Hartford Seen: Layers of a City

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By , September 30, 2014 4:22 pm
Pablo Delano, Capitol Avenue, 2013
Photo by Pablo Delano. Capitol Avenue, 2013

“Hartford’s unique history and how it manifests itself in the visual” is part of what provoked Pablo Delano to build his portfolio of street photography, some of which will be on view at the Connecticut Historical Society in the Hartford Seen exhibit. The work portrays scenes from many neighborhoods, from the South End to Blue Hills, Parkville to North East.

Most of the 120 pictures were taken in the last 2-3 years. A benefit of living close to one’s subject matter is being able to return to the scene as many times as it takes to get a satisfying shot. Sometimes the light is not right the first or second time around, or the leaves obscure part of the subject. Continue reading 'Hartford Seen: Layers of a City'»

Timeline of Activity Related to Proposed Hartford Municipal Office Building

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By , September 29, 2014 9:00 pm

The document speaks for itself:

Municipal Office Building Special Review Memorandum Final

Meanwhile, a Freedom of Information request filed by Real Hartford with the Department of Development Services on September 11, 2014 remains unfulfilled.

Random Facts from Open Data: Zones

Until last week, zoning regulations did not permit a stadium in the B-1 district (Downtown Development District), the area the covers most of Downtown.

If City officials had met for over a year discussing the possibility of a baseball stadium when one had not been allowed where they were seeking to build it, one might ask what else is or is not allowed in different sections of Hartford.

At the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting where this matter was being discussed, there was also confusion about if a brewery — one of the proposed items for the Downtown North re-development project — would be permitted in this area.

Package stores are allowed, as evidenced by the existence of Spiritus Wines. There is no shortage of bars — see Allyn Street, Union Place, Asylum Street, and Ann Uccello Street. There are restaurants that serve beer and wine, along with the hard stuff.

But a brewery is different. There is manufacturing, not just serving or selling. This introduces the question of scale. Would the beverages brewed on site be only available for retail, or would larger, wholesale orders be filled?

The Planning & Zoning Commission defines brew pub as:

any building where beer is manufactured, stored, and bottled, with retail sale of alcoholic liquor to be consumed on the premises with or without the sale of food, with retail sale of sealed bottles or other sealed containers of beer brewed on such premises for consumption off the premises, and with wholesale sales of sealed bottles or other sealed containers of beer brewed on such premises, and as otherwise defined and regulated by the Liquor Control Act of the general statutes.

A former restriction on brew pubs in this area required that manufactured beverages be consumed on site only, and that the production area be no more than 2000SF.

This is no longer the case. What had been allowed in B-1 is also permitted in I-2 (Industrial District, mostly North Meadows and South Meadows), C-1 (Commercial District), and B-2 (Downtown Perimeter District). While a brew pub may exist in B-1, it requires a special permit.

Where, then, did the rumors come from that a brew pub would not be permitted in Downtown? Likely an outdated document found in the City website.

Get in the Zone for Economic Development

Nobody is arguing that Hartford does not need to diversify its types of employment. We can’t and shouldn’t all be working for insurance companies and nail salons. But, some have questioned if the proposed types of development in Downtown North fits Hartford’s needs. What could we have besides or instead of  a minor league baseball stadium? Continue reading 'Random Facts from Open Data: Zones'»

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October 2014 Events

By , September 26, 2014 8:24 am

October 1

  • Free gallery talk with Carole P. Kunstadt whose Between the Lines exhibit is currently at Charter Oak Cultural Center. Noon.
  • AK Smith Visiting Scholars Series: “Society, Gender and Politics in Iranian Documentary Films”: The long history of the Kurdish people reveals a tangled web of geography, covering large portions
    of the modern-day Middle East. Road to Kurdistan examines the relationship between Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan after the fall of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent opening of the Iraqi border. The film follows a group of Kurdish travelers crossing the border in search of their dreams. A young musician wants to promote his music in Kurdistan, the filmmaker’s father wants to find the grave of a famous Kurdish poet, and they all want to witness a land that has been off-limits to Iranian Kurds for many years. Of Kurdish descent, Persheng Vaziri ‘81 was born and raised in Iran and lives in New York City. She directed several personal documentaries about Iran such as Women Like Us and A Place Called Home. She is a producer for Bridge to Iran series on Link TV, and has worked on documentaries in the U.S. and Iran. A graduate of Trinity College and New York University, she is completing her PhD at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more information, contact Christina Bolio at Christina.Bolio@trincoll.edu.This will take place in the Smith House Reese Room of Cinestudio. Lecture at 4:30, reception at 6p.m.
  • Get HYPEd, the monthly networking event for younger (generally in the 25-35 range) adults, will be at Nixs on Front Street from 5:30-8:30pm. There’s no need to register. Admission is free. There are typically some complimentary snacks, but if you want other food or to drink you will have to pay for yourself or sweet-talk someone you meet into picking up the tab. This is described as “casual,” but we have learned that this really means “business casual.” (Those of us who work from home or in non-corporate careers need to have that type of warning). Bring your business cards.
  • Want another type of networking event? Come to Faculty Lounge, a free after-hours social event for educators. 5:30-7:30p.m. at the Connecticut Science Center. Pre-registration required.
  • Take a Jamming 101 class with Kelly and Caroline at the Hartford Public Library. Billings Forge describes it: “This hands on class will cover the basics of making simple jams. Kelly and Caroline will share techniques for making lower sugar jams; cover the use of pectin; introduce savory jams; and briefly review basic canning practices.” This is $45. Participants will leave with jars of jam, recipes, and an instructional booklet. 6-8p.m.
  • MakeHartford Show & Tell takes place from 6-9p.m. at 30 Arbor Street, B7. Bring something that you are working on, or just stop by to check out others’ projects. Free.
  • Edward Quinlan will discuss the new book The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream. This free talk begins at 6p.m. in the Center for Contemporary Culture in the Hartford Public Library. Refreshments available at 5:30.
  • Trinity College Spanish Film Club will be screening La Yuma at 7p.m. in the McCook Auditorium at Trinity College. This is free and open to the general public. Post-film discussion will be in English and Spanish. Continue reading 'October 2014 Events'»

Stadiums Allowed, Just Maybe Not This One

By , September 24, 2014 12:02 am

Four hours into the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, a group of men in suits huddled in a circle outside of the Constitution Plaza conference room, the solemn exit quite different from the swagger with which they entered the building earlier Tuesday evening.

The infamous “done deal” did not get rubber-stamped by the PZC.

City Council can override Planning & Zoning’s absence of a favorable vote on the transfer of 1214 Main Street and 271-273 Windsor Street to DoNo Hartford, LLC; the lease of various parcels to DoNo Hartford, LLC and acceptance of 150 Windsor Street in lieu of taxes from DoNo Hartford, LLC; and the sublease of 1214 Main Street and 271-273 Windsor Street to Connecticut Double Play, LLC.

 

A Stadium Possible in Downtown

This vote came after one that passed — an amendment to a text amendment which would allow for a stadium to be constructed in B-1 zones, which is most of Downtown. Currently, stadiums are allowed in P and I-2 zones.

The text amendment was not meant to approve the specific stadium plan that has been public since June, but to make it possible for a stadium to be built. Continue reading 'Stadiums Allowed, Just Maybe Not This One'»

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Coolest Cat

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By , September 23, 2014 10:02 am

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Roadside Pooh

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By , September 22, 2014 9:31 am

Place this Place

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Base Ball in the Gilded Age

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By , September 18, 2014 11:26 am

It’s not uncommon to hear people reminisce about the time during which Mark Twain lived, seemingly ignorant that part of this era was considered the Gilded Age, a term coined by the writer himself. While some profited richly from industry, others were dirt poor. Corruption was in abundance. Jim Crow laws were enacted.

It seems fitting that this week the Mark Twain House and Museum hosted a discussion about base ball in Twain’s time. Today, as Hartford grapples with violence and widespread poverty, for which no substantive solutions are being offered, the other Hartford remains oblivious to the nature of these issues.

At the same time as a special hearing was held about plans for a minor league baseball stadium, historians gathered in Asylum Hill to speak about 19th century base ball as an industry.

Then, methods of compensation for players fluctuated, both across time and from club-to-club. Some earned salary, others’ earnings were based on “gate money,” or ticket sales. The latter created issues for teams in smaller cities which had trouble drawing large audiences. The Middletown Mansfields, one of Connecticut’s three major league teams in the 1870s, was one of those that struggled to draw a crowd and struggled with the sport itself. That team ended up disbanding quickly.

John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, explained that some teams would refuse to take their final road trips of the season because they just did not want to travel. Continue reading 'Base Ball in the Gilded Age'»

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