Well, this place is architecturally memorable only because of the way my roommate Tom Heller appropriated it, usually at least once a week.
There was an all-night cafe on Chapel Street and when Tom and I, hungry for a snack and a chat, would take a late-night walk from Branford College down High Street, just before getting to Chapel we’d pass under this stone archway over High Street connecting the old Art Gallery to Street Hall, and right under it, on the east side of the street, was this small alcove cut into the brick wall. Tom would climb up, hang from it and become a human gargoyle. It was quite impressive. Every time I’ve seen that alcove since college days it looks like something is missing.
– Anthony (Tony) Tommasini
Now, like so much at Yale, greatly improved, in this case by being closed to traffic. I remember this especially in October, when the trees (dogwoods?) turned red. It was a perfect scale for walking.
– Mark Fulford
I was working on a cleaning crew with other Yalies on the Old Campus for the reunions one Spring. During the lunch break I walked onto the sidewalk on High Street and found myself humming and singing a song, and as I sang the end of a verse, “But when I ask you to, you just tell me, that maybe you can … doo doo doo doo.” As I recognized the song I was humming and singing, I heard bells. Someone was playing Janis Joplin’s song “Move Over” from her Pearl album — on the Harkness Tower Carillon. I stopped humming, stopped walking, looked up, though there was nothing to see but the Tower and I listened to the rest of the inspired performance.
– David Larkin
Driving to the Yale Golf Course (and playing of course) in classmate Terry Jones’ vintage 3.8 Jag sedan.
The contrast between the “Old Yale” embodied by the beauty and serenity of the course, the pleasure of the ride out in Terry’s beater classic Jag, and the “New Yale” with Frisbee, pot, rock and roll, watching for the hot dog man at 2 AM, sneaking into the steam tunnels and popping up who knows where are impressions that have lasted.
– Per Sweetman
Hillhouse Avenue, first block north of Grove, looking toward Science Hill, on or just before the little bridge over the railroad right-of-way.
I was walking around campus on a lovely May day at a reunion – probably the 20th or 25th. When I reached this spot, suddenly and unexpectedly I felt a tightening in my chest, difficulty in breathing, and tears in my eyes. After reassuring myself that I wasn’t suffering a heart attack, I realized I was having a spontaneous emotional reaction to that place, some combination of beauty and loss and remembrance that resonated deep within me. To this day, I have no idea what prompted it – I can’t associate the spot with any specific incident from undergraduate days – but it brought home to me the power of memories and associations, even buried ones, and the degree to which Yale and the campus and my time there are part of who I am in some fundamental way that bypasses my conscious understanding.
– Don Kelley
My sharpest memory of physical Yale was about 3 AM one night after I returned something to someone on the other side of the campus. There were no cars and no people. I walked down the middle of normally busy streets, with silent buildings especially the Gothic colleges looming up on either side. It was serene, noble and very quiet. The feeling was of being in a place that is as alive as the people who occupy it, now also sleeping in anticipation of another day.
– Stuart Cohen