commentary/editorial

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…)

Meet Your City: Flower Gardens

Constitution Plaza

 

Constitution Plaza around the Boat Building

When the Festival of Lights almost completely vanished from Constitution Plaza, it was hard for me to see why anyone was too upset by what I considered to be an act of putting lipstick on a pig. That is, if the pig were made of concrete and had a far less charming personality.

Then, in 2013, signs of life returned to a significant section of the plaza around the Phoenix building. Large sections of underused space on the plaza’s hardscape/the Phoenix building’s first floor roof were swapped for a mosaic of vegetation.

Besides looking pretty, an added benefit is that the gardens make this part of the plaza seem less lonely. (more…)

Meet Your City: Peace & Quiet

from along the North Branch Park River

 

Everything is relative, but even in places like Alaska, you can catch the sounds of construction in the dead of the night. Unless you’ve soundproofed a room, you’re never going to get silence in Hartford. There are some places that are quieter than others, where the sounds present are primarily natural. (more…)

Meet Your City: Square Pegs

This week, we are going to take a look at some of the off-kilter things that help give Hartford character. If anything has been overlooked, let us know about it in the comment section (read comment policy before posting).

Little Free Libraries

A brand new library on Oxford Street

Hartford has a number of brick-and-mortar libraries, between Hartford Public Library’s main building and branches, and those inside of the universities and colleges. We also have a bunch of Little Free Library boxes, with a new one opening on Oxford Street within the last week. In areas where there are no library branches, these honor system libraries can fill a gap. We’ve seen three in person — Oxford Street, Charter Oak Cultural Center, and TrinfoCafe — and have heard rumor of at least four others within city limits. On Laurel Street, there is a Little Free Pantry. (more…)

Meet Your City: Drinks with a View

refreshment at The Tavern at Keney Park

The Tavern at Keney Park: If you’ve done any exploring of Keney Park, you’ll have noticed in recent years a structure next to the golf course that looked like one of those sheltered picnic areas you might find in a State Park. According to the Hartford Preservation Alliance, this rustic Tudor style structure was a “1934 as a Great Depression project of the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA).” Relying heavily on recycled materials, the “[s]tone for the building came from the [then] recently-demolished US Post Office which stood immediately adjacent the Old State House downtown” and the building’s “[b]rick came from an old orphan asylum on Putnam Street.”

The Keney Park Golf Course Clubhouse has been transformed into The Tavern at Keney Park, a casual American restaurant with ample patio seating, in addition to the indoor space where a fireplace will be in use in colder months. This is operated by The DISH Restaurant Group, so you it’s tasty grub.

portabella burger at The Tavern at Keney Park

If you love golf, you probably already know about this spot which is still in its soft-opening phase as of publication. But, if you are like us and find golf to be “a good walk spoiled,” you can still enjoy The Tavern. What other public location in Hartford allows for dining where you can see flowering shrubs, lots of green, and thick forest without the interruption of highway noise? You’ll get sounds of birds chirping. This is the time of year when patios have the most appeal, but Keney Park is gorgeous year-round, especially in autumn. Get a hit of fall foliage without the long drive to Vermont! (more…)

Beyond Hartford: Providence

You probably don’t remember the Beyond Hartford series because the last one of these happened in 2013. Beyond Hartford provides some day trip options for people on a budget. We will be bringing back this series, sporadically. If you have suggestions for places to check out within 200 miles, send an email.

Elsewhere, I’ve written about how it may not be easy to get to Providence from Hartford, but once you’re there, it’s fairly accessible without a car. A trip automatically becomes more enjoyable when getting from place-to-place is not a pain in the ass. This fits the bill. It’s a place where you can do research and plan everything out, or just show up and wander, finding treasures without direction or intention. (more…)

March for Science Connecticut Demands Evidence-Based Policies

With rain coming down for the first hour of the event, protestors packed Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford on Earth Day to rally on behalf of science because we are now in a time when information about climate change is disappeared from the White House website. (more…)