The past week has had downtown Hartford all abuzz with excitement over the Big East Women’s Basketball tourney. Since I cut through the XL Center every day, I began noticing subtle transformations taking place a while ago: converting one of the ugly little side rooms with exposed ceilings and drywall into a “pub” with nicely dressed tables and a bar area; more stanchions being put up and floors being polished; skirted tables for vendors and pop up tents. It was all rather exciting. Buses started arriving with all the teams and police presence was stepped up.
The sidewalks were more crowded but not with harried work-a-day folks, but people actually leisurely strolling the streets of Hartford. There were definitely some wonderfully WT outfits–gaudy team shirts paired with tapered leg jeans. But, hey, you know what? It was something different. Even on the weekend, restaurants were open and people were actually on the streets.
Hartford even busted out the horse cops. They could be seen seated tall and proud, moseying along the streets as if Hartford was used to having beasts of burden wandering down its streets. Of course, all of us who are local know it’s bullshite and those horses really spend their days lazily munching on grass.
The festival-like attitude even carried through to this week. Until this morning, that is.
As I walked through the XL Center, I felt a little sad. Remnants of the excitement lay strewn across the floors. The “pub” looked like a bunch of college kids had their way with it. The skirted tables were empty and all the banners and pop-up tents had vanished. Ho-hum. It was nice while it lasted.
But it showed me what Hartford could be. It could be vivacious and the sidewalks could be peopled. We could have horse cops all the time (which would thrill one of my co-workers to no end)! Restaurants and bars could be open all the time–with customers inside! If we wanted to, we could do it!