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grock

Franklin Avenue Going Downhill?

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What's happened to Franklin Avenue? There are so many good restaurants down there but the street is looking dirty and cars are speeding. The crime is sad. Taskar Bicycles looks trashed today. WIndows shot out? Can't tell. Blighted buildings, and the litter. Some of the restaurants aren't even busy.

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The southern part of the street always seemed to be bustling. The northern part always looked rundown...

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Franklin Avenue has been declining for over a decade now. In fact, Franklin Avenue is indicative of most of Hartford's South Side, which has been progressively going downhill in terms of poverty and crime. Wethersfield and New Britain Avenues are no better.

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How is Franklin Avenue going downtown? What mainstays have closed recently?

Omar Coffee is one that closed. CVS closed, but they moved to that hideous location on Airport Road. I don't see it going downhill, unless you're talking about over 25 years or something. The restaurants are still open so it can't be that bad. The litter, the dirt.... more money should be spent on street maintenance and cleaning in Hartford for sure, but we know that.

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In the last 10 years, Franklin Ave has very much gone down hill and lost much of its "Little Italy" charm. The mainstays like Mozzicato's, Carbone's, D&D Market and the Italian Social Clubs remain, but much of the Italian population and smaller Italian owned businesses have moved south because of a changing demographic and increase in crime. The Italian Festival isn't even held anymore because of large unruly crowds. Its a shame what has happened.

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In the last 10 years, Franklin Ave has very much gone down hill and lost much of its "Little Italy" charm. The mainstays like Mozzicato's, Carbone's, D&D Market and the Italian Social Clubs remain, but much of the Italian population and smaller Italian owned businesses have moved south because of a changing demographic and increase in crime. The Italian Festival isn't even held anymore because of large unruly crowds. Its a shame what has happened.

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Streetlights! Bring the streetlights!

Seriously. Look how much "safer" Park Street looks now that it's well lit (regardless of the crime level, "image" counts!) Lit areas inhibit crime. It could spark a movement to develop the northern part of Franklin. Look at the lit part - that's where the restaurant enclave is. That's where it feels safe to park your car and go buy some real tiramisu.

The gorgeous, abandoned building on the corner of Shultas and Franklin could be the first step in revitalizing the neighborhood. Anyone have thoughts?

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I don't see the difference. It's actually better now than it was in the 90's in my opinion. In the 80's and prior of course Franklin Ave was much nicer and filled, but I blame all the people and businesses who moved to the suburbs.

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I haven't lost hope that Franklin Avenue (along with Maple, Wethersfield, and New Britain) can be revitalized. The northernmost stretch of Franklin Avenue near Hartford Hospital may benefit from Greenberg's Hartford 2010 plan, which -- as I understand it -- will include proposals to revitalize the South Green area.

The rest of the artery suffers from the progressive (and often ignored) rate of disinvestment across Hartford's South Side. I think reinvestment can occur from a strengthened school system, more afterschool youth programs, job training programs, and incentives to spruce up occupied and blighted properties. Better transit service to downtown and suburban job markets would also help.

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Franklin Avenue has been declining for over a decade now. In fact, Franklin Avenue is indicative of most of Hartford's South Side, which has been progressively going downhill in terms of poverty and crime. Wethersfield and New Britain Avenues are no better.

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Cuzzi's, Livecchi's Bakery, Franco's (and Capo's), Nucci's, Di Fiore Pasta, Franklin Formals, Capriccios, Luna Pizza, Vinny's Grinders, Nostalgia, Sebby's Espresso .... all gone from the 90's. And those are just the ones off the top of my head.

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In the last 10 years, Franklin Ave has very much gone down hill and lost much of its "Little Italy" charm. The mainstays like Mozzicato's, Carbone's, D&D Market and the Italian Social Clubs remain, but much of the Italian population and smaller Italian owned businesses have moved south because of a changing demographic and increase in crime. The Italian Festival isn't even held anymore because of large unruly crowds. Its a shame what has happened.

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I think part of the problem is that immigration from Italy is a mere trickle of what it once was. Because of that there were no new Italians to add life to the area. The second and third generations tend to prefer Wethersfield, Rocky Hill and other suburbs. The few Italians living in this area seem to be older ones who have been there for decades, however as these people die or move it seems that the South End becomes less Italian. It's really too bad, I was born in the Parkville area which had a distinctive Portuguese feel but that area too has become progressively less Portuguese in the past 20 years.

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Is the fact the Italians are leaving account for the increased litter on the street? Does the fact that the Hispanic population is growing in the south end account for the increase in crime? Does somebody want to argue that the streets are strewn with litter because the area has become poorer? Do poor people not know how to pick up after themselves - anywhere you go in the city of hartford you will find litter spread all over the place. I've seen in hartford where someone opened their car door at a stoplight - in front of the G Fox building - and tossed their trash in the middle of the street. This individual didn't look or act like they were on their way home to Avon. That's the M.O. for the residents of hartford. Ownership is not the issue. There is no way you can argue somebody will pickup after themselves if they own rather than rent, somebody who doesn't care when renting won't care much more if they own it. Now the city needs to step in because it's residents are irresponsible slobs. Become a street sweeper in hartford, you'll never run out of work. I live downtown, however, once my lease is up I am buying a house in the burbs. This city doesn't have much to offer other than walking to work.

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Is the fact the Italians are leaving account for the increased litter on the street? Does the fact that the Hispanic population is growing in the south end account for the increase in crime? Does somebody want to argue that the streets are strewn with litter because the area has become poorer? Do poor people not know how to pick up after themselves - anywhere you go in the city of hartford you will find litter spread all over the place. I've seen in hartford where someone opened their car door at a stoplight - in front of the G Fox building - and tossed their trash in the middle of the street. This individual didn't look or act like they were on their way home to Avon. That's the M.O. for the residents of hartford. Ownership is not the issue. There is no way you can argue somebody will pickup after themselves if they own rather than rent, somebody who doesn't care when renting won't care much more if they own it. Now the city needs to step in because it's residents are irresponsible slobs. Become a street sweeper in hartford, you'll never run out of work. I live downtown, however, once my lease is up I am buying a house in the burbs. This city doesn't have much to offer other than walking to work.

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I don't buy the argument that poor people living in an area makes it blighted. I can only speak for my experience. I grew up in Parkville when it was a mostly Portuguese neighborhood with a good mix of French-Canadians. Most of my relatives immigrated to the area in the 1960s and early 1970s. Many did not own homes but rented apartments and would not think of littering. Most of my relatives did not own their own homes, but would often rent apartments from other Portuguese people or even French-Canadians, and almost all were working class. Those who did own homes in the area tended to take pride in them and kept even though they sometimes looked a bit tacky (religious icons in the front lawns and white wrought iron everywhere). So I think it's more an issue of education rather than poverty. The immigrants who went to Hartford and had ethnic enclaves (Italians, Portuguese, Greeks, French-Canadians, Poles, etc) were usually from the poorest areas of Europe and often lived in conditions much worse than the poor of Hartford today. However, the immigrants did not take anything for granted, which it seems unfortunately many of the poor do in our country.

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Franklin Avenue has lots of potential but in comparison to the southern end (closer to Wethersfield) the northern end (near downtown) needs some fixing up. If we are working to attract people to get a bite to eat or pick up some cookies in the south end they may turn around after they see the array of vacant buildings and trash in northern end of Franklin Ave.

There is still a very strong Italian population in Greater Hartford. One of the sister cities of Hartford is Floridia on the island of Siciliy in Italy. Many Italians though fled the southern end of city, just over the border to Wethersfield and Rocky Hill. This being said there still are many Italians in the south end as could be seen during the parade on Franklin Ave after Italy won the world cup last summer.

Modern Pastry, Mozzicato Bakery, South End Bakery, Francesco's, Ficara's, Chef Eugene's, D&D Market, etc. all remain on Franklin Avenue. BUT in comparison to other cities Little Italy's Hartford's is lacking. NYC, Boston and even Providence and New Haven boast better Little Italy's. Wooster Street in New Haven may not be much but its the home of Frank Pepes and Sallys Apizza as well as numerous italian restaurants, bakeries and even stores - a new pasta shop is opening soon. Providence's Atwell Avenue is alive with activity and theres even a small hotel called Hotel Dolce Villa on the avenue.

On one note the reason Hartford's Little Italy has deteriorated so much is because many Italian Hartford families have come so far. They came to the city, worked hard and helped to create reputable businesses or get great jobs and were able to move out of the city to the better life which they felt was in the suburbs. Areas of Wethersfield and Rocky Hill can be seen with huge brick homes with brick driveways and Italian flags outside. Italians in Hartford have come a long way....more so then Italians in other cities, but this also means Italians in Hartford may have assimilated more.

Anways there is room for improvement and a lot can be done to improve Franklin Ave

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A guy I work with lives on Franklin Ave (he's Italian, grew up in the city). He basically doesn't go above South St anymore, he doesn't see the point (that is, as far as Franklin Ave goes, he obviously has no problem going downtown or whatever).

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So I think it's more an issue of education rather than poverty. The immigrants who went to Hartford and had ethnic enclaves (Italians, Portuguese, Greeks, French-Canadians, Poles, etc) were usually from the poorest areas of Europe and often lived in conditions much worse than the poor of Hartford today. However, the immigrants did not take anything for granted, which it seems unfortunately many of the poor do in our country.

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You call it education, I call it morals and family upbringing and to a very small degree cultural background.

Caring about where you live and caring about how you treat yourself and the things around you is taught in the home and carried out once an adult. What do we need "neatness" classes now? "don't toss trash out the window" classes? "how to care about where you live 101" Maybe Woodsy the owl will come back to town and teach the class for us.

IMO it's about not giving a sh*t...plain and simple. I grew up in the North and then West end Italian neighborhoods of Waterbury and believe you me - poor or rich, they cared about their neighborhood. The streets were clean and they didn't put up with any B.S. The North end Italian neighborhood died when the Long Hill Road projects were built. I watched it with my own eyes. That "project" simply destroyed a once thriving Italian neighborhood. Crime, drugs, grundge etc all crept in fast and the people saw the writing on the wall and headed for greener places.

I think ownership is part of it...but it has to be WANTED and WORKED for through hard work and not some feel good grant by the government. Just like the 17 year old who worked for three Summers to afford his older used car. He'll take care of it vs the kid who's parent went out and gave him a newer car. More than not when someone is given an easy road, they don't appreciate what they have.

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Fair enough, but how did we get where we are? Where did those morals and family upbringing go? If we took one misbhaving 17 year-old kid in Hartford and traced his geneology, where would we find the breakdown and why? Statistically, chances are he's black or Puerto Rican. If the former, his ancestors probably migrated north to work in factories after cotton picking was mechanized. If Puerto Rican, they probably came to work on the tobacco farms. When either migration took place, did those families have morals? Did they pick up after themselves? I bet they did. What went wrong?

Well, for one, the industrial boom of the north went away as quickly as it appeared, and there weren't as many jobs as promised. Honest, hard-working black people were trying to put themselves in a better position and overcome generations of oppression; so a firestorm errupted in the 60s when there were no jobs but only plenty of racism, and riots killed whatever was left of our cities. Those who could afford to move out did--white people (utterly shocked at what was happening)--and those who couldn't stayed--black people. Zoning laws kept out minorites either expressly (don't sell to blacks) or implicitly (lot size must be 1 acre so the house price will be too high for anybody else).

Puerto Ricans came for the tobacco farms. We know what happened to them, and so an unskilled labor force populated the city. Did we give them opportunities, reeducate them, etc.? No, we wondered why they were here. I've heard some people suggest that there are too many illegal Puerto Rican immigrants. Interesting, considering they're American citizens. Again, middle and upper classes abandoned them.

And they did so not simply thanks to the "free market," whatever that is. But thanks to a conspiracy of government, oil, and auto manufacturers and house builders. You do realize that GM and Standard Oil formed subsidiaries to buy nearly all of the trolley companies in America, only to run them into the ground, pave over their tracks, and promote the automobile. Having completely isolated impoverished and uneducated classes, we well-to-do whites now stare in bewilderment at the inner city: why do they have no pride in their homes? Why do they kill each other? Wasn't affirmative action supposed to cure this? Good thing I moved out when I could.

But try living in that kids shoes for a day. Absent integration--among minorities and classes--there's no role model. The stresses of joblessness and despair spiraled into violence and drug addiction years ago, well before this kid was ever born. He's lucky if he knows his father. He's seen his friends get killed. He got arrested for using pot once, so he can't get a job.

So little wonder it's so hard to get it through his thick skull that tossing trash on the street will discourage young professionals from settling downtown, which will mean the city will continue its downward spiral, which will mean fewer job prospects and more crime. If only he'd put his trash in the bin, everything would be ok.

There is no more American dream. The American dream--rugged indiviualism--works when their are abundant resources. But when those resources are enjoyed by a cadre of have-mosts, the have-nots do not see work as their ticket out. That's probably because you and I know that it's not. You might think they should accept their station in life and simply work and live at peace because that's the morally acceptable thing to do, but we have no national morality. Government and executives simply run a different racket, a legal one, but a no-more moral one. So why not run drugs while you can.

As they say, you get rich or die trying.

I am not saying we should forgive a lack of personal responsibility, but rather that we already have waived goodbye to it at a national level. Those with means don't commit (as many) crimes or throw their trash out the window. When they act w/out a moral compass they do things like make billions off of rap lyrics that debase women and promote violence (selling "street culture" to pent-up white kids so they can get their angst out). They make sup-prime loans to poor people, who have no chance of paying them back, convert the loan into a marketable security, and take their profits while they can. They build a big-box store with a useful life of two decades, sell it and move on. When they become adicts or act violently they ask for forgiveness and get treatment.

When my hypothetical kid "acts up" the consequences are dire, and they inform our view of "Hartford's problems."

As though that kid is any more culpable than you or me. No, neither you or I, individually, created this problem, but neither did he. So why is this his problem and not ours? If a rational market actually existed, we would realize that creating a real, lasting solution to our cities' problems would be more efficient and make economic sense in the long run.

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Fair enough, but how did we get where we are? Where did those morals and family upbringing go? If we took one misbhaving 17 year-old kid in Hartford and traced his geneology, where would we find the breakdown and why? Statistically, chances are he's black or Puerto Rican. If the former, his ancestors probably migrated north to work in factories after cotton picking was mechanized. If Puerto Rican, they probably came to work on the tobacco farms. When either migration took place, did those families have morals? Did they pick up after themselves? I bet they did. What went wrong?

...

As though that kid is any more culpable than you or me. No, neither you or I, individually, created this problem, but neither did he. So why is this his problem and not ours? If a rational market actually existed, we would realize that creating a real, lasting solution to our cities' problems would be more efficient and make economic sense in the long run.

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Fair enough, but how did we get where we are? Where did those morals and family upbringing go? If we took one misbhaving 17 year-old kid in Hartford and traced his geneology, where would we find the breakdown and why? Statistically, chances are he's black or Puerto Rican. If the former, his ancestors probably migrated north to work in factories after cotton picking was mechanized. If Puerto Rican, they probably came to work on the tobacco farms. When either migration took place, did those families have morals? Did they pick up after themselves? I bet they did. What went wrong?

Well, for one, the industrial boom of the north went away as quickly as it appeared, and there weren't as many jobs as promised. Honest, hard-working black people were trying to put themselves in a better position and overcome generations of oppression; so a firestorm errupted in the 60s when there were no jobs but only plenty of racism, and riots killed whatever was left of our cities. Those who could afford to move out did--white people (utterly shocked at what was happening)--and those who couldn't stayed--black people. Zoning laws kept out minorites either expressly (don't sell to blacks) or implicitly (lot size must be 1 acre so the house price will be too high for anybody else).

Puerto Ricans came for the tobacco farms. We know what happened to them, and so an unskilled labor force populated the city. Did we give them opportunities, reeducate them, etc.? No, we wondered why they were here. I've heard some people suggest that there are too many illegal Puerto Rican immigrants. Interesting, considering they're American citizens. Again, middle and upper classes abandoned them.

And they did so not simply thanks to the "free market," whatever that is. But thanks to a conspiracy of government, oil, and auto manufacturers and house builders. You do realize that GM and Standard Oil formed subsidiaries to buy nearly all of the trolley companies in America, only to run them into the ground, pave over their tracks, and promote the automobile. Having completely isolated impoverished and uneducated classes, we well-to-do whites now stare in bewilderment at the inner city: why do they have no pride in their homes? Why do they kill each other? Wasn't affirmative action supposed to cure this? Good thing I moved out when I could.

But try living in that kids shoes for a day. Absent integration--among minorities and classes--there's no role model. The stresses of joblessness and despair spiraled into violence and drug addiction years ago, well before this kid was ever born. He's lucky if he knows his father. He's seen his friends get killed. He got arrested for using pot once, so he can't get a job.

So little wonder it's so hard to get it through his thick skull that tossing trash on the street will discourage young professionals from settling downtown, which will mean the city will continue its downward spiral, which will mean fewer job prospects and more crime. If only he'd put his trash in the bin, everything would be ok.

There is no more American dream. The American dream--rugged indiviualism--works when their are abundant resources. But when those resources are enjoyed by a cadre of have-mosts, the have-nots do not see work as their ticket out. That's probably because you and I know that it's not. You might think they should accept their station in life and simply work and live at peace because that's the morally acceptable thing to do, but we have no national morality. Government and executives simply run a different racket, a legal one, but a no-more moral one. So why not run drugs while you can.

As they say, you get rich or die trying.

I am not saying we should forgive a lack of personal responsibility, but rather that we already have waived goodbye to it at a national level. Those with means don't commit (as many) crimes or throw their trash out the window. When they act w/out a moral compass they do things like make billions off of rap lyrics that debase women and promote violence (selling "street culture" to pent-up white kids so they can get their angst out). They make sup-prime loans to poor people, who have no chance of paying them back, convert the loan into a marketable security, and take their profits while they can. They build a big-box store with a useful life of two decades, sell it and move on. When they become adicts or act violently they ask for forgiveness and get treatment.

When my hypothetical kid "acts up" the consequences are dire, and they inform our view of "Hartford's problems."

As though that kid is any more culpable than you or me. No, neither you or I, individually, created this problem, but neither did he. So why is this his problem and not ours? If a rational market actually existed, we would realize that creating a real, lasting solution to our cities' problems would be more efficient and make economic sense in the long run.

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So the society is to be blamed? It is interesting that many other immigrants and minorities have done well under the same system. In fact many blacks and Puerto Ricans have also done well under the current system. The American dream is alive and well. To be in the middle class, all you need is a marketable skill and a willingness to work hard.

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