Video: My Friend Seth Commuting By ELF To His Job As Yale Professor of Psychiatry & Crisis Intervention Unit Director


From the Vimeo description: Seth Powsner rides an ELF, which stands for electric, light, and fun, south on Orange Street on his commute to the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Currently, Seth is Professor of Psychiatry and of Emergency Medicine; Director, Crisis Intervention Unit, Yale School of Medicine, but when I met him a hundred years ago during our psychiatric residencies at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital, he was a computer geekish MIT graduate from a Jewish family of professionals and I was a commuter college English major from a fundamentalist Christian (i.e., one of those everyone else is going to hell – and we’re ok with that sects) family of subsistence farmers (thank goodness, my dad couldn’t support his family as a farmer and became a successful used car dealer) living in the southwestern Missouri Ozarks. With so many similarities,1 it was inevitable that we became friends.

Given that Seth once arrived, on a subzero day, at my Chicago Uptown condo, having made the 13-14 mile journey from his South Side apartment by cross-country skiing on the snow-covered beaches of Lake Michigan, I wasn’t that surprised to see this video of him commuting to work during a New England winter in an ELF, a vehicle, which “meets the federal definition of a low-speed electronic bicycle” and is produced in nearby Durham, N.C. by Organic Transit. As per this USA Today article,

The ELF is a cross between a bicycle and a car. It has three wheels, pedals, a solar panel, an enclosed cab, a carrier in the back and runs on a rechargeable battery. It does not use gasoline.

Seth is, indeed, the man.


  1. Well, we were both contenders for the “Least Likely To End Up In A Major Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychiatric Training Program” []

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