Hartford CT

Rover

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Baseless racism accusations aside, in my several trips to Hartford (pre-Covid) the downtown was abandoned. Empty storefronts and boarded up buildings galore, even the restaurant in the Civic Center. The mall downtown was half filled mostly with dollar stores and signs warning you that you could be stopped and searched at any time, something I've never seen anywhere else in the US. I'm also not sure I've ever seen any new construction going on when I drive through it which I've done dozens of times in the past 10 years.

The place is a dump. Acknowledge that and work on fixing it instead of arguing for some alternative reality . I have nothing against the place and wish it well.
 

KCasiglio

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In my 10 year experience of living in CT, when people say a place is a dump they tend to mean minorities live there.
Yeah, I grew up in the Naugatuck Valley and the cities/"urban people" were persistently viewed as places to be avoided at all costs. Frankly the view hasn't changed. I get that 2000s Bridgeport (it's improved somewhat since) and Waterbury (it hasn't) didn't inspire awe, but my favorite memories growing up were going to New Haven and watching a Ravens (rip) game, getting pizza, and walking around exploring downtown. Conversely I always resented living deep in the cul-de-sacs where I couldn't get anywhere by myself.

It's true that Hartford (and Waterbury) doesn't have much going for it in terms of the fundamentals but that doesn't condemn Connecticut. Most of the cities/population are "within commuting distance [to New York]" and it's always been that way historically. Embrace it. New Haven has a TON going for it.
 

KCasiglio

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Baseless racism accusations aside, in my several trips to Hartford (pre-Covid) the downtown was abandoned. Empty storefronts and boarded up buildings galore, even the restaurant in the Civic Center. The mall downtown was half filled mostly with dollar stores and signs warning you that you could be stopped and searched at any time, something I've never seen anywhere else in the US. I'm also not sure I've ever seen any new construction going on when I drive through it which I've done dozens of times in the past 10 years.

The place is a dump. Acknowledge that and work on fixing it instead of arguing for some alternative reality . I have nothing against the place and wish it well.
I have no idea what city you visited. I don't think anyone would argue Hartford doesn't have problems, especially in land use which is why it gets deservedly ripped on this board, but you're making it sound like the 70s Bronx which is just baseless. Crime has plummeted, median income has risen, the restaurant scene is pretty good. I'm not even sure what you're referring to with a downtown mall? What downtown mall? I'm not sure how you can think your clearly limited visitor perspective is representative
 

Rover

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I have no idea what city you visited. I don't think anyone would argue Hartford doesn't have problems, especially in land use which is why it gets deservedly ripped on this board, but you're making it sound like the 70s Bronx which is just baseless. Crime has plummeted, median income has risen, the restaurant scene is pretty good. I'm not even sure what you're referring to with a downtown mall? What downtown mall? I'm not sure how you can think your clearly limited visitor perspective is representative
I think you might have the wrong city..


 

DZH22

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New Haven has a TON going for it.
4th favorite city in New England. It feels a lot like a standalone Cambridge, which makes sense due to the Harvard/Yale dynamic. I thought it was just 1 main street but visited again recently and found it had a lot more depth, including an "L" shaped downtown and an absolute ton of beautiful historical structures.

1. Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/etc
2. Providence
3. Portland
4. New Haven
5. ?????
 

KCasiglio

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I think you might have the wrong city..


yes thank you for showing how far Hartford has come since it’s “glory days” in the 80s. What exactly are you trying to show with those links? That yes as I’ve said crime has plummeted over the last several decades? That Hartford isn’t anymore dangerous than Springfield, a city we never seem to have these pearl clutching conversations about?
 

Rover

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yes thank you for showing how far Hartford has come since it’s “glory days” in the 80s. What exactly are you trying to show with those links? That yes as I’ve said crime has plummeted over the last several decades? That Hartford isn’t anymore dangerous than Springfield, a city we never seem to have these pearl clutching conversations about?
That it's one of the deadliest cities in New England with one of the highest poverty rates and a declining population as low as it's been in the last 110 years? Or did you skip over those facts?

Hartford = dump. If people aren't going to acknowledge reality how do you ever expect the place to improve?
 

DZH22

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That Hartford isn’t anymore dangerous than Springfield, a city we never seem to have these pearl clutching conversations about?
Hartford is a state capital city, was once the "insurance capital of the world", and has by far the 2nd best skyline in New England. Just the fact that you are now comparing it to Springfield, a city that brings none of these advantages to the table, shows how far Hartford has fallen.

While all New England cities have their nicer areas and dumpier areas, Hartford's additional problem was leveling so much of its downtown for a set of new towers that were never built. I would say Hartford's main peer cities in New England are (or at least should be) Providence and New Haven, and both of those have far more vibrant and robust downtown areas than Hartford.
 

dhawkins

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4th favorite city in New England. It feels a lot like a standalone Cambridge, which makes sense due to the Harvard/Yale dynamic. I thought it was just 1 main street but visited again recently and found it had a lot more depth, including an "L" shaped downtown and an absolute ton of beautiful historical structures.

1. Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/etc
2. Providence
3. Portland
4. New Haven
5. ?????
#5 Salem, MA
#6 Newburyport
#7 Great Barrington but its still a Town
 

Smuttynose

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#5 Salem, MA
#6 Newburyport
#7 Great Barrington but its still a Town
I would probably group Salem and Newburyport in under the Greater Boston banner (and in the case of Newburyport maybe a bit too small). I would definitely include Burlington, VT in the greatest New England cities list. Portsmouth is small but seems distant enough from Boston to qualify. Newport and Lowell also seem deserving.
 

jklo

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While all New England cities have their nicer areas and dumpier areas, Hartford's additional problem was leveling so much of its downtown for a set of new towers that were never built. I would say Hartford's main peer cities in New England are (or at least should be) Providence and New Haven, and both of those have far more vibrant and robust downtown areas than Hartford.
Income wise, it's more like Springfield and Lawrence. Even Waterbury is a step up.

I will say that seems like every town that borders Hartford has a way higher HHI... given that you're still very close and need a car anyway... it's sort of why live or do anything in Hartford except go to the office.
 

MrDee12345

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I'm 43 and I don't remember a time when Hartford was ever really appealing. The downtown is mostly dead and boring - If I had a choice between living in within the city of Springfield or Hartford, I'd take Springfield in a heartbeat. I'd rather live in New Haven, Bridgeport or Stamford before I'd live in Hartford as well. My mom lived in Hartford til she was 12 and my grandparents lived there for a significant portion of their lives. I remember taking my grandmother to Hartford years ago and she just got angry because of how many of the old neighborhoods were torn down.

That being said, I don't think all hope is lost. It's still in a pretty good location and it does have a lot of business. The suburbs are okay (northern ones are as boring as the midwest, but they're still in okay shape, and the west, south and eastern suburbs are okay). They have regular train service now and work is being done to bring more people to the city center. I hope they succeed.
 

DZH22

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I'm 43 and I don't remember a time when Hartford was ever really appealing.
Hartford's final heyday was probably in the early to mid 80's before its ambitions went bust. If you were born around 1979 you would have had to experience downtown Hartford before you were 10, and probably even more like 6-7 as from there they demoed a ton of their downtown for the new (unbuilt) towers. So unless you have memories of it as a real young kid, Hartford's appeal was before your time.
 

jdrinboston

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Hartford's final heyday was probably in the early to mid 80's before its ambitions went bust. If you were born around 1979 you would have had to experience downtown Hartford before you were 10, and probably even more like 6-7 as from there they demoed a ton of their downtown for the new (unbuilt) towers. So unless you have memories of it as a real young kid, Hartford's appeal was before your time.
It just so happens I was born in 1979 and grew up in the Hartford area. I distinctly remember a feeling that Hartford was on the upswing during this era. There were a ton of new buildings going up, a bunch on the drawing boards (the afore mentioned scars on downtown today), the insurance and defense industries were riding high...hell, we even had a major league sports team. The late 80s through the 90s were just a steady fall from the commercial real estate bust to the post-Cold War reduction in defense spending, the closing of the two downtown department stores (G. Fox. & Co. and Sage Allen), poor municipal government...and the the final blow, the departure of the Whalers in 1997. There have been little bursts of hope here and there since - including some years where there seemed to be significant drops in crime and new investment downtown (new apartments, the new ballpark), but as an area native it pains me to say this: In an era of "work from home," I'm not sure to what extent a city like Hartford can ever be vital. Other than hosting a portion of the state bureaucracy and the part time legislature, Hartford's reason for existing has essentially been the insurance, bank and UTC workers who came downtown 5 days a week. If that workforce is essentially gone - or greatly reduced - what happens in the future?
 

DrFreewind

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Got to go to a Yard Goats game earlier this week.
"The Pennant" at North Crossing is nearing completion:
-270 Apartments with ground floor retail and 330 space parking garage
This is Parcel C near Trumbull St and Main St
Parcel B, the lot next door is up next to be developed adding another 500+ apartments



 

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