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, July 29, 2011

Not The Mercedes!

After our Welcome to Hartford post earlier this week, we received some car accident shots from our loyal readers. Sad City reader Eric C., who loves working in downtown for the panorama of experiences Hartford offers, sent this shot in.

 Let's face it, everyone stops and looks at a car accident. Who hasn't got backed up in traffic for 10 minutes only to find out the logjam is caused by people slowing down to gawk at a smashed up vehicle? This accident is interesting mostly because it features the mangled nose of an otherwise beautiful Mercedes-Benz. Terrible. We couldn't help but wonder if the gentlemen with his hands on his hips on the corner is the owner of this fine auto.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Hartford Food Guy Returns - Royal Masala

This week the HFG checks out the revamped Masala restaurant Downtown:

After Mrs. HFG and I got home from Harry Potter, we did a few errands and chores and then started to think about where we wanted to go for dinner. It was hot, which made Indian food a good choice. We both wanted to have a couple of beers, so that meant the place had to be close by. That all added up to a trip to Masala at the corner of Main and Capitol.

Sad City Family Reunion

Ed. Note: Still really, really busy. This was a fun post from way back. 

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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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 others 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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome To Hartford

We hope you enjoy your stay! Just a little fender bender by the bus station.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lest We Forget

Yes, it has been pretty hot lately. As tends to happen in New England from time to time, in fact all the time, it gets really hot here in the summer. Happens every year and yet always people always seem shocked by this development. Not here. We wait all year for oppressive heat. We love the city in oppressive heat, the smells and sights at places like Albany and Wethersfield Ave on a brutally hot day are what makes the city for us.

Another long standing tradition in New England is that before the summer comes, the winter visits. And this winter was brutal. Just brutal. So while everyone is complaining about the heat, we present this video done by our good friend Chion Wolf, photographer and announcer for WNPR. We suggest you watch the video, grab a Watermelon Ale or margarita and go enjoy the heat. Soon enough there will be eight feet of snow again and the wackys will be yelling about how the city didn't do a good enough job clearing it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One Year of Sad City and WCCC

July 21, 2011 marks one year since Sad City Hartford first called into WCCC to chat with our friend Craig The Pornstar. It also happens to be Craig's birthday. We'd place his age at somewhere between his mid 20's and late 30's, but you know how weird celebrities can be about their age. Back when Craig first found Sad City we had about 40 fans on Facebook and weren't even on Twitter yet. So no doubt Craig and WCCC were some of the earliest Sad City fans. In honor of our anniversary and his birthday we thought we'd go back into the archives and post some of the more memorable on-air calls with Craig and Sad City.

Hartford Food Guy Reviews: Costa del Sol

What we today know as Spain arose out of a patchwork of small Christian kingdoms that served as a bulwark between the rest of Europe and the once mighty Caliphate of Cordoba which dominated much of North Africa and much of the Iberian Penninsular until about AD 1000. In the northeast was Navarre, centered around Pamplona in the Basque region. In the southeast, along the Pyrenees, was Aragon, founded by Charlemagne as a barrier between his empire and the Caliphate. In the center, there was Castile (literally, the land of castles), a wild frontier where Cross and Crescent frequently came to blows. In the northwest was Leon, to which was usually appended Galacia, which is the part of Spain that extends over the northern border of Portugal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Twitter Graveyard

With the advent of Facebook and Twitter, at some point someone had to ask, what happens to dead people's pages? It's a grim question but one that ultimately has to be dealt with. From what we understand Facebook is allowing the families of the deceased to decide whether to keep a page up as a "legacy page."

Less grim and more fun are pages of now defunct brands. We happened to come upon the still existant, but dormant Twitter feed of Hartford's now rebranded AHL team the Hartford Wolfpack.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #30

Occasionally we return to last summers and a classic Sad City project, the charting of Hartford's remaining pay phones. This project came about when we realized that Hartford had been home to the first pay phone in the United States. While it would have been easy to write an essay lamenting the rise and fall of both Hartford and the pay phone over the last century, we thought that to be a little too obvious and instead decided to go about tracking down all over Hartford's still working pay phones.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hartford's Best Neon Sign

Neon is a tough thing. Part tacky and part crass commercialism, neon signs conjure images of gambling and strip bars. Yet with the passage of time old neon signs have reached an age where they are nostalgic if not downright relics from an earlier era.

This neon sign is outside a package store on New Park Ave and in our opinion is damn near a museum quality piece. Everything about this sign just screams a different era, the size, the neon letters, the arrow pointing in, the bubbling martini glass. When do you think was the last time someone went into this package store to get the ingredients for a nice martini? This sign is just straight awesome.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And The Connecticon 2011 Winners Are....

The Girl With the Whip, aka Cat Woman takes home the top prize in the Sad City Connecticon 2011 Costume Poll. The results of the poll seem to reenforce the ages old maxim that advertisers have known  for decades. A browse through our top three finishers should make that what that maxim is pretty obvious. Thanks to all Connection attendees and poll voters!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hartford Food Guy: Scott's Jamaican Bakery

The Hartford Food Guy returns to review Scott's Jamaican Bakery. A Sad City favorite, Scott's was named as one of our favorite places to have lunch in  (Ed. Note A reader pointed out Scott's wasn't on the guide. They are correct. It was actually Golden Krust, another great place for patties we mentionedSad City's Guide to Lunch in Hartford. While the HFG visited the location on North Main Street, we usually frequent the Albany Ave location.

This past Saturday Mrs. HFG and I took a drive up North Main Street to Scott’s Jamaican Bakery, which is a pillar of both the North End as well as Hartford’s small business community. So much so that Scott’s operates three locations (North Main Street, Albany Avenue and Blue Hills Avenue), as well as a wholesale and production operation on Windsor Street. Scott’s has been around for over 30 years and pretty much anyone you talk to with strong roots in the West Indian community, or in the North End, Windsor, or Bloomfield will tell you that the Scott family is highly respected and its support and opinion is regularly sought on a wide range of political, business, and community issues.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Play Ball! A Proposal For Hartford's Empty Lots

With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game being played last night and the financial plight of Hartford's Roberto Clemente League being in the local news, we can't help but have baseball on the mind. (Ok, we pretty much always have baseball on the mind) But what does that have to do with Hartford? Is this going to be another hair-brained article about the Mets relocating to town? Not quite.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lil' Wayne's Fighting Dancer's Twitter Scrubbed

By now we all know of the reprehensible story of Lil Wayne's dancers beating up a P.F. Chang's waitress after a dispute about splitting a check. When any celebrity, or in this case, a parasite of a celebrity, gets in trouble it is time for the PR machine to go into effect. These days that usually means imposing a Twitter kibosh and it appears that the Lil' Wayne team has the Twitter shutdown in effect. 

ConnectiCon 2011

This weekend saw the return of ConnectiCon, the annual convention of comics, video games, anime', role-playing games, and weird products from Japan. While the convention brings in artists who work in the industry, fan contests and tournaments, vendors selling merchandise of every kind, (want some Japanese soda? Check. Samurai swords? Check. "Collectible" figurine? Check.) the main attraction of this event, by far, is the guests themselves who come out in a variety of costume ranging from the funny to the sublime. Vote for your favorite in the poll on the homepage. The winner will be crowned Saturday. (Poll list is in order of appearance in this post).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Councilman Cotto Chats With Sad City II

Hartford Council Minority Leader Luis Cotto recently announced his bid for re-election. A friend of Sad City and the reigning Hot In Hartford champion, we thought it would be a good time to check in with Mr. Cotto to see what he's been up to and his thoughts on various Hartford issues.

1. Hello Councilman Cotto, recently you announced that you were running for re-election to your Council seat. Give us some basics on city council, Hartford is divided up into a number of districts and they each elect a councilmember?  How long are the terms? Which district do you represent?

Hello Loob and Sad City.  Thanks for having me on. Hartford Court of Common Council is an "at-large" body and council people do not represent a specific district, but the city as a whole. This means that the top 9 vote getters get on Council. The only caveat is that no more then 2/3 (6) can be from one party, hence you see the DEMs endorse 6 and not 9 peeps. As a voter, you can vote for up to SIX candidates. The Council term is for 4 years and while I live on Park Terrace in Frog Holla!, I like to think that I represent everyone as fairly as possible.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Hartford Food Guy: Hot Tomato's

The Hartford Food Guy reviews Hot Tomato's

I knew there would come a day when I would have to visit Hot Tomato’s in Downtown. It’s not that there is anything wrong with Hot Tomato’s, it’s that its former owner Tom Altman was someone with whom I had done some business over the years and someone I considered a friend.

Even though Tom was not a cook, he was a very savvy businessman with a good sense of what people wanted to eat, and he built a small empire of restaurants. Tom’s death a few years ago was a devastating tragedy for many, many people and ultimately his restaurants were sold, one by one, to new owners.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hartford Houses Of Worship: Charter Oak Ave Area

Our Hartford Houses Of Worship series continues with some places we found while exploring the Charter Oak Ave area around downtown.   Easily the most noticeable in the area is The Church Of Good Shepherd which is set back off of Wyllys St.  While we have long admired this church while driving past it, be have to admit to not even knowing the name.  We had always heard it referred to as "the big Polish church."  While we have no idea the ethnicity of the parishioners, we did see a Polish National Home just up the road if that counts for anything.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hartford Has It: Freakish Strawberry

Freakishly large strawberry found at Kane St West Hartford Shop Rite.

Is it possible that this strawberry got some of what the guys at the end of this post were having?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sad City Readers Take On The Park River

(Ed. Note Sad City spent last summer trying to navigate the Park River. While we never got underground, some readers recently made the journey and sent us a description)

Cruising the Park River in Hartford became a minor obsession for me ever since I first
read about it on Sad City. I never knew that a river once ran through Hartford, let alone
that it is now encased in a massive cement conduit that goes underneath the city.

And that’s no surprise. Most people have never heard of it, even the longtime area
residents. But everyone’s eyes widen when they hear that it’s possible to canoe in an
underground river. And absolutely everyone called me crazy when I told them that I was
going to do it. It is, after all, basically a sewer.