I haven’t worked in downtown Hartford since college when I was the coffee lackey for a big law firm in City Place, an actuarial intern (what a joke) at one of the many insurance companies, and a junior paralegal in the basement of a tiny law firm. (I have, however, worked more recently at a shelter in the North End, off of Albany Avenue, where the good shootings happen and drug dealers would wave to me on my way to work.)
This week, I returned to downtown…complete with a 10 minute walk past the XL Center from the parking lot to my new office (yet another non-profit, of course). This move to downtown employment has made me see Hartford in a whole new light (the daylight, that is).
First of all, the people I see walking to their offices look, more often than not, terribly downtrodden. Perhaps it’s because two days this week entailed some gray, cold, wet weather, but it made me depressed just to look at people. Put a little spring into your step–life is not all that bad! At least we have jobs to go to.
What actually amazed me more was all the “stuff” going on in Hartford while the majority of people (myself included) scuttle back to the safety of the ‘burbs.
Hartford Stage is playing Dying City, written by Wethersfield native Christopher Shinn. Wadsworth Atheneum has Art After Hours once a month, which has everything from music, to speakers and a movie. One crappy night, I cut through the XL Center to be greeted with throngs of folks headed to a Wolfpack game. (Granted, I was just trying to get to my car so at the moment they pissed me off.) The Hartford Symphony has all sorts of performances going on from classical and pops to things just for little kids…with free lectures by the conductor before some of the performances. Not to mention all the restaurants that I want to stuff my face in every day, but lack of cash prevents me from doing so.
I’m also wondering who wants to help me undertake some guerrilla tactics and do something with the Godawful building on the right when you come off the Trumbull Street exit? Damn, that thing is an eyesore…a perfect, depressing landmark where the “good” part of Hartford meets the part where my boyfriend is convinced bullets are flying around nonstop.
But all in all, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with working in downtown again…and I promise, I plan on hitting all of these things up after work at some point. I’m not going to pull a “Do what I say, not what I do” thing. I’m going to do it too. And you should join me.