Being fortunate person, I has been to different countries. Traveling around the world, I always want to put the most colorful pictures in my piggy bank of "impressions". The most precious thing that we find on the way to happiness is knowledge and memories. Then, throughout all the ordeals and searches, we keep them and carefully turn over the pages of the book of our own life: the first book read, the first love, the first word spoken by a lovely child, and his first steps. Years go by: school routine comes, a graduate prom, and finally, carefree studentship. Significant events can be listed for a long time, and the more you have them, the more interesting our lives become.
I started my next journey slung a professional camera over my shoulders. Walking through New Haven, I photographed the streets of the oldest city in New England, which is located in the state of Connecticut, 120 miles from New York City.
Yale University Station in New Haven we reached by train from Penn Station
Without realizing it, I got out of the old town to the city of busy student life. Where life abounds, and childish illusions about one’s own significance are replaced by adult and conscious desire for knowledge, where young people have an excellent opportunity to learn from the experience of previous generations in the face of the academic teaching staff of the highest caliber, to take advantage of the unique university library, which is the second largest in the world, using modern technologies in its work.
Yale University, constituting the so-called "Big Three", together with Harvard and Princeton universities, is deservedly considered one of the most prestigious private American universities, its diploma is recognized all over the world and does not require confirmation. About 11 thousand students from 50 US states and foreign nationals from more than 110 countries study and live here. The main university area occupies more than 70 hectares and 243 hectares of land are occupied by sports facilities and forest and parkland zones, extending throughout the city of New Haven.
Historical origins and ambitions
Plunged into the atmosphere of the past, running a hand over a ground brick, once perfectly laid out by a mason manually, I felt the merger of my own soul not only with the spirit of the studentship, but also with the entire epoch of enlightenment, like I moved into the early 18th century on a time machine.
In 1700, Puritan priests, most of whom were Harvard College graduates disappointed in the American education system, conceived to establish a university and settled on this blessed land. With the fortitude and deep knowledge they laid the principles of medieval European universities onto the basis of education, which subsequently played a major role in the development of American higher education. At that time, education in the United States did not provide for students’ accommodation on campus, such ideas reflected English ideals of that time, embodied by Oxford and Cambridge, where students lived and attended church in the company of their mentors. Puritan priests, inspired by the idea of creating a new college, took into account all the mistakes made by Harvard. And in 1701 they received an official permission and began working on establishment of a Collegial School, as Yale University was called then.
History permeates everything you touch in this wonderful place. The university was named after merchant and benefactor Elihu Yale, who donated 560 pounds for the needs of the university and fulfilled the university library with 417 rare books. Soon a Collegial Church was erected, the heart of New Haven, and Connecticut Hall, the brain of a single organism, considered one of the oldest buildings at Yale. Five former presidents of America: William Howard Taft, Ford Gerald Rudolph, George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr., Bill Clinton and many other famous people studied at Yale... Among them, there are public officials of the USA and other states, as well as scientists, businessmen, figures of culture and arts.
Considering the sights of the city once created by famous architects of their time, one can imagine the whole scale of this ambitious project where the city is presented in a variety of styles ranging from British colonial to Victorian Gothic, from Moorish to ultra-modern facilities. Royal buildings with palace towers and arches, built of white-gray and yellow-red brick lined up in different directions like eight legs of octopus admiring with the beauty and grandeur. Carved metal gates, groomed lawns and courtyards create a unique whole. It is impossible to imagine that academic and scientific audiences, lounges, where students live and gyms are located there. It is surprising to call these buildings as structures for students living – they are the monuments of architecture, which are distinguished with astonishing artistic integrity. Here, as in any European city, the original sculptural decoration has preserved. You walk around the city and do not understand where you are now in Zurich, London or in Poland.
Locals told me that it was at Yale where there was a restaurant with the most delicious pizza in the entire state of Connecticut. In ancient times, Italian bakers and restaurateurs, the ancestors of the current owners migrated to this land, opened their pizzeria and cooked it according to the Neapolitan recipe. The recipe of thin dough stuffed for all tastes, from seafood to classic, with greens and tomato paste, was passed under a strict ban from generation to generation. I decided to see personally a long line stretching to the intersection where you can spend several hours at the entrance waiting for a seat at a table in the famous Italian restaurant. And then, in the territory of the institution, you can spend one more hour waiting for the most delicious pizza. Couldn’t help resisting the temptation to satisfy curiosity, I tasted the pizza. Indeed, it is very delicious pizza, perhaps, it can only be found in Naples.
Day of culture and enlightenment
Looking at faces of young students, every time I caught myself thinking - what God's grace it is to study at such a spectacular place. All around was captivating, a multi-colored palette of colors, because it is in November the nature in America is great, it is striking in its beauty, flatters the eye and brings more joy from walking. The green lawn is strewn with colorful leaves, from all sorts of shades of yellow to burgundy-red with brown streaks. I was walking along the path, paved with smooth flat pebbles, and foliage was pleasantly rustling underfoot, young girls of Asian appearance were walking toward me. I was wrapped in my woolen coat to hide from the wind, and they were not dressed for the season: summer dresses, denim jackets and flip-flops. Their hair was slightly flared in the wind, beautiful merry students were discussing something in good English, gesturing with hands.
On that day, I saw many beautiful young people strolling along shady alleys of the park, resting on benches made of forging and strong golden oak. I wanted to take a picture of everyone with my old camera, to capture their serious business-like and happiness, to catch the student spirit. I could not deny myself with the pleasure to visit Yale Art Gallery, which presented the works of Pablo Picasso - the most expensive artist in the world, I saw the masterpieces of European and American paintings and an extensive collection of contemporary art.
I did not notice how intuitively came to the Catholic Cathedral – the Trinity Church- the oldest in New Haven, seemed to be of the 17th century, climbed the stone steps and found myself in the cathedral hall, organ music sounded inside. I sat on a bench and began to listen carefully, viewing the remarkable stained glass window, I saw an autumn ray of sunshine penetrating through the glass, and at that moment I thought: “It is such a joy when spiritual and worldly peacefully coexist in the soul, when there is a place where you can come and think about nothing, gathering strength”.
Young leaders and a bright future
Having finally got frozen after several hours spent on the street, I decided to go to a cafe and drink hot coffee with a biscuit cake. And here, I plunged into a special atmosphere of this cozy place where students, being entirely buried in their tablets, without paying attention to other visitors, were solving math problems, and writing research reports. I was sitting at a table, staring out of the window at passers-by, and occasionally glanced at young men, sipping coffee, and envied them sincerely, envied their youth and motivation. They are so young, perhaps, here, in the walls of Yale University, one of them will find his happiness and experience a genuine love. They have a great future to come, and that’s a given, because they start their adulthood at this unique place, where everything is permeated with beauty, knowledge and wisdom of ancestors, where young people have the opportunity to look at the starry sky, to fly spreading wings, and keep going on a great way.