Saturday, December 02, 2006

the white swan

i thought i was dreaming this but in the back of my mind i knew it existed.

from time to time i think about the white swan. this time i checked the net!

i knew i went into the white swan a few times in my younger days. i knew it was wicked cool. i knew i didn't remember a sign out front and i thought that was rather odd. i knew i didn't remember too much about the inside except i liked it.

now i have proof it existed (of course the article isn't exactly about the white swan, it's about park street, BUT it's a start)

A Vision TAKES SHAPE In Park Street Revival

Tom Condon
October 1 2006
The day I moved to Hartford I went to Park Street, to a bar called The White Swan. I loved it - the Swan was no dive -but I also liked the feel and scale of the street and its compact group of businesses. That was more than 30 years ago, and I've been sold on Park Street ever since.Not everyone has shared my enthusiasm; decay and neglect over the years threatened the milelong thoroughfare. In the much-publicized gang troubles of the early 1990s, the term "Park Street" became shorthand for urban pathology (even though there was no gang violence on the street itself, and people kept going to the stores and shops).At the same time, not splashed on the 6 o'clock news, there were people who saw the potential. Pedro de Pedro, head of the Spanish American Merchants Association, believed the street could be the northern equivalent of Miami's Calle Ocho, a cultural and mercantile center for Latinos from several states.Though de Pedro died, way too young, his vision eventually held sway. By the late 1990s, the city and a number of strong nonprofit groups were poised to rebuild the neighborhood. But damage had been done, infrastructure was decaying, housing was being abandoned. Ill-advised demolition had punched holes in the streetscape. It was going to take an enormous amount of work to remake Park Street. It would take a leader who was both practical and visionary. The merchants found such a person when they brought Julio Mendoza over from La Casa de Puerto Rico to head the Spanish American Merchants Association a decade ago.......

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