Looking at the Hartbeat with New (but Still Slanted) Eyes

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.

This thing needs to go. NOW.

This thing needs to go. NOW.

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.



  1. I’m glad you’re enjoying Hartford in the day light. There’s definitely a lot of “stuff” going on, and good for you making the decision to partake in it. One of my biggest frustrations is the need people have to “go out” outside of the city after work. Sorry, but my idea of going out is not chilling at the Cheesecake Factory or Margaritas after work. Blech.


  2. Hi – nice post and thanks for writing about the Wadsworth’s first Thursday event! As someone who is young, lives in Hartford and works downtown (at the Wadsworth) I appreciate any help anyone can provide in getting the word out about all the great things this city has to offer.

    Please feel free to email me with other ideas and welcome back to Downtown!



  3. well, my new job is at another hartford arts org, so i’m learning how much these places are struggling…new blood will help keep us all going!


  4. I meant Margaritas the chain restaurant, Julie dear. Coyote Flaco is awesome. I’m always up for margaritas there. Or at Agave. Or anywhere not a massive chain conglomerate with unimpressive food.


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