Not since, well, since who knows when, has there been such an anticipated happening in Hartford as there was Thursday when the long awaited Infinity Music Hall & Bistro held it official ribbon cutting.
Considered the crown jewel of the Front Street development project, it was one happy crowd that turned lunchtime into a happy hour at the impressive theater and restaurant, all anxious to get a sneak peek of the place and celebrate the opening of what is expected to be one the city’s biggest draws.
“I’m thankful and excited and it’s another win for Hartford,” said a beaming Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra as he worked a room full of business leaders, politicians including Gov. Dan Malloy and U.S. Congressman John Larson, theater officials including CEO and owner Dan Hincks and Front Street neighbors including Matt Fleury from the CT Science Center and Riverfront Recapture CEO/president Joe Marfuggi.
For Helen Nitkin, who with her late husband Brad and their Greenwich-based HB Nitkin Group, launched the Front Street entertainment and restaurant district, Thursday’s ceremonies were bittersweet.
“I just wish he were here to see this,” said Nitkin, sporting a special ring and watch, gifts her late husband gave her and piece she only wears when she comes to Front Street. “He would be so happy to see how this all came together.”
If pride could be measured, Hincks would surely be the winner as he graciously gave guests a tour of the impressive 500-seat theater that 90-seat bistro, did television interviews and juggled hundreds of handshakes and congratulations from well-wishers .
“I have two daughters and this feels like my third,” grinned Hincks, who opened his first Infinity Hall in Norfolk several years ago.
Acknowledging that many feel it will be up to the theater to attract the crowds to Front Street, Hincks said his plan is to simply do the best job her can. “We want to succeed and I think Hartford is ready for it,” Hincks said. “We’ll draw the people with good quality talent and performances and our neighbors will benefit.”
Featured entertainer at the ribbon cutting ceremonies was Jonathan Edwards, best known for his 1972 hit, “Sunshine.” A regular headliner at the Norfolk location, Edwards said he was thrilled to be at the Hartford party. “I’d cheat on Norfolk and perform here too,” he grinned. “It’s a beautiful theater.”