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 30, 2011

The Scariest Mattress Colony

While we have long featured mattress colonies on Sad City, this one seems more suited to Halloween rather than the Christmas season. Since it's the final mattress of 2011 you could also consider this monstrosity the "boss" mattress colony. Found after dark on Babcock Street, this partially shredded mattress colony looks like it is eating itself. Perhaps the mattress colony is trying to fortify itself as Mayor Segarra gets ready to introduce a plan to rid the city of its mattress problem

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sad City Hartford Comic: The Reverse Flasher

We're pleased to present a new comic strip here on Sad City Hartford, The Ongoing Mundane Adventures of Martin Martinczk. The comic strip is a bout the boring happenings of an insurance claims manager living in Hartford. This week's episode is about a "reverse flasher." What's a reverse flasher? You'll just have read the comic to find out, won't you?

Future episodes may or may not appear sporadically. Enjoy! (The full comic is after the jump.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Great Hartford Christmas Gift

Unless you're watching a Lexus commercial, a good Christmas gift is a gift that has utility, nostalgia, surprise, or any combo of the above. Unless this is your first time to this blog you also know that Hartford was once home to the NHL and that Sad City are Hartford hockey boosters. What you might not know is that our little gem of a city once hosted an NHL All-Star Game. To be fair, we aren't fans of All-Star games in any sport, and tend to think of them to be wastes of time.

But way back in 1986, an era before every game, every highlight, every night, everything was readily available on television, the internet, and your phone; way, way back then, All-Star games did mean a  good deal more.

Pay Phone #37 - Grocery Store Edition

We haven't featured a pay phone in our great Pay Phone Search in quite awhile and what would the Sad City holidays be without one? Pay Phone #37 is located outside the Stop & Shop on New Park Avenue. One thing you'll notice about living in Hartford is that grocery stores, or the lack thereof in downtown, is a topic of continuous hand-wringing in our fine city.

At this point we all realize the short lived, poorly executed, Market at Hartford 21 is not going to return. Yet we still don't think that Hartford is all that lacking in grocery stores. There's hardly anywhere you can live in Hartford and not be 10 minutes away from at least a grocery store.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Weekly Whale

Just as it's a slow week at the office for many last week, it was a slow week on the ice for the Whale who only skated once, taking the ice in Hartford against Adirondack on Wednesday night. With only one game during the week, the Whale made the most of it and once again gave the Hartford fans an exciting show en route to a 3-2 victory at the XL Center on a great goal by Pavel Valentenko with 16 seconds to play that thrilled the crowd and sent everyone home happy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Return of the Sad City Hartford Yule Log

Since it's December 24 today, we've gone up to the attic (the place where we store our old Wolf Pack merch and Hannukah decorations) and dusted off the Sad City Hartford Yule Log. Throw it up on your flatscreen, set it to loop and be mesmerized. Happy holidays, everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sad City Artford, Part 2

Demon Perez, finger on iPadDemon Perez, finger on iPad

There's good news and bad news about our proposed art exhibit. The good news is that apparently the aye's have it. An overwhelming 95% of readers surveyed are in favor of some sort of exhibition that documents the sad city experience in an artistic, most-likely post-modern fashion. That's the good news. 

Billy's Neon At Night

One of the best things about the Christmas season is the many displays of bright lights. Almost makes you wonder why we all just don't display colorful lights all year round. While Bushnell and Goodwin Park have excellent Christmas displays this year, Billy's Package Store is still the undisputed champion of Hartford lights.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sad City's Guide To Holiday Shopping

Wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping? Racking your brain to find the perfect gift for that person on your list who has everything? Well here comes Sad City to the rescue with our one stop shopping, one size fits all holiday gift guide. When you find the perfect gift you know it and that's why Sad City's Guide To Holiday Shopping starts and ends with one item.

When selecting the perfect holiday gift you want something that says "thoughtful" and speaks to the recipients individualism. These days it is a popular idea to get holiday gifts locally to support local products and businesses. Here again Sad City has found the sweet spot.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sad City Travels: New Haven

While we are on the topic of pizza, we would be remiss not to mention New Haven, our neighbor to the south. Those of us that are diehard Hartfordites probably find it tempting to hate New Haven. After all, New Haven gets the benefit of some advantages that Hartford doesn't, and some of those seem a little unfair. New Haven is the home to Yale University. While Hartford has it's share of excellent schools, none are Yale. When your city is home to a university that has a $19.4 billion endowment and has educated five U.S. Presidents, well, that's going to help out quite a bit.

Sad City's Guide To West End Pizza

If there is one food in America that appeals to almost everyone across all ages, it's pizza. You'd be hard pressed to find a town, no matter how small, that didn't have at least one pizza place. Pizza also comes in a massive array of types, quality levels, sizes, and, often most importantly, toppings. While Hartford certainly doesn't have the pizza heritage of its sister city New Haven, it can certainly boast of its share of quality pizza joints. Seeing as how trying all of them, or anywhere even close to that would take forever, (not to mention drastic weight gain and the onset of diabetes) Sad City has decided to break down Hartford's pizza options by neighborhood.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Weekly Whale

The Whale had a decent week with one win, one loss, and one overtime loss, and extended their division lead to 4 points. The week started on Sunday with 3-2 a loss in the second half of a home and home series at Providence. The Whale returned home to face I-95 rivals Bridgeport Friday and scored a spirited 6-3 victory. It was a tough game and featured fisticuffs a mere 28 seconds  into the game and 8 goals in the first two periods. Saturday night saw the rival Bruins return to the XL Center.

In front of a very healthy crowd the Whale managed to have a 1-0 lead despite being outplayed until goalie Chad Johnson shot himself in the foot by misplaying a puck and handing Providence the tying goal. The overtime period was very exciting and even featured a penalty shot by Jordan Owens for the win with 15 seconds to play. The Providence goalie was able to stop Owens and some other good Whale attempts in the overtime to send the game to a shootout. Providence then prevailed 2-0 in the shootout sending the crowd home a bit disappointed despite the exciting game.

With the Christmas holiday next weekend it's a slow week for the Whale with the only game on Wednesday night against the Phantoms at the XL Center.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Legend of Doc Ellis

In all the excitement of last week, we neglected to mention that we reached our 500th post. To commemorate this milestone we present you with this awesome rendering of the legend of Doc Ellis and the LSD no-hitter by No Mas. What is fact is that Doc Ellis did pitch a no-hitter on June 12, 1970. Ellis, who died in 2008, always maintained that he was high on LSD during the game.

Ellis said about the game;

Friday, December 16, 2011

That's Quite A Sleigh

We have to give this car owner credit for the Christmas spirit. We have to admit, it would be pretty cool if everyone drove around with a massive wreath on their grill and a candy cane on their antenna Christmas week. Not only would it be festive but it would have to cut down on road rage incidents right?

We could totally see 2006 Santa rocking this Excursion as his sleigh. Of course in today's post everything collapse, energy conscious society, 2011 Santa would have to rock a Prius as his sleigh. Sadly, that means smaller presents for everyone. It's a recession you know.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sad City Artford

Here's the idea...an art exhibit that features nothing but paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations that focus on Hartford mattresses and pay phones. The work would be created by either based in the city or with roots in the city. Our blog readers would serve as the jurors and curators of the show. Over the next few months we would run polls where you could vote on whether or not a piece was show-worthy.

Vote now.  (NOTE: We couldn't figure out how to embed the stupid survey into the post. Sorry.)

Voting closes at 9 pm on Sunday. Expect to be spammed over Twitter as we whore for votes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wall Street Journal?

The Wall Street Journal?  If you has suggested to us, even two days ago (never mind at our birth) that Sad City might even be read, never mind mentioned by a Wall Street Journal reporter...well, you would probably own a solid, albeit old, gas guzzling pickup truck. When we noticed someone named Shelly Banjo, labeled a Wall Street Journal reporter was following us in Twitter, our first reaction was "that name sounds made up." Then again you are reading someone who in the second week of Contracts class was asked what they thought of a case and replied "I thought the name Judge Learned Hand sounded made up." Academia was never exactly our forte.

More Of Hartford By Phil Lohman

Without question the coolest thing about doing Sad City is the people we've met through the blog. When we featured a simply awesome cartoon map of Hartford by Phil Lohman the Courant put out in 1989, we got an email from our good friend Steve Goode from the Courant, who told us that Mr. Lohman had done some other Hartford maps over the years. Well we then got to digging up Mr. Lohman's email address. The next day we had a response with an invitation to call. After a few minutes on the phone we were on our way over to Mr. Lohman's house.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another El Mercado Gem

Last week when we wrote about our travels to Philly and the awesomeness of the Reading Terminal Market, we opined that every city should be so lucky to have such an incredible market. While it has been well documented that Sad City is a huge fan of El Mercado on Park Street, we aren't going to get all Hartford cheerleader silly and claim that El Mercado is anywhere on par with the Reading Terminal Market, but it's adding more great restaurants and is really a great place to get Latino food.

While most of our dining at El Mercado has been at the Mexican restaurant with the occasional stop at the Dominican restaurant, we had noticed that El Mercado has added a Peruvian and Columbian restaurant. This weekend we tried out the fairly new Peruvian restaurant Autentico Sabor Peruano (Authentic Peruvian Flavor). It's an impressive and varied menu but one item in particular made our decision a no-brainer; ceviche.

Book Review: Finding Fernanda

Erin Siegal went to high school with Hakaan in the sleepy Connecticut suburbs just outside Hartford. While Hakaan went onto be fascinated by the modern American urban experience and write a silly, albeit somewhat successful blog about Hartford, Erin has gone onto become a proper journalist and author a book on child trafficking in Guatemala. These days she is working in Tijuana and probably seeing things that would make even the most hardened Hartfordite's eyes pop out.

We received Finding Fernanda about a month ago. It's kind of surreal to see the name of someone you grew up with on the cover of a real and proper book, but there it was. Very cool. We continued to get more impressed as we turned the pages.

The Weekly Whale

The Connecticut Whale are almost midway through the season and reside in first place in the Northeast Division with a three point lead over Adirondack. It wasn't a great week in the standings for the Whale as they went 1-2 losing to Binghamton Sunday, followed by a loss to Hershey Friday in a rematch of the Bourque Bowl. Saturday was a huge night for the Whale and Hartford hockey as the game against Providence was the first televised Hartford hockey game in years. A healthy and energetic crowd turned out to see the Whale prevail 3-0 over the rival Bruins in a chippy, physical game that was tied 0-0 going into the third period. While we didn't see any brawls in the stands that were guaranteed at Whalers-Bruins games in the old days, we did see a lot of the fans sporting Bruins gear getting lustily booed by the home crowd. It also was "teddy toss" night, a promotion in which fans bring teddy bears and toss them onto the ice when the Whale score their first goal. It's pretty surreal seeing hundreds of teddy bears flying through the air. A great night of hockey at the XL Center.

This week the Whale travel to Providence today to finish up the home and home series with the Bruins and then return home for the weekend with two more rivalry games as Bridgeport comes into town Friday and the Bruins return on Saturday. It should be another great weekend of hockey in Hartford.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Travelers Tower

The Travelers Tower is the most iconic building in the Hartford skyline. Even the Hindenburg flew by the tower to check it out. Built in 1919, the tower was the seventh tallest building in the world when it was constructed. The Travelers Tower was the first building outside of New York City to be over 500 feet tall and was for many years the tallest building in New England. At 527 feet tall, it is currently the second tallest building in Hartford, only City Place I at 535 feet is taller.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Sad Anniversary

Today marks 31 years since John Lennon was murdered. His death was one of the greatest wastes of talent ever. While we aren't quite sure the message Yoko was sending by knitting blindfolded through this performance, John was really, really, really into her so we'll cut her some slack. Shine on John, shine on.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Do We Think Of This?

Last month Forbes put out this interesting migration map. The map measure not only the inbound and outbound migration of an area, but the inbound and outbound per capita income. A quick glance at the Hartford County map shows that the population has increased slightly since 2005. The stats also show that the outbound income is $2,500 higher per capita than the inbound income. What does that tell us? Well you can draw your own conclusions and read the analysis of four "experts" here. All we can tell is that, predictably, a lot of people go down to Florida, and it doesn't appear any Hartford County residents caught Palin Fever and relocated to Alaska.

Open House Today At Greater Hartford Welcome Center

Can it be that bad if there's money for this billboard?

For those of us who don't wait for the last minute and simply order gifts off the internet, here's an idea that triples as a gift, support for the arts in our fine city, and a tax deduction! That's really a trifecta not found in many places. Today the Greater Hartford Arts Council will host a day-long festive  holiday party to celebrate the Greater Hartford Welcome Center and the Let*s GO Arts! Holiday Promotion. During the open house morning visitors can dine on cookies and other snacks while afternoon visitors can enjoy some free wine and cheese. Seriously, how does anyone turn down free wine and cheese? We plan to be all over the havarati and brie so be sure to get there before we devour it all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beyond Thunderdome: A Pro's View

Over the last year and a half or so we have explored the Hartford I-91 overpass a couple of times. First there was a solo journey on a hot summer day which ended with us being spooked by some sort of feral beast as we started to explore the underbelly of the overpass. The next time we visited the overpass we made a thorough investigation and ended up with some really cool pictures. That investigation lead to the a post about a Hartford Overpass Love Story, a post many have stated is the funniest post in the history of Sad City. Those posts piqued the interest of Robb Cyr, a professional photographer whose family had owned a house on McLean Street and he emailed us and asked about the location.

Sad City Travels: Philly; Helen Ubinas Edition

Yes please!
A few weeks ago we visited Philadelphia. Just a few days later Sad City friend and former Hartford Courant  columnist Helen Ubinas announced that she had relocated and was working in Philadelphia. Over the weekend Helen announced that she was making her first visit to our favorite part of Philly, the Reading Street Terminal Market. In our experience this is hands down, the best food market we have ever visited.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Loud Is Too Loud?

Except for the extraordinarily wealthy, living in an urban environment means living in close proximity to others. It also means you have to tolerate others and at times curb your own behavior for the benefit of your neighbors. One thing that can be tricky in the urban environment is determining the appropriate volume level at which to play music. While we all love playing our favorite music at a healthy volume, we have to remember that our favorite music isn't necessarily our neighbors favorite music and even if it happened to be, our neighbors might not be in the mood to hear it at the moment.

It can be a tricky dichotomy especially when alcohol is involved. Our crack research staff has determined that as the amount of alcohol consumed increases, so does the volume level that one judges to be appropriate. The type of music also effects the volume level. In the example above the band Motley Crue is being played. It's hard to play a band like Motley Crue at a low level. So city dwellers what do you think? How do you determine how loud to play your music? Is the music above at an appropriate level? Sad City yearns for your knowledge.

Friday, December 2, 2011

On Bended Tree

The October snowstorm gaves us many headaches and some unbelievable sights. Now, over a month removed from the storm, there are still remnants of the damage around town. One of the more interesting things we've seen as a result of the storm are trees bent in seemingly impossible positions. This tree is bent over Sad City's favorite, the Park River.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hartford Business: Del Norte Grocer

When we were going into the Pan De Oro chip factory a couple weeks ago, we noticed what appeared to be a Mexican Grocer at the end of the industrial park Pan De Oro is located in. Being in an industrial park, we first guessed it was a restaurant supply type store, selling products in bulk. After all, an industrial park next to train tracks didn't seem like the place where one would find a small grocer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Beat City Beauties Hit The Liquid Lounge

Over the last year Liquid Lounge at the CT Science Center has quickly became one of the must attend events on the Hartford social calendar. Liquid Longe returns Friday, December 2, highlighted by the Beat City Beauties who are well on there way to establishing themselves as a must see event on the Hartford circuit. The Beauties are a burlesque dance troupe with six members: Maddy Hatter, Buns Anderson, Patty Cake, Victoria Van Layer, Glam Chop, Anna Tainment and Leena Colada. The group has been performing for about a year but came into the conscious of many in the area through this excellent Hartford Courant article by Bettina Hansen in late October. It's a great piece of work and we aren't going to pretend we can do any better. 

Reflection on The Wire

Illustration from the 19th Century novel that HBO's The Wire was based upon.
Last night, a friend mentioned that she had episode one of season one of The Wire ready and she was finally ready to take the plunge. She asked what to expect. I told her the following:

"You want to know what to expect? Here's a prediction of what will happen. You're going to watch the first two or three episodes and you're going to think to yourself, 'What the hell was all the hype about? I'm confused and I don't know what the hell is going on.' Then some friend will convince you to stick with it and by episode 6, you're totally hooked. Like Bubs on a bender, you spend all of your free time watching episode after episode, season after season, consuming the show. You become desperate when your Netflix discs don't re-up fast enough. Eventually you get to the end and of the show and you become 'one of those people.' You talk about it constantly at parties. You emphasize things like the 'Dickensian Aspect.' You can't watch Boardwalk Empire without whistling the 'Farmer in the Dell.' Eventually you come to recognize that, just like all of those cultural blow-hards often say, it truly is the ultimate dramatization of the death of the American City. Enjoy!"

That goes for all of you out there in Sad City Hartford land, too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do you remember Jai-Alai in Hartford?

Sad City Hartford favorite Gerry Brooks getting his Jai-Alai.
 Does anyone out there remember Jai-Alai in Hartford? Hakaan and I were both way too young to ever go before it shut down, but we grew up fascinated with the cool, legal gambling in Connecticut before the casinos. I'm currently working on an upcoming creative project that draws on our city's Jai-Alai past and I would love to talk to people who got experience the joys of Hartford Jai-Alai. For those of you who have no clue about what I'm talking about, here's a quick historical refresher.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Remember When It Snowed?

When talking about the great weather yesterday we realized "remember it snowed a foot four weeks ago?" The weather in this part of the world is really pretty amazing. That reminded us of the Sad Snowman that reader Eric C. sent to us from Bushnell Park a few weeks back. Eric C. sent us apologies for the blurriness from his Blackberry (C'mon people, just get an Android or iPhone) but it is still worth noting that this picture was taken on November 3. Wasn't it was something like 70 degrees out yesterday? And winter hasn't even started yet. One of the great and maddening things about living in New England.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sad City Comic Strip: The Bus To New Britain

Sad City Hartford Comments on the proposed Connecticut Transit Busline from Hartford to New Britain

Thankful for Mattress Disposal

Sad City readers are no doubt familiar with the mattress problem that plagues the sidewalks of Hartford. While the Mayor has recently taken steps to combat the mattress problem, Sad City recently spotted a truck full of discarded mattresses making their way to their final resting spot off the Jennings Road exit. While we could not confirm whether or not these were Hartford mattresses, it is encouraging to see some going to meet their maker.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Face The State Looks at the XL Center Plan

Image courtesy of courant.com

Last week, to much fanfare, Howard Baldwin unveiled his plan to upgrade the XL Center in downtown with the long term of attracting an NHL team. While we all love the idea of an NHL team coming back to Hartford, many question the viability of the plan. Even without an assurance of the NHL returning, Sad City supports the plan.

The XL Center is there, it is also old. As we see it there are three options: upgrade it, build a new stadium, or let it rot and die. Option three would leave Hartford without a downtown venue for events and a whole block in downtown empty and rotting. For us option three isn't an option. Here Sad City friend Dennis House interviews an economist that worked on the plan to upgrade the XL Center about the viability of the plan. Video analysis after the jump.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Coliseum Club

There is no place in Hartford that evokes as many memories for Sad City as the Hartford Civic XL Center. The long time home to the Hartford Whalers, Hartford Wolfpack, and now the CT Whale, there is no place in Hartford that we have visited as many times over as many years. For over a quarter century, just a few years before we started this blog, we have been enjoying ice hockey at the arena. Not a lot has changed inside the arena since Ron Francis, Mike Liut, and Kevin Dineen patrolled the ice for the Whalers. Sure patrons can't suck down cigarettes in the concourse between periods, but even the Whalers old banners and retired numbers still hang from the rafters.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mezmerizing Carlos Food Dancers

From time to time, we love to feature great dancing on Sad City Hartford. Earlier this week, we stumbled upon quite possibly the greatest dancing the city has ever seen…and it is all available on YouTube. And it's not just the dancing that's amazing. The video productions themselves are pretty mind blowing in their stripped down,authentic aesthetic. Sad City Hartford is pleased to introduce pielcanela75. She's like the D.A. Pennebaker of YouTube clips shot in off-brand grocery stores.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lohman Map

We've had our eye on this cartoon style map of Hartford by Phil Lohman for quite some time. We first saw it in the basement of one of our friends and was very happy to have the opportunity to acquire one a couple weeks ago. (Incidentally, this same map hangs in the Pan De Oro chip factory) It seems that the map was distributed by The Hartford Courant to celebrate 225 years in print. Since the map states that The Courant started "on a hard-operated press" in 1764, we did some hardcore number crunching and DNA analysis to date this map at 1989. It's a very cool and unique map and a glimpse at how Hartford was a generation ago. Huge thanks to Sad City friend Chion Wolf for taking the photo of this map for us. If you would like the full size jpeg, email us here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What is Hartford's Vibe Score?

MapQuest, best known for supplying hundreds of directions print outs that sat crumpled up in the back of my 1998 Saturn, recently released a new service called MapQuest Vibe. According to the press release:

"MapQuest Vibe (mqVibe) uses its patented search blended with social algorithms to generate real-time rankings of neighborhoods, hotspots and points-of-interest."

Roughly translated, this means a bunch of interns sit around a conference room, drink Natty Ice and throw darts at a map to determine the scores. The info is then distributed on their web site and iPhone app. The scale is 0-10. And yes, the North Meadows pulled a 0.9. They are not the city's lowest scoring neighborhood.

So how does Hartford stack up overall?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Using Our Illusion

The Gunners circa 1987. Image courtesy of www.100xr.com

Guns N Roses returns to Hartford for the first time since 2002 tonight to play the Comcast Theatre. While today all that remains of the legendary lineup is Axl Rose, Sad City is just old enough to remember GNR as the seminal group that blew the doors off the hair band genre with Appetite for Destruction and then followed that effort up with the awesome and over the top Use Your Illusion I & II. 

That got us to thinking, what if Use Your Illusion had just been one single album? What songs would have made the cut? Since the pair of discs produced a lot of memorable songs, cutting it down to one disc would be quite a task, but that's what we are here for. Presenting the Sad City Use Your Illusion album.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome To The Jungle

As an urban area Hartford isn't known for an abundance of wildlife. Yet this weekend Sad City went exploring in search of some Hartford wildlife and was able to spot and photograph the rare Hartford Urban Lion. Even more shocking is Sad City has evidence that this particular lion is gainfully employed by Clemens Place. During the time we observed the Hartford Urban Lion, the lion seemed not only docile, but friendly. While he gave this appearance outwardly, it could be a ploy to lure passing motorists into his lair. Sad City was sure to keep a safe distance from this rare and majestic creature during this very stunning photo shoot. More photos after the jump.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Austin is Weird, Hartford is an Underdog

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We're pleased to introduce "Travels in Other Sad Cities, new series on Sad City Hartford. Hakaan and Jumper have been on the road a lot lately so they are documenting their comings and goings. Don't worry...it will all still tie back to the homeland. Our first city will be the rather happy city of Austin, Texas.)

One of the coolest places to visit in the U.S. is Austin. While the majority of Texas can be a godawful place that's almost as bad as Arizona, within Austin city limits is pretty great. The country's best music, great food, a crazy bar scene that really only has one rule, it's hard to argue that Austin isn't one of the Top 5 cities in America.

One of the things that Hartford could stand to learn about from Austin is that Austin embraces who they are. Austin has an incredible amount of authenticity. They embrace their roots. They embrace the massive college that was dropped in the middle of town. They embrace their weirdness. Hell, their slogan is, "Keep Austin Weird." Austin is comfortable just being itself. One of my biggest issues with Hartford's efforts to brand itself is that it is trying too hard.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inside The Pan De Oro Factory

Visiting the Pan De Oro chip factory on Main Street was something that had been on the Sad City agenda for quite a while but for whatever reason took a a while to get around to. When we finally visited last week, it was a what took so long moment. We made our way to the factory thinking we'd grab a bag of tortillas, chomp some down and write about the chips.

The factory is located in an industrial area of North Main Street. We weren't even sure if we were walking in the right door. When we first saw Rick Stevens he asked if he could help us. "We are looking for some chips."

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only were we in the right place, but when buying chips out of the factory they cost only $1 a bag. Can't beat that deal. Rick then asked how we found out about Pan De Oro. When we replied Twitter, he asked "great, did I follow you back, i always try to do that?"

 "Ummm, not sure, the account is Sad City Hartford."

"Oh ok! Would you like a tour of the factory?"

A tour of the factory? Yes, I think we would enjoy that very much.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Craig and Sad City Discuss October Snow

Well it seems like everyone finally has their power back from the crazy October snowstorm. Sad City friend Craig timed the storm perfectly and was out of town for the duration. Sad City called into WCCC to update Craig on the fun he missed.

Click here to see Sad City's October snow photos at CT New Junkie.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Twain House for Free Tomorrow!

Who doesn't love Mark Twain and who doesn't love free stuff? Well tomorrow Hartford residents combine these two awesome things as the Mark Twain House is free to all Hartford residents thanks to a grant from The Hartford Financial Services. The Twain House will be open 9:30 to 5:30 and guests can check out a short film be Ken Burns and see the Steampunk exhibit that Sad City visited a couple weeks ago. Click here to check out other Sad City adventures with our friends and neighbors over at The Twain House.

Click here to read Sad City's amazing Mark Twain revelations!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sad City Visits A Russian Bazaar

Who doesn't need some nicely decorated wooden eggs?
Anytime we hear the word "bazaar" we are in. It just seems to add an aura of mystery and excitement that "swap meet" or "flea market" just don't convey. Bazaar just seems so exotic, even more so when it's a Russian Bazaar. So when we saw signs for the Russian Bazaar at a church on Scarborough Street, we knew it was a no-brainer Sad City visit.

Extra Winter Coats? Do some good

Time to dig deep into the closet and drag out those old Raiders and LA Kings starter jackets and donate them to a good cause. Agave is downtown on 100 Allyn Street. Reward yourself with a nice margarita after your good deed. Check out this causes Facebook page here. Check out Sad City's Facebook page here and our Twitter page here.

Face The State Flashback: The Hartford Rams

Pic courtesy of The Hartfordite

Face The State is an excellent local news program on Sundays at 11 AM on Channel 3. It is hosted by Sad City friend Dennis House. Heck, Hakaan even appeared on the show this summer. While Face The State is usually dedicated to current events, occasionally Dennis will use a segment to revisit a news topic of days past. A couple weeks ago he aired this great flashback (video after the jump) a news event that somehow, we at Sad City totally forgot about.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Tree On A Wire

The weather has been so good lately, the October snowstorm seems like a distant memory. Well except for those that unbelievably remain without power. We ourselves were stunned when on Sunday we found this whole tree lying across South Whitney over some power lines. Now from the complete lack of snow in the pictures, you can tell we mean this most recent Sunday and not the day after the storm. Eight full days after the storm and with almost perfect weather since, that tree is still lying on the road on top of power lines. Just think of all the poor people who can't access Sad City because of those downed power lines. Amazing. More pics after the jump.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Even Hitler is Unhappy with CL&P

While these Hitler parody videos aren't exactly original, they remain, for the most part, pretty funny. Sad City friend and fellow guest on Colin McEnroe's nom de plume show, Gideon's Trumpet from A Public Defender blog put together this parody of Hitler showing his frustration with CL&P and their estimates on power restoration.

Election Day

Image courtesy of blogs.houstonpress.com

Election Day 2011 is upon us and voting for Mayor and City Council is currently underway. We will leave endorsing candidates to proper newspapers, a function traditionally done by papers for over a hundred years. While we also wouldn't go as far as to call ourselves journalists, we have been running verbatim interviews with Hartford politicians, including all relevant Mayoral candidates, for almost a year. Today being election day we thought we would revisit those interviews so readers can take a last look at the candidates before heading out to vote.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Veterans Day Parade

West Hartford bike police greet children.
While many still seethed about the lack of power and CL&P missing deadlines, a respite was found in the Veterans Day Parade on a beautiful Sunday in downtown. The weather was so great, if not for the fact so many remained without power, it would be hard to believe a snowstorm hit the area just over a week ago. The parade was a great event featuring marching bands, old cars, police, appearances by Senator Blumenthal and Governor Malloy, and of course the veterans. Pics and video from a gorgeous Sunday in downtown after the jump.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mattress Colonies: A Solution Coming?

Discarded mattresses are quite a scourge on our fine city and Sad City has been covering the mattress problem for well over a year. In fact the fifth ever Sad City post was about mattresses on the sidewalks. Well in yet another stunning coincidence of City action following Sad City observations, Mayor Segarra released a statement yesterday stating Hartford collects 18,000 mattresses a year and further discussing the mattress problem in Hartford. The Mayor's statement courtesy of the City:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beer One-Upsmanship

Oh, you like the dark notes and the woody aroma, eh?

The craft beer movement of the last decade has been nothing short of great for American beer. It wasn't so long ago that for American beer the selection was basically; Bud, Miller, or Coors. Today walk into any package store and there are dozens of different American brewers whipping out all sorts of different types of beers. Our local brewer, Hooker, is whipping up a Watermelon Ale and a Nor'Easter winter brew to go along with their regular selections. The American brewing revolution has been awesome.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Grapevine

This grapevine canopy made us think of the warmer days left behind just a few weeks ago and sadly not to return for about six months. Most of the grapevine canopies we find in Hartford are in the South End primarily at Italian residences. Grapevine canopies are awesome in that they serve handful of purposes. First, they look cool and what could be more important than that? There are some mighty impressive ones throughout the South End, sadly our favorite one, on Adelaide Street looks like it might not be returning.