Category: Asylum Hill

NewWorks/NewWORLD: A Latino PlayFEST Opens Wednesday

HartBeat Ensemble –  in collaboration with NoPassport Theater Alliance and support from the City of Hartford and the Greater Hartford Arts Council — presents a four day celebration of Latino/a artists in theater, film, and visual art.

On June 25-27, 11:30-2 and 4-6:30, stop by the Carriage House Theater (360 Farmington Avenue) to view art curated by Nina Salazar of Studio N111 and to pick up tickets for other events.

Members of the Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project will give a free reading of The Güegüense, a farcical theatrical work dating back to 17th century Nicaragua. This will take place at 7pm on June 25. Continue reading 'NewWorks/NewWORLD: A Latino PlayFEST Opens Wednesday'»

Discussion on History and Art at Twain House

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By , June 6, 2014 9:17 am

Jeff Zinn,, Nicolas Lampert, Marc Favreau, and Will K. Wilkins

This week the Mark Twain House and Museum hosted a symposium on Howard Zinn’s  A People’s History of the United States, first published in 1980. Jeff Zinn, the author’s son, spoke about how conventional many parts of the household was growing up, with father as breadwinner and mother as “housewife.” Continue reading 'Discussion on History and Art at Twain House'»

DOT Mitigation for Closure of Flower Street: Ain’t Nothing New Under the Sun

This is what the east-west mitigation path (Flower Street to Broad Street) looked like at 10:30 last night. At the meeting, two representatives from the Hartford Courant said that building a bridge would be “extravagant” and that they think the DOT did a “good job” with this pathway.

Fighting with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to lock down safe and reasonable pedestrian and cyclist access is a long process, so it’s unsurprising that those attending the latest round were small in number– a mix of those who understand the project better than some of those presenting on it, and those who were uninformed about how we came to be in a room discussing a multimillion dollar project that nobody wants.

Background for those just tuning in: The DOT barricaded one of Hartford’s city streets last year. Pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, even emergency vehicles, are unable to go from Capitol Avenue to Farmington Avenue on this street.

Neighborhood groups opposed this for obvious reasons, like losing north-south access between Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill. Area small businesses opposed this out of fear of losing significant foot traffic; later, those stores along Capitol Avenue would experience the loss in revenue predicted. The City of Hartford initially opposed this, but then backed off. Aetna had been ready to provide legal support to fight this, but they eventually cowered. Christopher Brown, a resident of Frog Hollow and board member of Bike Walk CT, sought a writ of mandamus — for us plain folk, that means he sued the DOT, not to get any money, but to force them to keep Flower Street open for cyclists and pedestrians. In Superior Court, as in these public neighborhood meetings, the argument for keeping the street open got twisted; instead of the case being about safety, it was interpreted as being about convenience — something that has never been the emphasis for vocal residents and business owners. What came out of that time in court was that the DOT is now on record as being committed to building a bridge that would actually move pedestrians and cyclists in the north-south direction.

Still no word on how this would be funded

At Monday’s meeting intended to update the community on the DOT’s plans for this Flower Street up-and-over, the attention once again was placed on convenience over safety. Though the method for obtaining these numbers was never disclosed, we were told that taking the Broad Multi-Use Path would take 6.3 minutes, the Skywalk, 5.5 minutes, and the elevator, 5.6 minutes. During this process, the community has asked the DOT for data on pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries at at-grade crossings versus at busy intersections and at Interstate ramp crossings. To date, the public has not received this information.

At the meeting, Brown raised the point that according to the DOT’s own internal emails obtained through a FOIA request, there is a simple solution that would not require millions of dollars or minutes of detour: go from a double lane of busway to single for a small portion of the New Britain-to-Hartford path. According to the DOT Continue reading 'DOT Mitigation for Closure of Flower Street: Ain’t Nothing New Under the Sun'»

Proposed Changes to Sigourney and Capitol Area Focus of Public Meeting

Part of the proposed changes to Sigourney Street area

Most interesting about the public meeting attended by a dozen people tonight was the total omission of Senator Fonfara’s bold move to re-open Flower Street. His provision, which was voted through by State Senate and House on Tuesday night as part of a bond package, states that the north-south street which runs parallel to Sigourney and Broad, must remain open to vehicular traffic for a minimum of twenty hours each day. Currently, the street is barricaded in the middle, not allowing even emergency vehicles through.

The public meeting focused on the initial design phase of streetscaping around what will be the Sigourney Street New Britain-to-Hartford Busway station, with changes mostly planned for areas at and south of that platform. The presentation and conversation covered potential changes elsewhere in Frog Hollow, including along Capitol Avenue and Broad Street.

City of Hartford, TPA Design Group, Greater Hartford Transit District, and CTfastrak/CT DOT were all at the table, with GHTD and TPA leading most of the presentation. As hopeful as anyone wants to be about change to what currently showcases poor design and maintenance, the cynicism that comes with years of seeing people fall through on promises was evident in public discussion. For some, it seemed like after the DOT presented designs, the City came forward with designs for the same areas. Are we spending money on duplicate services? Who takes the lead? What falls to the side? In this case, we learned that the DOT has no money marked for Capitol Avenue streetscape improvements; the City is leading all of that. Continue reading 'Proposed Changes to Sigourney and Capitol Area Focus of Public Meeting'»

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Blue Mass

Cathedral of Saint Joseph–  May 4, 2014

Continue reading 'Scenes from the Sidewalk: Blue Mass'»

Dental and Other Services Moving from Blue Hills to Asylum Hill

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By , May 2, 2014 5:15 pm

Screenshot of partial bus system map / Map created by CT Transit

Saint Francis has confirmed the rumor: the adult dental services that had been provided at the Burgdorf/Bank of America Clinic on Coventry Street will no longer be available in that Blue Hills neighborhood location. Instead, those relying on these services will need to schlep to the Saint Francis Dental Center, 1000 Asylum Avenue in Asylum Hill.

Though described by St. Francis as a mere two miles apart, the concern coming from residents is that those most in need of the services — the uninsured and underinsured — often rely on public transportation, which in Hartford, has room for improvement. Community members worry that those who need these services most will not continue to receive them due to the inconvenience of travel.

Our questions posed earlier this week about this move were responded to today, Friday. Monday is when the transfer of adult dental services will occur. The OB-GYN services will also be “transitioned” to the main St. Francis campus. Continue reading 'Dental and Other Services Moving from Blue Hills to Asylum Hill'»

Weekend on the Ave

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By , April 29, 2014 8:16 am

View of Farmington Avenue from the Mark Twain House & Museum compound

It’s the sense of duty that tugs you from the bed on a Saturday morning, later than you had intended, but with this constant gray mist and a headache that won’t subside, earlier than you would prefer. The rain boots and umbrella are surprisingly where they should be; the only thing making you later is yourself.

Farmington Avenue has become trickier to navigate, quite a feat that. The sidewalk is barricaded on one side for construction. Maybe barricaded is not the right word. It takes no real skill to cross the boundary, but playing by the rules means a zigzagging walk that is more irritation than inconvenience. (On the way home, those rules will be abandoned. In the concrete, names and deep footprints are seen.)

At the Carriage House Theater, a man stands in the parking lot beside a grill. It has mostly stopped raining, but this seems overly hopeful. Continue reading 'Weekend on the Ave'»

Third Annual Writers’ Weekend

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By , April 23, 2014 5:57 pm

Wondering how to protect your writing against unauthorized use? Are you just trying to get started freelancing? Looking to self-publish?

Sharpen your pencils and charge your laptops…the third annual Writers’ Weekend at the Mark Twain House and Museum starts on Friday. There will be a keynote conversation, book signings, workshops, panels, and reading series throughout the weekend.

Here’s what the schedule looks like:

Friday, April 25

6:00 pm — Welcome Reception

7:00 pm — Keynote, Meg Wolitzer

8:00 pm — Book signing with Meg Wolitzer

Saturday, April 26

10:00 am — Workshops

How to Become a Tough Broad in Six Steps and Three Pairs of Custom Made Shoes

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By , April 19, 2014 4:01 am

Gown worn in “Adam’s Rib”

Whether or not women should “lean in” or close the “confidence gap” are debates of the moment, but this fretting should have been settled decades ago.

Do you or someone you know need help figuring out how to be a tough dame? Turn to Katharine Hepburn. She was:

  • Sent home from school for wearing pants. Went back the next day wearing pants. How did she get the confidence for this? Mom (Katharine Houghton Hepburn) telling the school, basically, you leave the parenting to me, could not have hurt.
  • Later, when the RKO studio tried to get her to stop wearing slacks, she made a point by walking out in her underwear.
  • Did her own stunts, including when she was in her later years. Grew up in a house (133 Hawthorn Street) where the family had a zip line installed. Coincidence?
  • Got busted in college for smoking in her dorm. Drove around Hartford without a license.
  • Had a reputation for being prickly and defiant. . .
  • Earned twelve Oscar nominations and won four of those times. Continue reading 'How to Become a Tough Broad in Six Steps and Three Pairs of Custom Made Shoes'»

Grid, Interrupted: Budding Flower Street

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By , April 2, 2014 12:11 pm

It is a dumping ground for snow or a makeshift parking lot on parade days, now that the barricades have rendered Flower Street a nothing of a place, a glorified driveway for the Hartford Courant on one end and the same for Aetna on the other.

The road was previously divided before, with the stretch between the Park River and Farmington Avenue known as Flower Street, and what was south of the water, known as Lawrence. Other times, Lawrence was only the continuation south of Capitol Avenue. There have been various bridges before the covering of the Park River, showing how the desire for connectivity has spanned centuries.

Currently, poor infrastructure decisions reign in the Capitol-to-Farmington area, with the highway, and now busway, dicing up neighborhoods. In the 19th century, this area did more than provide commuters with a speedy way in and out.

Defined in an 1858 city directory as spanning “from Little River, north to 13 Farmington,” Flower Street appeared on record. Queen Street, north of the railroad tracks, connected Flower and Broad. Continue reading 'Grid, Interrupted: Budding Flower Street'»


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