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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Singles Party!

Jumper took some time out of his busy schedule to pose for this flyer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yankee Ingenuity Alive & Well In Hartford

New Englanders are renowned for their Yankee ingenuity, and the spirit of the settlers remains alive and well in Hartford today. While in Hartford's early days we had Samul Colt, Albert Pope, Howard Baldwin, and Eli Whitney, today we have a jeans companyartist designed bicycles, a burlesque dance troupe, and a brewery figuring out that watermelon makes a good ale, while none of these up and comers have quite "won the west" yet, they could be well on their way.

Today and in the yesteryear, there has never been a lack of good ole' Yankee ingenuity in Hartford.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hartford's Golden Crowns: The Colt Factory

While the Colt Factory is best known for the iconic blue onion dome, it is actually gold that that sits at the peak of the former weapons factory. At the very top of the dome is a colt, the symbol of Colt Firearms. Built in 1865 after the original Colt factory burnt down, the blue onion dome is perhaps Hartford's most iconic symbol. Unmistakable while driving on I-91, every day thousands of motorosts pass the onion dome.

Monday, June 25, 2012

North End Farmers Market

A while back we took a look at some vintage Hartford Farmers Markets put on by Hartford Food Systems. Wednesday, June 27 marks the opening celebration of the 2012 North End Farmers Market. The market will be open from 10AM-1PM on 80 Coventry Street. In addition to great farm fresh food, the market will also featurea musical performance by the Congo Square Ramblers, a cooking demonstration from "Cooking Matters," face painting for children, and an appearance by Mayor, Pedro Segarra.

This market also doubles the amount of SNAP or foodstamp benefits that individuals receive, creating an incentive for low income individuals to shop at the Farmers' market. Great idea, great food, and some free entertainment. In modern day parlance this is known as a "win-win."

Hartford's Golden Crowns: The State Capitol

Gilded crowns and Hartford wouldn't seem like a natural fit to the layperson. Said layperson might not be aware that only about 100 years ago Hartford was the wealthiest city in the United States. In the century since, Hartford has squandered nearly all of its advantages and opportunities, yet, like fossils of the t-rex, there remains evidence of power long since faded.

Ironically, Hartford's gild was almost exclusively produced in the city, at the Swift factory in the North End. The factory once employed as many as 500, but closed in 2005 after the death of its 102 year old owner M. Allen Swift, because, as legend has it, Mr. Swift kept all the companies crucial information in his head.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hartford Pic Of The Week

In honor of The Traveler's Championship, we call this one "In The Weeds"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Franchise Relocation: Fan Effects

Some time ago we were contacted by the Whalers Booster Club whom had been contacted by Porter Williams, a student doing research for his thesis to be entitled "What Is The Reasoning Behind A Franchise Relocating From A City And The Effects Of The Loss And Gain Of A Franchise To The Fans Of The Original And New Cities?"

Mr. Williams was focusing his thesis on fans in Hartford and the Raleigh-Durham area so naturally, we were interested in the results. The survey shows some interesting results, even if, as Mr. Williams concedes, the sample size was small, some of the findings are interesting. Since we're guessing not all of you want to read a 75 page thesis, we've picked some highlights below. If you do want to receive a pdf of the thesis email here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who is Sapo?

To us, Sapo sounds like some sort of Eastern Europe Bloc spy outfit, but in Northern Hartford, Sapo is running amok with paint. One of the more prevalent taggers in the North End, Sapo doesn't really contribute much besides getting the name out there. 

Sapo's most visibile work is along Windsor Street, the site of the above and below pics. 

Hartford's First Petrol Station

On the corner of Buckingham and Hudson, across the street from a shoddily maintained dirt parking lot, sits this rather unassuming building. Nestled in a sea of asphalt parking lots and in shadows of the towers of downtown, the AG building, and the Capitol, this modest little mechanics shop is scarcely noticeable. Many a time we passed by without a second look. Then recently, we learned that this little building was Hartford's first gas station. For all you car lovers or haters out there, this is essentially where it all started in Hartford.

Upon closer inspection, one can clearly see signs of the buildings age. The most obvious being the fancy columns on the edges. Apparently petrol stations were built with a little more grandeur back in the old days. We didn't have the heart to look up what a gallon of gas would run as you putted around town back in the old days.

Farmington Ave is said to have roughly the same amount of potholes then as today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hartford Pic Of The Week

Another construction project carries on in Hartford. This is how the community treats an on site dumpster. Surely you'd be enamored with Hartford with this type of community activism. What a nice place to do a job!

"navem submersi."

Hartford Real Estate & Hockey Markets

The real estate problems that are currently going on in Hartford may not have much to do with hockey but don't be fooled; the market is affecting hockey in the city.

The G. Fox building is going into foreclosure. It is just one of dozens, probably many dozens of Hartford properties that are in foreclosure or near to it. We have been hearing about this for a while now and as the state and country economy slightly improves, Hartford's own economy lags behind.

The one silver lining I can find in all of these Hartford properties that are either empty buildings or they are in a financial noose.  It would be easy for a billionaire to come in and buy half the town. If an ambitious someone wanted to make their name in Hartford, they could do it. But it wouldn't be easy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

West Hartford Pickers

This pic is actually from Hartford
One of our favorite summer weekend activities is hitting up tag sales. One just never knows what types of gems can turn up when looking through other people's junk. Since tag sales are essentially people getting rid of stuff they don't want, it's a no-brainer strategy to leave Hartford on these trips. It's simple economics, the higher the income in the area, the more likely you are to find better stuff at tag sales.

While West Hartford is our most frequent spot to hit up tag sales, Glastonbury, Avon, and Farmington are also good locations. East Hartford is to be avoided.

Monday, June 11, 2012

West Hartford Week: Max Oyster

For a seafood lover, you can't get a better happy hour than Max Oyster on Main Street Farmington Ave in West Hartford. At a "buck a shuck" it's as straightforward a deal as you will find. One dollar per clam and oyster to see how many you can suck down during happy hour. In addition to the shellfish, there's a menu of $2 items that is always rotating and always contains tasty items. As tasty as that might be, the joint is called Max Oyster for a reason. Seriously, suck it up and slurp down some raw shellfish, you can get a fish taco anywhere.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

West Hartford Week: Goldberg's

One might get the impression we aren't fans of West Hartford. One wouldn't be entirely mistaken. With it's lily white population, businesses carefully tailored to liberal upper-middle (and upper) class sensibilities hocking overpriced items no one needs, and outside shopping area that feels as genuine as The Bachelor contestants, West Hartford provides more than enough fodder for even the most amateur of jesters to poke fun at.

An "Irish pub" with gleaming wood an electronic clock counting down to the six month mark of St. Patty's Day? A plate of pork tacos for $22? Hell, at least the inside of The Cheesecake Factory looks like a Temple of Doom Epcot ride. It's all very, very authentic.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chuckles Teaches Us About Beer

We spent a lot of time with Chuckles hanging out and drinking beers. Here are some clips of Chuckles discussing different beers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chuckles Teaches Us About Prison

Over the weekend, our good friend Chuckles passed away. This week we've been reliving some of our favorite Chuckles stories. We always enjoyed talking to Chuckles about prison, he was always willing to talk incredibly honest about the experience and it was a perspective we've never had. Like he used to say "you know how it is in there."

"Nope, no we don't."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Sad City Goodbye

In a year that has already been filled with far too much heartbreak and loss, it is with much sadness that Sad City says a melancholy goodbye to our good friend and Sad City legend Chuckles. After a lengthy battle, Chuckles succumbed to cancer this weekend at the age of 59.
While newer Sad City fans might not be acquainted with Chuckles, he was a stalwart of early Sad City posts and one of our favorite people we’ve met in Hartford. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that without Chuckles, there may have been no Sad City Hartford. When Chuckles fell ill, he lost the use of most of his voice, which caused him to disappear from Sad City.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Interview with Rock Cats Catcher, Twins' Prospect, Chris Herrmann

[Originally published at Twins Fan From Afar]
The Minnesota Twins used their sixth round selection in 2009 to draft Chris Herrmann, a native of Tomball, Texas. Herrmann transferred from Alvin Community College to the University of Miami. He had been drafted in the tenth round of the 2008 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, but did not sign. Herrmann is in his fourth season in the Twins' minor league system, currently playing for the Rock Cats. He is the team's starting catcher, but also plays left field and serves as designated hitter.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Connecticut Whale Offseason Begins With Some Ends

In the average offseason in the AHL you can see your local NHL top affiliate rapidly go from a cohesive team to an incomplete roster. Already gone from the Connecticut Whale  are Andreas Thurresson Steve Moses, Pavel Valentenko and Mats Zuccarello. All have signed contracts overseas with the KHL.

The big news there was Zuccarello. It was only hours after the Rangers lost game six to the Devils news broke about him signing with the KHL. Not too long after that news broke that Zuccarello tweeted, "It's a lot of rumors right now. I don't know yet where I'm going to play next year."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hartford Pic Of The Week

Summertime arrived in a big way this week with humidity that would make even a Tusken Raider uncomfortable. The South End is one of our favorite Hartford places in the summer and we think this pic really sums up a summer say in a South End back yard.

The empty chair and workbench is a little melancholy though.