One of the most popular items ever on Real Hartford includes photos of Pope Park in which there is a complete absence of thugs and gangbangers, but because those words are used in it, people find it. Are they disappointed? Are they educated?
It is as if that one episode of Gangland has given some all they ever feel they need to know.
That is partly why this photo series evolved.
The image above was taken early evening in Zion Hill Cemetery, in the same area where that show fetishized gang violence from decades past.
One need not go far off the beaten path to see what she might not be expecting. The photos directly above and below were taken within a fifteen-second walk of sidewalk. Both are in public areas.
Torturing and murdering birds, the feral cat above was the thuggiest thug found while exploring the neighborhood.
There is always going to be weirdness when you can go from law offices to apartments housing far more people than allowed to an upscale restaurant to a juvenile detention center to mixed income housing, all in a five minute (or so) walk.
The pumpkin was moved the next day to a front porch.
This is the case throughout Hartford: there are not many benches along the streets, but most parks have seating, including the parks you probably did not know existed.
Pope Park West, above, sits at the boundary of Frog Hollow and Parkville.
The Park River is not entirely buried.
Pope Park North/Baby Pope Park (above and below) often hosts basketball games on the deteriorated tennis courts well into the night.
There are businesses that move in and out rapidly, and others that have become institutions.
Lazy thinking makes it possible for some to believe that Hartford residents don’t care. The property below — 387/389 Capitol Avenue — proves otherwise. After being allowed to degrade by previous owners, the property was snatched up recently by a couple who has been laboring to restore the building. Their plan is to actually live in the building while renting out commercial and residential spaces. Neighbors and others in the community have been volunteering their time to help bring this building back into respectable condition.
That’s not police tape.
The vacant lot below is what remains after a fatal fire several years ago.
Cindy Crawford was in the Connecticut State Library last May.
On foot or by bike, we visit a different Hartford neighborhood each week on a random day (or night) to show what Hartford looks like under normal circumstances. This is the final round of the In Your Neighborhood series.