Change in action

Making Moves

Change, it comes.

Orangeside Luncheonette is now on Temple Street, opposite Criterion Cinemas. It’s still called Orangeside, even though it’s not on Orange Street anymore.

Does anyone mind? The omelets are just as fluffy, the hash fries are just as finely chopped, and Orangeside’s hallmark donuts are just as square.

Besides, “Templeside” sounds like someone got smacked in the head or something.

Edge of the Woods used to be on Edgewood Avenue at the corner of Platt. The natural food market has kept its name even after shifting to a much larger location on Whalley Avenue. The old place became a convenience store, now called Peoples Market.

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Some years ago, Broadway Pizza moved a mile and a half from Broadway to an even broader way—Derby Avenue near Ella T. Grasso Boulevard. While “Boulevard Pizza” would be a fine name too, Broadway Pizza had a following, and folks could more easily find it under its old moniker.

An older Broadway institution, the York Square Cinemas (which closed a decade ago and was transformed into the Campus Customs Yale-emblazoned clothing store), named one of its screens “The Lincoln at York Square” in honor of the theater’s origins in a small building on Lincoln Street, between Trumbull and Audubon Streets, that began as a silent film venue in 1924. The original Lincoln Theatre in turn became the Little Theatre, which has been freshly renovated as a live-theater space under the management of the Educational Center for the Arts magnet school.

If the Long Wharf Theatre had moved downtown from Long Wharf to the site of the demolished New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as had been long planned, it presumably would have kept the Long Wharf name it had made internationally renowned in the theater world, even though the venue would now be more than a mile inland. The theater decided last year to stay put in the location it has called home for half a century, so any geographical confusion has now been avoided.

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Gateway Community College, which did make the move from Long Wharf to downtown, had a less site-specific name, which now translates less as a gateway from the highway into New Haven and more as a gateway to higher education and enlightenment.

Moves can now be metaphysical. The Métaphore “European Home” furnishing and accoutrements emporium had three separate locations in downtown New Haven over the last decade, and now exists solely online.

Other New Haven institutions have changed with the times. The official name of the Institute Library, which has been in its current location since 1878, is the New Haven Young Men’s Institute. But the organization has been allowing women as members since 1835, when it was known as the Young Apprentices’ Literary Association. A good while later, in 1969, Yale College started admitting female students.

The current crop of Yale students has scattered for the summer—some due to graduation, others merely on vacation. There’s another wave of Yalies downtown this week: those who’ve returned for reunion activities.

For Yale classes old and new, and for whoever else might choose to take leave of New Haven for months or years at a time, the changes which occur downtown over time can be subtle yet arresting. Take York Street. For half a century, there was always at least one bookshop on York Street between Grove and Elm streets. Now there’s a frozen yogurt shop where Labyrinth Books (and before that, Book Haven) used to be.

Just this week, the local branch of Au Bon Pain closed its doors after existing at the highly visible corner of York and Broadway for nearly a decade. Its predecessor in that space had been Demery’s, a dance club which made a killing in $1 pizza slices sold to the voracious last-call crowd.

That dancing, drinking demographic is now served by Gourmet Heaven, which stays open all night—as did a previous inhabitant of the same block, a Store 24 convenience store. Longtimers may recall the time a big chunk of Broadway was torn out, and several old buildings were replaced with old-looking new buildings, where Urban Outfitters and J.Crew now reside. Much more recently, the Barnes & Noble Yale Bookstore (which displaced the venerable Yale Cooperative department store when the large chain came to Broadway in the early ’00s) downsized from two buildings to one to allow for the brand new Apple Store building.

The hue and cry which erupted when the Yankee Doodle diner closed a few years ago has dissipated. You wouldn’t even know that the once-hallowed eatery ever existed, given how neatly the site was remodeled to become part of the TYCO printing business next door.

The regular patrons of the Daily Caffé were just as bent out of shape when that unparalleled town/gown gathering place went out of business back in the 1990s. Ivy Noodle has now been in that location long enough to become a landmark itself. For years, there’s been a Mexican restaurant on or near that corner of Park and Elm, though names and managements have changed.

When next summer rolls around, the Broadway neighborhood will look different again. Hopefully there’ll be a new tenant in the Au Bon Pain space. The long-vacant space on Elm Street facing the Broadway Civil War Monument will be filled soon with Maison Mathis, a restaurant specializing in Belgian waffles. Maison Mathis will be run by the same folks who moved Rudy’s Bar & Grill from its hallowed location at the corner of Elm and Howe streets to its popular new digs on Howe and Chapel.

New Haven plays host to a major university and thus houses an entire culture of students who are at a transitional phase in their lives and will likely move on from here to other places. Yale itself was a transplant from another location. It was founded in 1701 in Old Saybrook, and moved to New Haven in 1718. The city has a history of welcoming immigrants, encouraging new business ideas, inspiring invention and innovation and making it easy to commute to other cities.

It’s hard to see familiar neighborhoods altered, but this is a city which has always embraced change. Broadway just keeps getting more broad-minded, and downtown keeps looking up.

Written and photographed by Christopher Arnott.

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