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Old 02-04-2013, 12:49 AM
 
Location: Toronto
626 posts, read 649,324 times
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Look up Northampton, MA.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:28 AM
 
1,696 posts, read 3,222,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midcenturyman View Post
You may be right about the employment, but I know a LOT of people who work in hartford, BUT, live in Colchester, Marlbourough, Glastonbury, Portland, Columbia, Andover, Hebron, etc. Many Northamptonites live and work right in town, walk to work, bicycle to work, etc. I do not see that with Hartford. People work there and then "flee" to the safe, clean rural suburbs when sun goes down. Maybe West hartford is like that, but too close to capitol for me.
West Hartford can be compared to Northampton because both have a street scene where people are out and about on foot. Both are good for pedestrians, which makes them unlike most New England towns where, for the most part, people drive from place to place. That's what they have in common. However, Northampton isn't a suburb of anything; WH clearly is. WH is full of people who moved out of Hartford when the going got tough there, or who live there for its convenience to Hartford. Midcenturyman is right that Northampton people are oriented mainly to life there, rather than to a bigger place next door. If there's a Massachusetts equivalent, it's Longmeadow (although that lacks the lively town center) or perhaps someplace like Brookline. Not all that comparable either, but at a larger scale I'd say that Hartford and its metro area is comparable in many ways with Boston and its metro: wealthy metro with lots of income inequality, small central city relative to the metro population, a big office/employment base in the central city, many affluent suburbs, many "satellite" cities that belong to the metro but aren't really suburbs, and that same split Puritan/Catholic cultural heritage (but more Italian in Hartford, more Irish in Boston). Lots of differences too, of course.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,669 posts, read 40,244,780 times
Reputation: 6999
Quote:
Originally Posted by midcenturyman View Post
Ok. Fair enough. I respect your opinion. I guess my perspective is from NOT liking to be near any large cities, so you can get an idea of my perspective. Northampton is a whole lot more cutural, with Iron Horse, Calvin theatre, an amazing bicycle rail trail, Northampton brewery, tons of eclectic and vintage shops, your right, truly not comparable. Yet, since I moved to CT, from Northampton area, everyone keeps telling me W.Hartford is so much like NoHo....sorry, not even close, especially with Hartford right next door. I feel a whole lot safer walking through NoHo at night over west hartford.
Northampton has a lot more culture??? Hartford has The Webster Theater, The Bushnell, Theaterworks and The Hartford Stage. There are wonderful trails all around Hartford including the MDC Reservoir in West Hartford, the Farmington Canal Trails in the Farmington Valley, the Manchester Trails in Manchester and the Airline Trail in Hebron area. Hartford has Citysteam and if you want ecentric little shops there are many throughout the area.

Also I did laugh out loud when you said you felt less safe in West Hartford. Our closest friends are from Northampton and I know that it is not as safe as West HArtford. I think you are less comfortable just because you do not know West Hartford that well. It is a very safe place.

The closest to Northampton in Connecticut is likely Middletown. Its downtown is a bit funky and it is the home of Wesleyan so there are some similarities but it is smaller. Jay
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Ubique
4,072 posts, read 2,942,871 times
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Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
The closest to Northampton in Connecticut is likely Middletown. Its downtown is a bit funky and it is the home of Wesleyan so there are some similarities but it is smaller. Jay
I thought about Middletown too, but although Middletown has improved, its population profile is still different from Northampton's.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:01 PM
 
Location: W Hartford, CT
1,795 posts, read 3,453,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry10 View Post
I thought about Middletown too, but although Middletown has improved, its population profile is still different from Northampton's.
Middletown has come a long way, no doubt about it. But I do feel that Northampton has more of an arty vibe and a bit more of a vibrant college scene. Both are great, but I personally like Northampton more. I went to Northampton Brewery last spring for the first time and was really impressed with the downtown area - a nice, self-contained area and seemed really well-kept and clean. Main Street in Middletown is great, but by comparison seems a little gritty and more city-like - not a bad thing, just different.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:36 PM
 
284 posts, read 425,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
I'd say that Hartford and its metro area is comparable in many ways with Boston and its metro: wealthy metro with lots of income inequality, small central city relative to the metro population, a big office/employment base in the central city, many affluent suburbs, many "satellite" cities that belong to the metro but aren't really suburbs, and that same split Puritan/Catholic cultural heritage (but more Italian in Hartford, more Irish in Boston). Lots of differences too, of course.
I really disagree with this. I WISH Hartford was comparable to Boston because I really feel that CT is lacking in good cities (although it has plenty of lovely towns and nature). Hartford is significantly more poverty-ridden than Boston and has a much higher crime level. Regardless of whatever positives Hartford might have (big employer, pretty architecture, historical significance), the harsh realities of poverty & crime persevere. I really wish that something could be done to clean up the city so that "New England's rising star" could rise above poverty and crime and so that the residents of CT could have a real city (the likes of Boston/NYC) to be proud of. Hartford's location is great - central between NYC and Boston, surrounded by nature and cute towns - and it COULD be a tourist attraction and a truly great city. I find it sad just how far away it seems to be from realizing that potential (and sad also that CT's other "real cities" are pretty much in the same boat - New Haven, Bridgeport).
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
14,767 posts, read 18,005,925 times
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I agree with the Boston comparison. Boston is a world class city that is nearly 6x the population of any of our cities. Apples and oranges comparison.

However, I disagree with your generalization of our cities. CT's cities are very different. They only share population and crime stats. Hartford is very much an "office park" city and has the strongest economy, but has a long way to go to become a vibrant city. Bridgeport struggles a lot with its identity despite an excellent location and some good areas, with an abandoned industrial feel in its core urban area. New Haven has problem neighborhoods, but easily the most culture and activity due to Yale and other local academia. It is close to Cambridge in feel in many ways, despite having some higher crime neighborhoods. I think it's unfair to lump our cities together as they do have a lot of key differences. One thing they share in common is relatively concentrated high crime areas in isolated neighborhoods. There is spillover, but small areas of poverty tend to drive the stats up high.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:01 PM
 
284 posts, read 425,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
I agree with the Boston comparison. Boston is a world class city that is nearly 6x the population of any of our cities. Apples and oranges comparison.

However, I disagree with your generalization of our cities. CT's cities are very different. They only share population and crime stats. Hartford is very much an "office park" city and has the strongest economy, but has a long way to go to become a vibrant city. Bridgeport struggles a lot with its identity despite an excellent location, with an abandoned industrial feel in its core urban area. New Haven has problem neighborhoods, but easily the most culture and activity due to Yale and other local academia. It is close to Cambridge in feel in many ways, despite having some higher crime neighborhoods. I think it's unfair to lump our cities together as they do have a lot of key differences.
I agree 100% about Boston being a world class city and really incomparable to Hartford (or any CT cities). I agree that Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport are different from each other, but they all seem to share the "CT city curse", aka: high crime, high poverty. I agree that the cities may have culture and academia, but those positives don't trump the very significant negative of a high crime rate. Until the crime rate issue is addressed, the cities will remain stagnant/not live up to their potential as dynamic, attractive places to visit and live. I think the fact that CT's cities have issues is also evident by the fact that most wealthy people leave those cities and populate the surrounding suburbs. Whereas in Boston and New York, there are many wealthy neighborhoods within the city and the wealthy settle and make homes there, thus adding to the already existing vibrancy. It's a vicious circle in some ways, but I do wish that SOMETHING (not sure what, though) could be done to "clean up" CT's cities.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
14,767 posts, read 18,005,925 times
Reputation: 3340
The problem goes both ways. Near here, New Haven has tons of great restaurants, culture, etc. in PERFECTLY SAFE areas and most people shut themselves out of it. The suburbanites around here have an irrational fear/stigma of these cities and don't embrace them like they should. It's 10x better than it was 10-15 years ago and urban renewal is becoming more of a trend, but perception from the affluent suburbs still has a ways to go. And they're the people that have the money to push a city's economy forward.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:10 PM
 
284 posts, read 425,102 times
Reputation: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylo View Post
The problem goes both ways. Near here, New Haven has tons of great restaurants, culture, etc. in PERFECTLY SAFE areas and most people shut themselves out of it. The suburbanites around here have an irrational fear/stigma of these cities and don't embrace them like they should. It's 10x better than it was 10-15 years ago and urban renewal is becoming more of a trend, but perception from the affluent suburbs still has a ways to go. And they're the people that have the money to push a city's economy forward.
I'd love to agree that it truly is only perception, but I'm afraid national crime statistics indicate otherwise. I'm not downplaying the fact that New Haven has restaurants or culture, but I am saying that a high crime level trumps all of these positives and is what consistently lands New Haven on the country's most dangerous cities list. It's a real shame and I hope that the urban renewal you speak of will have a positive impact. Like I mentioned, I really think that CT's cities have a lot of potential and it'd be amazing if they could live up to that instead of continuing to wallow in high crime rates & poverty.
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