Ideats Prevail!

Paul Bass PhotoCrank up the amplifiers: It appears that live music and circus performers will be taking the stage in Pitkin Plaza after dark, after all.

That’s the upshot of a turnaround announced late Tuesday afternoon by the management of 360 State St., the new 32-floor downtown residential tower.

The facility has dropped its opposition to allowing Ideat Village, the 10-year-old local grassroots bash formed in response to the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, to stage after-dark shows on Pitkin Plaza.

That means the city will issue a permit to Ideat Village for use of the Orange Street plaza, which borders 360 State, Devil’s Gear Bike Shop, and Bru Cafe.

“The only complaint that we had heard” was from 360 State, said city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts. “Without any complaints, consistent with our policy, we have no problem going to 10 p.m.”

360 State developer Bruce Becker said Tuesday evening that he met with management during the afternoon and it was agreed to embrace the festival.

In fact, he said, the Elm City Market, the food co-op soon to open on 360 State’s first floor, will even provide refreshments.

“We’re fine with going to 10,” Becker said.

Click here to read a statement Becker issued Tuesday night.

“I’m excited about the festival,” Bruce said. “The dialogue has been a healthy one. It reminds everybody how vibrant” New Haven’s arts community is.

The two-week Ideat Village festival opens Saturday. Click here for the festival schedule.

Ideat Village organizer Bill Saunders said Tuesday evening that he’s “thrilled with the outcome with the permit. However there still are some serious issues with the process that need to be addressed” in the way City Hall handled the permits.

Public Space Debate

The controversy over the festival’s permit provoked outrage from local people concerned that the interest of a developer took precedence over the public interest for a public space—and concerned that the very vibrant art scene that made developments like 360 State possible was being sacrificed.

In response, the city in the past few days offered Ideat Village a compromise: Play in Pitkin Plaza until 8 p.m. Then move a block up to the street until 10 p.m. to Millenium Plaza, behind City Hall and the federal building, where the fest has held events in the past.

Click here to read the city’s policy on permits for events at downtown plazas.

City Deputy Administrative Officer Jennifer Pugh Tuesday called that idea a fair compromise, respecting the needs of 360 State tenants while allowing the festival to proceed. “Millenium is a much bigger space,” Pugh added. “It’s designed for the kind of music they’re taking about. It’s a mini-ampitheater.”

Town Green Special Services District Director Rena Leddy, whose group represents downtown property owners, also called the compromise a “great” idea. “I don’t know why the festival wouldn’t take that on. It’s even more visible. It’s closer to Church Street,” she said.

Ideat Village organizer Saunders, on the other hand, called it an ideat idea. He called Millenium Plaza “masochism world” for nighttime events. He said that even without a permit, the fest will hold its nighttime events on Pitkin Plaza.

Thomas MacMillan File Photo“The more you move [the] event, the more you isolate it,” Saunders said Tuesday. Millenium Plaza is sealed off from the street, he said. And it’s not set up for people to sit, the way they can along the planters on Pitkin Plaza, he said.

Pitkin is designed for open events with people hanging around. Also, it’s right by local businesses like Bru Cafe and Mediterranea restuarant, which stay open at night and benefit from a festival, Saunders said. “Economic development. Right here.” (Click here to read an argument about the issue on Constitutional grounds by Bru’s co-owner.)  here

Tenants at 360 State Tuesday said they actually don’t mind the festival—at least the two who spoke to the Independent before a 360 State manager shoved a reporter out of the building.

“It’s no different than listening to the club rats at 2 in the morning. I close the windows and put on the air conditioning,” said one tenant, a professional dancer who gave the first name of Kelly. “I don’t think it’s a big deal. This place is pretty cool. When you close the windows and turn on the air conditioning, you can block out a lot of noise.”

Tenant Pat O’Leary agreed. O’Leary, an accountant, said he gets up every morning at 4 to get to work by 6. So he hits the sack by 9 p.m. Still, he said the controversy over the festival “surprised” him. “It wouldn’t matter to me,” he said. “It’s actually pretty quiet when you close your windows.”

That worked Monday night, when loud construction took place on Court Street, he said. “I slept through it.”

Becker said he had been out of the loop on the controversy before it exploded in the Independent.

“I got caught off guard by the whole thing,” he said. “The property manager was trying to do her job in looking out for the residents. But this is obviously a bigger issue than that. There will hopefully be more to report on the matter.”

Becker agreed with the festival organizers that outdoor arts events fit in with the area’s appeal for tenants like some of the 350 people who signed leases at 360 State.

“A lot of residents in the building are planning to go to the event,” Becker said. “The reason a lot of our residents moved to New Haven was to be involved in the arts community.”

Jay Dockendorf PhotoIdeat Village opens Saturday with a jazz festival from noon to 7 p.m. It won’t be affected either way by the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.

Its next event takes place Wednesday, June 15. That one runs from 7 to 10 p.m. It’s a “fashion challenge” for kids and families to make outfits from garbage bags. It does include some amplification, according to organizer Saunders, but only on the weekends do the events include louder music. The festival includes with events through June 26—permits or no permits, Saunders vowed.

Click on the play arrow to watch break-dancing in Pitkin Plaza at the 2009 Ideatfest.




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posted by: anon on June 7, 2011  12:38pm

great job, saunders. 

is there a job posting for a new building manager??  seriously. 

Becker is a great guy but this situation, and the town green’s and pugh’s reaction to it, is absolutely shocking given the have’s stated commitment to arts and culture.

where is our city office of culture’s statement on this?

posted by: luchy on June 7, 2011  12:43pm

Seems to me that no one really consulted with the tenants at 360. The “art” community in that neighbordood make it attractive for residents, in my humble opinion. I’m pulling for you “idiots”.

posted by: cba on June 7, 2011  12:48pm

Mr. Saunders is an extremist who doesn’t care about residences but his 5.25 minutes of fame

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 7, 2011  12:49pm

In our ‘public meeting’ to discuss ‘issues’ with event with adjoiners, excluding BRU Coffee, Lauren was the clear bully with obvious marching orders.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 7, 2011  1:02pm

should of stuck with a local management company that understands New Haven and its people.

with that said you go Bill you have New Haven behind you!!

posted by: streever on June 7, 2011  1:15pm

Great job Ideats! Bill, way to stick to your guns.

I love how our city thinks it is OK to just cave in to corporate interests.

Does a corporation vote?
Do they get a special level of representation above the hundreds of people who will attend Ideat Village, perform in Ideat Village, and appreciate the diverse swath of entertainment it brings to the city?

Shouldn’t citizens have a say?
(apparently not in the mind of our city leaders, who happily folded.)

posted by: Ideat in training on June 7, 2011  1:16pm

It would make a lot of sense for Becker to give in at this point. He really should make peace with the residents and artists of this city. If he is still unwilling to budge then it has merely become a battle of pride. There is no real reason for them to expect a 7:45 cut-off.

posted by: robn on June 7, 2011  1:29pm

I think Mr Becker should give in and permanently cement BS’s position in town as the established anti-establishment guy.

posted by: roger huzendubel on June 7, 2011  1:31pm

This is kind of ridiculous. how long have they been doing this ? and because of a new (ugly) development which seems to be half vacant they have to stop by 8 ? Ive only been a few times and i got to say it was the “look at me im weird” crowd, but whatever, theres a demand for it. If they dont agree to let them play lets all go there and play harmonicas and banjos all night.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 7, 2011  2:00pm

I picked up a package of materials today from City Hall, regarding the ‘process’, or ‘lack thgereof’ for this year’s Ideat Village permits.

An interesting discovery is that the complainer from the Court Street Apartments, that Jennifer Pugh cited, is actually an employee of Becker and Becker.

This certainly seems fit well within the definition collusion, and regardless of the permit outcome, there are still serious civl liberties issues that need to be addressed, as this pattern of behavior has been happening since Ideat Village’s inception.

I also know that we are not alone.

posted by: yvonne on June 7, 2011  2:26pm

Well excuse the heck out of me.  Didn’t the tony residents of 360 State move there to be among the art/music scene.  How dare they try to control a decades old festival.

And “shoved a reporter out of the building.” Really? I am getting a different and not very flattering impression of 360 residents.

Ideat Village, you have my support.

posted by: shaggybob on June 7, 2011  2:27pm

Why is Mr. Becker “working” on a solution- shouldn’t the City officuals that issue the permits???

posted by: Jesse Irwin on June 7, 2011  2:28pm

Typical of the weird, classist, controlling BS that drives unhierarchical creativity AWAY from New Haven. It’s a beautiful city with some great people and institutions* but I found the general attitude to stink like hot garbage. I moved away in 2003 but I’m glad Bill is keeping up the good fight. cba, whoever you are: you sound like either a shill for those trying to jerk the festival around, or someone twisted by jealousy and ready to enforce the Elm City’s endemic “tall poppy syndrome.”

As for the ridiculous accusation of famewhoring, as a wise man once said, “New Haven: so small even YOU can be somebody.” Go thou and do likewise.

* and those who are both

posted by: ned ludd jr on June 7, 2011  2:37pm

For 10 years, Saunders and Shea have been the only consistent ones in their position—the public space belongs to the public and to the extent it’s restricted, the public should have input.
I note with interest that the city has published these “policies.” Ten years ago, Bill, Nancy and I asked to see these and they were apparently written on invisible ink in a sealed room at Livable Cities.
If these “policies” weren’t approved by a citizen board of appointees or electees, they are extralegal and arbitrary, just as the Ideats have been saying all along.
Keep up the good work, Ideats. I owe Bill and Nancy a visit and a drink.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 7, 2011  2:43pm

This happen in Harlem when gentrification started.

Drummers clash with new Harlem residents
Posted 8/11/2007 6:20 PM

And this will happen Next.

Gentrification playing role in increased policing, residents say
by Barker, Cyril Josh

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 7, 2011  2:48pm

He looks like Jerry Garcia.

posted by: Steve B on June 7, 2011  2:55pm

“...the battle over whether the Ideat Village festival can take place after dark in Pitkin Plaza…”

After dark? Not really.

Actually, the sun doesn’t even go down until 8:30 and “twilight” (ie nightfall) isn’t until 9pm. If they wanted to let the festival go on until “Dark” THAT would already be a compromise.

7:45 is nothing but completely unreasonable. It’s half an hour before my 2-year-old goes to bed.

posted by: robn on June 7, 2011  3:10pm


Stop being silly. All musical instruments, by definition, amplify sound (whether they’re plugged into an electrical outlet or not.) And the existence of noise regulations in town only specifically reinforce one of the oldest principals of common law; that being excessive noise near a dwelling interrupts quiet enjoyment and is considered a nuisance (at any time of the day) and is actionable.

posted by: Atwater on June 7, 2011  3:18pm

It seems that a lot of people who are currently angry with 360 State were originally happy to have the new tower downtown. Once reality sets in those same people are singing a different tune. One could have easily foreseen the power that the 360 developer/owner had over the city during the purchasing and construction phase, to not think that the same power would remain is foolish. The tower should’ve never been built, it brings nothing positive to New Haven, just more yuppies and more cars (since most of the residents commute out of New Haven to their jobs).
As a protest the festival should play loudly well after 10pm, with or without permits. Corporate gentrification must be stopped or else all we will have are sterile communities of drones.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 7, 2011  3:39pm


Can’t wait for the picture of Bruce Becker attending this year’s Ideat Village. Maybe Saunders will make nice and invite him up on stage?

And this really is a shame, as Bruce has always seemed like a guy interested in fun as well as business. Hopefully the public can be treated to another round or two of controversy, and then a happy ending?

posted by: davec on June 7, 2011  3:54pm

Storm in a teacup.  Let the show go on.  Lets get Obama up here to share a beer with these guys…

posted by: nfjanette on June 7, 2011  5:05pm

NHI cements its position as the torch light destination of New Haven’s leftist rebel moths, who are happy to claim to speak for all residents of the city. Meanwhile, back in reality, the police will shut down any attempts by Mr. Saunders to disturb the neighborhood in violation of his permits.  Work toward a compromise or face down the cops: I would pick the former choice, a better one for all involved.

posted by: n on June 7, 2011  6:51pm

Very glad to hear this will be going through!  Don’t listen to the polarizers and naysayers on either side, the festival will be great fun, and hopefully the new co-op will show some hospitality by supplying some food and drinks.

I am certainly looking forward to enjoying myself (until 10).

posted by: Ellis Copeland on June 7, 2011  7:19pm

nfjanette—experience with NHPD proves they will NOT enforce permits. They don’t give a rat’s posterior about noise, and are, in fact, unable to do anything about it.  The enforcing agency is the Health Dep’t. Corporate entities like 360 State are usually loathe to spread around actual cash (accounting issues and all) which is the only way to really get their way.

posted by: streever on June 7, 2011  10:00pm

If what you are saying is correct, Pugh should be fired immediately. She failed to do due diligence, and allowed a corporate interest (who has already received a tax break) to have more power than citizens.

Wake the heck up people. This Mayor has got to go. ...

posted by: Mister Jones on June 8, 2011  8:54am

Putting aside all the hyperbole and hystrionics, keep in mind that the Independent originally reported the 7:45pm cutoff as a compromise: Becker wanted no Ideats at all at Pitkin, and Pugh was quoted as insisting they would get their permit and not be shut down. Rather than impugn (and impute) people’s motives, could this possibly have been a good faith attempt to accommodate competing interests?

posted by: streever on June 8, 2011  9:11am

@Mister Jones:
Unlikely. When have you heard of one individual complaint that torpedoed a 10 year festival?

I am sure that Arts & Ideas generates a few complaints each year—the Tennis Tournament generates many—and 360 itself generated tons of negative commentary and complaints.

What was the compromise for those groups? When tax payers and neighbors complained about the aesthetic of 360 or the huge tax breaks the city gave them, did the city attempt to meet anyone in the middle?

No—they just said it was proceed as planned.

The city makes half-hearted “compromises” by giving our big corporate interests what they want while ignoring tax payer complaints.

They are making the wrong choice, however. Neither 360 nor Yale New Haven is going to go away—they are doing very well here.

The people who will leave are the disgruntled tax payers that city hall has neglected for so long.

posted by: Bru Cafe on June 8, 2011  9:41am

First off I would like to thank all of you who supported Bill and Nancy’s efforts in this matter. I reiterate Bill’s words that I’m in awe, slack-jawed and dumb-struck, by what you, the public did.

Notwithstanding the few naysayers… this opposition to the City and 360’s stance was just the beginning of a great festival.

However, in reading Bruce Becker’s essay attached to this article - I find many troubling inconsistencies with the facts:(a) I am in possession of correspondence authored by Lauren Lenox of Bozzuto Management. This correspondence explicitly states that 360 State Street DID NOT WANT the festival to happen at all. (b) Bruce Becker’s own words in the assay are not fact, Bruce Becker was contacted by telephone early on in this process. Bruce was explicitly aware of “arbitrary” 7:45 time by Thursday or earlier. Furthermore. the seeclickfix site is monitored by the management of 360 State Street and I know for fact that Lauren Lenox and/or others in the building were aware that the festival was fighting this on Thursday. Indeed, early Thursday evening remarks against the building were “marked as inappropriate” within 5 minutes of their posting, most of these remarks were posted back to the cite by the cite administrators on Friday morning.

Although I am very happy with the results, it does not take a seer to see that 360 State Street is setting a trap to thwart future uses of the plaza.
Do you think that Lauren Lenox or some other representative of 360 State Street or the management thereof is not going to emerge Monday morning after the festival’s final day with a fistful of written complaints from their residents relating to the festival. That is provided they even wait that long. Its sad.

I remember when Lauren was interviewed for this job. Her interview took place in Bru Cafe. She was so happy when she got the job and stated she looked forward to creating long relationship with us (Bru) and the community. So much for that.

Lastly I must address @Atwater’s comment.

Yes, I for one was very happy with the proposed development of 360 State Street. I had a dream… I did look forward to this building being a positve influence in the community, the arts and to play well with others. Well, we can all see I was wrong. I admit it.

Its eerie how different “artists” rendering can look from the real building. In addition, I attended many of the meetings before, during and after the construction and I have first hand knowledge of the words, statements and claims made by Bruce Becker and/or his associates, agents or employees regarding this building and the community. Like Bruce Becker’s essay attached to this article, in my opinion there are many inconsistencies between what was/is said to what is real.
Facts like Bruce Becker’s claim of 75% rented are contrasted to an email written by Ms. Lenox just days ago claiming 52%. Some may call this “spin”. I use a different word.

Let’s rock Ideat Village.

posted by: robn on June 8, 2011  10:00am

Democrazy Prevails!

posted by: Atwater on June 8, 2011  12:27pm

Corporate monoliths are never good for city or town. Hopefully this collective energy will not die out after the festival ends. Many people were fooled into thinking that a developer like Becker would have the city’s interests at heart, but obviously his interests and the interests of the company come first. If it were up to me the tower would be razed and something more congenial to the neighborhood would be put in its place.

posted by: Shane Sparks on June 8, 2011  12:32pm

It surprises me that 360 State was actually aware of Ideat Village going on. Can I get on their mailing list? I think they will have a bigger issue with the Yale Symphony playing Yankee Doodle Dandy once again on the green.

Mr. Becker can you do the world and our Country a huge favor and stop this true travesty?

posted by: Rose on June 8, 2011  3:19pm

As I stated on seeclickfix, I was living at 116 Court St. and working at Bru Cafe while 360 State was being constructed and had to deal with the constant construction noise, but dealt with it as you have to when you CHOOSE to live DOWNTOWN in a city. The construction work was long and loud but we waited it out and lived through it with hopes that the building would be a positive addition to the community filled with people who would support the local restaurants, shops, and arts. Instead the management of 360 State has done nothing but make enemies of the community they are smack in the middle of. What good does this do? All over a 10 year old music festival wishing to use the plaza as it has always done peacefully?

Not to mention this is not a residential area! When I lived at 116 Court I couldnt even get a parking permit because I was told they do not issue them in non-residential areas. I had to DEAL WITH IT. PART OF LIVING DOWNTOWN.

As for the guy who accused Bill Saunders of being an extremists who just wants his 15 minutes of fame- HAHAHAHAA! I laugh at you. Bill and Nancy and everyone who puts in their own time, money and energy to put this festival on, do a great service to the city of New Haven and should be commended for all their hard work on behalf of the art community. If you could care less about the art and music of the city and you like to be in bed by 8pm, move to Suburbia!

AND lastly, the article says Becker plans to take part in the festival and as a show of good-will, hand out free refreshments??? Is this your final insult, 360 State? The surrounding restaurants and cafes that usually enjoy the business that Ideat Village brings to them will only suffer if you do this. You are ridiculous. You’d be wise to make friends with the businesses surrounding you, not enemies, eh? WISE UP.

posted by: Rose on June 8, 2011  3:32pm

Thank you to Bill, Nancy, all the Ideats, Curtis and Bill over at Bru Cafe. You guys are amazing people who truly enrich and care about the community. Also, thank you New Haven Independent! See you all at the Village.

posted by: Emily Gallagher on June 8, 2011  3:57pm

Congrats Nancy, Bill, and the whole team of Ideats who have been working so hard these past 12 months to put this year’s Village together! Don’t take any guff from these swine! :)

Jesse - great points, and it’s good to hear from you!

Threefifths - thanks for sharing those articles; there are some worrisome parallels between what’s happening in Harlem and whats happening in New Haven.

I’m super excited for Saturday - See y’all there!

posted by: robn on June 8, 2011  4:39pm

...and just think…Bruce Becker would have gotten away with this…if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids.

posted by: Nancy on June 9, 2011  1:10am

yeah, robn, us “meddling kids”... I’m a 56 year old grandmother, and the co-director of Ideat Village… the misconceptions about our event are pretty amazing…

posted by: streever on June 9, 2011  7:12am

Robn is being (quite) humorous, repeating a tag line from Scooby Doo. I’ve seen nothing but positive comments from him regarding the work you & Bill do in our community.

(Don’t you remember in Scooby Doo? The villain, unmasked, was always some local person with money who was foiled by, “those meddling kids!”)

posted by: robn on June 9, 2011  7:45am


posted by: nancy on June 9, 2011  11:18am

My comment was tongue-in-cheek,too… just to underscore one of the very many misconceptions about Ideat Village.

BTW, I’m so impressed by everyone’s support—many thanks, and see you at the festival!

posted by: Davis on June 9, 2011  3:30pm

Will go on with or without a permit! This sounds like a law abiding citizen. I cannot believe the outrage of people who think they know best. What about the outrage when someone cannot walk for their graduation in the building that others have walked thru in previous years because there was or is a cross attached to the building in some sort of fashion and the complaint came from 1 person. I would not want to listen to amplified music after 8:00Pm in any city. I do not think it is an unreasonable request to not amplify after a certain time. I hate the double standards I see and here everyday. The pitkin plaza is a very small area surrounded by high-rises. Any amplified music or the like would reverberate throughout the area and be 5 times as loud as planned. I applaud 360 State for looking out for its renters peaceful living. 8:00 PM is not unreasonable. ...

posted by: MadMech on June 10, 2011  11:52am

... First off, I live in this area and in the 6 years I have been near this plaza, Ideat Village has only brought a good natured environment to the area and the music is not at all loud. Try walking by Orange & Crown between 11p-3AM, yes many ppl inhabit those old buildings and they don’t have windows that block noise. You will hear loud club music playing from the OPEN doors and windows of 2 of the main clubs, ppl in drunken fights, cars thumping and cruising, a few gunshots, etc. And when a noise complaint is called in @ 2am the police response is, “that is an entertainment district so there is no noise ordinance”. The “LEGAL” noise ordinance for downtown is 11 PM on weekend nights so 10:30p is well within those boundaries.
The only complaint I can imagine is that some people expect to see a parade of good natured artistic people having a good time. Is Artistic Freedom so wrong? If the Yale Symphony was playing @ Ideat village until 11p would you object?
Let’s not forget the volume of Arts & Ideas is exponentially louder in volume. and sound from the green does travel, just ask the businesses up Chapel Street who had the same issues because the summer concert music was not what they liked.

posted by: geecor on June 27, 2011  12:17pm

I live at 360 State street and though I am not a rock music fan I supported the Ideat festival.  I still support the group but I think they need to consider the venue and the exceedingly high amplification caused by the surrounding buildings. Playing till 10pm seems reasonable but the decibel level was excessive, especially for an approximate 1000 square foot area where the rock music devotees were at most 40 feet from the performers.

I have three suggestions. 1; Schedule the Ideat and Arts/Ideas festivals separately. They seem to attract different interest groups. When the stage paid for by A/I is removed, the city can provide the portable stage it will be providing to some July events, 2; If they must be scheduled in the same frames, can they share the main stage (or the smaller stage that was on the Green).  There were several afternoons and evenings when that venue was unused. I assume A/I is paying for the stage and sound system, but the Ideat groups would be providing their own electronics. 3; Establish a reasonable somewhat flexible decibel level for outside public performances both on the Green and in more “residential” locations.

posted by: Mister Jones on June 27, 2011  5:29pm

Of course it was too loud, geecor, what did you expect?  Having fought city hall and won, the Ideats celebrated by cranking it up.