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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's the Point?

Our griping about the St. Patrick's Day Parade created an interesting discussion in the comments section of last week's post. While there was some nuance to each of the statements, they all seemed to break into two camps.

What did each side care about? Which side is right?

First, there was the group of people who think it's important to get people into the city, spending money and supporting local businesses. 
"I find your little blog to be ridiculous. First of all the city that you call "yours" needs the money generated from this parade to stay afloat as businesses continue to suffer due to lack of events, sports teams, shops, etc...You act as if the capital of a state is a small village that should not welcome outside residents and outside revenue."
There's was also a camp of people who feel that people coming in and treating the city like a toilet are a bunch of jerks and it's element that we're just not interested in having occupy our city, economic benefits be damned.
"Only in Hartford can 75,000 people get totally wasted and piss all over the place and have it be justified by the fact that they are spending money in the process."
Personally, I see merit in either side to that debate. So which is right?

It all depends on how you measure and define success. One of the main reasons we started this blog was because we wanted to make the city better. We wanted to be a voice that highlighted the quirky but credible voice that tried to realistically look at what makes Hartford Hartford.

It's also a fair assumption to say that virtually all of the people who read this blog want to see the city prosper, but I highly doubt that any of us could easily agree on what that means. Is it a thriving prosperous business district with an active night life? Is it affordable housing? Is it a safer city? Is it gentrification? Is it the unique, underdog charm that currently exists today? You can hope for some of those things, but you can't have all of them. And with all of the various efforts, initiatives, interest groups and voices in the city all striving for variations of the above list, it's not hard to see why it seems like our city sometimes spins helplessly and can't get out of it's own way.

It's very easy to define what we don't want the city to be about (crime, drugs, incarcerated mayors, ghost-town-like-streets, vacant buildings) but it's a lot harder to define what success is.

Given the combination of the many good intentions and the various definitions of what success looks like, it often reminds us of the scene in The Wire where the Major Crimes Unit is trying to move a desk in their office.

Tell us what you think in the comments section. We'll be busy sanding doll furniture.


  1. Liberals always want the fancy Civic Center grocery store, but treat gentrification like it's a dirty word.

  2. It seems silly to complain about St. Patty's Day parade-goers. I've been in NYC and New Orleans during and right after a St. Patrick's parades. Believe me, those cities aren't exactly left tidy. New Orleans had cabbage in the streets and NYC had people sitting in vomit. Tourists aren't always polite, but a city can't survive without them.

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