Friday, January 16, 2015

Hard Hittin'

If I believed in hash tags and didn't think they were dumb, this would be called...


This is the north end of Hard Hittin' New Britain, arguably Connecticut's most troubled and blighted city, on this abundantly sunny and unseasonably mild January morning.

Hard Hittin' New Britain. But there is nothing "new" about this place. And there is nothing here that in any way resembles the U.K.

The uniform here is flannel or earth toned jackets over hooded sweat shirts. Their faces, grizzled and rough. Shopping carts are being pushed up and down the streets, though the only grocery store nearby, not counting the several corner bodegas, has been boarded up for years now.

This is a town where rooftop satellite dishes outnumber vehicles manufactured after 2002. This is New England's Detroit. I'm not here to carry out spiteful jabs though. This is a tragedy, is what it is.

Even Detroit has name recognition, and some fame to it. Baltimore has The Wire, The Orioles, and crabs. D.C.'s worst ghettos still have the dome of the Capitol in their view. And Oakland, California is lined with palm trees.

But New Britain, Connecticut is truly neglected, and worse than even forgotten...Never even thought of.

I was going to go on and on about the economic and sociological forces contributing over the years to this current mess, but I'll let you take it how you want to.

Know though, that Connecticut is not Greenwich or Mystic seaport, or hedge fund managers or yachts.

It is this.

Yet in the midst of all the Post-Industrial Age despair.....

Hope, small as it may be, glimmers.

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