Archived

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

Cotuit

Hartford Through Visitors' Eyes: So-So

Recommended Posts

Hartford Through Visitors' Eyes: So-So

'Tourists' Find People Helpful, Attractions Flat

By DEBORAH PETERSEN SWIFT And MIKE SWIFT Courant Staff Writers | March 8 2005

Our first assessment of Hartford, delivered by our taxi driver as we cruised downtown from the airport, was not a hopeful one.

To the likely question of any visitor in town for the Big East Women's Basketball Tournament - "So, what else is there to do in Hartford?" - our driver had a quick answer.

"Hartford is a ghost town," he replied.

Pressed for specifics, he politely told us there was a pretty good art museum on Main Street; Mark Twain's house; and a restaurant with good food and music, Black-Eyed Sally's, within walking distance of our hotel, the refurbished Hilton.

"It's no New York or Washington," the cabby said apologetically.

Less than three months from now, when the $230 million Connecticut Convention Center opens, thousands of first-time visitors will be asking the same first question we asked this weekend. With the Big East tournament occupying the Hartford Civic Center through today, and the Hilton reopening after a $33 million renovation, we pretended to be tourists and gave Hartford a litmus test this weekend.

As it turned out, our cabby's verdict was both wrong and right.

Continue reading at: The Hartford Courant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


In a way, that's sort of sad. Hartford really needs this convention center to work. The state has spent a fortune on it. From just the few times I've been there, it seems that they need to polish that city up. I don't think conventions are going to do that. There are way too many parking lots downtown. I do like their Old State House surrounded by those mid-20th Century office towers. Very cool. I do like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CT is already a major player in the NE. Connecticut must improve its rail links...Hartford must be linked by rapid rail to the explosively emerging SE CT casino/tourism region (the new $1.6 billion proposal makes this point all the more significant). Hartford must be linked to NYC by rapid rail to give NYC residents and businesses a less-expense alternative for expansion. Heck, grab a turn-of-the-century victorian mansion in Hartford for <500K and commute to NYC in an hour...hell yes! Hold a convention in Hartford and be within 30 minutes of the world's biggest casinos and this $1 billion proposed film center or 1 hour from NYC...duh! Regional cooperation and planning is the key to Connecticut's future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all-

I must say I have spend 25 years in New England (including Conn for 4 yrs)-since moved to Florida- and Hartford is a very difficult city to be attracted to.

It is small, has no significant metro area, does not have an attractive skyline, is a lifeless city, and frankly has no lure for anyone to visit, let alone live there.

Looking at the demographics andf the geography, I see little hope for this city becoming anything other than it is..a city with no character.

From a New England perspective, it can not in any way compete with Providence or Boston.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the issues Hartford faces with new tourists is the lack of information local employees in the tourism service industry have about the city. Before many cab drivers and hotel clerks tended to deal with business executives in town for a corporate meeting at one of the insurance companies but now there are people who want to know about Hartford. This is why before the convntion center opened employess from all differant service districts could ride around the city on a free tour bus and learn about what the city has to offer and how to offer that to the tourisits.

Hartford is rich in history and this should be one of the main focal points of the tourism. They can visit the Old State House, The Mark Twain House, the Harriett Beecher Stowe House, the State Capital and Legislative Office Complex, the Bushnell, the Hartford State, Bushnell Park, Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens, Goodwin Park, Pope Park, Constitution Plaza, CT Science Center (West Hartford), Isham Terry House, Riverfront Recaputre and Park, Wadsworth Athneum, St. Josephs Cathedral, and Trinity College.

I will admitt myself that there are some technical aspects that need to be fixed. For example as a person who knows the ins and outs of the Hartford Street system the traffic lights and stops signs outside the Convention Center are extremly confusing, the entrances to I-84 West and I-91 North which are located next to the center are lined with service vehicles, and some of Hartford's intersections are not pedestrian friendly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baines-

You must have something against Hartford. Seriously, most anyone I know comments on how nice Hartford's skyline is. For a city its size, it has a skyline that is bigger than cities 5X its size.

Providence is nice, however it's skyline can not come close to Hartfords and it's downtown is nothing to write home about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont want to get into a My city is better than yours, or My city is nicer than yours argument, but you really think Providence has a nicer skyline? How so? Here is a breakdown by building size in feet of the two cities.

Hartford-

1) 547

2) 527

3) 522

5) 420

6) 365

7) 360

8) 335

9) 322

10) 318

11) 305

Providence-

1) 428

2) 410

3) 329

4) 310

5) 285

6) 220

7) 215

8) 205

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont want to get into a My city is better than yours, or My city is nicer than yours argument, but you really think Providence has a nicer skyline? How so? Here is a breakdown by building size in feet of the two cities.

Hartford-

1) 547

2) 527

3) 522

5) 420

6) 365

7) 360

8) 335

9) 322

10) 318

11) 305

Providence-

1) 428

2) 410

3) 329

4) 310

5) 285

6) 220

7) 215

8) 205

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Height doesn't make a skyline better. For example, Providence's tallest is a New York style lantern with art deco features built in the tradition of great New York skyscrapers of the 1920's. Hartford's tallest is a faceless 1980's steel box that is almost indistiguishable from the rest of the skyline. That said; however, both cities have great examples of good and bad architecture. I just think Providence's skyline, while smaller, is more elegant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hartford's skyline is rather impressive, especially for its size.  None of the buildings are overwhelmingly tall, but there are a lot of medium sized skyscrapers.

Hartford

Hartford Skyline

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Nice shots. I particularly like the river shot of the skyline. It's a nice setting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baines-

You must have something against Hartford. Seriously, most anyone I know comments on how nice Hartford's skyline is. For a city its size, it has a skyline that is bigger than cities 5X its size.

Providence is nice, however it's skyline can not come close to Hartfords and it's downtown is nothing to write home about.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, Providence's downtown is something to write home about. When we have clients and co-workers come to the city they all comment on how great our downtown is. I go by what they say and they like it a lot. What better endorsement can you get than that of outsiders? I know there is still more work to be done (actually, the work should never end), but it's clear Providence is on the right track. Hopefully Hartford can do something with it's downtown. So far the reviews are mixed. Some of the new residential developments including Hartford 21 are vey nice.

To be fair, you can't compare Hartford and Providence. They aren't in the same league any longer. Providence is off and running. Hartford is only getting out of the gate and we really don't know if it's successful yet. Let's wait a few years and see where Hartford is then. I don't think we can judge Hartford yet until things have settled in. Bottom line, if the only criteria you use to judge the success of downtowns is having taller buildings, then Hartford wins. If you factor in vibrancy and urbanity, Providence most certainly wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, you can't judge a skyline by building heights. I guess if you wanted to say who has a more impressive skyline you can say Hartford wins hands down. However I think Hartford has a nice mix of old and new buildings from the old Travelers tower to the newer Constituion square with its 2 sided Phoenix building, once the only type of its kind in the world.

A nice skyline in my oppinion is when you are coming into a city and see the massive amount of tall buildings, neither Hartford or Providnce has this but you can get what I mean. Coming into Hartford going north on I-91 you are traveling in mainly wooded areas, and then you take a turn east and Hartford skyline just pops out of nowhere. Another nice spot is when it is dusk and you are traveling on the bridge (I forget its name) that connects I-84 with I-91. The view over the Connecticut river with the skyline vibrating off the water is impressive.

The one thing I do like about Providence skyline is that it is scene a bit farther out than Hartfords, and that orange top of that one building really sticks out nicley.

About old architecture, Hartford's Travelers tower must be one of the nicest buildings in America for its size. Wasn't this once the tallest building in US? I could be wrong but it did hold New England's tallest for a while I believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of coming into a city and being awed by its skyline, anyone ever travel into Pittsburgh from the airport? At night, that has to be the coolest entry into a city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hartford's skyline is rather impressive, especially for its size.  None of the buildings are overwhelmingly tall, but there are a lot of medium sized skyscrapers.

Hartford

Hartford Skyline

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

that first link makes my eyes bleed.. :( I dont see how it could be thought of as better than providence's skyline.

Height doesn't make a skyline better.  For example, Providence's tallest is a New York style lantern with art deco features built in the tradition of great New York skyscrapers of the 1920's.  Hartford's tallest is a faceless 1980's steel box that is almost indistiguishable from the rest of the skyline.  That said; however, both cities have great examples of good and bad architecture.  I just think Providence's skyline, while smaller, is more elegant.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

"Height doesn't make a skyline better"

exactly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About old architecture, Hartford's Travelers tower must be one of the nicest buildings in America for its size. Wasn't this once the tallest building in US? I could be wrong but it did hold New England's tallest for a while I believe.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Travelers is a cool looking older building. I think it was the tallest in New England (INCLUDING BOSTON, thank you very much) until the Prudential was built in the 1960's. I'd need to double check my facts on that, but I think I'm right on that one. Hey, whatever happened to Cutter Financial Center. Wasn't that supposed to be the tallest in New England until it was scrapped?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cutter building died out in the 90's I believe because of the economy. There were going to be 3-4 new towers in Hartford, all ranging from 600-850 feet. Too bad they fell through, would have made Hartford's sky line very impressive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to now step as a major supporter of Hartford.

First of all uconn99 you are correct. The Travelers Tower was the first skyscraper in New England.

I do agree that Hartford and Providence are on differant steps in their histories. Providence has gone through a major revitilazation and Hartford is going through one.

I do have to point out some noteworthy Hartford information:

Hartford is home to some extrodinary hospitals such as:

- Hartford Hospital which sits on 65 acres just down the road from the State Capital. The hospital has been consistantly ranked one of the nations Top 100 hospitals.

- The Connecticut Childrens Medical Center sits on the Hartford Hospital site and opened at its current location about 9 years ago. The hospital is in a state of the art facility designed just for kids. Previously the hospital was in Newington.

- Saint Francis Hospital is the nations largest Catholic hospital in the country. A few years back the hospital merged with Mount Sainai hospital just down the road which was a Jewish hospital. This was the first merger of this kind in the country. The hospital is also ranked among the nations Top 100

- The Institute For Living sits on 35 acres near Hartford Hospital and was one of the first mental health facilities in the nation and the first in CT.

- John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington has strong connections to UCONN Medical School.

The Hartford area also has an array of highre eduaction facilities such as:

Trinity College: One of the best liberal arts schools in the country. The school competes with schools now such as Amherst. One of the only renowned liberal arts collges in the country to be located in an urban enviorment. The school also has made huge contributions to the city such as constructing the Learning Corrdoir a magnet type school.

Capital Community College: The College was originally in two locations in the city but in 2002 moved into the renovated G. Fox and Company on Main Street. The school also boasts the 2nd highest African American enrollment in New Englands 50 colleges

Hartford Seminary is located in Hartford and Saint Thomas Seminary is located in Bloomfield just down the road from the University of Hartford.

Albert I Prince Regional Vocational Technical School, Hartford Hospital School of Allied Health are located in the city

Rensselaer Hartford Graduate School is located in the city just opposite I-84 by the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

University of Hartford just over the border from Hartford boasts is a coeducational university founded in 1877. The Main Campus is 340 acres and the Asylum Street campus in Hartford is 13 acres. The UHART Center for the Performing Arts is being constructed in Hartford's north end. There are 7200+ students, 86 undergraduate major2, 32 graduate programs and schools such as Harte School of Music and Barney School of Business.

The Greater Hartford area is home to some very prestigous private and pariochial schools such as:

- Watkinson School in Hartford a coeducational private school with 260+ students in Grades 6-12. Member of the National Coalation of Essential Schools.

- Kingswood Oxford in West Hartford is a coeducational private school with 590+ students in Grades 6-12. Near West Hartford Center and features a newly constructed middle school.

-Loomis Chaffe in Windsor a coeducational private school. School on 300 acres with 700 students

-Miss Porters in Simsbury an all girls private school for students 9-12 grades. School has 315 students

-Westminster in Simsbury a coeducational private school. For students grades 9-12. On 230 acres with 367 students

- Northwest Catholic in West Hartford a coeducational catholic school

- East Cathilic in Manchester a coeducational catholic school

- Saint Pauls in Bristol a coeducational catholic school

- Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford a coeducational private school. 800 students on 400 acres.

- Taft School a coeducational private school in Watertown with 570 students.

- The Kent School in Kent a coeducational private school

There are also numerous extremly wealthy suburbs of Hartford such as:

Avon (Off Rt.44, west of the city)

Farmington (Off I-84 and Rt. 44 west of the city)

Simsbury (off rt. 44 and west of the city)

Canton (off rt. 44 and west of the city)

Glastonbury (off rt. 2 and rt. 3, south east of the city)

West Hartford (Off I-84, just west of the city)

The new Connecticut Convention is the largest between Boston and New York (Larger then the Providence Convention Center, Springfield Convention Center and Worcester Convention Center. Also boasts more hotel rooms then all of them

The new Hartford 21 residential tower at the Hartford Civic Center will be 36 stories high making it one of the largest residential towers in New England.

Hartford County Median Income per household: $50,716

Hartford County Median Income per family: $62, 144

Per Capita Income: $26,047

Providence County Median Income per household: $36,950

Providence Couny Median Income per family: $45,694

Per capita income" $19,255

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to now step as a major supporter of Hartford.

The new Connecticut Convention is the largest between Boston and New York (Larger then the Providence Convention Center, Springfield Convention Center and Worcester Convention Center. Also  boasts more hotel rooms then all of them

The new Hartford 21 residential tower at the Hartford Civic Center will be 36 stories high making it one of the largest residential towers in New England.

Hartford County Median Income per household: $50,716

Hartford County Median Income per family: $62, 144

Per Capita Income: $26,047

Providence County Median Income per household: $36,950

Providence Couny Median Income per family: $45,694

Per capita income" $19,255

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Providence has more rooms within walking distance than does Hartford. Let's not forget we are embarking on a couple of different proposals and projects that will add many more rooms which are directly connected to our Convention Center. I'm sure the same will happen in Hartford sometime in the future if business needs warrant.

Let's see if our One Ten Westminster bests that title. It'll be fun to see what happens with that. Either way, both are great projects that will do wonders for the respective cities.

And yet Hartford is still the poorest city in the country. Hopefully that will change if your renaissance does take off. Don't forget, your figures do not include an accurate picture here as most of Harford's suburbs are in Hartford County. Most of Providence's suburbs are not in Providence County(including some of our most wealth ones). The curse of a small state, huh? Metro to metro would be a better comparison. Even then, Hartford still wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good arguments ;)

:thumbsup:

Either way you look at it, it's pretty awesome that all of these 'up and coming' renaissance cities are so close by to eachother.. along with Boston, and even NYC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good arguments ;)

:thumbsup:

Either way you look at it, it's pretty awesome that all of these 'up and coming' renaissance cities are so close by to eachother.. along with Boston, and even NYC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Except Worcester as we recently saw in that Boston Globe article.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe Hartford 21 is going to be the largest residential tower in New England, I could be wrong. Hartford metro area is very wealthy.

When people think of Connecticut they usually associate the wealth all along the coast and in Fairfield County. While these areas are very wealthy, some of the wealthiest in the country, Hartford's Metro is not far behind. Towns like Avon, Famington, Canton, Simsbury, Glastonbury, West Hartford and now Hebron, Marlbourugh, Simsbury and Colchester all have many million dollar homes.

With this being said, Hartford as a city is extrmely poor. Not many cities these days are wealthy, usually all of the wealth is in the burbs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe Hartford 21 is going to be the largest residential tower in New England, I could be wrong. Hartford metro area is very wealthy.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There's unofficial speculation that OneTen Westminster in Providence will be taller. It's officially stated height is less than Hartford 21 though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.