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.