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Peter & Joe’s Hog River Revival Exhibit Closing Day. Photos & interpretations of the lost Hartford Park River.

Peter & Joe’s Hog River Revival Exhibit Closing Day. Photos & interpretations of the lost Hartford Park River.

Riding the Wind

Back when I was a kid I used to race the bus home on my brother’s old steel Schwinn 10 speed. I had no loud engine, no power measured by horse, but I almost always beat it home across town. I loved that feeling, like flying home riding the wind. But ever since I wrecked that bike decades ago it has been one mt bike after another, at least a 1/2 dozen or so over the years. This summer, on a whim, I once again picked up a classic steel road cycle. Super light and built for speed. And once again, this weekend, flying between falling leaves I caught a breath of that wonderful flying feeling I had as a kid. Racing cars. Pushing harder. Nothing like it. The machines we build, the greatest of all are the one we power ourselves. Thanks Discover Hartford Tour, for helping this kid discover the joy of riding the wind again.

Ted Koppel & John Dankosky debating the future of America in world of dollar-driven journalism, extremist politics, & an uninformed populace. What do we become when we value discredit of person over discourse of ideas?

Ted Koppel & John Dankosky debating the future of America in world of dollar-driven journalism, extremist politics, & an uninformed populace. What do we become when we value discredit of person over discourse of ideas?

There are journeys you only dream of taking. Hartford’s lost Park River has been a love of mine ever since I moved to this city years ago. A river that epitomized the central park and soul of the richest city in America just 100 years ago, now buried 60 feet underground. A turning point of Hartford’s greatest hour. Longest subterranean river in the United States. Most expensive project in Army Corps of Engineers history. The superlatives go on and on. Years of anticipation and study are about to unfold. How do you begin to put such excitement into words? Let the Hartford Jones Chronicles begin…

There are journeys you only dream of taking. Hartford’s lost Park River has been a love of mine ever since I moved to this city years ago. A river that epitomized the central park and soul of the richest city in America just 100 years ago, now buried 60 feet underground. A turning point of Hartford’s greatest hour. Longest subterranean river in the United States. Most expensive project in Army Corps of Engineers history. The superlatives go on and on. Years of anticipation and study are about to unfold. How do you begin to put such excitement into words? Let the Hartford Jones Chronicles begin…

Restoring Water to America’s First Public Park

Bushnell Park Sailors & Soldiers ArchOver 70 years ago Hartford, Connecticut buried its central park river. In eastern cultures water = wealth and Hartford as a city has struggled economically for nearly as long. The burying of the Park River was, at the time, the most expensive public works project in the New England Army Corps of Engineers history.

Now, nearly a century later, we are looking at the very real possibility of bringing water back to Hartford’s Bushnell Park, the first public park in US history through initiatives tied to Hartford’s iQuilt plan. Water in Bushnell Park may yet be 5-10 years off, but it is a game-changer for Hartford as a city: restoring a sleeper of a park to its potential as the urban oasis that it was designed to be.

When you see the historic images of the Park River you cannot help but stand in awe. Images that are hard to find, largely locked up in historic archives, to see only in person and with special permission. Historic images of the lost Park River single-handedly catalyzed my own love for this city years ago. And if we reach this point where water again flows into Bushnell Park, we will undoubtedly once-again inspire countless others to fall in love with a city called Hartford again.

History has a funny way of repeating itself. Sometimes that is very good thing indeed. Bring it on iQuilt!

Curious? 

Notes from tonight’s Hartford iQuilt session.

Feb 6

Jen Allen on the Baby Grand @ Hartford Public Library

Dec 7

10 examples of how light transforms Hartford’s landscape. Contrary to popular opinion, extending the Festival of Light to Bushnell Park is one of the best things Hartford can do. In times of the greatest challenges we need to remind ourselves of our ability to find beauty in the things around us everyday. Trees define the legacy of Bushnell Park, over 150 different ethnicities once lining its lawns, a microcosm of our larger diversity of citizenry and situation. Lighting the trees and landmarks of our central park is critical, if for no other reason that it reminds us of the magnificience of that which is all around us, that what we familiarize we too often trivialize, what is commonplace is too easily misplaced. Hartford is notorious for neglecting to highlight the very unique things which define it. The incredible iQuilt plan recommends lighting our park as a key city enhancement and over 4,000 people came in at last week’s opening ceremony at the mere promise of new and different lighting. How much more complaining must we do over good ideas that do not quite live up to our initial expectations, while turning our backs on the greatest of opportunities to show the world what lies within our city’s great treasures?

Hartford New Haven CT Ranked 2nd Smartest Metro Area in all US

#in My 3 fav cities taking the top spots. Awesome. Props to former Hartfordite Angela H for spotting this one!

Hartford Events x Hartford Maps Mashup

Small cities/budgets are no reason to make finding out what is going on in one’s city HARD. Ubiquitous, subscrible, delegatable event management mashed up by location is fairly easy tech.

So why is find out what is happening so complicated?

Chad Norwood’s code and a sprinkling of area Meetup.com group feeds clearly shows that it need not take 6 mo & $6k in grants to get a prototype, universal calendar of city/area events like this off the ground. This example is subscrible on one’s PC or cell phone, automatically updates to any person/device connected, & is super easy to delegate out ownership to existing event stakeholders (ie: arts vs business vs civic, etc). Alternatively you simply open it up wide, ala ctcalendar.com & letsgoarts.com and let the “crowd” send in their events like invites.

Cities and places and missions and organizations of all kinds need to make it far easier for people to discover the best of what they offer at any given time or place. The future is not more walled gardens or copyrights or control over bits and bytes, but selling smarter ways to allow others to organize information in their own way. Put simply,

I’d rather have an aggregator than a filter.

- David Weinberger

Welcome to the Starship #Hartford CT Science Center

Welcome to the Starship #Hartford CT Science Center

Legacy:Hartford

The unheard speech I wrote & choked @ GetHYPEd event on 7/7 :-) Doug @ Hartford Mag needs quotes…

Statistics tell us that CT has the highest number of 25-34 year olds leaving it’s state than any other state in the entire country. This bothers me.  And I hope it bothers you too.  So I want to ask you, those of that chose to stay here or return here or come here:

Why plant your feet here, in Hartford?

Because if you planted your feet because you wanted to make this place better like I did, I want to throw out 3 simple challenges to you tonight. Just 3 things and then we can all go back to our friends and festivities.

1. Take a look around you at the people you stand here with tonight. Friends. Coworkers. Colleagues.

Most of us treat our organization as handful of friends that we go to happy hour with a couple times a month. But this organization is much more than that. This organization is a fraternity of young professionals 2650 members strong. Think about that.  2650 is a number so significant that most cities 4x Hartford’s size would kill to have a young professionals organization a mere 1/10 the members we have here today. So I implore you:

Do not forsake the opportunity you have here in front of you. 
Be a part of something greater than yourself, greater than a paycheck. 


Get involved. Join a committee. Bring a friend to the next HYPE event. Bring 2 more the next time. Help us build an organization 10,000 members strong. Help us create a voice so clear, a community so inviting that we redefine what it means to be young, smart, and professional in Hartford.

2Take a look outside. Consider for a moment the world renowned legacy that our city holds right beneath our feet:

  • The first public art museum in US history.
  • The first public park in US history.
  • The first federally-funded school for the deaf in US history. 
  • Epicenter to both bicycle & automobile industries before Detroit was even on the map.
  • The once wealthiest city in the US.
  • Home to most famous writer in US history.
  • And final home to a little lady who started a great war, by giving a voice to the unheard, and forever altering the course of our entire country.

So, my final challenge to you is very simple.

What are we waiting for?

What greater ancestry do we need to take back the glory that our city once held?
How longer must we wait?
How many more mayors must we lose?
How many more of our generation’s most highly-educated must leave?
Poorest must die?
Most historic be forgotten?

Before we decide to take back the great legacy that our city, our workplaces, our home, our community still represents here today? What greater opportunity do we need than a small city where everyone has a chance for a voice and a mission?

So I challenge you: when you think about Hartford, when you think about HYPE. Stand in solidarity with everyone who has planted their roots here in this city. Some of the greatest figures and achievements in our country’s entire history.

  • Do not stop reminding people why you are here in this city and no other.
  • Do not shy away from the opportunities you have here. 
  • Do not forget the great figures that once walked these very same streets.

Because this city, Hartford CT, has a legacy far greater than any of the things we see and experience today. And if the time is not now to take that legacy back, then when?

Perfect blue sky day in the city today!

Perfect blue sky day in the city today!