W e all know New Haven was so named because it provided a fresh start for Puritan refugees. “Haven” is a significant word. According to the original Noah Webster dictionary of 1828, the word means:
- A harbor; a port; a bay, recess or inlet of the sea, or the mouth of a river which affords good anchorage and a safe station for ships; any place in which ships can be sheltered by the land from the force of tempests and a violent sea.
- A shelter; an asylum; a place of safety.
There was no term better suited to this city at the time of its founding. And it’s only natural that it has inspired numerous newer havens in the centuries since. Such as…
Squash Haven, a five-year-old organization which connects good sportsmanship (namely that found in competitive squash) with academic discipline and social enrichment for 4th through 10th graders.
Lobster Haven, an off-the-beaten path provider of inexpensive seafood on Chapel Street (not to be mistaken for Fair Haven Lobster, which is closer to the river).
Music Haven, the non-profit home of the Haven String Quartet, which fosters classical music programs in New Haven public schools and which recently received a $25,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sports Haven, the off-track betting emporium which was built at Long Wharf in the early 1990s as a haven for handicapping horses, harness-racing, greyhounds and even jai lai.
There is a Dollar Haven at 111 Derby Avenue, but there’s also a New Dollar Haven at 488 Whalley Avenue. You can spend old dollars at either.
There’s a Pizza Haven, of course, at 34 Howe Street, part of a competitive-sounding selection of pizza joints on or near Howe,
including Pizza House and Pizza Empire.
One of the more alliterative havens around town is the natural hair care salon Haven Hair Braiding, which began in Chapel Square Mall nearly 20 years ago. When the mall closed, the shop first moved to a different location on Chapel Street and is now on Dixwell Ave. in Hamden. There are unrelated Hair Havens in both West Haven and Bristol (where you’d think a more appropriate town pun might be “bristle”).
The premier local website for parents needing to find something to do with their kids is kidhaven.com. kidHaven provides a calendar of local child-oriented events, a list of local summer camps, a “SchoolHaven” forum for reviews of local pre-schools and k-12 schools, and other pertinent parental resources.
A band called Haven rocked the region in the mid-1990s. Co-leaders Rose Copolla and John McCarthy went on to found local music schools and studios. They’re not to be confused with many other bands called Haven. This was Connecticut’s Haven, and they were havin’ a “Really Good Time,” according to one of their songs.
Safe to say, there’s plenty of Haven to go around.
Written by Christopher Arnott. Photographed by Kathleen Cei.