meet your city

Meet Your City: Ingredients

People ask me weird questions when I tell them that I live in Hartford. Particularly strange is the idea that I somehow have no access to food. Without even getting on a bus or calling up Lyft, actually, there are a few options — none of which involve bodegas, though those are on every other block if needed. The quality of produce varies; for bridging the gap on this, the value of farmers’ markets cannot be overstated.

The Farmers’ Market at the Regional Market
If you can manage to drag yourself out of bed this early, the retail sales are 6-9 am on Saturdays and Sundays. This is located at 101 Reserve Road in the South Meadows. (more…)

Meet Your City: Small Parks

Charter Oak Landing

Why should Hartford’s large parks get all the glory? We have numerous playscapes and green areas with places to sit down.

Columbus Park: On Franklin Avenue between Bolton and Victoria Streets, there are tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a space for soccer games. Playground, water playground, and a rec center, plus, the Italian flag. (more…)

Meet Your City: Books

Borrow

What’s the deal with these weird birdhouses?
Little Free Libraries allow anyone — no ID or face-to-face interaction required — to borrow books indefinitely. They are always open. You do not even need to sign out the book you take. When you return it, you can drop the book off at any of the little library locations. Book donations are welcome too. (more…)

Meet Your City: (Almost) Free Love

A friend recently cited expense as a reason to refrain from dating; there are many legitimate reasons for this choice — unwillingness to compromise, lack of interest in other people, enjoying one’s own company — but money is not one of them. Not when with some creativity, people can go out without having to empty their wallets.

Free — Always or Sometimes (more…)

Meet Your City: Wildlife Viewing

Hartford has more than pigeons and squirrels when it comes to wildlife, a fact that should not be surprising to anyone who has so much as looked at a map and seen that there are rivers and wooded areas in the city. (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: Creepy Hartford

Silent Wishes, Unconscious Prayers and Dreams…Fulfilled

This is not about normal creepy or anything on the level of unfathomable disaster.

Normal creepy is what you’d expect from cemeteries in general, the curbside memorials that pop up following car wrecks and murders, hospitals, jails, orphan asylums of yore, and the like. This is more of the “I came here for Monet’s Water Lilies and ended up staring at furniture made from human bones” variety of creepy.

Zion Hill Cemetery

One day I opened an email from my friend Johnna who lives on the Connecticut shoreline. To my delight, she was asking if I would be up for waking up early and wandering through a graveyard with her. There are a few people on the planet who understand me, and she is one of them.

Johnna was researching an article about the oldest person to be executed in the state of Connecticut, a man apparently buried a few blocks from my home. Our outing would mean scouring Zion Hill Cemetery — an unevenly maintained cemetery like most in Hartford — for the grave of Gershom Marx. She had some indication of where his stone might be, but if you have ever visited older cemeteries that sort of have other cemeteries crammed in them, the lines are not always as clear as they could be, not to mention that there is the practice of fencing off and locking sections. (more…)

Meet Your City: Ice Cream

People are passionate about ice cream. I’m among them. Yet, when the question of where to find the dessert (or breakfast) in Hartford gets asked, and responses almost exclusively point to West Hartford Center, I get a little irritated. Not that there’s anything wrong with that other town, but if I’m here and want to make an easy walk to get my frozen dairy fix, why should I hear about what’s at least an hour walk from home?

Besides the treats you can get from just about any convenience store/bodega, supermarket, ice cream truck, or cart, there are more than a few options, so long as you don’t require that it be scooped into a cone, though that can be had within city limits too. Quality varies, as does price. I’ve included items that are technically not ice cream, but can fill in for it as needed. Descriptions are frequently straight from the menu except when the restaurant’s version seemed confusing. (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…)