What is Going on in Hartford’s West End? No Really, Please Tell Us

If you’re my aunt, you probably think every visit to Hartford amounts to taking your life in your hands. This is, of course, not remotely true (the recent rash of shootings not withstanding). Every time I go to Hartford, I’m participating in some sort of Yuppie festival or event where I am the most dangerous person around. (Don’t mess with the East Beat!) Hartford is changing. Don’t believe me? Look at these posts from the West End Living Facebook group (it’s a private group, so all us non-West Enders aren’t allowed to see what they’re up to), and telephone poles:



Front porch poetry slams and country bear jamoborees are not exactly what most people think about when they think about Hartford. And rightly so, because there are plenty of people living in Hartford with much harsher realities than this, but just think about what it would be like to live next door to the porch string band (which may or may not be any good)… Seriously, think about that for a moment…

I decided that I needed to go on a safari, so I descended upon a fellow Nose Panelist and West End resident Carolyn Paine during a heatwave. Then we dragged our swasses down to the farmer’s market on foot. We got catcalled, ran into someone from The Sopranos, ate Italian ice and pretended to be interested in vegetables. No one shot at us, nor were we accosted by a fiddler. This is pretty remarkable considering the hell hole this website makes the neighborhood out to be. (This is worth reading for the sheer assholery of someone taking pictures of homeless people and posting them on the internet as though they are a blight and not human beings…and the poor spelling.)

On our way back with potatoes and zucchini in hand, we stopped at ground zero of Hartford’s hipster revitalization: Venom Vintage. Do you miss being able to shop at G.Fox? Head over there, because they have a coat with a G. Fox label. Also, after visiting a similar shop in Northampton, MA I can say that Venom smells way better. One of my main problems with thrift shops is the concentrated smell of old clothes, and Venom didn’t smell like a pile of dirty laundry.

As usual, I digress. But I honestly want to know how you West Enders, and other Hartfordites, feel about what’s happening over there. Are you guys down with Mumford & Sons coming to a porch near you? Are you hoping that the Def Poetry Porch Jam gains steam and starts traveling around the city? Are you kind of weirded out by all of this? Are you planning on shooting your neighborhood fiddler with a B.B. gun? Do you think it’s incongruous to have people playing washboards and banjos on porches while other people are being gunned down?