Liggett’s May 1970 New Haven by Tom Strong

This Week in New Haven (April 20 - 26)

Big annual happenings in the coming days prompt us to tune up our bikes, pull together favorite outfits, work up strong appetites and keep our camera batteries charged. It’s an adventurous, sociable, epicurean, photographable kind of week this week in New Haven.

Monday, April 20
The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, New Haven; 203-288-6400) helps us ease into the week ahead with something light and low-key. It’s trivia night, where entry is free and “cool prizes” are there for those who answer the most questions correctly. Commencing at 7 p.m., another way to win is to arrive early for happy hour, which lasts from 5 to 7.

Tuesday, April 21
May Day 1970 occurred during the run-up to the infamous Black Panther trials, rallying “tens of thousands of angry protesters” and four thousand National Guardsmen to the city, while spurring shopkeepers to batten down the hatches—in some cases taking the opportunity to express support for the protests, like Liggett’s drugstore did at the corner of York and Broadway (pictured above). “May Day at Yale, 1970: Recollections” is the name of a 5:30 book talk tonight at the New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Avenue, New Haven; 203-562-4183), where co-contributors Henry “Sam” Chauncey, Jr., John T. Hill and Thomas Strong—co-founder of design house Strong Cohen and capturer of the image above—“share their firsthand experiences the incendiary period.” Free.

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The Second Mrs. Wilson at Long Wharf Theatre

Wednesday, April 22 – Earth Day
With the city’s major Earth Day endeavor happening on Saturday, today’s spotlight trains on another issue with broad significance: the criminal justice system. At 6:30 p.m.—following a potluck dinner starting an hour earlier—the Church of the Redeemer (185 Cold Spring St, New Haven; 203-787-5711) hosts “Criminal Justice in Connecticut: An Update,” a panel featuring Dean Esserman, the city’s chief of police; Mike Lawlor, the state’s Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning; and Kumar Viswanathan, the Phoenix Association’s executive director, where he works to shift things “from a punishment model to a rehabilitation model.” Free.

Thursday, April 23
The opening reception for the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop’s annual “Leonardo Challenge” exhibition, wherein organizers pick a clever open-ended theme and let the region’s artisans respond how they will, happens tonight at the museum from 5:30 to 9. This year’s theme is “Uncharted Imagination:” “… take a known map or map idea and transform it. Find a purpose, form or message that is far from its creator’s perspective,” the formal artists’ challenge reads in part. Along with a sea of interesting things to look at, visitors can expect to navigate bountiful islands stocked with “fine food” and “festive spirits.” Regular tickets go for $70, with special packages available for those who want to give more. 915 Whitney Ave, Hamden. (203) 777-1833.

Friday, April 24
The latest in a string of high-profile comedians making stops in New Haven, Hannibal Buress makes good on a postponed show from November tonight inside Southern Connecticut State’s Lyman Center (501 Crescent St; 203-392-6167). Maybe he’ll riff on his recent appearance at the Justin Bieber edition of Comedy Central Roast, or his outspoken critique of Bill Cosby that made the internet rounds six months ago. Regular tickets are $35, with discounts available for SCSU staff, faculty and students.

Saturday, April 25
According to the website, last year’s Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride attracted a thousand cyclers and raised $150,000, which went to a raft of local nonprofits that make New Haven a cleaner, healthier, prettier place to live. This year, more than 20 organizations—like Elm City Cycling, the Urban Resources Initiative and New Haven Inner City Outings—are set to benefit, as are the riders. On either end of five official West Rock-to-East Rock routes, ranging from 8 miles long to 62, most can enjoy the benefit of a “tasty farm breakfast” and live music before the ride with a “celebration” and vendor-ed lunch afterward. And of course, there’s the rain-or-shine ride itself, where community, exercise and adventure are their own rewards. Check-in and same-day registration begin at 8 a.m. outside Common Ground High School (358 Springside Ave, New Haven).

From 5 to 9 p.m., Artspace aims high during “Cloud 9,” its big fundraising gala for the year. Offering extensive “live and silent auctions of artwork and experience”—among the latter, “trips to Antigua, Guatemala and Umbria, Italy”—plus “hors d’oeuvres and sweets from ROIA,” it’s also a primo chance to hobnob and “dress to the nines.” The venue this year is 95 Orange Street, where Artspace hosted a free preview yesterday from noon to 7. Tickets for the main event baseline at $70 for the under-35 and/or student crowd, with general admission tickets running $125.

Sunday, April 26
Starting at 11:45 a.m., the eighth annual Iron Chef Elm City event turns up the heat today inside the Omni Hotel (155 Temple St, New Haven), where the Omni’s executive chef, Todd Ruiz, is set to do Iron Chef-style battle—including a secret ingredient revealed on the spot—with Ian Frew, executive chef at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Carlos Cassar, executive chef at the tony Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton. A $45 general admission ticket secures “food samplings from competing chefs’ restaurants” and other in-state food enterprises, plus the right to roam freely around the competition floor.

Last but not least, it’s the 42nd Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival, running from noon to 5 p.m. in Wooster Square Park. Breeze-riding live music, including from perennial favorite St. Luke’s Steel Band, and a vast selection of dining choices, from Italian (of course) to Korean, are some of the highlights of this family-friendly festival, where kids tend to end up with faces painted and pets get a “dedicated” area. Even better, according to a recent update posted by organizers, the park’s cherry blossoms are on track to hit peak bloom just in time for the festival. Free to attend.

Written by Dan Mims. Photographed by Thomas Strong.

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