Since Jim and Mike Amore opened Jet Cleaners in 1956, the place has become a rite of passage not only for Mike Amore Jr., who worked there as a teen and now represents the third generation of his family's business, but for New Haven residents. The company's Facebook page fondly catalogs photos of staff through the decades, occasionally noting the growth of their careers and families, or marking their passing. The good feelings are mutual, as the community voted Jet Cleaners Elm City's Best Dry Cleaner and Tailor in 2011. Voting with their dollars, the Yale Repertory Theater and Yale Medical School entrust Amore and his team with their costumes and lab coats, a practice begun after hearing the school's dean relied on them to starch his upper lip. A light touch with these delicate materials extends to refreshing heirloom quilts and wedding gowns, as well as tailoring suits. Free weekly pickup and delivery services save trips to the cleaner's modernist building on State Street, which is instantly recognizable not only for its austere design but also for the garden flourishing within its glass walls.
Parents and children gaze at Curious George's antics on a movie screen, which is situated amid the same stencil work, pews, and fixtures that have decorated Charter Oak Cultural Center's building since its construction in 1876. Once the first synagogue to be built in Connecticut, it currently hosts the center's theatrical performances, film showings, and gallery exhibits, which all center around the idea that art is sustenance for the mind. With a belief that open and equal access to the arts fosters the community as a whole, it aims to enrich minds through four key activity types—artistic, cultural, educational, and historic preservation—that are often free. Its youth arts institute is endorsed by the Hartford Public Schools superintendent’s office and aims to supplement curricula with programs before, after, and after-after school. In adult-learning workshops, instructors advise on topics such as what to consider before going back to school, while the center's Homegrown Dance movement supports seven local companies.
While a person might wear clothes ranging from basic tees and pants to slinky cocktail dresses, they can't lump everything together when it comes time to do laundry. That’s why the technicians at Fabricare Cleaners offer laundering services in addition to their three styles of dry cleaning: one for basic items, one for fragile items needing special care, and one using biodegradable, eco-friendly detergents. They have a reciprocal relationship with the Fashion Institute of Technology, in which they teach the school how to service garments and the school teaches them how to understand construction. This training enables them to immediately recognize stains and fabric type, allowing them to accurately protect and clean clothes by using fabric-friendly chemicals and buttons previously worn by secret-service agents.
After more than 30 years in the business, the owners recently upgraded the facilities to incorporate green technology and use less energy during their processes. In their upgraded facility, the staff can efficiently clean clothes, furs, house decor, and shoes, which can be dropped off in one of the 24-hour kiosks and are returned with the shop’s free delivery service. They also provide reusable garment bags, helping cut down on plastic waste and large cat nests found in the closet corner.
Nestled among 151 private acres, Larkspur Farm’s 36-horse facility sets the spacious stage for education in the equine pursuits of hunting, jumping, and dressage under the tutelage of specialized trainers. All lessons take place year-round on the farm’s all-weather outdoor lesson ring or inside the 80’x120’ arena. Beginners establish riding skills by starting with one-on-one lessons that instill such fundamentals as mounting the horse, trotting, and applying enough gel to give your steed a mane mohawk. As riders advance, they matriculate to small group lessons of up to four riders that last one hour and cover more advanced techniques.
Larkspur Farm offers boarding facilities for privately owned horses, summer camp for boys and girls aged 7–14, and a sales and leasing program for horses and ponies.
Painter's Supply stocks vibrant interior and exterior paints from top-industry brands alongside the tools needed to apply the new hues. Renters, homeowners, or tree-house speakeasy kingpins can complement paint schemes with implements such as tray liners ($5.13), microfiber roller covers ($3.99), paintbrushes ($20.49 for 2.5" brush), paint pails ($12.53), and paint-pail liners ($5.99). Feel free to solicit professional opinions or appraisals on a dumpster mural from each storefront's design center, which is helmed by proficient painters.