractured Bard history of dramatic comedy, swords in the hands of Clowns. There was great merriment. Those were the days.

Rich Levin