Tuesday, March 30, 2010

* My Grandmother, the Ghetto, and Yale: 260-360 State Street

The 1940's New Haven Green with Yale on the right, the ghetto on the left and the harbor in the background.

360 State Street, 2010

Alice Nugent Ward, age 28

Age 58,

in her
Rebekah gown,
New Haven

Age 88 ,

with her daughter,
in Chevy Chase.

Yale and the New Haven Green

The drug store
corner entrance
below my
apartment at
Elm and State Streets
(264 State Street)


My Grandmother never drove a car and never smoked a cigarette. She never owned a checkbook and never borrowed money.

My Grandmother was poor.

My Grandmother was proud.

She lived in a third-floor walk-up with no hot water, two blocks from the palaces of Yale University at Elm and State Streets, clearly a ghetto apartment. Today, one block away at 360 State Street, a luxury apartment building sits, thirty stories high.

Its apartments rent for nearly $2000 a month. My Grandmother paid $40.00 a month (plus utilities) for her three-room walk-up. It had no storm windows: Not warm in the winter.

My Grandmother was a Lady, with a capital L.

She always carried a pocketbook.

She paid all her bills on time, in person, having walked to her destination in that wonderful walking city, New Haven: the Telephone Company; The Electric Company; The Water Company; The Edward Malley Company.

She always wore white gloves and a hat on such business.

She always paid her bills in cash, concealed in an envelope for politeness, handed to a clerk with her hand extended in her inevitable white gloves which reached four inches above the wrist.

I only heard my Grandmother swear once ("Damn!") in my entire life. Most of the time her greatest exaperation was expressed by "Fiddlesticks" or "Fiddledeedee."

Once or twice a year my Grandmother would drink a Rob Roy or a Manhattan, at Christmas or Thanksgiving

She never drank alone.

She refused to take Welfare even though she was eligible for it. She belonged to the Methodist Church on the New Haven Green and tithed herself from her modest earnings.

She worked at the New Haven Clock Company until she was 65, arriving and departing by trolley or bus.

When she retired, she lived on $60.00 a month Social Security and
$20.00 a week she made as an afternoon receptionist for the Doctors' Building at what is now the location of the Shubert Theatre.

When her landlord raised the rent in 1958 to $50.00 a month she had to move to an efficiency apartment at 100 Howe Street for $38.00 a month.

She retired again at age 72 and came to live with us in Mt. Carmel.

After a year there she moved to live with her other daughter (my mother's widowed sister) in a three-room apartment in Chevy Chase Maryland, where she died at 89, surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Half a Century on:

260 - 360 State Street

Few units filled at 360 State
By Amir Sharif
Staff Reporter
The Yale Daily News
Published Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Looking down Chapel Street, it’s difficult to miss the 34-story tower soaring above its neighboring five-story red bricks. Though the building, named after its address at 360 State St., may appear plain and unassuming, it sticks out like a cowlick in both its size and its long list of superlatives.
Last week, the building joined the ranks of the nation’s most environmentally friendly developments, becoming the third building in Connecticut to be certified LEED Platinum. The $180 million project — designed and developed by Connecticut-based Becker+Becker, co-founded by Bruce Becker ARC...

#1 By Not my style 4:42a.m. on March 30, 2010

I have an apartment in a wonderful residential nab close to downtown and pay a LOT less. IMO, the developers should try to appeal to the sort of people who have already shown interest - consultants and pied-a-terre dwellers. But for people that live in New Haven, I think there's a much smaller market for that kind of apartment.

#2 By State and Elm 5:34a.m. on March 30, 2010

360 State Street is within a few doorways of my grandmother's third floor walk-up ghetto apartment at Elm and State Streets, a walk-up without electricity mind you (now a vacant lot) which she lived in till the age of 70 in 1960. I believe her rent was $40.00 (that's forty) a month and she had to move when they raised it to $50.00, a price she could not afford on $60.00 a month Social Security and a half-time job as a receptionist at the Medical Building (now the Shubert Theater)for $20 a week.

Paul Keane
The Anti-Yale

#3 By Not THAT poor ! 5:57a.m. on March 30, 2010

CORRECTION: My grandmother's State and Elm Street third-floor walk-up was not without "electricity" in 1960, it was without "hot water". We weren't THAT poor---but close.

The Anti-Yale

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