Temple Street Garage, New Haven

Lots to See

Few of New Haven’s public spaces are more snubbed by the public that uses them than its parking garages.

The moment we enter these multi-level lots, we’re planning our escape. We find the closest available spot to leave the car, then beeline to the nearest exit. During retrieval, we head straight for the vehicle, then take the first available out-ramp. Whether driving in, walking out, walking in or driving out, nobody takes the scenic route through a parking garage.

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Well, maybe not nobody. I’ve been known to dally, particularly with a camera, and it turns out there are some pretty interesting things to notice inside New Haven’s parking garages, like massive slabs of sculpted, scored concrete; colorful, rectangular rooms with curved corners, tiled with tiny ceramic squares; windowed stairwells filled with geometry-filtered sunbeams; and, in one case—the College Street elevator well of the Crown Street Garage—a ceiling covered in old-style marquee lights, no doubt a tribute to the century-old Shubert Theater next door.

They can be fun, creative, nice to look at. Not notions you usually associate with parking garages, but credit is due, and not just at the end of the out-ramp.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Photos 1, 2 and 4 depict the Temple Street Garage; 3 and 8 the Crown Street Garage; 5 and 7 the Union Station Garage; and 6 the Air Rights Garage.

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