Friday, July 31, 2015

A Fashionable Handcrafted Bicycle

A display window at Stackpole's, a Hartford clothing store, shows a handcrafted bicycle.
This is a "Haute" road bicycle, made in Colchester by MSH1, a bespoke bike manufacturer.

Tomorrow, visit the City Daily Photo portal to see photographers' interpretations of
the monthly theme, "bicycle."  And, today, visit James' website Weekend Reflections
to see other photographers' images with reflections.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Bicycle Planter

In two days, City Daily Photo bloggers will have another theme day:  "bicycle."
I like the one in the foreground with floral plantings.
But, I will keep looking.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Mike and his wife own Bloomfield Bicycle shop.   When electric-assisted bicycles came on the market, Mike realized that people like him would benefit from a boost.  Some bike stores carry two or three electric-assisted bikes as a novelty, but Bloomfield Bicycle went heavily into electric bikes.
They are now the biggest seller of electric bikes on the East Coast.

Still, with long hours and 75 years in his rear view mirrors, Mike was gaining weight, had diabetes and high blood pressure.  His doctor read him the riot act.  So, three months ago Mike made a commitment to riding his bike at least 20 miles a day.  He has dropped 45 pounds
in the last three months and has tossed out half of his pills.  Bravo, Mike!

I see an electric-assisted bicycle in my future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pretty Victorian Houses

Does anyone like this pretty Victorian streetscape in Hartford's West End?

How about this one?

Since the United States Supreme Court's recent ruling that same-sex marriage
is a Constitutionally protected right,  the American flag has often been sharing space
with the rainbow-colored flag representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Finishing My Walk Down Park Road

Kevin is the proprietor of Brick Walk Books and Fine Arts.  He offers an eclectic array of
used books and contemporary art.  I need to come back and 
spend some time looking over the books.

And, Richard is one of Kevin's friends and occasional customers.  Richard is a West Hartford psychotherapist, whose specialty is interpreting dreams.  He often visits Kevin's store
because the environment of books and artwork -- and Kevin's company and
conversation -- are at the same time calming and stimulating.

Bob's family has owned and operated Lane and Lenge florists for decades, originally in
downtown Hartford, later in West Hartford Center, and now on Park Road.

Jesus came from Puerto Rico two years ago.  He is a barista at J. RenĂ© Coffee Roasters,
a popular artisanal coffee gathering place on Park Road.

Dave owns "fresh ink," a busy shop that does custom screen printing on tee shirts,
athletic shirts, banners and signs.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More Walking on Park Road

Howard owns a tanning salon and a hair and beauty studio.
Yes, I could take his photograph, but beyond that, he's not talking.

I met Melissa last year in Middletown, when she worked the counter at NoRA Cupcakes.
This year I found her working at Black Diamond, a place that does piercings.
Melissa has a more sophisticated look this year, don't you think?

John writes poetry.  He saw my camera and said he would pose for me.  He wanted two dollars (for coffee) but if I didn't want to give it to him, that would be OK, he would still pose for me.
I gave him the two dollars.  He seemed like a nice guy who needed it.

Kim and Lily are mother and daughter.  Did you guess that?  I did.
Kim is receptionist for Green Man Tattoos, where her husband John is the tattoo artist.
Lily just got her nose pierced at Black Diamond, down Park Road.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Walk down Park Road

Park Road was once a bit gritty, but in the last decade or two it has been revived
and is now home to a great many interesting restaurants, shops and services.

Maria came here from Poland 35 years ago.  She has owned consignment stores for fashionable women's clothing in West Hartford for 19 years, the last 15 on Park Road.

John has been a bartender at Plan B Burger Bar and Tavern since it opened in 2006.

Dan claims he has been sitting at this bar stool at Plan B Burger Bar and Tavern since it opened,
too, and there is no evidence to disprove his claim.

Heng makes sushi at I Love Sushi.
Did I tell you that autocorrect and I have an uneasy relationship?
When I put Heng's name into my iPhone, autocorrect changed it to "He got it."

Natalie has worked for a year in the take-out and catering department of Hall's Market, a local grocery store on Park Road.  She is entering her senior year of high school and
hopes to go to college to study international affairs. 

Friday, July 24, 2015


Each July I drive to Griswold in eastern Connecticut to see Buttonwood Farm's sunflower fields.
Buttonwood Farm is a terrific ice cream stand.  But, even more important,
they are a generous supporter of the Make a Wish Foundation,
which supports children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Buttonwood plants 12 acres of sunflowers, and when they bloom in July, they offer bouquets of cut sunflowers for sale, and they give hayrides and "cow train" rides through the sunflower fields.

Bravo, Buttonwood Farm!

This friendly young woman was in front of me in the line to buy sunflower bouquets.
She had such a nice personality, I had to ask for a photograph.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Another Walk Around West Hartford Center

Katie is a UConn student majoring in psychology, human development and family studies.  She has thought about becoming a counselor, but she works in a women's clothing store and loves retail, so she is rethinking her options.  Katie loves her grandmother's Navajo turquoise necklace,
so I chose a photograph showing it.

John works at The Artisan Vapor, one of those new stores offering flavored and nicotine-infused water vapors as an alternative to smoking.  The store opens officially today.

Tanya is an arbitrator for the State of Connecticut's Department of Labor.  She is interested in mind-body medicine and has undergone professional training.  Tanya is called the Shaking Queen . . . it does not take much to get her to show someone the health benefits of shaking!

Sarah's husband is a software engineer and she is a quilt artist, though with three children (including ten-month old twins) Sarah is short of time for art at the moment.  After living in Boston
for many years, they moved back to West Hartford recently to
raise the family in a lower cost and simpler lifestyle.

And here are the twins!  Elizabeth (left) and William (right).
Two cuties and certainly enough to keep Sarah on the run. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bleu . . . Blau . . . Blue . . . Thank You

Humor me.  I was at the New Britain Museum of Art a week ago and had lunch in the cafe.

My camera was on the table as I looked across the room.  Lady in blue.  Man with blue shirt.  
Blue wall.  Blue glass baubles strung from the ceiling.  
Thank you.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Having a Little Work Done

After 220 years, I suppose it is OK for a lady to have some cosmetic refreshening.

Hartford's Old State House is open during its renovations.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I Am Grateful

"I am grateful
for the inspiration
of joyful expression
found in Elizabeth Park."

Anne O. Kubitsky is a writer and artist based in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  She has distributed hundreds of blank postcards, inviting strangers to attach the postcard to something for which they are grateful and mail it back to her.  The postcards and Anne's artwork about gratitude have
been shown in numerous exhibitions.

This brightly painted pair of doors is an installation by Anne in a quiet corner of --  where else?  --
Elizabeth Park, behind the Pond House and adjacent to the pond.

Linked to Monday Mural.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Night at the Museum

Hartford's art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, has a summertime Friday night series of vintage
movies, outdoors in the enclosed courtyard.  Dinner and music are available before the movie.

Atla deChamplaign is a jazz singer who graduated from the University of Hartford's Hart School of Music, as did her husband Matt, who teaches piano at the college.  Atla and Matt are performing during dinner before the movies this summer, sometimes with a third or fourth musician.

Dennis and his wife were at the next table.  Dennis is a retired chemical engineer who worked
 for United Technologies on teams that made fuel cells and the astronauts' space suits.
He also farms his family's 60 acre farm in Pennsylvania.  Dennis is an avid golfer.

Some people need popcorn during the movie.

The film was "It Happened One Night," an Oscar-winning 1934 comedy starring 
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert and directed by Frank Capra.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Gun Violence

People who blog about their cities have positive outlooks.  We are boosters.  We wear rose colored glasses.  We show our cities as better than they are.

Well, that can't always be done.  This small grove of trees on Hartford's Asylum Hill was
planted a year ago as a memorial to the too-many people in Hartford who have
been mowed down in senseless gun violence.  

Well, it didn't work.  This year is even worse.  Two days ago the Mayor of Hartford asked the Governor of Connecticut for more state resources to staff a task force intended to intervene with the idiots thugs worthless pieces of trash (ahem) residents who have so far in 2015
accounted for 17 unsolved homicides.

Although overall crime has been dropping nationally and statewide, Hartford has seen a spike in killings. The 17 homicides cover about half a year, while the full-year total for 2014 was 19.

The number of homicides places Hartford as the highest among large cities in New England — ahead of Boston, Worcester, Providence, Bridgeport and others. As of one week ago, Boston had 12 homicides, Providence nine. Bridgeport has recorded eight homicides. 
Worcester had its fourth homicide on June 25.

Hartford is way out in front, in first place.  Shame on Hartford.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Everybody Dances When Eight to the Bar Plays

I would call Eight to the Bar a Connecticut institution, but an "institution" seems like
something you call your high school's longtime basketball coach.

Eight to the Bar has been performing blues, swing, Motown, boogie-woogie and classic rock for the last forty years.  I tapped my toes, but others flung their bodies around.
Last night at -- where else?  -- Elizabeth Park.   

The sax player has been with the band from the start.

(The singer might have been added long after the band started . . .  )

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Infinity Music Hall

The Infinity Music Hall has been a terrific venue for presenting live music in Norfolk for many years.  Last fall they opened an additional small theater in downtown Hartford.  
This is the view from the stage.  (Minus the peeps.)
Below is the exterior.