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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING » CONNECTICUT » Attracting Tourists to Downtown New Haven
Attracting Tourists to Downtown New Haven

‘It All Happens’ in Connecticut’s BIG Little City

By Brian Scott-Smith | January 04, 2012

Daisy Abreu at the Wooster Street Farmer’s Market
One of the Many Farmer’s Markets
Infonewhaven in Downtown New Haven
New Haven - It All Happens Here
Malone Engineering Center, Yale University. Design: Cesar Pelli

New Haven, Connecticut isn’t one of those cities that trips off your tongue as a ‘must go’ tourist destination.

Daisy Abreu Talking to an infonewhaven Colleague

Based in the beautiful Nutmeg State, it’s only a short hop East to Boston and traveling West neighbors with the most famous of East Coast US cities, New York.

But despite the strong competition from these larger than life cities New Haven has plenty to shout about.

Daisy Abreu is the Deputy Director of the Town Green Special Services District, a small organization that works with the city of New Haven, and is responsible for the marketing and general upkeep of the city’s Downtown area.

Originally from New Jersey, Abreu has lived in New Haven for seventeen years and nine and a half of those working for the Town Green organization.

As a newcomer to New Haven myself I wanted to know what New Haven has to offer, and asked Abreu how easy is it to market part of the city?

“You would think it would be harder than it is, but it’s pretty easy to market a city that has so many amazing things and not just because Yale University is here, but because of the architecture, the history of the city itself, the people who chose to live here, and build companies here.”

Yale Gothic Architecture

“You’ve got a lot of architects like Cesar Pelli, whose work is found all over the world - in New York, and the famous Petronas Towers in Malaysia for example.”

“There’s a great music scene, so there’s a lot to market.   We’re never really going to run out of ways to say New Haven is great.”

You cannot help but notice the grand and imposing presence of the world famous Yale University in New Haven, with Gothic style buildings standing shoulder to shoulder with more contemporary architecture.

And it is that mix of modern and old that gives New Haven a very special feel. The Yale Gothic oozing old England, and the modern, striking a European American fusion, creating beautiful photo opportunities when the sun rises and sets on this BIG little city.

New Haven has many attractions for such a small city, from restaurants to museums, world famous art galleries and more. But it’s the Downtown area which, over the last several years, has undergone a renaissance, reclaiming its right as the heart of the city.   Something which many other American cities are trying to emulate, as they realize they have forgotten their own Downtown areas and look to New Haven’s example.

“I think that part of our success and why people may want to look at us as a model is the partnerships we have. With the City, they’re a great resource for us and we’re a great resource for them.”

An Elm Tree Lined New Haven Street

“We partnership with Yale University, and with Market New Haven, to spread the word about things going on, and to develop infonewhaven.com, so that it becomes the most visited site about New Haven. And partnering with the businesses in the area and saying ‘look, we’re going to do this event and it’s going to drive traffic Downtown, all you have to do is stay open and staff up your store.’ And we will bring people down here and it’s their job to ‘wow’ them with the awesome stuff we already know is there.”

Since the introduction of the Town Green organization the Downtown area for many, including Abreu, has certainly changed with more boutique shops and restaurants that allow you to eat cuisine from around the world, many of which are Zagat rated and often have write ups in the New York Times.

And yes Yale University does play a major role in bringing people to the city.   Soon Gateway Community College will open its doors in Downtown New Haven, bringing an estimated six thousand extra people to the city, which will no doubt swell the day and nightlife on offer.

As for Abreu and her organization, their work is never ending and forever changing.

It’s a dream job in a dream city and Abreu is recognized everywhere she goes, showing just how well respected she and the Town Green organization have become.

As she puts it, “if this is as famous as I get,” in the BIG little city, “Awesome!”



Population: approx. 130,000

Over 190 Zagat rated restaurants

Distance from Boston: 136 miles

Distance from New York City: 80 miles

Top Events:

New Haven Open Tennis Championship

International Arts and Ideas Festival

Artspace’s City Wide Open Studios

Creative Arts Workshop Celebration of American Crafts

Famous For:

Yale University

Shubert Theater: Birthplace of America’s Hits

Invention of the Frisbee

Birthplace of the first hamburger in the US – Louis Lunch – http://www.louislunch.com/

Birthplace of the first American Pizza – Pepe’s Pizza - http://www.pepespizzeria.com/

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