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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October Snow

Saturday saw a stunning October snowstorm which downed tons of trees and left nearly a million around Connecticut without power. All before Halloween. While living in New England requires dealing with extreme and unpredictable weather, a big snowstorm in October is a little outrageous. While many Halloween parties were cancelled due to the storm, Sad City managed to get around a bit Saturday night and snapped some photos of the unbelievable storm. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Remember This One?

Pic courtesy of The Hartfordite
Sad City friend and Channel 3 Newman Dennis House has lived and worked in Hartford since 1992. That makes him an incredible repository of Hartford information. Recently on his blog, The Hartfordite, he posted a story we had completely forgot, about when an NFL team almost moved to Hartford.

We meet some new to the area that seem shocked we ever had an NHL team and express disbelief that the city could again support an NHL team, but it wasn't that long ago that the NFL was courting Hartford. And as Dennis points out in his story;

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oodles of Noodles

Technically in West Hartford, A-Dong Market is perhaps the most interesting store to visit in the area. Upon walking in visitors are greeted by a case of plucked ducks (head and beak intact.) While that might be the height of the craziness the entire store is pretty mind blowing and somewhat confounding to those speaking only english. Many of the products are only labeled in the language of their origin with no english, leaving us to make an educated guess at what exactly they are. One area of the store is of particular interest, the corner of noodles.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't We All Wish?

Image courtesy of Puck Daddy at Yahoo

See anything a little amiss about this screen shot from a broadcast of the Hurricanes and Blues game? Looks like someone over at Comcast misses the Whale as much as we all do. Hat tip to farm boy for this find. Full Yahoo story is here.

Halloween Time

No loitering 364 days, but tonight free candy!

Outsiders are often scared of Hartford without any extra effort by residents, but the time of year has come where dwellers attempt to scare neighborhood kids with ghoulish decorations. Halloween is really an interesting holiday in that it's not really a holiday and it's totally counter intuitive in that it is the one day of the year people make their house look scary and yet at the same time actually want strangers to ring the doorbell so they can give stuff away. Plus Halloween has become the day of the year where females dress as scandalous as possible without any inhibitions. This heavily decorated porch is on Babcock Street off of Park. We'll be on the lookout for Halloween stuff this weekend, until then you can read last years breakdown of Halloween candy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steampunk at Mark Twain

This week we checked out the Steampunk Ball and exhibit at the Mark Twain House. While Steampunk was a mystery to us, it turned out to be pretty cool in a mid 1990's Marilyn Manson/Nine Inch Nails type of way. It was quite a night at the Twain House as Sad City friend Craig The Porn Star joined us in a ghost tour, the Steampunk exhibit and the Steampunk ball. Pics weren't allowed on the tour and the ball was too dark for good pics but check out more of the exhibit after the jump.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Not So Hot Spot

In the last couple months or so we noticed the L.A. Hot Spot Convenience store had popped up over on Franklin Ave in the South End. While we didn't visit immediately, the store caught our discerning Hartford eye for a handful or reasons. First, this thing isn't exactly the traditional convenience store or bodega. It's huge and the front is almost entirely large glass windows, unusual for that type of store. Second the peculiar name the "L.A. Hot Spot" brings the name of our least favorite big city to our favorite small city.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #36 - Marathon Edition!

Pay Phone #36 in our Hartford Pay Phone Search comes to us from attorney/blogger/marathoner (Sad City will never be one of these. You guess.) Ryan McKeen who somehow in addition to blogging, lawyering, having a family, and taking pics of pay phones, found time to run the ING Hartford Marathon last weekend.

It's hard for us to decide whether running 26.2 miles at a clip is insanely admirable or just pure insane. The furthest we've ever gone is about 4 miles and it is just miserable. That said there is no lack of contestants in the Hartford Marathon so people seem to endure enjoy  it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twain House Weekend; Steampunk and Ghost Tours

Image courtesy of Twain House

It's shaping up to be a huge weekend for our neighbors at the Mark Twain House. Fresh off the success of "Tapping into Twain" a couple weeks ago, the folks at the Twain House continue to bring exciting events to the neighborhood. First every Friday and Saturday during October the Twain House gives Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours of the possibly haunted house. Sad City will be joining WCCC's Craig The Porn Star on the tour this Friday evening. Now we at Sad City don't exactly believe in ghosts (to be fair we don't particularly believe in anything) but we will chug a few Ecto Coolers, strap on our proton packs and go along for the tour.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Sad City World Series

With the Major League Baseball World Series starting tonight we decided to take a look back at the Sad City baseball championship. The Urban Shockers, steered by the steady hand of Hakaan, pulled away and won the regular season handily earning a first round bye. Also earning a first round bye with a second place finish was the suspiciously named Happy City Buffalo.

Bacon's Antiques

Bacon's Antiques is one of those places that looks super interesting, that we've driven by literally hundreds of times, and yet for whatever reason it took us forever to get around to visiting. Recently we finally got around to stopping in and it was, to say the least, an interesting experience.

Bacon's is located in the South End on Maple Street. If you are coming from the downtown area it is right after the ever amusing South Green and before the Maple and Franklin Ave split.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hunting Hartford

We've been perplexed by this sign ever since we first saw it at the corner of Park and New Park. Does this sign make any sense to anyone at all? A hunting association in Hartford? The sign indicates that the association is interested in hunting for some duck and venison. Nothing wrong with that, both duck and venison are pretty tasty, but where are they going to find duck and a six-point buck in Hartford?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Album of Favorite Hartford Photos

In our travels of Hartford we have compiled a good collection of Hartford photographs. We recently made an album of our favorite Hartford photos over at CT New Junkie. To see our album and our view of Hartford click here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sad City Calls WCCC From The Russian Lady

Sad City Hartford checks in with Craig The Porn Star of WCCC every Wednesday to discuss the news in Hartford. This Wednesday we checked in from the grand opening of The Russian Lady, the legendary downtown bar that has returned to Hartford.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Coach's Fouls Out

We have been to Coach's about a half dozen times over the years, twice to eat. There isn't anything particularly good or bad about Coach's. Coach's is basically the generic sports bar found in almost every city and town with a mediocre sports bar menu. The most notable things about Coach's are (a) an awkward men's room urinal conversation where one unnamed Sad City writer tried to convince another patron that he was a world class bobsledder and that his family had been doing it "for generations" and (b) the fact that it is was owned by legendary UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Revisiting The King of Recycle

A while back Jumper met up with the King of Recycle and followed along with him as he went through the West End recycling. A truly remarkable Hartford character. We thought it was worth a second look.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Hartford Grass Roots Movement

At this point it would seem that there is nobody left except for some intertwined politicians that support disgraced former Mayor Eddie Perez. Yet in Parkville, Sad City was able to find what appears to be some support for the ex-Mayor. While going from controlling City Hall to some graffiti on the back of a stop sign is quite a fall, we'd imagine that the former Mayor is happy to have some support. Perhaps he is envisioning a grass roots campaign where he can take over one Hartford side street at a time on his way back into office?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Tri Color House

A few weeks ago we checked out the tri-color house on the corner of New Park Britain Ave and White Street. Today we visit another tri-color house, this one on Sisson Ave. While the house we visited before was yellow, orange, and green, this house is red, white, and blue. It's a nice looking and festive paint scheme. It could be patriotic modeled after the U.S. flag, but it could be modeled after the Puerto Rican flag. It also could modeled after the flags of France, Liberia, Chile, Cuba, Malaysia or one of a few other red, white, and blue flags. Anyway, enjoy tri-color house number two.

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Good Deeds: Pope Park Park

Pope Park Highway #4 not only has the oddest name of any street in Hartford, it continues to supply surprises. We first checked in on this bizzarre little road back in March when we found it in disgraceful condition from people dumping garbage there. Pretty disgusting stuff. A month later we noticed Pope Park Highway had been cleaned up and featured some before and after pics on our Spring Cleaning post. A few weeks ago we drove down Pope Park Highway and noticed some gravel had been put down and it looked like some grading was being done. "That's nice" we thought as we made a mental note to return and take some pictures. We finally returned yesterday and boy were we surprised.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Russian Lady Set To Return

A few weeks ago we visited the former and future site of The Russian Lady, an iconic Hartford bar that closed in 1997. When we visited we were told that they were shooting for a September opening, which given the amount of work that needed to be done, seemed ambitious. Well they didn't make September but they didn't miss it by much. The Russian Lady will officially return to Hartford with a special opening night for Hartford residents on Wednesday October 12. All you need is an ID with a Hartford address (and to be 21) and you can get a first look at the impressive inside of The Russian Lady Wednesday.

There will be a friends and family night Thursday the 13th, and then The Russian Lady will be fully re-opened on Friday the 14th (phew, cutting it close for the superstitious types).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Good Deed? The End of Literal Street Signs

A while back we found a leaning McLean street sign and thought that Hartford might be embracing using literal street signs. Recently we discovered that this experiment is over as the McLean sign is now perfectly upright. Another Sad City good deed or the end of a great experiment?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sad City's Guide To Cruising Hartford

If there is one thing we probably know better than just about anyone, it's cruising around Hartford. Our love of driving around and checking out the city extends to years before Sad City started and has been the source of countless posts on this blog. While we can navigate even the remotest city streets with ease, some aren't as well versed in the streets of Hartford. For those who are looking to get out and explore Hartford we present this handy guide to cruising Hartford. For best results cruise Hartford during a warm sunny day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hartford Rides

Fuel efficiency is totally overrated
Hartford isn't a car culture city like Los Angeles, but it is still a city where most resident rely primarily on their cars as the main source of transportation. People's attitudes towards their cars is always interesting. Some people insist in having cars they can't afford while others don't seem to care at all what they drive in. The vast majority of cars in the road are uninteresting and don't garner a second notice. We have a few that do.