With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

Some pictures from last week's blizzard sent by Sad City readers to close out 2010.

Taken from a West End Apartment building on Woodland Street.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Car Fire on I-84

Sad City reader Marley sent in this photo just taken of a car on fire on I-84. Crazy scene. Expect delays.

More Christmas Lights

More Christmas lights sent in by Sad City readers. This display is on Bolton Street and we have been advised to take a drive down the road and check out the lights. We plan on it soon.

With New Year's right around the corner, it seems like a good time to ask; when is it no longer appropriate to have Christmas lights up?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chuckles: How I Went To Prison, Long Story Short (but not really)

Hartford's favorite son Chuckles has returned to town. In this audio clip Chuckles tells us the saga leading up to his eight month "state vacation." In what sounds like a convoluted "Cops" episode, we learn how the first Somers vacation came to be. We then learn about his early summer bust that Pete Soperssata told us about.

Bonus Game: How many "Long Story Short's" do you hear?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hartford in Full

All Jumper wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB Gun and a kick-ass panoramic photo of Hartford. All he got was some tube socks and the chance to sneak onto a balcony at the Riverpoint building in East Hartford with a cell phone camera. Enjoy the view. Email Jumper if you want a full resolution version of the pic.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Where Can I Get A "Good" Bad Beer in Hartford?

Usually we enjoy good beers. Sometimes though a situation will call for a good ole' cheap beer. We aren't talking about Bud Light, Miller High Life, or the cliche hipster favorite Pabst. We are talking about beers with no advertising budget that you had no idea even existed anymore. Akin to the "slumpbuster," it can occasionally be necessary to drink a few of these low budget brews in order to clear ones head.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Skating Rink

Editor’s Note: Samuel Oliver Bushwick is a new contributing writer to Sad City Hartford. In this week's installment, Bushwick takes a look at Hartford's answer to Rockefeller Center.

With all the negative headlines plaguing Hartford this year, one could argue that the city is on thin ice.  If that’s the case, perhaps it’s only fitting that a skating rink was brought to Bushnell Park this holiday season.
Of course, one visit to the rink and you realize that not all is lost in the Capital City. During this particular visit - where admittedly I spent more time on my rear than actually skating - you could see families spending quality time together, and hear the sounds of laughter from kids as they glide on the ice.  Isn’t this what the holidays are all about?     

In all my excitement of being able to skate for free and not have to wait in line (beat that Rockefeller Center!), something else struck me.  Many of the people in attendance had never skated before.  As I was attempting to lace my skates (Ok, so one of my laces was really short…but at least they’re free.)  I observed someone helping a child put on their skate.  I then overheard a mother say/ask “we’ve never skated before, is this how you do it?”
It was at that moment, that I realized that this rink was more than a rink. It’s an opportunity for the local community to enjoy something together. That’s further proven by the grassroots Facebook fanpage that was created and has over 230 fans. You know in my last post, I called the city’s Festival of Light ceremony a Charlie Brown effort.  Well, it looks like Charlie Brown got it right after all.

More Hartford Christmas Lights

Sad City reader B.Money sent in this house found on the corner of Fairfield and Ansonia with the email subject "tasteful and symmetrical." While we understand the vast majority prefer "tasteful and symmetrical," let it be known that we prefer "tacky and fluorescent." In fact if society permitted it, we would wear and decorate in only fluorescent.

Send in your favorite lights.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sad City Hartford Yule Log

'Tis the season to spend time with loved ones, eating macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs while you sip on gas station egg nog spiked with Captain Morgan. While you do, sit back and watch Sad City Hartford's answer to the WPIX Yule Log. It was filmed earlier today outside of the Home Mart on Park Street. Merry Christmas!

Chuckles on MC Hammer

He's back!!!! After an eight month "State vacation" Sad City legend Chuckles has returned to Hartford. We will surely here many, many stories about what he was up to on vacation, but for now, let's just enjoy this short clip in which we learn about MC Hammer.

South End Christmas Lights

This is the best decorated house we've seen in Hartford so far this Christmas. If you haver any other candidates send them in. This house is located on Adelaide Street right below Campfield Ave.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Hartford Drug House, Mattress, and Pay Phone #28

A week ago Hilda Munoz of the Hartford Courant brought us a story about the arrest of a Hartford man, Henry Hernandez, for allegedly operating a drug factory out of 184 1/2 Ward Street. Found along with 800 packets of Heroin in the drug factory were some cocaine, raw heroin, a stolen handgun and a submachine gun. Sounds like some good clean fun. We've been known to like to check these types of scenes out, and what we found was quite an interesting representation of our beloved city in the span of a few hundred feet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hakaan and Craig The Porn Star Discuss Traffic In Hartford

As a follow up to "Intersections We Can't Navigate," Hakaan griped with WCCC's Craig The Porn Star about traffic problems in Hartford. Highlights include Hakaan trying to figure out what Craig is really using to "cover up odor" in his car, Craig sticking to his air freshener story, and both expressing their displeasure about how short the light on Sherman Street is. Full audio after the jump.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hartford Kewl Buildings: The Flat Iron Building

If New York has it's flat iron building, why can't Hartford? Located in one of our favorite areas of town between Ann and High Street, right after Albany Ave and Main Street split, this interesting building currently sits vacant and boarded up. The building doesn't seem to have any significant history, all we were able to uncover is that it was built for any Italian grocery store owner.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hartford Kewl Find: An Even Older Map

Earlier this week we posted a 1908 Hartford map we found while avoided real responsibilities and wasting time on Ebay. This post lead reader Donald Poland to email us about an 1850 map that he had a digital image of. This 1850 map was surveyed and drawn by Marcus Smith and reproduced from the Map and Geographic Information Center at UConn. A larger image and some interesting notes on how the city has changed from Donald Poland after the jump.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hartford Business: J.Rene Coffee Roasters

If Starbucks took coffee from gas stations and Folgers and into latte's, grande's, dark roasts, and venti's in the 1990's and 2000's, small gourmet shops like J.Rene Coffee Roasters are taking coffee to the next level in the twenty-tens (teens?) Located upstairs at 485 New Park Ave, J.Rene Coffee is a place where you can not only get the best coffee in town (and if you're lucky, a free latte) but also a coffee education if you desire.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hartford Kewl Find: Century Old Map

One of the biggest problems with scouring tag sales is that you only have Saturday and Sunday mornings to check them out. Sometimes on Saturday and Sunday mornings our heads are pounding and the sunlight hurts our eyes from staying up too late and reading all night. That problem has been remedied by the worlds greatest tag sale; Ebay. Running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, almost anything can be found on Ebay including some great vintage Hartford items. While bored late one night we came across this gem, a 1908 map of Hartford. For those who know Hartford, the map is very recognizable and at under $10, is one of those great finds that those with a touch of "picker" in them really love. Ebay bonus: you don't have to see how gross of a place your prize is coming from! Enlarged pic after the jump.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mark Twain Revelations

Mark Twain is probably Hartford's most famous resident ever. His house in the West End is one of Hartford's most popular tourist attractions. Recently, with the passing of the 100th Anniversary of Twain's death, his autobiography was released. Now anyone who insists that his autobiography can't be released until 100 years after his death must have many salacious revelations to make. Well we could read the book to find out, but that would take a long, long time and besides, reading is crazy boring. Let's just speculate what revelations must be in this impressive tome instead.

Monday, December 13, 2010

West End Mattress Colony

It's been a while since we've highlighted a good mattress colony taking up residence on Hartford streets, but this impressive stack was too good to resist. Located in front of one of the many Clemens Place buildings in the West End, this colony has taken up residence near the Farmington and Sisson intersection for over a week. Utility workers have been working on some sort of project in the area during the week and it is fairly amusing to watch them and a Hartford Police officer work while the mattresses just sit nearby on the sidewalk.

Friday, December 10, 2010

About Hartford's (Ex) Mayor

In the internet age, things change rapidly and for a city like Hartford, no one expects everything on the City website to always be up to date. But it might be time for Hartford to update the "About Hartford's Mayor" page.  It has been a few months, and given the disgraceful manner in which Eddie Perez resigned office, it might be best to at least take this page down. But while it's up, let's check out some now ironic statements.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Helen Ubinas On Festival Of Lights

Following the handy Sad City Dating Guide, Hakaan was recently able to procure his third ever date. What could be a better date idea than a stroll through the magnificent Bushnell Park Festival of Lights?

 Having been out of town for a while, we were unaware of the poor reviews the park had received. After an underwhelming walk, the female companion mumbled an excuse, made a hasty retreat, and apparently has had her phone disconnected. Distraught, Hakaan is unable to write on the topic, instead we can only provide some quotes from the Hartford Courant's Helen Ubinas' excellent article.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Councilman Luis Cotto Chats With Sad City

We were very pleased when Councilman Luis Cotto was quoted in Jenna Carlesso's article on Sad City saying that he was planning on proposing an ordinance banning the sale of lactose powder in Hartford gas stations. Needless to say we were intrigued and decided to contact Councilman Cotto for an interview. Mr. Cotto was receptive and answered all of Sad City's questions without hesitation and with good humor. Check out the interview after the jump.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winner: Whalers Story Contest

Last week to celebrate the Connecticut Whale debuting in Hartford, we asked you to send in some of your favorite Whalers stories from days past. Here is the winning entry in "Whaler Stories Week" submitted by Anonymous.

It was Opening Night 1995 and hopes were pretty high for the Whalers going into that season. During the off-season the Whalers had traded young Chris Pronger in exchange for Brendan Shanahan. Shanny was the first legit superstar the Whalers had had since trading Ron Francis away half a decade earlier.

What's Wrong With This Story?

Hilda Munoz of the Hartford Courant brings us this story describing the  Hartford Police investigating mostly garden variety street crime. We've got a 3:15 am mugging and a 1 am robbery, more or less another weekend in almost any fine city across the nation. It's the last snippet of the story that piqued our interest;

"The purse snatching occurred Saturday around 6:02 p.m. The victim told police she was walking near Beacon Street and Capitol Avenue when the suspect came up from behind.
He demanded her Dolce & Gabbana purse, which contained $1,800, and then forcefully took it from her, police said. He then fled south on Beacon Street."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A "Light" at the End of the Tunnel

Editor’s Note: Samuel Oliver Bushwick is a new contributing writer to Sad City Hartford. The writer’s initials of "SOB" are pure coincidence. In this week's installment, Bushwick takes a look at last weekend's illumination of Bushnell Park.

Finally, the streets of downtown Hartford were hustling and bustling in anticipation of the city’s annual Festival of Light celebration. With a new venue – the beautiful, under-appreciated and under-used Bushnell Park – a new mayor, a local celebrity (Hello Irene O’Conner!), and an appearance by the Big Guy, there’s no doubt THIS was the Rising Star’s chance to shine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sonar the Wolf: Battling Unemployment

There was a lot of positive buzz this past weekend regarding the Whale's return to Hartford. And while while we are happy about the direction our minor league hockey franchise has taken, we cannot forget the little people who have been impacted by the change.

The Sad City Hartford cameras tracked down Sonar the Wolf, former mascot of the Hartford Wolf Pack. Sonar told us what he has been up to since he lost his job to Pucky the Whale.

Does anyone want some ironic Hartford Wolf Pack merch?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hypnotic Al Terzi Video

Earlier this afternoon, while researching an upcoming story on our favorite news cyborg, we stumbled on this mesmerizing gem. It's a weird photo montage of Al Terzi and Michael Terzi, who we assume is Al's late son. It's set to a weird royalty-free music track and features the most interesting use of video transitions this side of the star wipe.

We tried to do some digging to determine the origins, but all we found were dead ends. The URL at the end of the video is a dead link. Google was unable to translate the text posted with the video. All of the other clips are just as nonsensical. Our only theory is that "bajykulew" is a robot trying to leverage search traffic for Al Terzi, because we all know that EVERYONE runs searches on Al Terzi.

If anyone can figure this one out, please clue us in.

Was This Sign Pre-Made or a Custom Print?

On the corner of Albany and Woodland, there is an awesome Jamacan Bakery. For those looking to get the full "Sad City" experience, we highly recommend ordering up a couple of beef patties, coco bread and cola champagn and hanging out on the corner while you eat and take in the neighborhood.
But whatever you do, DO NOT walk behind the restaraunt and try to reliveve yourself. The sign (see left) excplicity asks people not to do that. You have been warned.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The best part is, they had such a problem with this issue that they either A.) Had a custom sign printed or B.) Scoured sign shops across Connecticut, looking for the sign that, "Tells people they will get thrown in the slammer if they pee here." Totally awesome.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Insert Uplifting Holiday Story Here

On holidays it is important for media outlets to run uplifting stories. Usually these stories involve a community getting together to help a lower income family after some sort of disaster has hit the family. Why these stories are always much more prominent on a holiday we aren't exactly sure, but Josh Kovner of the Hartford Courant brings us our uplifting story today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Connecticut Whale Week Contest

With the Hartford Wolfpack officially morphing into the Connecticut Whale on Saturday, Jodi Rell has declared this week "Connecticut Whale Week." One can only wonder from the picture in Paul Doyle's Hartford Courant article whether CT Whale mascot Pucky Ackbar walked into the Governors office in full costume or if there was a changing room in the office for the photo?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Six Most Dangerous Things in Hartford

Last week, Hartford cracked the top 20 on the America's Most Dangerous Cities list. Quite frankly, the fact that we were #19 on the list was good news. In fact, we even beat Connecticut's Perineum City, New Haven, who checked in at #18.

So how did we even end up in the top 20? Sad City Hartford decided to take a look at the six most dangerous things in Hartford to explain.

While You Opt-Out, Sad City Opts-In

The Hartford Advocate and Brianna Snyder enlighten us about our rights in regards to airport body scanners and the option to instead opted for an enhanced pat-down instead of the body scan. All that is well and good, but Sad City chooses to look at the airport body scanner in another light.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Minor Victory

Hartford has been named the 19th Most Dangerous U.S. city according to FBI violent crime statistics. How does this qualify as a minor victory? Hartford beat neighbor city New Haven (ranked 18th) and only a week after repelling an invasion from the north, Hartford scored yet another victory over Buffalo who ranked 17th on the list.

It's all in the power of positive thinking folks!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hartford Business: Hartford Denim Company

Local. Sustainable. Local. Sustainable. It's practically a mantra these days. Most often used in regards to food, those on the local and sustainable wagon can now stay local and sustainable with their jeans thanks to the Hartford Denim Company. Located in downtown on 75 Pratt Street, Sad City visited with the guys from the Hartford Denim Company last week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Intersections We Can't Navigate

As far as North America goes Hartford is a very old city. Much of Hartford was designed and built long before anyone had conceived of the motor vehicle much less the congestion that would follow the rise of the suburbs and white flight from the cities. We at Sad City love living in cities. We accept the congestion, traffic, and a certain level of crime as part of the trade off for the convenience and diversity of the city. Still some Hartford roads and ramps completely confound us.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hartford Business: MC's Barbershop

For men getting a haircut can be a difficult hazard to navigate. For the vast majority of us it is totally unnecessary and wasteful to go to a salon and pay in excess of $30 to get a trim. On the other hand going to Supercuts and putting your appearance into the hands of a hungover 20-year old who is still fuming about the latest argument with her boyfriend isn't the best idea either.
The solution; MC's Barbershop on Franklin Ave.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Look At Sad City's Desktop

 Sometimes we have photos that don't quite merit a story on their own yet still are worth saving and sharing. With our desktop becoming cluttered and getting tired of answering why we have so many random pictures of Hartford, we think it's time to clear it out and take a look at the Sad City desktop. Let's see what sort of gems we can find.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Real Hartford vs. Sad City Hartford

Several readers have asked us if a rivalry exists between Real Hartford and Sad City Hartford? The question kind of makes sense. We are both independent blogs focused on the city of Hartford. Additionally, Hakaan does spend about a 1/3 of his monthly text messages griping about their site. But a rivalry? We are not so sure. Were Goofus and Gallant rivals? (We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to decide who is who, but know that Jumper rarely combs his hair.)

To understand the Sad City Hartford / Real Hartford situation, we decided to conduct an extremely biased tail of the tape.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sad City Find More Gas Stations Supporting and Profiting Off Local Drug Trade

A while back we brought you the story of the Sunoco on Wethersfield and Brown selling lactose powder, a product drug dealers use to cut cocaine. As it turns out, this is fairly normal for South End gas stations. Sad City has gotten footage of two more gas stations selling lactose and other drug lacing products. Nothing like the local drug dealer being able to get all of their narcotic distribution supplies at the local gas station!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Buffalo/Toronto Invasion Repelled!

The Hartford Courant is reporting that Tim Horton's will close it Connecticut stores, ending the Canadian (let's face it, Buffalo is practically part of Canada) coffee shops attempt to gain a foothold in the market. While Tim Horton's may try to slink quietly back to Canada, Connecticut is planning to launch a counter-insurgency of Dunkin' Donuts; for defensive purposes of course!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Butt Ugly Building Gets the Wrecking Ball

The Butt Ugly Building is soon to be now more. A few days back we saw the demolition start on the blighted building and Wednesday saw the building meet the wrecking ball. In short time the eyesore which has long loomed over I-84 will be reduced to rubble. See pics of the demolition after the jump.

A South End Garden

When you think of Hartford it's unlikely that "gardening" is the first thing that comes to mind. Yet some Hartford neighborhoods are conducive to gardening and Hartford does in fact have some resident green thumbs (also many Hartford residents enjoy gardening in their closets and basements under heat lamps, but that's a story for another day). Sad City visited Pete Soperessata's garden recently. Though the gardening season is clearly over, we still got some great shots and look forward to revisiting in the Spring.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hakaan and Craig The Porn Star Discuss The Real Winner in the Senatorial Election

Sad City Hartford concluded a whirlwind Election Day by checking in with good friend Craig The Porn Star on WCCC. Hakaan tried to convince Craig that he should vote when Craig admitted to not voting in this years election. That was followed with a scientific analysis of the real winner of the hotly contested Blumenthal-McMahon race for the Senate. Think you can guess who was tapped as the victor? Find out after the jump.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Park Street Garage Mystery, Solved

We have always wondered what was inside that mysterious little carport on Park Street. The carport became a minor Hartford celebrity in 2008 after being prominently featured in the horrendous Gangland: Hartford. Boarded up for the past few years, rumors have run wild about what was actually inside the carport.

Theories have included: entrance to an underground cock-fighting arena, Al Terzi's secret regeneration chamber or some sketchy place where junkies go to do drugs.

So what's inside this mystical urban cave? The answer after the jump.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sad City Readers Know Hartford History

Last week we took a look at some photos of the Hartford Civic Center roof collapse of 1978. While examining the photos we wondered what was the colorful mural we could see in the photo. Sad City reader Doug sent us a link to the artist Michael Borders website along with a brief history of the mural.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Abandoned House and a Campus Worlds Apart

Now this is what we call an abandoned house. This gem of a find is located on the corner of Park Terrace and and Summit Street. It appears that this house is undergoing rehabilitation but it is the location of this abandoned that is truly amazing. Perched atop a small hill, this house must have a great view into Pope Park. Directly across the street is a sign directing motorists to turn onto Summit to get to Trinity College.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Whirlwind 24 Hours in the Sad City

It was quite an exciting twenty four hours for Sad City Hartford. It started Monday night when we got to watch the World Series conclude in a victory for the San Francisco Giants. Tuesday we started Election Day by casting our ballots for Connecticut Senatorial and Gubernatorial candidates amongst others.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Look at Hartford's Park River

We've been fascinated by Hartford's "Hog" River for a long time. Many don't even know about Hartford's underground river that used to run through downtown before it was buried. This summer we spent an afternoon attempting to kayak Hartford's forgotten river. Though we failed to make it the entire length of the river, the adventure provided plenty of highlights and lowlights for the afternoon. Later attempts to kayak the underground portion of the river were thwarted by lack of rainfall.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day News: Sad City to visit Colin McEnroe on WNPR

Fresh off the heels of Halloween, tomorrow November 2nd, is Election Day. It's your day to have a say in who will be representing the State so make sure to get out and vote. Can the wrestling CEO deliver the "Stone Cold Stunner"  to the long-tenured AG? Will third-party Congressional candidates make a meaningful impact? The race for Governor looks like a dead heat.

Sad City Parties with the Hartford Party Starters Union

Sad City visited the Hartford Party Starters Union at the Arch Street Tavern for their Halloween costume party on Friday night. The music provided by Lemonade was foreign to us (all post 1999 music is) but, it sounded good and there was an awesome light machine.

Pictured is Sad City's winner for best costume. This costume makes points for originality and a good cultural reference. What separates this costume from the rest is the sheer effort that went into creating it. More costumes (taken with a bad camera) after the jump.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hakaan and Craig The Porn Star Discuss I-84, the Butt-Ugly Building, Malt Liquor and Flying Cars

Hakaan visited with good friend Craig The Porn Star on 106.9 WCCC to discuss some pressing issues. Craig continues to be angered by the traffic on I-84, Hakaan shares high school memories of the "Butt-Ugly" Building and both wonder why politicians haven't provided citizens with flying cars. Audio after the jump.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Craft Fair? Yay!

Sometimes we get pitches from people for stuff that we have absolutely no interest in - especially lazy PR people who do nothing but blind pitching. Other times we get home runs. We have no idea no idea how Daniel Witzniter, pictured on the left, knew we had a burning passion for local crafts and handy goods, but he really hit our sweet spot. The blind pitch email after the jump.