A Somewhat Holey Quilt

What would Hartford be like with people on the streets? As Doug Suisman put it, “people attract more people.” A bustling city would seem like a happening place to be. One might even reserve a seat on the MegaBus from Boston to come here. One of the goals of the iQuilt project is to do just this– make Hartford a destination. Yet for those of us who live here, we know that there are people out and about in Hartford– they are just not plentiful downtown. Park Street’s activity was alluded to during the presentation on the evening of June 24th at the Belding Center for the Performing Arts, as was the need for such a downtown project to reach out to the neighborhoods, yet that part of the plan was more talk than design. It’s early still in the process and every idea was clearly up for further discussion. Some of the iQuilt ideas are hope-inducing and would be positive changes; some ideas did not go as far as they needed to and other aspects were ignored altogether. Leaving the forum, I would have felt better had Suisman asked for comments mainly from people whose names he did not already know.

David Fay–President of the Bushnell—explained that two years ago the Bushnell began thinking about a plan for Capitol Avenue, as the center is isolated from much of downtown. The iQuilt project began about six months ago; “up to this point,” Fay said, the project “has been paid for.” They want feedback and public support before an organization is developed to manage the project and move it forward. Getting questions and comments during the public forum should be a start, but not the only effort taken to gather feedback.

The presentation on Wednesday was given by Douglas Suisman, of Santa Monica, whose role as one of the project’s planning principals seemed less of an odd choice upon learning that he grew up in this area. He is the principal of Suisman Urban Design (Los Angeles), which describes its vision and guiding principles this way:

cities are complex human artifacts which evolve over time. We believe that urban design solutions must therefore incorporate a deep understanding of the physical place and a profound respect for its social and cultural fabric. We are committed to broad participation, clear communication, and high quality. We are motivated by a passion for the lived experience of cities.


Satisfying Hunger

The Grow Hartford CSA

The way that Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) usually works is that a household buys a share, and then receives a box of produce weekly (either by picking it up or having it delivered). Sometimes a CSA will have other items like flowers, herbs, cheese, and meat available. Grow Hartford CSA is a project of the Hartford Food System, which has headquarters at 86 Park Street. Food from its three farm sites — located on Zion, Broad, and Laurel Streets — is entirely distributed to Hartford residents. (more…)

Classic Movies at City Steam

City Steam Brewery will now be showing “classic” movies on Monday nights in the Richardson Room, which is back behind where the pool tables are.

Here is the schedule for the next few weeks:
June 15: The Breakfast Club
June 22: Rear Window
June 29: ET
July 6: Jaws
July 13: National Lampoon’s Vacation
July 20: Stand By Me
July 27: Dirty Dancing

Doors open at 6:30 (though the restaurant is open before that) and films start at 7pm. Admisson is free

It’s petty, I know, but I have walked out of bars when I was informed that the bartender did not know how to make a Mojito. It’s not like I was asking for something obscure, and of course, I am understanding when places do not keep a supply of mint on hand. Lacking ingredients is different from lacking know-how. I’m not going to name names, but I walked there hoping to catch Mike Lowell on the big screen; having a large tap selection does not impress me– I’m not a beer drinker.

As discussed in a previous post, I’m really not a big drinker at all. I did not have the “typical college experience” and find that a day in the public library is all the self-medicating that I need, usually. So, if I am going to drink, I want it to be something that actually tastes good.

: One drink and you’ll wake up wearing someone else’s bra.

Brand New Bodega

Vanessa Grocery on South Whitney had closed in the last year. Recently, after some much-needed remodeling, a store reopened in the same location. It’s far more presentable on the inside and outside. So, for those in the neighborhood who were lamenting the disappearance of a local (non-CVS, non-gas station) place to buy junkfood, bacon, and smokes, despair no longer.

Searching for Sangria

jupiterimages.comIf someone can review gas station chicken, then it’s not too self-indulgent to blog about trying to find the best sangria in Hartford.

I’m not a wine aficionado, and I really am not much of a drinker either. But when I find something that I like, I get fixated on wanting to know where the best one (that I can afford of whatever it is) can be found. I’m like this with mocha, falafel, pizza, burritos, etc. I’m not so fixated on this one thing, though, that I necessarily can overlook everything else about an establishment. Here’s my work-in-progress list:


Economic Crisis Be Damned!

In the spot where Bistro 942 stayed open for less than a year, and where Euro Cafe flailed before that, another establishment is going to try its luck. Bocca Rossa, a wine bar and lounge, will be wedged in the space between Dunkin Donuts and City Steam Brewery. Although Rosco’s on nearby Temple Street did not fare well, new restaurants continue to pop up in this section of Downtown.
The sign promises that the restaurant will be coming soon, but does not specify a date. I’m waiting for Kyto, a sushi restaurant on the corner of Pratt and Main, to open. That was supposed to happen over a year ago, and it appears to be under construction, still.