commentary/editorial

Meet Your City: How to Winter

It’s colder. It’s snowier. Winter does not officially begin for a few more days, but it’s time for a little how-to for people who are either new to the area or have been here their whole lives but had not lived independently until now. (more…)

Meet Your City: Five Urban Walks

Elizabeth Park

 

If you are looking to wander without tight time limits or attachment to outcome, here are a few suggested paths.
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Meet Your City: Worse Than Panhandling

As a native New Englander, I understand why anyone ever trying to talk to another person is alarming. Leave me alone, let me do my own thing, definitely do not make eye contact, and you might hear from me if I need help getting my tractor out of a ditch.

But seriously, it can be annoying to be approached by random strangers, whether they are trying to scrape together money for whatever or they are handing out booklets promising hellfire to those who don’t repent. The latter, for some reason, do not inspire so much anger from the peanut gallery. The calls to “do something about panhandlers,” almost never means addressing the root causes of poverty or addiction. These are attempts to get police involved in nuisance crimes when their talents could be better used elsewhere, such as enforcing traffic laws which when broken, are likely to cause personal injury. (more…)

Meet Your City: Instead of Brunch

Venue for a dance party and happy hour

It’s an unpopular opinion, I know. But everything — from the overpriced meals that could be easily made at home, to the stomach-turning portmanteau itself — is irksome.

This isn’t really about brunch, but what this activity shares with various others: a trendy experience that typically tries too hard to be polished while failing to deliver half the fun that could be had if everyone allowed for more rough edges.

So, instead of fretting over whether or not the kids-these-days will be entertained without rows of nightclubs downtown or bi-weekly parades, we could look at what Hartford does have. Namely: (more…)

Meet Your City: It’s Autumn. What Now?

Why live in New England if you aren’t even going to try to do some seasonal things? That does not mean getting “dressed like a fashion blogger” and creating staged moments for Instagram. Here are a few suggestions:

Night Fall
This is a free, annual outdoor performance that marks the change in seasons. It rotates to a different Hartford park each year and is one of those true community events where the hours before the show are as much about socializing with friends and neighbors as they are about buying snacks and claiming your blanket space. I’m going to go right ahead and take a guess that after the horrors in Vegas over the weekend, we can all benefit from more time connecting with others. There is dancing and giant puppets. It may look like an event for children on the surface, but I would not go so far as to categorize it that way. If you are an adult showing up without kids, you won’t be looked at as a creeper. Night Fall is in Bushnell Park on October 7 this year.

Elizabeth Park

Get a chaider
Kick those basic seasonal beverages to the curb. (more…)

Meet Your City: Parades of Yore

Connecticut Veterans Parade, 2011

Today, everything is expected on demand — from ordering groceries online to binge-watching television shows to whatever Tinder is. So, why should it come as a surprise that few want to wait for the entertainment to make its way to them?  Parades can be frustratingly slow and unpredictable in pacing, often taking place during uncomfortable weather.

And anyway, cities are about change, not stagnation. Right? Interests change. Demographics change. Someone finally gets smart and decides it is no longer appropriate to subsidize parades with tax dollars.

Those that had been struggling to draw any crowd of note in recent years would do well to take a time out and reassess if this the current incarnation of the event is worth the time, trouble, and money. (more…)

Meet Your City: Indoors Walking Tours

Stowe Center

 

Connecticut Historical Society

At the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Asylum Avenue, this building houses a museum and research library.  Regular exhibit tours are offered, plus the occasional Secrets of the Veeder House Tour and Behind-The-Scenes Tour to see items not currently on display, such as a mitten belonging to Leatherman. (more…)

Meet Your City: Outdoors Walking Tours

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch

 

What’s included: Informational tours that take place outside on a recurring basis and involve walking as the primary mode of movement.

What’s not: Tours that have you sitting on a bus, boat, or bicycle; tours that are (probably or definitely) on hiatus; tours that are only self-guided; general walks; private tours that require your membership for participation; campus tours intended to attract students. (more…)