I drove into Hartford …

By Rosalie Tirella

… a few days ago to do some city exploring and visit some old stomping grounds.  I was there years ago, and back then Hartford was, in many ways, shabbier than the Worcester of almost two decades ago. …

But two days ago it was like … WOW.  Their downtown freaking blossomed during the last 15 or so years! Looked fantastic. Looked cosmopolitan. Looked bustling and hip and busy, busy, busy. Call it a mecca!  Call it a hub! Call it hubba hubba! Call it A REAL DOWNTOWN.

When I was there many moons ago the captal of Connecticut had long ceased to be the insurance capital of America. You’d go downtown to the art museum on a Saturday and the city would be a ghost town. During the work week it was busy, as the folks from West Hartford, Wethersfield, Bloomfield and other suburbs commuted into work, but the core of Hartford looked and felt a lot like Worcester’s core. Maybe a bit buzzier but still kinda old, outdated … not at all exciting. Zzzzzzzzz…

Then WHAM! BAM! BOOM! Two days ago I saw a totally revived downtown Hartford: It had pizzazz! It was cool, vibrant, artsy, big biz/small biz-ridden, chock full of busy people of all ages, colors and walks of life.  People actually looked pumped to be making their way down the streets. I wanted to be a part of it! Just one of a million peeps running their lives, together, diverse, engaged with their city.

Why does downtown Worcester still suck? Why does it still look pretty much the way it did 15 years ago? Yes, our neighborhoods put Hartford’s to shame. From the few Hartford hoods I was in, they felt just as dangerous and looked just as poor as they did almost 20 years ago. Hartford  just doesn’t have a west side, Burncoat or many other fab WOO-like hoods.

BUT THEY have A DOWNTOWN to DIE FOR!!!!!!!!

Let’s not argue them versus us. Let’s admit that an incredible downtown like Hartford’s would make Worcester pretty much purr-fect!

So … is it our city manager form of government that keeps downtown Woo back? Is it stupid, brain-dead Woo city movers and shakers who just don’t have the talent or ambition to aggressively get new biz to move to Worcester, bring new ideas to the table? Is it the stifling Worcester nepotism that enables mediocre city leaders to stuff our tax payer-financed city government with their uninspired and uninspiring moron pals and relatives? Is it the vicious Worcester back-biting that can leave folks black-balled for years? Is it our urban factions, cliques filled with self-righteous prigs who refuse to work with folks who have different world views, different styles of talking, writing, living, BEING? Is it Catholicism at its most puritanical, punitive, circumscribed, SHITTY?

I don’t know what the causes are for our still pretty lackluster downtown. But I do know, Worcester, we better get moving!