A Polished Performance

Jazz pianist Zaccai Curtis performed solo at the Polish National Home Saturday evening. More about the stunning performance in a bit.

The Polish National Home is to the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood, as Connecticut’s Colonial Charter was to the Charter Oak, which is to say that both are/were well hidden in plain sight.

If one approaches the building  after having just exited I-91, then she may assume she took a wrong turn. On her left, while traveling up Charter Oak Avenue, she would see a closed factory with its own ecosystem– something that has a way of deadening the surrounding area. It’s simply one more forgotten building in the city, so forgotten that trees are popping out of it.

At the same time, the Polish National Home is next to an elementary school, as well as the somewhat also hidden, but lively, Pulaski Mall, a park nestled between the Sheldon Oak Cooperative housing units, which are not exactly fine examples of attractive architecture, but appeared to lack greenery inappropriately growing out of their walls. My own trip to the PNH included gallivanting around Main Street, then through Pulaski Mall, where kids, many of them, were playing outside in an area that seemed like  safe refuge from traffic.  (more…)

3-5 Putnam Heights

A fire this morning displaced residents from 3- 5 Putnam Heights. The Courant reports the number of displaced residents as 21.

I counted nearly a dozen fire engines, not to mention ambulances, police, and other fire-related vehicles. It does not appear that any residents were injured.

Firefighters responded promptly, which is crucial in areas where buildings are close together. They prevented the fire from spreading to other structures. Thank you!

For more photos, go to my Photobucket page.

Community and Food

Community gardens are a valuable resource for those of us who have postage stamp (or smaller) yards. They provide a place for gardeners to relieve stress by pulling weeds; having beautiful flowers and growing our own food is another bonus.

Garden space is relatively inexpensive and allows one to know exactly where her food is coming from that season, depending on how able of a gardener she is and how much she chooses to plant. I have seen people successfully grow tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, peas, chard, cabbage, fennel, collard greens, corn, brussels sprouts, strawberries, raspberries, squash, zucchini, carrots, thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, beets, radishes, onions, garlic, spinach, broccoli, ginger, cauliflower, and pumpkins in Hartford. (more…)

Lyric: Strong Enough to Stand Still

Earlier this month we reported that a resolution was drafted which would allow for a “Save the Lyric” fund to be set up. Tonight, we received word that the remaining section of the Lyric Theater on Park Street is likely to be salvaged. Michael Fuschi, Building Official, shared that the correspondence he had with Hallisey Engineering regarding the mortar strength test results. The locations that were tested showed mortar strength to be in the range of high strength mortar. Unless something new is discovered, it sounds like the building is not in danger of being demolished.

Next week Fuschi and Glenn Geathers (Project Manager of Department of Development Services Economic Development Division) will be meeting with John Hallisey at the site. Afterwards, they will meet with the ad hoc Lyric subcommittee of the Frog Hollow NRZ. The plan is to stabilize the structure from the third floor down before winter. The roof has already been patched. It will then be “fast tracked” and put to bid.