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Archive for the ‘West Hartford Center’ Category

It’s West Hartford Center Days …

Posted by whforums on January 10, 2009

So, until next Thursday, 1/15, West Hartford Center is having its “West Hartford Center Days” (actually started this past Thursday … they run a week). Now, justifiably, I’m sure many of you are asking the question “What’s a West Hartford Center Day?” Well, essentially it’s a giant sidewalk sale in the middle of the January cold and snow … think of it as West Hartford Center does Alaska, but without the glaciers.

More than 150 shops are participating (says the town website), and most of the sales are actually in the stores, so you can stay toasty while supporting local businesses that need your support. Restaurants in the Center/Square are getting in on the action, too — get a list of participating restaurants here (you’ll have to select today’s date from the calendar at the top of the page).

My wife and I recommend the sales at Crate and Barrel (I know, I know … not a local business. But the sales are great!). The sales on the top floor suck, but on the bottom floor, they’re out of this world. We got a rocking dish towel for 2 bucks, Christmas gear at 60% off, and spice jars at 60% off. Score.

If you see other good deals, feel free to spread the word to your fellow “consumers” below …

Posted in Blue Back Square, West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford Restaurants | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Cocoa Kitchen and Bar — Who’s Got the Scuttlebutt?

Posted by whforums on December 24, 2008

Have patiently watched the transformation of the old Puerto Vallarta into the new (and, from the outside, awfully sexy looking) “Cocoa Kitchen and Bar.” As I drove past today, I saw an 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper taped to the window that said:


Not the grand opening I’d imagined, but my curiosity is piqued. Add to that the fact that Google searches bring me only to expired Craig’s List hiring ads, and I really want to know what’s going on behind those walls.

Surely, one of you out there knows something about Cocoa — or perhaps has even set foot inside? Any scuttlebutt? I’m not going to make it there until the new year at earliest, but inquiring minds, etc….


The site “Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness” gives a review to both Cocoa and Front Street Bistro.  Check it out here.

Posted in West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford Restaurants | Tagged: , , | 40 Comments »

To Take You into The Weekend …

Posted by whforums on December 19, 2008

Two quick West Hartford Centery tidbits:

1. The town has signed a contract with Parcxmart for a debit/credit card on-street parking system. The card could also be used as a debit/credit card with participating local merchants. Sounds like, at least initially, you’ll run into a $500 limit, so if you find yourself spending a lot of money in the Center, you may have to recharge the card quite a bit. Expect to see the “West Hartford Center Credit/Debit Card” to launch in “first quarter 2009.” Get the full press release here.

2. Let me point you to the work of Andy Perez. Perez was tasked with the job of creating a web ad (dunno if it’s destined for life beyond the web?) for West Hartford Center. If you’re a process oriented person, you can see the process he followed, as well as his own blog post about the ad, on his blog. If you’re one of those “product-only” people, you can watch the ad on the “center and square” website (I had no clue until recently that that site existed).

Andy, I think the ad is great (especially the dancing Noah statue — if Noah could dance, well, I think you stone-cold got his moves)  — if you hadn’t said so, I’d never have guessed it was your first ad. But for the next draft, I need some of those credit/debit cards to float by, too.

Enjoy the snow.

Posted in Blue Back Square, Media, Parking, West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford Restaurants | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Purchases at Ten Thousand Villages to Support HopeWorks

Posted by whforums on December 4, 2008

Because I’m a skeptical jerk, I’ve throughout my short life been sort of iffy about Ten Thousand Villages. Back in the day, when I lived in Cow Country, NY, my wife and I would wander through the store and I’d say to her “This can’t really be for real.” The idea of fair trade in an environment that seemed so fracking capitalistic (wandering through the store was like wandering through any other store) seemed so outlandish (or perhaps so hopeful) that I sort of felt like I had to dismiss it.

Since those days, my friends, my reading and my experiences have convinced me that the store and the idea behind it are both for real (that it’s not some horrific, feel-good front for exploitation), and even more, that the people behind the store have been fairly influential in the global fair trade movement. And while I still have some qualms about the store (why not sell products from Americans who need an outlet alongside products from artisans from developing nations?), it seems like Ten Thousand Villages is doing exactly what I demand other companies do — they’re engaging in a more ethical capitalism.

So what does this have to do with West Hartford? Well, if you shop at the Ten Thousand Villages in the Center between Noon and five this Sunday (December 7th), the store will donate 15% of all profits to HopeWorks. What a great chance to make your money work for the good of your global and local communities, yes?

Posted in Sorry I'm So Cynical, Things to Do, West Hartford, West Hartford Center | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Not Much Good News from New Park Avenue This Thanksgiving

Posted by whforums on November 27, 2008

So, I’ll follow this with a happier post, but yesterday didn’t exactly bring a lot of good news from the New Park Avenue area.

First, there was this story about a “home invasion” (I’m really not comfortable with this phrase) over on Fenwood. The police say it was “targeted” (I guess there are versions of “targeted,” but it seems to me like such a thing is always to some degree targeted), and the “invaders” came armed and with zip-ties to tie up anyone inside. Scary stuff, and a burning reminder to keep your doors locked, even in “West Hartford.”

Then, this report about a woman trying to kidnap her own children during a supervised visit.

I’ve written often before about this idea of “two West Hartfords,” or about how West Hartford is some sort of blend between the reputation it has, its thriving downtown, and a lot of deep poverty. I’m going to seek some numbers on West Hartford crime by street/district and see what that shows us. I’m also wondering if it would be beneficial to elect Town Council by town district, to provide more real and local voice to all of our residents …

All idle thought for future posts, which you’re lucky (or bored!) enough to read.

Posted in Crime, Media, West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford Town Council, WHPD | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

For Your Monday Morning Consideration

Posted by whforums on October 26, 2008

Walking through the Center this weekend, I was heartbroken to see Lane and Lenge was gone (I was on the other side of the street and saw an empty store front. I pondered — and then said to my wife “Isn’t that where Lane and Lenge was?”). We had our wedding flowers done by them (and, by the way, they rocked and I highly recommend them to any local couple in the “market”), so I walked over to the storefront to read the signs posted to the door. Turns out they’ve left the Center and moved to Park Road. While this sucks, it’s still much better than having lost them! So go to Park Road and buy your significant other (maybe your husband, because we like getting gifts, too) some flowers from Lane and Lenge and help offset their moving costs …

Connecticut Magazine has ranked the top 35 high schools in the state. Hall came in 13th (that’s 90th percentile) and Conard came in 22nd. Not too shabby out of 135 high schools, huh? While you’re over at Lane and Lenge, buy flowers for our teachers, too …

To the person who keeps landing on this site via the search term “Is 1690 a good SAT score?” The answer is, sure. It’s good. I mean, it’s not super-great, but it’s not by any stretch of the imagination a bad score. It will get you into a good college. But, really, most colleges are good. So, stop worrying about your score, and start worrying about how you’ll make the most of your time in college. Start by declaring a philosophy major.

To NeefBremo and SpooryDroopy, my two most prodigious spammers, who send me 20-30 posts a day about viagra, tramadol and direct-print coupons — enough. I love you both, but I’m going to have to put you in spam time-out if you don’t chill out a little bit …

Speaking of “being put in time-out” — no word from Visconti, Larson or Fournier per West Hartford Forums’ invitation to write guest posts before election day. Maybe I’ll write in old Noah …

Posted in 2008 Election, Local Democracy, Quick Hits, SAT Scores, Uncategorized, West Hartford, West Hartford Center, WHPS | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

I’m Spending the Weekend at the Library

Posted by whforums on October 10, 2008

Good to know that, despite the strain of the referendum, despite the threats to town services and the general sky is fallingness of Wall St (I just sit here, and I watch my IRA wither, and I say “I’d prefer not to.” Either I’m no Bartleby or this economy is no pushover narrator …), our library remains not only open and free, but vibrant and thoughtful.

So, to do this weekend at the West Hartford Public Library:

1. Free opera. In my opinion, of all the “big time” arts in Hartford, no one is as under appreciated as the Connecticut Opera (I mean, just look at their building. What’s up with that?). They opera needs your paid support, but to entice you, they’re going to let you score some free opera at the library on Saturday the 11th from 2-3. Seriously — a free hour of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in your public library. This is an event the promises to be just disassociative enough to entertain you while freaking you out. I dare anyone to attend, and, at the end of the hour, leave entirely convinced of the reality of gravity.

2. Voter registration. If you haven’t registered to vote in the upcoming November election, now’s your time. Registration is going down at the library from 10-1 on Saturday the 11th. So you register to vote, you read for an hour, and then you go chill with Mozart. Life is beautiful.

3. So, maybe you’re scared of the library. Maybe there’s that book that you’ve been meaning to bring back that you keep not bringing back because the fine used to be ten dollars and god knows how much it is now. No problem. From 10/14-10/25, you return your book to the public library with a non-perishable food item and, presto-changeo, no more fine. The library’s calling it a “food for fines” program, and if you’re like me and you suck at returning library books, it’s the best value in town. Now take the money you saved by using canned peas as currency and ask yourself, maybe even while listening to Mozart: “Is this my money or the town’s money, and what is my ethical responsibility re: this money?” Just don’t start setting aside peas to pay your taxes with …

Posted in Things to Do, West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford Public Library | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Help Me Quaker Green, You’re My Only Hope

Posted by whforums on September 4, 2008

For “whatever reason,” we’ve been written up in “My Midwest Magazine,” the in-flight magazine of Midwest Airlines (I know, I know – there’s a Midwest Airlines?).  Focusing mostly on the Quaker Green project (though also somewhat on Blue Back Square), the article essentially argues that, in this down economy and slow real estate market, West Hartford – and Elmwood particularly –  is a boom town.

And certainly there’s some truth to this.  If you take a look at what’s being said on the Greater Hartford Real Estate Blog and in the West Hartford News, it seems like there’s good reason to believe that the real estate market in West Hartford is at the very least percolating, and certainly not as badly affected as the national market generally.  But what’s particularly revealing about this article is not its supposed shot in the dark accuracy re: our real estate market, but instead the developer infused enthusiasm  that cynically seeks to portray the 60,000 of us as either a national salvation or, at the very least, some sort of new urban, old New England utopia.

The article argues that Elmwood is undertaking a “terrific upsurge in business development, with two new national chains building “in the area” (Price Rite and ALDI).  The article also says that with “business booming in Elmwood, there may be hope in an otherwise faltering real estate market.”  (Such that: America, on bended knee, speaks to us and says:  “Help me, Elmwood, you’re my only hope.”)  And who gets the credit for this boom?  Well, according to the author, “one developer polished a diamond in the rough – and transformed an enitre section of town in the process.”   In other words, if Elmwood is the Obi-Wan of a nation’s real estate crisis, we’re supposed to believe that Quaker Green is the Obi-Wan of Elmwood’s own crisis.

And if you’re buying all the optimism, the folks at Quaker Green would like you to know that 8 out of 20 condo units – and half of Quaker Green’s townhouses – are still available.  And I’m sure all of this sounds pretty good when you’re stuck on the tarmac in Milwaukee.

But let’s just imagine you are stuck in the tarmac in Milwaukee, and maybe you’ve heard something about some square … read about it in the New York Times or on some web ‘zine or something. Well, the article is quick to point out that the spaces in BBS, “a new, high-end live-work-play development,” are mostly being sold to “empty nesters … often as second homes.”  Doesn’t sound too live-work-play, does it?

You can check out the article here.  I’d be interested to hear your reactions – and I’ll start with my own:

We must resist the flattery of capital that develops “the news” in order to portray itself as each of our salvations.

Posted in Blue Back Square, Elmwood, National News, Sorry I'm So Cynical, West Hartford, West Hartford Center | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Simmer Out of The Center

Posted by whforums on August 24, 2008

Was wandering the Center this weekend and noticed not only that Simmer was dark, but that there was a “Closed” sign hanging on the front door. Did some poking around in the tubes and found that the West Hartford location has disappeared from the Simmer homepage, too.

I’m kind of sad to see Simmer go — their location wasn’t great, but the few times my wife and I ate there we enjoyed our meals enough to say “We should come here more often” (we also in part said that because we feared this eventuality — Simmer, despite its terrific food and service, was often startlingly empty).

If you need your Simmer fix, you can still trek out to Canton. Now we can start wondering about whether another restaurant will have the courage to enter the crowded West Hartford market in Simmer’s previous location …

Posted in West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford Restaurants | Tagged: , | 14 Comments »

Monday Morning Pet Peeve

Posted by whforums on August 18, 2008

Ok, so this is a minor “thing” in the grand scope of “things,” but it drives me fracking crazy. It maybe also illuminates a certain lack of neighborliness (“Where city style meets village charm,” etc.).

You know how Main Street, traveling “south,” narrows once your cross over Farmington Avenue? That stretch of Main Street in front of Breuggers, and Friendly’s, and Lemon Grass? People — it’s a one lane road. I understand the merge sign is way back before the Farmington Avenue intersection, and I understand that the fact that it’s a merge gets buried in all of our mutual consciousnesses by the activity of the Center itself. But the fact that the fracking road fracking narrows should serve as a fracking reminder to form one fracking line! Gah!

And you people who are double parking in that stretch — not that you’re really double parking, more hovering for a spot — well, you’re on my list now, too. And while I’m at it — could we all be a little nicer to the poor folks who get hung out to dry trying to make a left from Farmington onto Main? All the time I see one lone car, trapped in the intersection …

And don’t even get me started on the people who leave their fracking shopping carts in the middle of the fracking aisle in the grocery store. I guess that’s more of a Sunday night pet peeve …

Posted in Pet Peeves, West Hartford, West Hartford Center | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »