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, September 30, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #35 - Fan Request Edition

At Sad City Hartford our mantra is give the people what they want and the commenter is always right. Following up on our own advice we present Hartford Pay Phone #35 in the Hartford Pay Phone Search at the request of yesterdays commenter, who felt so strongly that they needed a pay phone post they took time to comment on it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Party's Over

There's some sort of irony in seeing balloons shoved into a dumpster. We found these discarded and still inflated balloons in the West End. Birthday party? New baby? Dejected Red Sox fan?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Twain Tapped

Image courtesy of our good friends at the Hartford Party Starters Union

While we always lament the end of summer the coming of fall does bring a few good things, notably post season baseball, (other peoples) Halloween costumes and an endless slew of Octoberfest events. How October became a month full of beer drinking events we don't know, but we do know what they say about gift horses.

Friday we attending our first Octoberfest event of the season, Tapping Into Twain at the Mark Twain House. Mark Twain totally seems like a Sad City type of guy. He enjoys Hartford. He enjoys a drink now and again. He liked shooting some pool. He hated golf. We can't imagine what it would have been like to hang around with Twain in Hartford. Wait, yes we can and at one time we did try to imagine such a thing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dennis House Chats With Sad City

We first met Dennis House of Channel 3 when Hakaan appeared on his show Face The State in August. While chatting with Dennis after the show it started to really sink in, this guy is the real deal, a total Hartford guy. Dennis came to Hartford to work for Channel 3 in 1992 and since then has gone onto a successful news career, to get married and start a family and has lived in the city the entire time. In addition to his news work, Dennis also has a great blog The Hartfordite where he writes about current news, recollections of old news stories and his personal life. It's a definite must read especially for the historical stories. Did you know JFK was in CT during the Cuban Missile Crisis? We most certainly did not. Dennis was nice enough to take a few minutes and chat with us. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dead Brands In The Dead City

While some might insist that Hartford is a dead city, we obviously disagree. One thing we do enjoy finding in the Sad City is vestiges of dead brands. We found this trailer of the short-lived Daimler Chrysler merger down on Murphy Road. Murphy Road is an interesting area as it is basically a huge industrial park. It houses the Museum of Recycling, which we covered while we were learning where out recyclables go. Other notable spots in the area include Golfers Warehouse and Brainard Airport.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Albany Ave Substation

The Hartford Courant's Jenna Carlesso wrote an an interesting article about the opening of a new police substation in downtown while the substation on Albany Ave remains closed. It is interesting to note that while the North End clearly needs the extra police presence more than downtown, it is also important that workers and business owners feel safe while coming into town for the few remaining jobs downtown.

We've visited the closed substation on Albany. It's a place to see oddly positioned security cameras, redundant signs, a basketball court wrapped in a yellow fence, and some locals hanging out and shooting the breeze.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A History of Hartford Fly By Night Sports Teams

Last month to little fanfar, the Hartford Colonials announced they were "suspending operations" for the 2011 UFL season. While the Colonials maintain that they hope to be back in 2012 and we wish them well, we all know that it is very unlikely that we will see them in Hartford again. The fold of the Colonials brought back memories of the many various Hartford teams in rogue, fly-by-night leagues. In fact Hartford's most beloved team, the Whalers were originally members of what is perhaps the last true rogue league, the WHA.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hartford's Best Bread

For over a decade Sad City has searched the Hartford area high and low for "Hartford's Best Sandwich." Though we have identified many contenders, we have never been able to crown an official winner. One of the disappointments we find with otherwise great sandwiches is a lack of attention to the bread used. For some reason many places seem to overlook this critical element of the sandwich. Although we still don't have an official "Best Sandwich," we are confident that the have found Hartford's Best Bread.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Joe Torre on Mariano Rivera

Ed. Note: With Mariano Rivera setting the all-time MLB saves record yesterday, Sad City breaks format to bring this almost certainly fictional interview with former manager Joe Torre.

After his tell all autobiography the Yankee Years, it seemed Joe Torre had aired all of his baseball grievances.  Not so.  In a recent interview with Sad City, Torre gave his shocking reason for managing so many years, “I hate relief pitchers. I hate them with a burning passion. My main goal in managing was to burn out as many relief pitchers as possible. Each career ending injury was more enjoyable than a World Series victory.” Torre told a shocked Sad City staff.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

So Long, Rick the Ruler

As shown in a previous post there is a pretty unique mural on Cedar St. of the Los Solidos gang member Rick the Ruler, who met an unfortunate end in a shooting back in '97.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sad City's Guide To The Rest of Summer

As soon as Labor Day passes everyone wants to bury summer and move onto fall. Not so at Sad City. While everyone is getting worked up about pumpkin beers, Octoberfest, and the impending foliage, we are desperately clinging to the last vestiges of summer. Since it is rapidly fading and none of us did all that we intended to do this summer, we decided to prepare this handy guide of summer things you can do in Hartford before the season changes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #34

Hartford Pay Phone #34 is located at the Ravi Smoker's Discount on Maple Ave in the South End. The phrase "Smoker's Discount" is becoming ironic as we see a pack of Newport going for over $7 and a pack of generic cigarettes is over six dollars. So for two sawbucks you can barely get yourself a pack of Newport, a soda, and a phone call.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hartford Food Guy Reviews: Max Downtown

My wife and I decided to get married at Max Downtown because it is quite simply the best restaurant in town. What makes Max Downtown the best is its remarkable consistency. The food is always at least very good and the service is almost always excellent. Indeed, in the last five years I have probably been there at least once a month for either dinner or lunch (often on business) and I can think of 2 occasions where the food was merely good and perhaps 3 occasions where the service was less than excellent. That's a really good track record and not easy to accomplish given the number of tables, how many seatings they tend to do in a typical service, and the standards to which Max Downtown aspires.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Joy Of

First we know; soda is really, really bad for you. Yet at the same time a nice cold Coca-Cola can taste really, really good. Sadly the older one gets, the more "bad for you" stuff has to be given up. Steak becomes chicken, salami becomes turkey, soda becomes unsweetened ice tea and cigarettes are just completely out the window. Yet living in Hartford, we have found a loophole to our no soda edict; the wonderful Mexican Coca-Cola.

Monday, September 12, 2011

F**** Magnets: How Do They Work?

Friday saw another edition of Liquid Lounge at the Connecticut Science Center in downtown. From attending this event it is pretty clear that these are the proverbial "place to be" when they are happening. The Science Center was packed with a gaggle of people enjoying the exhibits, booze, and food.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stating The Obvious

Public places always need to have rules in place for citizens to abide by. No dogs, glass bottles, and obscenities, (actually misspelled on this sign) are all common and reasonable rules. But no gang activity? Isn't that a bit self-evident. And does anyone believe putting it on a sign will do anything to curb gang activities? Is the idea that gang members will see the sign and go "alright guys, we need to break it up and play a game of bridge instead, the sign says no gang activity."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flooding At University of Hartford

Amazing video of todays flooding at University of Hartford. Great footage but have to feel terrible for the car owners. Hat tip to HartfordInformer for this video.

Odd Security Camera Positioning

This security camera mounted on the now closed Albany Ave police substation does not appear to be positioned correctly to make optimal use of its surveillance abilities.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

People of Connecticut: New York's Self-Storage Advertising Mocks You

Do you want more proof that New York laughs at Connecticut? The above advertisement was spotted while wandering around the Upper Eastside yesterday. It's part of a broader campaign for a New York-based self-storage company that can been seen around New York. But let's face it, they didn't zing us as bad as they zinged the Mets.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We love the Mets billboard.)

Hartford's Worst Parker

We found this hard to believe parking job at the Airport Road CVS. This is pretty amazing as this compact vehicle is taking up nearly three parking spots. We'd like to believe that there was some sort of rationale for parking in this manner, but we are having a hard time finding any. While there may have been ample parking spots in the area, this type of parking certainly sends some sort of message.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How to Defend Hartford in an Argument

If you leave the friendly confines of the City of Hartford, it's inevitable. Heck, it happens way too much even in our own city limits. People love to pick on Hartford. Friends, co-workers, relatives, random guys on the street - people love to rag on our small/boring/scary/crime-ridden/vacant/sad city. Although truly convincing these mokes of Hartford's complete and total awesomeness is pretty impossible, there are some techniques you can use to help protect our town's honor.

Friday, September 2, 2011


They say Hartford and blogging make strange bedfellows. Even with all the surprises we have come across in our Hartford adventures, we still were stunned to run into an advertisement featuring Billy Dee Williams, better known as Lando Calrissian, in a local package store.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #33

Sad City reader Bruce B. sent us Hartford Pay Phone #33 in our great pay phone search. This pay phone is located at the corner of Main and Talcott, most people familiar with Hartford would recognize at being near the G.Fox building and of course the now demolished and much maligned Butt-Ugly building.

Hartford Food Guy Reviews: Abyssinian

A little while back we featured Abyssinian in our story of a night out in the West End. If you are at all an adventurous eater you need to visit this gem of a restaurant. For a deeper look into the dining experience at Abyssinian we of course looked to the Hartford Food Guy.

Most people know very little about Ethiopia, let alone Ethiopian cuisine. In fact, most of what I do know about Ethiopia is only because I know a good amount about the history of my own people, the Portuguese.

In the 1400's the Portuguese worked very hard to find a route to India by sailing south along the African coast in the hope of finding the southern tip of the continent. There were two reasons for this exploration. The first was that a route to India that did not go through the Mediterranean would allow my ancestors to circumvent the monopoly my wife's Italian ancestors had on the spice trade with the east.