The Radius ProjectRadius is about what happens when we explore the edges, paths, and landmarks of a city — and meet our neighbors. Through sound and image, we're seeking out stories not far from some routes you might already know. Come along with us as we map Hartford, Connecticut in a new way.
Radius is about what happens when we explore the edges, paths, and landmarks of a city — and meet our neighbors. Through sound and image, we're seeking out stories not far from some routes you might already know. Come along with us as we map Hartford, Connecticut in a new way.
If you've visited Hartford's South End, you might be familiar with Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery on Franklin Avenue. It's an "institution" in the city — a place that has been around for a long time, and that if you visit Hartford and don't stop in, you're crazy. Mozzicato's has pastries, cakes, pizza, bread, and lots more delicious food, plus a cafe where you can get espresso drinks. "I had to do something, had to make a living," said Gino Mozzicato, who came to Hartford from Sicily in 1968 and started the bakery five years later. "People like us became a well-known name. We cater to the customer, to the people. We've been friendly, helpful, respectable. That's why we're over here today." What used to be a mostly Italian neighborhood is now much more diverse. "Immigration change the people. Still the people still like the sweets," Mozzicato said. Al Marotta has been a South End resident since 1949. Today he's the president of the South Hartford Merchants Association, and he's pleased to see new generations of homeowners move in to the neighborhood. "I think in the past three years, there has been a great change," he said, "It's been a positive thing." At nearby Bulkeley High School, students speak 23 different languages. It has a program called City Slickers that brings together refugee, immigrant, and special needs students to a farm in Terryville, Connecticut to learn skills and connect with other students. We hear from some of them, and learn more about what it's like for them to live in Hartford — including a Burmese refugee who is getting used to a new place, and experiencing snow for the first time. Mozzicato Radius Extras: The City Slickers program is helping Bulkeley High School immigrant and refugee students to learn skills and connect with others at a farm in Terryville, Connecticut. Learn more » Listen to more audio from Mozzicato's radius: Join WNPR as we map Hartford in a new way, searching for perspective on the city — its beauties, its issues, and most importantly its people. Theme music: Tang Sauce, "Just Chillin remix" Alphonse Marotta and Kamal family photos by Ryan Caron King The post Radius 5: Mozzicato's Bakery appeared first on The Radius Project.
Radius 4: The Connecticut River - The Radius Project
Long before it was our capital city, the Connecticut River shaped the land in and around Hartford. It's been a settling place for Native Americans, Dutch explorers, and Jewish migrants. Today we may not even notice it because it's been walled off and separated from our daily lives. "There's something about being in a city atmosphere, and having something so beautiful, and calm, and relaxing alongside it," said rower Rebecca Likar early one morning. "It's absolutely beautiful. You have the city lights. There's so much wildlife, which is crazy." The river is a great resource now in part because of all the effort that went into cleaning it up. It's become a much healthier waterway since 1972, when the Clean Water Act was implemented. Before then, a lot of industrial waste went directly into the river, including untreated sewage. Today, it's so clean it's even safe to swim in. Well, mostly. U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist John Mullaney said he still might hold off after a heavy rainfall. The Connecticut River is also susceptible to floods. In this episode of Radius, we learn about what one synagogue community had to do to save its Torah scrolls when the water started rising in 1936. Riverfront businesses and homes were devastated, and the Jewish community on Hartford's Front Street was hit hard. "I am still in awe of the wonderful contributions that the Jewish community made to Hartford," said Estelle Kafer of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford — like Gerson Fox, the founder of G. Fox, and famous vaudeville performer Sophie Tucker. Tucker's father had a restaurant on Front Street where she would sing songs as a young girl. Hartford's riverfront has undergone a lot of change. The city razed the Front Street district in the 1960s after the floods, and it built Constitution Plaza in its place. Since then, Hartford has been trying to bring people back to the river. Connecticut Riverfront Extras: At the end of the 19th century, Hartford's Front Street was a settling place for many immigrants – bustling with Jews, Irish, and Italian families that lived in tight tenement housing, and worked in retail or local factories. Learn more » Listen to more audio from the Connecticut River radius: Join WNPR as we map Hartford in a new way, searching for perspective on the city — its beauties, its issues, and most importantly its people. Theme music: Tang Sauce, "Just Chillin remix" Music in this episode: Mixashawn, "20th Century Overture Arrangement," "An Improvisation"; Sophie Tucker, "He Hadn't Up Til Yesterday" The post Radius 4: The Connecticut River appeared first on The Radius Project.
Radius 4: The Connecticut River - The Radius Project
Mount Olive Church in Hartford is on Battles Street. It was home in the 1960s to the street's namesake, Reverend Richard Battles, a civil rights leader and Arkansas native. He once brought a group from the church to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — his friend — in Selma, Alabama. Rev. Battles was known for his thundering sermons on racial justice and equality. "We're a big family," said Deacon Fred Williams of the nearly 700-member church community. "We love each other — a very loving atmosphere. That's how we're respected here. We do a lot for the community, especially around the holidays." Mount Olive is now a vital support for the community it serves. The historic Baptist church, founded in 1917, provides public transportation to its members who need it, and offers a day care program adjacent to the church. In this episode of Radius we'll bring you inside Mount Olive, and spend time handing out Thanksgiving meals with the parishioners. We visit a barber shop near the church called It's a Gee Thang, where the owner Gee not only trims beards and shaves faces, he also facilitates conversations about community. As soon as someone is sitting in his chair, Gee is mentoring him. We also stop by the Green House, which those in the neighborhood know as part of the Hartford Catholic Worker. Any kid can walk in the door and get a meal, play games, and find caring adults. It's been that way for years, and has drastically changed some people's lives for the better. Mount Olive Church Extras: It's a Gee Thang Barbershop on Hartford's Main Street has been around since 1995. They do a lot more for the community than just cut hair. Learn more » Listen to more audio from the Mount Olive radius: Join WNPR as we map Hartford in a new way, searching for perspective on the city — its beauties, its issues, and most importantly its people. Theme music: Tang Sauce, "Just Chillin remix" The post Radius 3: Mount Olive Church appeared first on The Radius Project.
Park Street in Hartford is like a spine in the city. It starts in downtown Hartford and heads through the neighborhood called Frog Hollow, and stretches all the way to the city line with West Hartford. In Hartford's Frog Hollow, the corridor is a lively place known as a hub for the Latino community, especially Puerto Ricans — but it's very inclusive, and it's changed over the decades. "Before, there were a lot of Dominicans here," said Yanil Teron, executive director at the Center for Latino Progress based on Park Street. "Now, there are Mexicans, Peruvians, people from Guatemala. The community is very rich in culture. It's exciting to be able to see a vibrant street in Hartford — one of the most vibrant streets." Park Street is so busy with activity, Teron said, that you're better off not trying to drive or run straight through it — all the congestion will just slow you down. State Rep. Angel Arce, who moved to Hartford with his family from Puerto Rico when he was seven, said the area used to include a lot of French Canadians and Greeks in the 1950s and 1960s. "Back starting around the '70s — that's when the Puerto Ricans started moving in that area," he said. "And then in the '80s, other nationalities started coming in." This episode, we learn how Park Street has changed, how its important history matters to Hartford, and what the place means now to some of the people who live there. We visit the owner of Pelican Tattoo, hear from teenagers fixing up bikes to give to the homeless, and stop in at the restaurant Comerio. It's named after the Puerto Rican home town of Maria Sanchez, Hartford's first Latina state lawmaker, and the first Hispanic woman elected to the Connecticut legislature. Park Street Extras: Joe Bascetta's Pelican Tattoo business on Hartford's Park Street had its origins in fashion. You can't miss the shop, in a building decorated with a huge fluorescent mural. Learn more » Listen to more audio from the Park Street radius: Join WNPR as we map Hartford in a new way, searching for perspective on the city — its beauties, its issues, and most importantly its people. Theme music: Tang Sauce, "Just Chillin remix" Music in this episode: Lorena Garay, "Capullito de Aleli," "Contando la Clave," and "El Cumbanchero" Comerio photos by Ryan Caron King The post Radius 2: Park Street appeared first on The Radius Project.
Hartford's historic Keney Park in the northwestern area of the city is enormous. It has almost 700 acres of green space designated for the public to enjoy. "Every time I walk into this park, I think of two things," said Gregory Richard, also known as Joe, when we met him at the Keney Park Pond. "Henry Keney, the guy that dedicated this park — what the hell he had that he could give this much land to the city of Hartford. And then I think of this: he dedicated the land so that it could be nothing but a park. But out of all the parks in Hartford, this one is the least maintained." Richard has been coming to the park for almost 50 years. Henry Hester works every day to bring the park back to life. "Hartford is my home, and I'm invested," he said. "My job has been to make this a healthy city, and for my grandkids to love where they live." He's an active member of the Friends of Keney Park, an organization of volunteers that helps to maintain and promote the park. "We want to continue to show the community that we're worthy to be invested in," Hester said. Keney Park is home to horse stables, a golf course, a cricket pitch, a pool, basketball courts, and old carriage trails. Our radius for this episode is centered on the public pool in the park, and reaches out to the busy commercial district of Albany Avenue. We meet people working to change the neighborhood for the better, including one woman integral to the community, Denise Best, who said it took 15 years for Hartford to grow on her. As she walked down Albany Avenue, pointing out changes coming large and small, most of the people we passed said hello to her. We also spend time learning about the history and impact of the Artists Collective, and we'll hear from people involved in this year's performance of Night Fall, which brought hundreds of new people to Keney Park. Above, you can also see images from around the park and the neighborhood. Keney Park Extras: The Ebony Horsewomen of Keney Park started out as a riding organization for African American women, but now they're all about helping kids of all kinds. Learn more » Listen to more audio from the Keney Park radius: Learn more about Hartford's Artists Collective through J Holt's story for WNPR. Join WNPR as we map Hartford in a new way, searching for perspective on the city — its beauties, its issues, and most importantly its people. Theme music: Tang Sauce, "Just Chillin remix" Music in this episode: Jackie McLean, "Little Melonae," "Das Dat," and "Toyland"; Lomar Brown, "Dreaming a Lie" Night Fall photos courtesy of Bill Morgan The post Radius 1: Keney Park appeared first on The Radius Project.
WNPR Introduces the Radius Project - The Radius Project
Join WNPR as we map Hartford in a new way, searching for perspective on the city — its beauties, its issues, and most importantly its people. Radius is about what happens when we explore the edges, paths, and landmarks of a city, and meet our neighbors. In each of five episodes, we look at a well-known landmark, and explore a half-mile radius around it. We're finding unexpected stories close to some spots you might already know. Through sound and image, Radius takes a look at what Hartford is, and what we imagine it to be. The post WNPR Introduces the Radius Project appeared first on The Radius Project.
WNPR Introduces the Radius Project - The Radius Project