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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mark and Trudy Talk About Hartford

Mark thinks the Hartford glass is half-empty. Trudy thinks the Hartford glass is half-full. The Sad City guys think that either way, it's a pointless but amusing street interview captured on Farmington Avenue.

Watch the interview after the jump. (And yes, if you've have ever been accosted at the CVS on Farmington Ave, there's a good chance that Mark's the same guy that was giving you the business.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Best I Ever Had......

During the late 90's, Hakaan and Pete Sopersata relentlessly cruised Hartford's in search of the perfect sandwich. From dive to deli to bistro, we found many quality sandwiches, yet we never did find a sandwich that we would crown Best In Hartford. Always a flaw was to be found, too much lettuce, too much sauce, sloppily construction, marginal bread. Always some detail was overlooked.

We never anointed a best sandwich, and while the best bread in the area today can be found at Hartford Baking Company, the best bread we ever had was discovered on this sandwich quest at the long defucnt Salvatore's on Wethersfield Ave.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Minor League Baseball in CT: The New Britain Rock Cats

(Ed. Note: With ground being broken on the Revolutionary Road that will connect Hartford and New Britain, we figured we better start covering New Britain. The best thing in New Britain? The Rock Cats. We're lucky to have devoted Twins and Rock Cats fan Andrew Walter join us to cover the team. Be sure to make the trip over and catch a game this summer.)

Hey, Sad City Hartford readers! My name is Andrew. For the last while, I have been running a baseball fan blog, Twins Fan From Afar. I'm from Minnesota originally, and am a big Twins fan (hence the name of the blog), but have been living and working in Connecticut for the past 6 years. I'm an attorney by day, and do the baseball stuff in my spare time. Go here for a little bit more about me. If you don't know, I should tell you up front that the New Britain Rock Cats baseball team is the AA farm team of the Minnesota Twins. So, by going to Rock Cats games, I'm seeing, on any given night, at least a few players that will someday wear a Twins uniform and play at Target Field in Minneapolis.

This winter, I stared adding Rock Cats coverage to my Twins blog. As far as I know, I'm the only native Minnesotan writing about the Rock Cats and living in Connecticut. I'm pretty sure that's not something to brag about. Here and here are a couple examples of the kind of stuff that I write about. A few times a week I'll also do game recaps. Recently, the good people at Sad City Hartford asked if I'd be interested in writing some Rock Cats stuff for them, and I'm thrilled to do so!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hartford Pic Of The Week

Not all that much to say about this one. What's wrong here? Dog on a Hot In Hartford roof? Nice porch?

That's the charm of Hartford though isn't it? Sometimes you really just don't know what to say.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Life For Thee!!

There has been much commentary about the new state toursim slogan "Still Revolutionary." The internet being what it is, almost all commentary was negative and followed by the commentator trying their best to make a decent joke. Welcome to the 2012 news cycle.

Colin McEnroe did make the salient point that Connecticut doesn't have the history of being all that revolutionary. The best we were able to come up with was rechristening the much needed Hartford-New Britain Busway the "Revolutionary Road." Per usual, when it comes to slogans, we could take it or leave it. It's no "Sad City" but it's certainly not worth moaning about on Twitter all day. In reality, nothing is, it's nice outside.

But what does this have to do with a black iron fence?

More From The Hog River Revival

While we famously failed to even make it to the conduits of the Park River, a couple weeks ago we featured The Hog River Revival, a very cool project lead by Joe McCarthy that maps and features Hartford's famous underground river. Well the guys recently sent us some incredible pics from the tunnels beneath Hartford, a view of the city seen by few and experience by even less. Pretty awesome stuff. 

The guys are trying to raise some cash through Kickstarter to find their project that has been selected for the Hartford Art Walk scheduled to show in December. Not only only will funds go to help support this great project, but you get something for your donation. Heck, you can even get yourself your own guided tour through the conduits. (If you feel the need to go into the tunnels, we highly recommend that you find an experienced guide) While many express interest in going into the conduits, few actually dare to do it. This could be your chance! Check out the Kickstarter here

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hartford Pay Phone #39 Stale Beer Edition

We never like to stray too far from our roots and The Great Hartford Pay Phone Search continues with our 39th confirmed Hartford pay phone. Pay phone #39 is located at a very nicely painted bodega at 166 Ward Street across from the Zion Hill Cemetery. While we are sure the purveyors at this fine establishment only intend to trade in the finest of wares, we have acquired some very interesting information regarding their supply of Budweiser.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Whale Fall Short In Second Round To Norfolk, Changes On The Horizon

The Whale took their best shot and they came up short, that was expected.  What wasn't expected was for them to have as good a chance as they did.  Minutes after game four the Whale had tied the series and the team had just finished a very convincing win by a score of 4-1. 
The catch to the whole series might just have been that the Whale had to play a home game in Bridgeport.  A home game that felt like anything but a home game.  The Whale lost 4-0 to the enjoyment of Admiral and Sound tiger fans that were on hand. 
It's certainly tough to win a seven game series when you only play two games at home and possibly five on the road. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hartford's Best Sandwich (& Salad)?

Last week we mentioned Le Petit Chef as one of our favorite spots to grab lunch in Hartford. We've made a handful of visits to Le Petit over the last few months and we can say that it currently holds the title for serving the Best Sandwich In Hartford. Operated by a French gentleman who claims to have "never had McDonald's," Le Petit features an extensive sandwich menu and from our experience you can't go wrong with any. Two of our favorites have been a roast beef with brie and bacon (?!??!?!?) and roast chicken with avocado.

The Legend of the Urban Quadder

There is no better time of year in the urban environment than summer. There's nothing better than the sun beaming down on a city and heat reflecting off of the concrete and asphalt. The sites and smells of the city during summer are different than any other time of the year. In summer Hartfordites embrace the warm season as a time to use "alternative" methods of transportation. Bicycles, you ask?

You so white!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Whale Season Recap & Story Revisited

With the CT Whale being eliminated in overtime of game six in Norfolk this weekend, the book has officially closed on the 2011-12 hockey season in Hartford. If nothing else, it was interesting. We saw the Whale come storming out of the gate and control the division in the first half of the season. We saw the Bourque brothers face each other professionally for the first time with Hall of Fame dad Ray in the crowd on a Tuesday night, alas, that game would only draw just over 1,000.

We saw a Saturday evening draw over 11,000, a winless January, Howard Baldwin talk about the return of the NHL to Hartford, promotions to the Rangers, questions about the future of the XL Center, Cam Talbot shining in the first round in a surprising sweep of Bridgeport, and a "home" game in Bridgeport before bowing out to a juggernaut Norfolk team that the Whale defeated more time in six games than the whole league had since February 5.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feral Cats of Hartford

Living in Hartford takes a certain type of folk. You have to be a bit resourceful, a bit of a survivor and willing to laugh at the insanity that envelopes every day. Either that or you risk becoming delusional and thinking you either live in a war zone or a paradise, neither or which would accurately describe the bumbling urban environment we reside in.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Whale Suffer Tough Loss In Bridgeport

It sounds strange but the Connecticut Whale played game five of their Eastern Conference semi-final series against the Norfolk Admirals in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The Whale had to play the home game there because the circus was in town at the XL Center and there was no way to set up the circus and play a hockey home playoff game on Wednesday.  It was possible that the game would have a descent crowd because Bridgeport is pretty close to New York, where many Rangers fans live. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hartford's Most Dangerous Door

In an urban setting, many doorways can lead to unpleasant and harsh results. Despite all the potentially dangerous doorways in the metro area, we think we have uncovered the most dangerous door of them all, and at the same location as Hartford Pay Phone #35 (Fan Request Edition!) to boot. This doorway, in the building behind the Brainard Road Shell station is a guaranteed painful experience for all who shall dare to pass.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Last & First

While digging through some of our archives we came upon these historical gems, ticket stubs from our last Hartford Whalers game and first Hartford Wolfpack game. The Whalers won the clash 6-3 against the arch-rival Bruins. While the Whalers weren't a good team at this time the Bruins were even worse having just traded Bill Ranford, Adam Oates, and Rich Tocchet for Jason Allison, Anson Carter, and Jim Carrey and on their way to last place and drafting teen phenom Joe Thornton #1 overall.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Hog River Revival Project

Much has been written about the Hog River on Sad City. One of our earliest journeys was a lengthy and sometimes painful kayaking trip from the University of Hartford that ended somewhere around Woodland Street. This journey was so early in Sad City's life that when Jumper announced he had tweeted live pics of the journey, Hakaan asked "What is Twitter and why would anyone use it?"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Joe Torre on Mariano Rivera

Ed. Note: When Mariano Rivera set the all-time MLB saves record in September, Sad City broke format to bring this almost certainly fictional interview with former manager Joe Torre. With Mariano's season ending injury Thursday, we revisit the tale.

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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Whale Take Game One Against Admirals

This certainly is not the team we saw at the end of the season.  The Whale ended their 10 game losing streak against the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday night at the Scope Center.  They beat Norfolk for the first time as the Connecticut Whale and took a game one lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals series.  It was a "greasy road win", according to many members of the team. 

The trip to Norfolk didn't start well for the Whale.  Their gear was on an A-frame trailer that broke down on I95 on the trip down.  The delay on the highway didnt dampen the Whale's spirit though as they fought and even match with Norfolk and at the end of regulation the two teams were tied at 2 goals apiece. 

Bikes, Art, & Hockey, Oh My!

If you're looking for something to do this Friday evening there are a few cool events happening downtown. The Tavern Downtown will be showing the CT Whale playoff game against Norfolk at 7:30. The Whale scored a surprising 3-2 overtime victory in game one over a heavily favored Norfolk squad who entered the playoffs not having lost a game in nearly three months.

The Whale are now building a streak of their own as they sit at 4-0 in the playoffs. The Whale will be back in Hartford with 7 pm games both Sunday and Monday night at the XL Center. Purchase tickets for playoff hockey here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Look Back: Tastease

(Ed. Note: Last April we took our best intern to a journey to Tastease on the advice of our readers. We had some idea what we were in store for but kept where we were going for lunch secret from the intern. SInce the intern was used to dictating almost all terms of dining, etc., the secretive lunch was met with a healthy dose of skepticism to say the least. Tastease, being Tastease, overcame all doubts that we were capable of picking a decent lunch spot on our own and won the day as we enjoyed a couple Cuban sandwiches at the very tables that now have become a point of controversy leading to Tastease announcing they are closing at the end of June

Today we take a look back at that April 19, 2011 post and a listen back at Hakaan and Craig discussing Tastease on 106.9 WCCC back on April 20, 2011. Hakaan can be heard chatting about Hartford with Craig every Wednesday at about 9:20 PM on 106.9 WCCC.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sad City's Guide To Quick Downtown Lunch

You've just landed a job in downtown Hartford. Most likely you don't live downtown, Possibly you aren't familiar with your eating options at all. You've got one hour before you have to get back to ascending the career ladder, you don't want to waste it and have a crappy lunch, but at the same time, you can't afford to be gone too long lest your boss be checking in. So where do you go? Well head on over to the always handy Sad City Guide section of course. 

Without further ado and not to be confused with our previous Guide To Lunch published in a galaxy far, far away, we present the Sad City Guide To Quick Downtown Lunch!

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

After a most tepid and enjoyable winter, it is now May and even in New England we have reached a safe harbor from snow. After suffering through months of dark and cold, nothing is more welcome in Sad City than the break of spring. Our whole life one of the great markers of spring time has been the start of the baseball season. While that has been enhanced with the advent of the internet bringing the widespread popularity of fantasy baseball and Hakaan annually bludgeoning Jumper in their fantasy leagues, a local brewery has added another great spring time tradition.