March,  2016 

Your copy of the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association 'News & Views' has arrived!   You will find that you can easily go to any subject in the table of contents by just clicking on it or just browse through the articles as you wish. Please have a look. 


Next Meeting 03/07/2016

The next meeting is Monday March 7th, 6:15 P.M. at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Avenue.
February Minutes

From The Chair
Did you know that during the early 19th century, the Asylum Hill and Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity? An abolitionist is a person who favors the abolition of a practice or institution, especially capital punishment or (formerly) slavery.

HouseFrom the House
From time to time I log onto the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles website to check the wait times( Our closest full-service office is the old dinosaur in Wethersfield. Lines for a "change of registration" regularly stretch beyond two hours. That is two-plus hours out of your work day for what should be a simple transaction. Two-plus hours that you could be with family or friends. It is frustrating and unnecessary.


AHThenAsylum Hill Then and Now
Corner of Ashley and Garden Streets
It seems especially appropriate this month to feature 213 Garden St with pictures of the "Ashley Café" and the current "Zunner Bldg". While much of the structure of the building appears the same, the changes both in and out can't be over stated. In less than 10 years this building will have gone from one of the most troubled locations in the neighborhood to one of its newest assets.



Committee Briefs

Exploring Asylum Hill:
207 Garden Street Looking for Tenants
It's been more than five years since the building on the corner of Garden and Ashley Sts. began its transformation from "the Ashley Café" to "The Zunner Building". That single tenant, gave the whole building and even that general area a crippling reputation that had plagued it for more than 20 years. Drugs, prostitution and other crimes were synonymous with the name. So when NINA was finally able to take title to the property in 2010, the first thing it changed was the name. Today the Zunner Building is nearing occupancy.


Zoning Meeting
About a dozen residents and concerned citizens met with Sara Bronin The Chair of Hartford's Planning and Zoning Commission at Asylum Hill Congregational Church on the morning of 2/18 to review possible changes to the City's Zoning map as it applies to Asylum Hill.


Mayor Bronin On Asylum Hill

The Mayor visited Asylum Hill twice this past week. On Thursday February 25th he held a Town Hall on Public Safety at Hartford High and on Sunday February 28th he visited Asylum Hill Congregational Church for a 'Community Conversation' with the congregation.

Read More

I84 Project

CT DOT engineers continue reaching out to the public for ideas and opinions as to how best to replace the stretch of I-84 that cuts through the middle of the City from Sigourney St to Asylum Ave.


Akwabaa Hartford! An African Fashion Show

On the last Thursday evening in February, At the Center for Contemporary Culture Georges Annan-Kingsley led more than 20 fellow African immigrants in a fashion and cultural immersion of 11 of the 54 Countries of Africa. 

Black History Bee

History was made on Saturday February 27, 2016 at the Hartford Public Library. Local students from Milner School, Fred D. Wish School, Clarke Elementary and Martin Luther King schools competed In the 1st Black History Bee.
Read More

Teens In Cultural Spaces In Hartford

Lauren Cross, Stacy Queen and I planned a Teen Night at the Wadsworth Museum in May 2015. We initially thought we would be the only attendees. We were wrong. Instead we made history. This was the first event specifically for teens. Approximately 40 teens participated in art activities, tours of the galleries, and an open mic event. Members of the Wadsworth Board of Directors donated food.



The Hartford Sponsors Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture  
The Hartford chose the afternoon of the 25th as part of their celebration of African American History month to announce their gift of $1,000,000.00 toward the construction of the National Museum of African American History & Culture currently being completed on the Mall in Washington DC and scheduled to open September 24th of this year.


Hartbeat Ensemble Paid Internships

Each year, Hartbeat Ensemble offers an opportunity for teens who are interested to get hands on experience in the work and craft of theater. It's called Youth Play Institute, and this years program begins March 21st and culminates with performances May 20th to 22nd.






Vacation Arts Week

Not sure what to do with the kids during school spring break? You might consider adding some creative physical exercise, dance and artistic skills to their schedule. Hartford City Ballet is offering "Vacation Arts Week; a week long arts-related and educational activity during the Hartford Public School's Spring vacation break. 





HCB Adult Classes

In addition to the Spring Break Vacation Arts Week, HCB also offers adult beginner ballet classes. They are hour-long full body aerobic workouts.  Taught by master instructor's Keiko Nakamura and Dartanion Reed, this class is a blend of Japanese, Russian and American classical styles of training for ballet.
  Read More





VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program

Again this year, households with less than $54,000. income can get free income tax assistance at various location around the City and region.
  Read More






Ladies Sunday Afternoon Dancing And Tea
On Sunday March 13th, 2:00-3:00PM Hartford City Ballet and The Welcoming Committee of The Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association will sponsor an afternoon tea and dancing event at Hartford City Ballet, 85 Gillett St.



Hartford News AHNA Supplement

As part of our communications efforts we publish our newsletter 'AHNA News and Views' as a supplement in the Hartford News monthly.  To cover the printing costs we need to secure ads generating $500.00 dollars each month.  This provides us with four pages with color.  If you, an organization you work for or belong to would like to help support this effort please see the order form below.  Please contact the editor at  if you know of anyone or business you think we might reach out to for support.  Thank you.


Ad Order Form

Events Calendar


Please click on the following link to go to our online Events Calendar.

BriefsCommittee Briefs
Friends of Sigourney Square Park will meet next in April

Quality of Life Committee;
met on February 18th Issues discussed included continued panhandling in and near AH Corporations, issues of illegal parking near Saint Francis, 2 Larcenies, 7 Burglaries, additional cameras will be installed in the neighborhood, patrol officers are encouraged to park & do their paperwork on "busy" streets rather than quiet parking lots, new Faith-based CSO to cover Asylum Hill, Officer Doug Antuna

Communications Committee;
met on 2/22, planned out the March edition of the News & Views and discussed future collaborations with the Mark Twain Branch Library both presently and when the Library moves to their new location in the summer. They continue to seek advertising especially for the paper edition to defray the cost to print it.

  Welcoming Committee;
      met last on January 28th topics covered included;
  1. the Multi-cultural Center that will begin as a "lemonade stand" at the Mark Twain Branch Library with limited regular hours each week. Scheduled to begin March 22nd they are looking for volunteers to staff it.
  2. Establishing goals for the Committee for 2016
  3. Leadership change - need a member of the immigrant community to take on leadership, with the support of the staff
  4. Multi-cultural Center is looking for an established sponsor to create a "Dissociated Entity" relationship with for IRS purposes

From The Editor
If you have any comments, suggestions or submissions please contact me via email at 
Paul O'Mara Communications Committee Chair
Contact Us
Send emails directly to AHNA at

To visit our website click on the following link.   AHNA Website

To visit our Facebook page go to 'Asylum Hill Living' group page.