Hartford's Residents Keep The Capital Very Much Alive
September 01, 2010
Hey pollsters, go find yourself another whipping boy.
Seriously. I was on vacation last week, so I'm coming late to this. But while I was away, Hartford ranked third in a list of America's Ten Dead Cities.
Dead cities don't have hundreds of people showing up for the Week of the Parks – 264 volunteers helped clean the city's parks, thank you very much.
Dead cities don't have the kind of people who exhibited enormous kindness for an elderly robbery victim last week.
In case you missed my colleague Jenna Carlesso's touching story, I'm talking about a pastor and a member of his youth group who raised money for a 74-year-old woman who was robbed at gunpoint at a Blue Hills ATM a few weeks back. The thugs took her gold chain with a cross pendant and $20.
With the help of Pastor Sam Saylor, a lemonade stand was set up in front of the bank with an inspired sign that read: "Thirst Against Thugs."
By the end of the day, more than $220 was raised. They plan to present a new necklace and the remaining cash to the robbery victim soon.
Oh, Hartford's got its issues. Some real doozies, as my colleague Dan Haar pointed out in his column. But to paraphrase Haar – we're nowhere near dead.
If we're a dead city, Haar wrote, "tell that to the 365,000 people who visited the new science center in its first year, and to the thousands who came out to free jazz concerts in Bushnell Park, or to the folks playing Ultimate Frisbee in that park many weekdays at lunchtime, from United Technologies and other strong employers.
Haar makes some great, impassioned points. But more than any science center or park or concert hall, you know what really convinces me every day that this city isn't dead?
The people. Those who live here, and those who don't but still care deeply about the capital city.
Sorry, but a dead city doesn't have this much heart.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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