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, August 29, 2012


Over the last few months, televisions have joined mattresses as staples of the Hartford sidewalk scene. With the price of flat screen tv's dropping, old tube television, as antiquated as much of the City's methods of doing business, now adorn sidewalks across the city. The phenomenom seems to know no racial or neighborhood boundaries. Televisions can be found scattered across the South End, West End and North End.

Why don't they pick up the televisions? Well, that job has been contracted out to a private company. Twice a week the company goes around Hartford and picks up televisions. But, they will only pick up televisions that have been reported and logged into the City's illustrious 311 system. So if a television is reported outside of 48 Bond and by some miracle the contractor arrives in a timely manner, they will pick up the reported television at 48 Bond, but if there are 10 more on the block, they will simply ignore them and leave them on the sidewalk.

Quite a system huh?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The 38th.....and Final Season?

The new season in the AHL is upon us and in the AHL, they play, even if the NHL doesn't. For the New York Rangers top affiliate, it will be the team's 16th season in Hartford. Will it be their last?  We do not know yet.

.Much of the talk in the AHL this summer has been about where would the Rangers go if they did leave.  Rumors have been swirling  that there may be vacancies in Glen Falls, Albany and Binghamton for next season.  These upstate New York cities that have very strong Ranger fan bases and would naturally be attractive places for a Rangers affiliate.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

H.A.R.D. Hartford Area Roller Derby

Roller derby conjures up image up 1980's late night ESPN and MSG programming. A sport that became more WWF than sport, roller derby seemed to have faded away along with jai-alai, Mr. T, Slaughter, and roller skates themselves. Well, the 80's are in again and while we haven't heard of a Slaughter reunion, roller derby is back, sans the WWF factor.

"The best part about the growing trend of Flat Track Roller Derby is that the viewer still gets all of the showmanship… Alias names, theme songs, shoulder hits, and hip checks that American spectators love. However, there are now many rules and regulations that have made this a truly competitive sport. The action you will see with the H.A.R.D. women will be real and unrehearsed; tough and as exciting as any competitive sport existing today."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sad City Presents: The O-Quilt

(Originally published by Hakaan on June 15, 2011, people today are still bickering about transportation issues throughout and around the city. Instead of bickering, we just came up with our own solution.)

Yesterday to much fanfare the long awaited iQuilt was unveiled.  Notwithstanding the silly name, the plan called for sensible and rationale improvements to the downtown. What iQuilt proposes to do is make downtown more walkable by extending Bushnell Park to Main Street in an effort to make shift the downtown area's focus away from accommodating automobiles and make area more pedestrian friendly.  Basically what iQuilt proposes to do is what the Big Dig in Boston did connecting the North End to Faneuil Hall, minus of course burying the interstate.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Local Film: The Last Intervention

We got an email from former Hartford resident Giovanny Blanco describing his project The Last Intervention and his Sad City fandom.

Hello, my name is Giovanny Blanco. I hope all is well with ya. I'm a big fan of the site (especially the pay phone pics). As a former resident I can always count on Sad City to give me a fix. I still consider Hartford my hometown even though I haven't lived there since 1996. Yes, there might be something wrong with me. I still go back several times a year. Anyway, I directed a film that we (friends and family) shot in Hartford called "The Last Intervention". Here's the quickie synopsis. 

The rebellious daughter of divorced Dominican parents discovers her family is having an intervention in her honor. It’s not exactly how she planned to spend the weekend.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don't Name a Street After Abraham Giles

The Evil Undead Zombie of Abraham Giles has come back to terrorize Hartford once again.
Ed. Note: Originally published April 18, 2012, Council went forward and passed a resolution naming a street corner after Giles last night. Surrounding areas laugh and shake their heads.

Are we the only ones who are completely appalled by the  idea that an admitted extortionist, the late Abraham "Butt Ugly" Giles, is very likely to have a street corner named after him in Hartford? No? Good.

We know it's not good to speak ill of the dead, but this one really deserves it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Give Howard Baldwin Credit

As usual, there are some people, fans and media, who are trumpeting around this summer saying they knew Howard Baldwin and his marketing company Whalers Sports and Entertainment would get into hot water over the contract he signed to run the New York Rangers farm team. 

What surprises me is what they are not seeing.

The price to run hockey in Hartford is absurd.  Over the last two seasons Baldwin and Hartford hockey fans, were beaten over the head with the notion that Hartford can never be an NHL market again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hartford Pic Of The Week

We can't tell, so let us know what you think. Is the city getting into the used car business or merely the parking business? Send us in your Pic Of The Week candidates.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sad City Classic: The Pay Phone Contest

Originally posted by Hakaan July 13, 2010, click on the Pay Phones tag to see the progress.

If your like us (and you know you want to be) you probably spent a lot of time in your early teens hanging out in front of convenience stores. For those of us who grew up without cell phones (never mind a smart phone) convenience stores were a great hang out spot for a variety of reasons. The local convenience store offered a place where one could meet their friends, purchase Mountain Dew, burritos, cigarettes, and of utmost importance, communicate with friends through pay phones. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rock Bottoms Up! - Hartford and Dubra

The plan was to drink until the pain over / But what’s worse, the pain or the hangover?”
-Kanye West, “Dark Fantasy,” Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Empty Dubra Vodka bottles litter the landscape of Hartford, like corpses from a silent war, the detritus of the damned. While this particular litter may not seem as portentous as the previous overwrought sentence claims, I think they’re worth noticing and thinking about. When I was a freshmen at Trinity College – in my younger and dumb(er) days – I used to drink Dubra heavily, to the point where my friends and I created a weekly mock celebration, Dubra Wednesdays. It was cheap (around $13 dollars for a handle, 1.75 liters), it was so-bad-it’s-good, and it wrecked our better judgment, as well as our insides.

Due in part to that nostalgic obsession, I started to notice them a lot while walking through Hartford near the end of my undergraduate career. I got into the habit of taking out my cell phone and snapping a picture every time I saw one. After only a couple months of walking through Hartford, I had over 20 images of separate bottles. These were just the ones that caught my eye; it wasn’t as if I went out looking for them.

They’re everywhere, from the Riverfront;

...to the middle of Downtown;

…on the side streets of Frog-Hollow;

...right up to the West end;

Pint and Half-Pint bottles were the most frequent (being the cheapest), but I’ve also seen handles;

For the past two years, I’ve worked for a non-profit that focuses on community indicators. Indicators are quantitative and qualitative measures, tailor made to the needs of a given community, which reveal the over-all quality of life. Using an established benchmark, they show the direction a community is heading, for better or worse. The number of empty Dubra bottles littered throughout Hartford can be seen as an unconventional indicator. What does it suggest?

Rampant litter in itself reveals a disregard for ones surroundings, a disregard that is extenuated by intoxication. Can whoever tossed these bottles be solely blamed? Those that left them behind may have been consciously running from something, or unconsciously reacting to circumstances outside of their control.

While not the whole story, these bottles reveal a larger web of poverty, health issues, and an overall lack of confidence within Hartford. So if there’s the feeling that governmental officials aren't being stewards of the city, why should those that feel disenfranchised care?   

There are other liquors of comparable price, but Dubra – which from my experience is the most vile – seems to be the discarded drink of choice; implying a masochistic impulse. Maybe I’m just over-intellectualizing from a point of privilege. It may simply be the stark design of the label that attracts customers. To stretch one last interpretation, let’s look at the design. If the star in the center is equated with New England’s Rising one, would you see the curtain surrounding it as one that just opened, or one that’s about to close?  
Thinking about my reckless college days, and how Dubra became an ironically cherished drink amongst students from affluent backgrounds; while many in the surrounding community most likely drank it because of economic limitations and learned helplessness; makes me feel as guilty and nauseous as I did during those incoherent Thursday mornings, years ago.

                                                                                                        -Written by William Moffett Jr.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sad City Classic: Guide To Supermarkets

(Originally published by Jumper on July 11, 2010)

One of the greatest things about living in Hartford is that we have a plethora of grocery shopping options within a very small radius. Whether you prefer shopping in the cozy confines of a neighborhood bodega or wandering through a yuppie organic food mecca, Hartford has it all.
So how do you make decision on where to go to buy your food stuff? Let the Sad City Hartford guide to Hartford supermarkets show you the way.