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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hello and Hi! Headphones Gary Talks Somers Prison

When you get in trouble in Hartford, there is a good chance you are going to spend your "state vacation" in Somers Prison. In his own poetic, yet often jumbled way, Headphones Gary tells us about his time in Somers Prison. One can't help but wonder if Gary and Chuckles ever crossed paths while in Somers and how exactly that conversation would have gone. Hello and Hi!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone #19

Here we find Pay Phone #19 in the Sad City Pay Phone Search. Pay phone #19 is located on the corner of Broad and Ward St, an area known for significant drug trafficking. Not only is #19 in a very yellow area, everything is a little askew around #19. The ATM sign is askew, the handset itself on #19 is askew, and the neighborhood around #19 is very askew. Even the Corona add is askew in logic. Why would you pay $15.99 for a 12-pack of Corona when you can clearly buy two 6-packs for $15.98? One thing is clear #19 has lead a mixed up life. Thanks to Mr. Ceder for the tip.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sad City Visits A Revival Meeting

Sad City visited a revival meeting at the King's Chapel Church of God on the corner of Albany and Woodland on a Sunday evening. We were amazed by the power of the speakers voice and lungs as he barely even slowed down to take a breath. The lighting didn't allow for great video but we recorded a good audio story that's about 5 minutes long but worth the effort. Perhaps the girl in the story can use our handy pay phone search to locate a phone to call with.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Car on Fire on 84 West

Sad City Hartford was early on the scene of a car fire on 84 West right past exit 47. The smoke was heavy and acrid even up on the overpass. Looks like the road will be closed for a while. Vid after the jump.

Sad City Introduces: Headphones Gary

A couple Saturdays ago we met a man named Headphones Gary. Gary was an interesting fellow, who claimed to have just gotten out of prison and was looking for bus fair. He was also more than happy to break into impromptu freestyle raps for us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hakaan and Craig The Porn Star Discuss The Hartford Whalers on WCCC

Sad City Hartford spoke with their favorite DJ Craig The Porn Star on WCCC about the Hartford Whalers.

Repost: A Whale Tale: Your Hartford Whalers

After talking with Sad City friend Craig The Pornstar of WCCC about the Whalers, we decided to repost this story from last week.

In the last week or so the City has been abuzz about our old friends, the Hartford Whalers. Despite being gone since 1997, the Whaler Fan Fest held over the weekend drew about 5,000 visitors and the Hartford Courant has reported that Whaler merchandise sells as good as the top five NHL teams. The Courant also has had a large section of their website devoted to Whalers memories for over a week.

Local Sunoco Station Aids, Profits, Off Of Drug Trafficking

For years the Sunoco station at the busy intersection of Brown and Wethersfield was known for one thing; Fried Chicken. With the Fried Chicken sign prominently displayed outisde, one would get overpowered by the small of the frying grease inside that seemed to never get changed. A couple years ago the store was closed for awhile while it was remodeled and the owners have taken a different approach to business.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sad City Visits Evangelical Religious Ceremony

Hartford seems to have a lot of churches. From the massive churches on Farmington and Ave and the corners of the South Green, to the tiny churches tucked into little spots that you have to look for to find, there seems to be churches everywhere. In the summer the good weather seems to call and sometimes service is taken outside. If Sad City is there, we always pop in.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sad City Visits Keney Park Family Day

After visiting the Asian Festival on Saturday, Sad City went to Keney Park to check out the Family Day celebration. Family Day featured vendors, food, and music performers on a huge soundstage. The stars of the day though were the high school age kids who participated in some sort of dance/music competition (we missed it) earlier and then performed some impromptu drumming in the park. For those of us that couldn't master the recorder in the third grade, this was most impressive. Vids after the jump.

Sad City Visits The Asian Festival

On Saturday Sad City visited the Asian Festival on the Riverfront. The event was full of performers and vendors, featured boat races and some great food stands, but one performer stole the show. Some people get into performing for the love of their craft and the arts. Others perform for the money and the fame.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Park Clean-Up Week

Week of The Parks kicks off Monday August 23 and goes through August 28th. Volunteers are needed to help make this project as successful as possible. There are many interesting going ons in the local parks, so let's see just how clean we can get the parks what the result may be. Cleanups will be August 28. Call 860-951-7694 x14 or go to www.hartford.gov.

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phones #17 & #18

Pay phones #17 & 18 in the Sad City Pay Phone Search are located at the corner of Broad and Park Streets, an exciting little area in our city. Both are checked out as working. The interesting thing about #'s 17 & 18 is the confusing messages around the pay phone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Whale Tale: Your Hartford Whalers

In the last week or so the City has been abuzz about our old friends, the Hartford Whalers. Despite being gone since 1997, the Whaler Fan Fest held over the weekend drew about 5,000 visitors and the Hartford Courant has reported that Whaler merchandise sells as good as the top five NHL teams. The Courant also has had a large section of their website devoted to Whalers memories for over a week.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phones #15 & #16

Pay phones #'s 15 & 16 in the Sad City Pay Phone Search are found on the corners of Albany & Garden in the city's North End. It appears that the Pay Phone Search craze is sweeping the North End because citizens have clearly spray painted a tribute to Hakaan awaiting his arrival by this duo of working phones.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sad City Tribute: The Candyman

Ed. Note: Sad City is a little busy this week so after 13 months of almost five times a week new material we might have a couple reposts this week. They will be older so only our long time readers would remember them, and if they are still reading after all this time, they must like it. For new material go behind our new pay wall. (Just kidding). 

This post remembers the Candyman. Growing up in the rural suburbs, coming into Hartford for Whalers games were frequent, yet exciting occurrences in which we got to see things we never saw in our hometown. A gold building that acted like a mirror. A boat shaped building. Non-white people. The tobacco store in the Civic Center. Perhaps most memorably, The Candyman. Like so many things in Hartford after the Whalers left and gangs took over the city, the late 90's were rough for the Candyman. This post first appeared on Sad City on August 17, 2010.

Buying Beer in Hartford

If you read our Liquor Store Review, you know one of our favorite things about living in an urban area is buying beer through glass. For some reason it just makes it seem all that more exciting. So for you suburbanites that don't get to enjoy this experience we present video after the jump. Bonus points if you guess what tv shows intro we are trying to recreate with the second video.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone #14

After an earlier submission was disqualified for not working we have found pay phone #14 in the Sad City Pay Phone Search. This working pay phone is showing it's age but still holding on. Located on the corner of Albany and High, #14 holds a certain place in the heart for Sad City.

Meet King of Recycle

He's filthy. He's got gigantic 1980's serial killer glasses. His hooded sweatshirt wraps around his hairy, sinewy torso like a ghetto variation of the classic "sweater over the shoulders" look. He is King of Recycle.

You might have seen him stalking the garbage cans of the West End. Or maybe you noticed him dumpster diving in Asylum Hill.

We've been watching him for years, but finally worked up the nerve to ask him for an interview earlier this week. It was an enlightening experience. Video after the jump.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kitchen Fire at Vito's By The Park

What does a kitchen fire look like in Downtown Hartford on a Friday night? Our intrepid cameras were on the seen to capture it all. Firefighters rushed to the seen of a kitchen fire in Dowtown Hartford last night at 7:15 last night. The fire started in the kitchen of Vito's By The Park on Tumble Street née Trumble. 

At the scene of the incident, there was lots of confusion and people wandering around. One grumpy waitress tried to shoo the Sad City Hartford "reporters" away. The exceptionally mediocre restaurant was unharmed in the incident and within an hour after the HFD's appearance, it was back to business as usual.

(Editor's Note: What? You were expecting more details from us? We prefer to leave real news coverage to real city reporters like Helen Ubiñas, Steve Goode and Jenna Carlesso. They've been doing some really great work with their coverage of the whole "Hector Robles thing.") 

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Hartford Postcard

Loyal Sad City fan Jimmy Hartford sent us this postcard of the city. With the city going ahead on buying the "butt ugly building" with an eye towards demolition, this should soon be retro and therefore kewl. Enjoy your weekend.

Chuckles Reviews "Value Priced" Beers

Did our guide to Hartford Liquor Stores not meet all your alcohol consuming needs? Do not fret; today we present Sad City legend Chuckles reviewing some "value priced" beverages.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hakaan and Craig The Porn Star Discuss Porn Shops

Hakaan called into WCCC to talk to Craig The Porn Star and they both reminisced about Hartford porn shops and strip bars from the 1990's.

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone ##

UPDATE: Franklin Mike informs us that this pay phone is not working so it will not be included in the total count, still we appreciate the interesting photo.

Loyal Sad City reader Franklin Mike has provided us with Pay Phone #14 in the Sad City Pay Phone Contest. Franklin Mike reports that this Pay Phone is located outside of 156 Franklin Ave, in the heart of Hartford's historic Little Italy. If one glimpses closely, one can make out the classic Italian restaurant Domino's Pizza in the background. I don't know about you but nothing says good Italian pizza to me like Domino's!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sad City Family Reunion: Uncle Al, Cousin Vinny, All Night Danny & Mickey Mounds

Living in Hartford we all co-exist as one big family for better or worse. As happens in families, fights sometimes occur. Today we take a look back at an entertaining fight between some of our family members, but first for context, a walk down memory lane. Two weeks ago we discussed The Seven Visible From The Highway Wonders of Hartford.

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Jackpot!

The Hartford bus station gives us Pay Phones #'s 9, 10, 11, 12, & 13 (left to right for those keeping score) in the Sad City Pay Phone Search. The bus station is usually pretty busy (makes sense since the train service in Hartford is terrible) and clean. On this trip we stopped in to use the Men's room and found it to be horrific. First the entire sink was out of order and covered in paper. Second the smell was ungodly. The only thing it can be compared to is the time Hakaan camped in the infield of Poconos Raceway for a NASCAR race and made the mistake of using a porta-potty at about 1 AM on Saturday night. Email me your pay phone finds!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone #8

Here we have a poor quality photo of Hartford Pay Phone #8. #8 is located on Farmington Ave just outside of meat lovers paradise Braza. It's an odd place for the phone seeing as it's a very busy road with no place to stop, but we imagine it gets use from patrons of the couple bus stops that are a short walk from #8. What the fine gentleman pictured is doing we can only imagine.

A Guide To Hartford Liquor Stores

As a follow up to Jumper's popular Guide To Hartford Supermarkets, we present: A Guide To Hartford Liquor Stores. Since we obviously couldn't visit them all, we selected a random cross sample of stores. Being the great innovators we are, we came up with a system to measure prices that we think will catch on with economists; the basket of goods. In our basket of goods we measured the prices of (1) a 30 pack of Bud Light cans, (2) a 12 pack of Heineken bottles, and (3) a 750 ML bottle of Jameson. Sounds like a party. Let's go shopping!

Primaries Today

Don't forget to vote for the primary candidates today. Pick the candidate that best reflects your sense of humor. This is an important decision. We will have to watch commercials of today's winners from now until November.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We just found out that the winners of today's contests can go on to potentially serve in powerful government posts, serving terms as long as six years. Ignore the above advice. This crap matters.)

Urban Kayaking Update - Poop Park

The Sad City Hartford team attempted to paddle through the famed Park River Conduit on Sunday. Unfortunately, due to low water levels, the team was unable to make the journey. The team expects try to attempt the journey again once the river levels get a bit higher.

Overall, Sunday's outing was a complete borefest. The only amusing incident occurred when Jumper was wandering in the woods behind Pope Park and he almost tripped over a man who was relieving himself. The man, who was in "full poop squat" postion, seemed alarmed when he noticed Jumper, but not alarmed enough to stop his bowel movement. Jumper sprinted out of the woods and back into blusuburbansky's car, screaming like a frightened man-child the entire time.

From now on, Pope Park will be known as "Poop Park."

[Image courtesy of agiantfart.com]

Monday, August 9, 2010

Went Out of Style Faster Than the H2

Though the Gulf oil spill has lost its spot atop the news cycle this is still a quite a bold statement to make these days. I can't imagine the looks this thing drew a couple months ago. Then again as it was an old lady driving a VW beetle, it's possible the bumper sticker is a prank perpetrated by some young whippersnappers that grandma is woefully unaware of. First seen on Woodland. Tailed closely to Farmington for the shot.

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone #7

While wandering Farmington Ave Saturday afternoon we remembered we still have a bunch of mud and filth soaked clothes in a plastic bag from our urban kayaking adventure and decided to check out some industrial strength washing machines. Imagine our excitement when we came across Pay Phone #7 in the Wash Tub Laundry located next to Tisane. We can report a clean environment and a working pay phone.

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em!

Way back in our blogs infancy, some of the first comments we got were on the cigarette machine we found in Pig's Eye Pub. From that post a friendly reader tipped us off about another machine in the Airport Road Cafe, located on, errrr, Airport Rd. Airport Road is a short strip of mostly fast food restaurants that connects the South End and Wethersfield Ave to the industrial zone around Brainard and Murphy Roads.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hakaan Loob Discusses Urban Kayaking With Craig The Porn Star

Hakaan called into WCCC to discuss urban kayaking with Craig The Porn Star. They talked about not making it very far in the river, trash and pollution, mansions and housing projects and Craig even expressed an interest in snorkeling!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone #6

Here we have Pay Phone #6 in the Sad City Pay Phone Search. This pay phone is found on Main Street not far from Sad City favorite, The Old North Cemetery. We at Sad City are long familiar with the "drug buy hi" in which a street dealer waves at you as you drive by. It appears at the area around #6 has adapted the "drug buy hi" into the "coke wave" as we can see the phrase oh so subtlety painted to the right of #6. Also note the mysterious box next to the phone (too nervous to inspect) and the high price of Newport cigarettes (sheesh, using the "coke wave" might be cheaper) #6 is working.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Franklin Ave & The South End: A Brief Essay

Not long ago, Franklin Avenue was one of the true gems of Hartford. In the summer, the entire street would be shut down for festivals and amazing restaurants flourished in the city's South End. Today the neighborhood has drastically changed. House break-in's happen on a regular basis. The Hartford Police Department, armed with all of three burglary detectives, have little to no chance of ever solving a burglary.

Mattress Pile: Main Street

Hartford residents and visitors are surely familiar with the apparent overabundance of mattresses in the city. The glut of mattresses leads to many of these mattresses living on the side of Hartford streets for a while. Here at Sad City, we like to document some of the more impressive mattress colonies that congregate on our streets. This colony was found on Main Street this weekend. Upon close inspection one can see that this mattress colony has merged with a couch colony in a rare instance of mattress-couch cross-breeding.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Sad City Refrain

In a refrain all too common throughout the City, police report that they have no suspects and no witnesses from the shooting that killed one and wounded another on Sunday night. The shooting was reported to have taken place at 8:06 PM on a busy area of Franklin Ave yet amazingly no one was a witness to the crime. On a busy main street of a city. At 8 o'clock on a Sunday night.

Jumper McKay on WCCC

Jumper McKay spoke with Sad City friend Craig the Porn Star on The Rock WCCC last Wednesday. Jumper and Craig discussed some of The Seven Wonders of Hartford seen by highway drivers. The highlight? Mt. Trashmore!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hartford Pay Phone Contest: Pay Phone #5

The Sad City Pay Phone search continues as Sad City reader Jimmy Hartford sent us Pay Phone #5 located at the gas station at the corner of Capitol Ave and Broad St. This corner is near The Hartford campus and Firebox restaurant (a great place to check out some live jazz on Wednesday nights). Trinity college also borders Broad St., but sadly the streets negatives outweigh the positives so much so that Trinity has literally built an iron gate around the campus.