Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

doz180

Hartford attempts a salsa-spiced rebirth

31 posts in this topic

www.csmonitor.com/2005/0315/p03s01-ussc.html

Hartford has become the most Latino city, per capita, of any place north of Miami and east of the Mississippi River - making the region better known for pava hats than contingency plans.

Here is an interesting article from 2005 about the city playing on the strengths of it's Latino community.

Does anybody know if anything has happened with regards to this foreign trade discussion? What was the idea behind that and has Hartford done anything with it?

One of his newest initiatives includes working with foreign countries to set up agreements with ethnic groups in the city. "What I've been playing with for the last year has been international trade, using [the city's] Dominican, West Indian, and Puerto Rican connections," he says, especially to displace the dominance of New York City.

He has participated in trade missions to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. He says the Jamaican community recently inquired about creating a version of their own ethnic hub in Hartford. "Those entrepreneurial discussions are happening at a lower level now, but I think they'll continue," Perez says.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I know we have our own Peruvian Consulate....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No matter what any suburbanite says but I can drive down Park Street at all hours of the day and see the street filled with people walking, all the parking spaces filled up, clogged traffic...all reminiscant of the big city like Canal Street in Chinatown in Manhattan - and this is Hartford.

Park Street is one of the city's liveliest streets - and can compete with West Hartford Center because Street is hopping 24/7 in my opinion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No matter what any suburbanite says but I can drive down Park Street at all hours of the day and see the street filled with people walking, all the parking spaces filled up, clogged traffic...all reminiscant of the big city like Canal Street in Chinatown in Manhattan - and this is Hartford.

Park Street is one of the city's liveliest streets - and can compete with West Hartford Center because Street is hopping 24/7 in my opinion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

r

That's totally true. It's a really vibrant place. Only problem I find is that I feel too out of place (i.e, I'm white). It's not that people aren't nice to me, it's just that it's not my type of scene, food, etc. I totally appreciate it, and think it's an asset for Hartford, but I do wish the city had something similar for us gringos. West Hartford Center is, without a doubt, more my style. I just wish Hartford could annex the surrounding towns--including West Hartford. I really think it would make life better for all of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've worked on Park St a billion times, and it always cracks me up when the locals call me a Cop. This happens in the North End too, like little faeries fly up telephone poles and hook up phone and DSL for them. I'm assuming it's because I don't fit in, but I really care less, I'm not intimidated by anyone so I just do my thing. I like the idea that Hartford is culturally diverse, and then laugh when people try to protect certain areas. Park St is considered a Hispanic area, which it is, but it wasn't long ago it was french-canadian. If the hispanics move and Bosnians move in I could also care less, I see it as a natural progression of a neighborhood....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've worked on Park St a billion times, and it always cracks me up when the locals call me a Cop. This happens in the North End too, like little faeries fly up telephone poles and hook up phone and DSL for them. I'm assuming it's because I don't fit in, but I really care less, I'm not intimidated by anyone so I just do my thing. I like the idea that Hartford is culturally diverse, and then laugh when people try to protect certain areas. Park St is considered a Hispanic area, which it is, but it wasn't long ago it was french-canadian. If the hispanics move and Bosnians move in I could also care less, I see it as a natural progression of a neighborhood....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel as if there has not been a great deal done to promote Hartford's ethnic enclaves. There are some great ethnic restaurants, but with a few exceptions most would not attract suburbanites. There are two restaurants however that come to my mind as a way of promoting the ethnic flavour of the city to people of the greater Hartford area. The first is Braza, Hartford does have a large Brazilian community, and it's good that they have a churascaria like Braza. I think the Parkville area could use more establishments of the calibre of Braza simply becuase it is where most of Hartford's Brazilians live. Another place that comes to mind is Oporto. It's in what was until the 1980s the Portuguese enclave of Hartford. I think more upscale ethnic restaurants like these would help bring more appreciation of Hartford's ethnic diversity.

One city that I think Hartford could look to is Toronto. It certainly has done a great deal to promote its ethnic areas and presents itself a model of multiculturalism. The Toronto Caribbean Carnival is something that I think Hartford could replicate on a smaller scale. Although Hartford does have ethnic events, they seem to be underfunded, perhaps the state could fund these, they need to wakeup and smell the potential tourist dollars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


That's totally true. It's a really vibrant place. Only problem I find is that I feel too out of place (i.e, I'm white). It's not that people aren't nice to me, it's just that it's not my type of scene, food, etc. I totally appreciate it, and think it's an asset for Hartford, but I do wish the city had something similar for us gringos. West Hartford Center is, without a doubt, more my style. I just wish Hartford could annex the surrounding towns--including West Hartford. I really think it would make life better for all of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The next time you are at one of the Latino restaurants in the Hartford Metro look for the Spanish Yellow Pages(I forget what they call it but it is a yellow pages of businesses that cater to the Hispanic community). It is huge. You will find everything from Doctors, loan officers, realtors, clowns, plumbers, restaurants, etc.... The point is this sector of the economy is big and it has a potential to get even bigger. All of these small businesses are paying taxes and buying services from other small businesses helping the local economy grow. Now what is interesting is if Hartford can turn Park Street into a shopping destination for Latinos in the region, Springfield, New Haven, Bridgeport? I think improved mass transit is going to help, the commuter train can bring in people from Springfield and New Haven. The busway is going to have a stop in Parkville and I've heard that there is a proposal for a free trolley which I would assume would run from the busway station down the length of Park Street and into downtown. Has anybody else heard any talk about this?

If you don't think there is a big potential for this take a drive down to Queens NY, go to Roosevelt Blvd at about 61rst street you can drive all the way till about 112th street and you will see Roosevelt bustling with people. It is full of Latino stores, restaurants, bars, night clubs, lawyers, doctors, etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
r

To be brutally honest my friend, every other race in America feels too out of place much of the time. But if we want to be diverse well rounded poeple we deal with it. Obviously some don't and they are ignorant for it. The same goes for whites. Sometimes you just have to deal with that feeling if you really want to create an inclusive intergrated society. Being affraid of diversity is a big reason why things are they way they are throughout America, imho. Just consider the fact that Whites not so long ago made up the vast majority of people in Hartford. If less people would have bolted to Suburbia, more of the old ethnic neighborhoods would still be intact, property values would not have plummeted due to white flight and redlining, etc. When integration began you only had minorities of certain social classes able to afford to move into white neighoborhoods and those neighborhoods could have obviously remained intact with some integration racially, but very little change economically and socially. However that was not the case and soon poorer and poorer people were able to afford what had once been wealthy neighborhoods and the rest my friends is history.......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree. People may tend to think that a white person in a certain neighborhood is a cop or even a junkie (I'm guilty of this myself) because most regular white poeple don't ever come into the area. All the more reason we should all try to interact with all types of people more often. Familiarity breeds comfort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I take your point, but it's not as though I don't want to be around people who are different, it's that very little on Park Street appeals to my tastes as a consumer. Some of it does, of course--namely, food--but very little else. That's really the extent of the point I meant to make.

That said, I'm all for the inclusive, integrated society you speak of, but two points.

One, it works both ways; obviously whites historically have done their best to alienate--not to welcome--minorities into their communities, a policy that we wisely view today as ignorant and wrong-headed. That said, I wouldn't exactly say that in all of my ventures into ethnic communities--not so much in Hartford, but in other U.S. cities and towns--I have always been given the warmest of welcomes.

Two, there's a sense of vulnerability when one goes to a place he most obviously does not "belong." I recognize that minorities feel this way in predominantly-white areas. In Hartford, however, where whites actually make up a minority of residents, a person of any color is not out of place on my street, and I wouldn't look twice at a non-white person walking past my house. During a walk down Albany Avenue, however, I stood out like a sore thumb. Now, I'm not saying I was heckled at or that it was anything other than an enjoyable stroll, but I don't think it's racist, intolerant, or ignorant of me to have felt slightly uncomfortable with the fact that my companion and I were the only two white faces either of us saw during the entire portion of Albany we walked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

America isn't about inclusion,it's about exclusion. People of like races/beliefs/interests always gravitate toward each other. People want to feel comfortable and few people feel comfortable around people that aren't like themselves, which is stupid, but whatever. Why do you think there ARE Portugese/Puerto Rican/Black/French/Italian/Bosnian/whomever neighborhoods? It's because people don't necessarily want to be with diverse cultures. Again, I personally think it's ridiculous, but I'm nobody. That's why I laugh when I hear about Hartford's cultural diversity. Really? Where are all the white/black people on Park St? Where are all the black people in the South End? Where are all the white people in the North End? Sure, you'll see one or 2 of anybody here or there,but diverse? Puhlease. Diverse is everyone living together, not enclaves setup around the city....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
America isn't about inclusion,it's about exclusion. People of like races/beliefs/interests always gravitate toward each other. People want to feel comfortable and few people feel comfortable around people that aren't like themselves, which is stupid, but whatever. Why do you think there ARE Portugese/Puerto Rican/Black/French/Italian/Bosnian/whomever neighborhoods? It's because people don't necessarily want to be with diverse cultures. Again, I personally think it's ridiculous, but I'm nobody. That's why I laugh when I hear about Hartford's cultural diversity. Really? Where are all the white/black people on Park St? Where are all the black people in the South End? Where are all the white people in the North End? Sure, you'll see one or 2 of anybody here or there,but diverse? Puhlease. Diverse is everyone living together, not enclaves setup around the city....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


That's why I laugh when I hear about Hartford's cultural diversity. Really? Where are all the white/black people on Park St? Where are all the black people in the South End? Where are all the white people in the North End? Sure, you'll see one or 2 of anybody here or there,but diverse? Puhlease. Diverse is everyone living together, not enclaves setup around the city....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The neighborhoods actually are getting more diverse in my opinion. I see way more blacks on South End and hispanics on the North End then there used to be. At least it seems that way to me. I also see more people of diverse ethnicities in the West End. Honesty I see more white people than I used to see too, so maybe we are gradually headed in the right direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually like having ethnic neighborhoods as long as all are welcome to each. It beats the hell out of the homogenized-strip mall-chain store-suburbs. These neighborhoods are what makes cities what they are and become destination attractions in themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I actually like having ethnic neighborhoods as long as all are welcome to each. It beats the hell out of the homogenized-strip mall-chain store-suburbs. These neighborhoods are what makes cities what they are and become destination attractions in themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Totally. Now, let's make them all safe. I think that's the thing--when folks walk around a neighborhood they're not used to, with people speaking languages they don't understand. It can either be very charming or very unnerving, depending on whether they feel that the neighborhood is safe or not. (1) It has to be safe; (2) it has to be perceived as safe. I think this development--Mayor Plaza or whatever--at the Main/Park Street corner will be a key piece of drawing non-Latinos to Park Street. The city really should market the street, keep it clean, and keep it safe. It would also be awesome if there were bilingual ambassadors, who could direct patrons to shops of interest and help them communicate with those store owners whose Engilsh isn't the best. (This really is an assumption on my part that there is somewhat of a language barrier, but if I'm wrong then it'll be even easier than I think).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what to say, if you can't handle going to a neighborhood because you are the only white person maybe you should just stay at home and continue to live a very sheltered life. If somebody looks at you funny, if somebody makes a comment, WHO CARES! Go about your business don't let that stop you.

"...with people speaking languages they don't understand. It can either be very charming or very unnerving..." Whaler0178 You find people speaking foreign languages unnerving? It is a big world with a lot of different cultures. CT has always been a state with a lot of immigrants and that isn't going to change anytime soon. They are speaking their native language because that is what is natural for them not because they are plotting your demise. Frog Hollow has many second and third generation Puerto Rican families that are going to be very offended if you think they don't speak English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know what to say, if you can't handle going to a neighborhood because you are the only white person maybe you should just stay at home and continue to live a very sheltered life. If somebody looks at you funny, if somebody makes a comment, WHO CARES! Go about your business don't let that stop you.

"...with people speaking languages they don't understand. It can either be very charming or very unnerving..." Whaler0178 You find people speaking foreign languages unnerving? It is a big world with a lot of different cultures. CT has always been a state with a lot of immigrants and that isn't going to change anytime soon. They are speaking their native language because that is what is natural for them not because they are plotting your demise. Frog Hollow has many second and third generation Puerto Rican families that are going to be very offended if you think they don't speak English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First, the goal of my post was to offer an observation and a suggestion about how to attract more people--particularly the sheltered suburbanites for whom you seem to hold great contempt--to Park Street. I am hardly suggesting that it is a bad thing for people to speak languages other than English but that it can be somewhat overwhelming to somebody not used to that environment.

Second, I have found my visists to El Mercado more enjoyable when I visit with my Spanish speaking friends than I do on my own, and my suggestion of bilingual ambassadors was to help those without Spanish speaking friends enjoy the feeling of community that makes the are so vibrant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
without getting in the middle of the heated discussion... i have some points about these comments.

first, and i'm going to be very frank and blunt, the suburbanites need to get out more if they are "overwhelmed" by being in a mostly immigrant neighborhood, whether most of the people speak spanish or english. you have to remember that the reason that immigrant neighborhood exists in the first place is because the immigrants feel overwhelmed by the whites and having that neighborhood allows them to keep some of their traditions close without stepping on anyone's toes. i had the benefit of growing up in a suburb with a mother who grew up in inner city new haven. granted, she ended up being one of those people who feared parts of it (mainly because she was robbed and had people break into her home and stuff, so it wasn't without reason), but she was also very culturally minded and doesn't fear those who speak other languages. to give an example, she's a teacher in a private catholic k-8 school in a very suburban town. they got new students from venezuela. the other teachers thought they shouldn't be allowed because the younger ones couldn't speak enough english. they were afraid to teach these students because they spoke another language. my mother took them in and the students became well adjusted. if you can't handle the fact that people are different, maybe you shouldn't be venturing out in the first place. if you go into a city, regardless of what neighborhood you're in, you're going to find that there are people who look, talk, act, and dress differently than you. they might not speak english or if they do, it might not be very good. but it's their home you entered. while you might think they should feel just fine going into your white suburban town, they feel just as awkward and overwhelmed as you do, but in the city where there are all sorts of different cultures, they do just fine.

second, while it sounds like a nice idea to have bilingual ambassadors to these neighborhoods, it's just not economically feasible. who's gonna provide them? the city? the individual shops? all the shops pay into it? it's not that easy. and it's just not necessary. for the most part, anyone running a store might not have had english as a first language, or even a second, but they know enough to get by and answer any questions you might have. saying that you need, or would like, a translator when you go into these neighborhoods makes it sound like you are uncomfortable with people speaking a different language around you. i am not trying to bash you or anything, i'm just trying to show you what it sounds like from someone who doesn't actually know you. it's really easy to be misleading on a web forum like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frog Hollow was French-Canadian before it was Puerto Rican, just so you all know. It hasn't been Hispanic forever....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.