Payne Whitney from between Morse and Stiles

Payne Whitney tower seen from walkway between Ezra Stiles and MorseThe jagged walkway between Morse and Stiles is non-descript as you approach it from York Street. But once you mount a series of steps and follow the jog to the right, you come upon a vista that’s as surprising as it is majestic — the tower of Payne Whitney, framed perfectly between the adobe-like concrete walls of the two colleges. Morse and Stiles look nothing like the rest of Yale. Payne Whitney looks like no other gym in the world. And yet the space exudes harmony. To steal a line that my old Morse master, Vincent Scully, used about the skyline of Chicago, the buildings “talk to each other.” Fifty years ago, it was my favorite spot on our eclectic campus. Today, it’s my favorite lesson for our divided times.

Paul Taylor