After a few days away, I returned to find obnoxious (but fairly routine) comments littering the Topix forum that one is routed to from the online Hartford Courant.
On my trip, I was thinking about civic pride and the need for community and cooperation between neighboring towns. I am not talking about these qualities on a political level, but on a personal level. There is community here, within the city, but it’s not something that gets much press. Crime and corruption are made public. Poverty and illiteracy are treated as mascots for my city.
What does not make the news are the minutiae.
One Friday night I gathered with a half dozen women to eat local pizza in the host’s dining room. We wolfed down three pizzas and laughed. Nobody got shot or stabbed.
Last week, I ventured with a friend and two of her children to Colt Park. We were hoping to catch a women’s rugby game. Though it seemed to be canceled, we picked up some delicious goodies from Modern Pastry, watched runners cross the finish line at the Hartford Marathon in Bushnell Park, and then headed to La Paloma Sabanera for an actual lunch. At the coffee house, we ran into more friends. Again, nobody got shot or stabbed.
While walking earlier that same day, I talked to two little boys who were throwing a frisbee across a street that is south of Farmington Avenue. I was impressed by children playing with something that was not a football or basketball. In our lengthy two minute conversation, I learned that they had never heard of a boomerang before. I explained what a boomerang was and watched their eyes nearly jump from their heads as they excitedly thought about how a boomerang, when thrown right, could magically return to them. They were not working as lookouts. They were not selling drugs or even cussing.
About a month ago I was riding my bike through Frog Hollow. I was out of breath and feeling kind of on edge after pedaling up what is probably the most bike-friendly street in Hartford (and it’s still scary because of people driving in the bike lane so they can pass other cars on the right). I turned onto a busy side street that does not have the best reputation. It also does not have the worst rep. Some little boys, maybe five or six years old, were hanging out in the middle of the street. I could tell they were watching me and I was bracing myself to get heckled by children. The smaller one grinned ear-to-ear and shouted to me, “I like your bike!” What made this even better is that my bike is somewhat crappy and he was being totally sincere. Oh, and he and his brother did not jump me and steal it.
Last week, I was walking home from work and heard a car beeping at me. As I walked past, I heard my name. I was not, it turned out, being honked at by a sketchy dude about to catcall me, but by a friend whose car I didn’t recognize. After we exchanged greetings while she was stopped at the red light, she did not run me down before speeding away. No drive by. No drama.
So, those are just a few of my experiences lately within city limits. If you have been a close reader of the blog, then you know I try not to sugarcoat anything, and for that, some readers have been resentful. When I see problems, I try to identify them. I know that for some, violence is a very real part of their lives; but when I read comments like the ones on the Topix forum, I feel like the largely anonymous writers are speaking from places of ignorance rather than from regular experience.
I have copied and pasted some recent comments from the Courant comments and mixed in photographs that I have taken around Hartford.
Thank goodness for some common sense at the state level. This project is why we have a deficit. Let the neighborhood show they deserve this before throwing the money down the drain. Have you seen the flower pots on Sigourney St. They get drawn on and knocked over by the neighborhood goodies.
3444uez (10/18/2009, 11:32 AM )
Just what Hartford needs, another high ctime ghetto. And paid for with taxpayer money no less. Hartford needs more open space, not less. Folks will find another place to live, and unscrupulous developers like this will get lost.
Waldo312 (10/18/2009, 8:30 AM )
IHEARTHARTFORD, Grow into what?? Fifty years ago Hartford was a great city, it was named that All American City, what happened, now you say, “Watch it grow”, it went from what it was to what it is, New England’s Falling Star.
willie19 (10/19/2009, 6:33 AM )
Hartford: New England’s Garbage Pail.
Waitforme (10/18/2009, 1:16 PM )
Hartford – A real life Halo Landscape.
nawanda (10/18/2009, 1:10 PM )
Animals running loose in Hartford 24/7. Just as bad as L.A. or even worse.
pistolpetect (10/15/2009, 9:23 PM )
in reply to willie19 New Englands “shooting” star is more like it.
agevnavi (10/19/2009, 2:49 PM )
Wow, I had no idea that a bedbug infested hotel, in the middle of a slum, in the middle of one of the worst cities in America would have trouble finding customers.
Probably the fault of the raaaaaaacist GOP if you ask me.
CharlieSprocket (10/17/2009, 2:58 PM )
Just close the hotel and be done with it. Who in their right mind wants to stay in crime-infested downtown Hartford? Come on, much better hotels are nearby. Again and again Unions close down businesses in Connecticut. Too bad the investors will lose money, but what does anyone expect in Hartford.
tootiredtocare (10/17/2009, 12:51 PM )
Thats why i left, the worst the economics gets up goes crime in the impoverished areas, nothing to do, no jobs, and no job training funds for youth and young adults. piece of crap city I can go on and on because ive lived there…..
CTREFUGEE (10/15/2009, 10:19 AM )
Another shooting, another killing welcome to Hartford. Nothing is going to clean up the city except the residents and their behaviors.
fanofhartfordsometimes (10/15/2009, 9:06 AM )