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M. Brown

New Bedford MA vs Portland ME

Which one is better?   22 members have voted

  1. 1. Which one is better?

    • Portland
      17
    • New Bedford
      5

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18 posts in this topic


I think Portland is a better city, but New Bedford is the more historic. Don't forget, New Bedford was the wealthiest city in the country at the height of the whaling industry.

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I've been to New Bedford recently, haven't been to Portland in a while. I can't say I cared a whole lot for New Bedford. It was certainly historic, but the point I didn't think it was a good thing.

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Yeah, I have been to neither place, so some photos would help me make a decision...right now I have very little to go on.

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It's very difficult to find any pictures of New Bedford online. I live about 20 minutes away and will try to get some pics this summer. Until then, here's a few I dug up online.

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New%20Bedford011%20-%20Downtown%20Waterfront.jpg

New%20Bedford012%20-%20Waterfront.jpg

New%20Bedford021.jpg

New Bedford was severly crippled by the loss of manufacturing mid-century and has never really recovered. It keeps trying, but keeps getting stymied. There is a plan for a large aquarium to be built on the waterfront, but the state keeps balking at providing any money for it. The city, along with neighbouring Fall River is desperate to get a Commuter Rail connection to Boston, but suburban NIMBYs have been blocking it. The current administration has also decided to focus on transit improvements within Boston, the last decade ahs seen a lot of suburban rail expansion, and New Bedford and Fall River seem to have missed the boat (or train if you will) on that.

The city has a great historica downtown district, but there's not a whole lot going on there (unlike Portland's Old Port). The city has a lot of potential, but there are a lot of abondoned former industrial areas, and a lot of the neighbourhoods are very poor.

The city retains a large fishing fleet (the largest on the East Coast if I'm not mistaken). And the state is trying to move some ferry operations to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket to New Bedford, to take some pressure off the Cape. The islands haven't embraced these changes though. The city could become a great tourist gateway to the islands if the boat lines would be approved.

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Oddly enough, there was an editorial about New Bedford in the Providence Journal today:

New Bedford awakening

Monday, March 1, 2004

Would you like to live in a grand old house -- a house of character and whimsy -- set amid trees and parks? Would you like to walk to the beach? Would you like to be part of a city of history and excitement?

Would you like to find such a place on the coast of New England -- even if you lack millions of dollars?

Go to New Bedford. Yes, the world's great whaling port that still leads the nation in fishing.

In 2001, Gerald FitzGerald predicted (in I Didn't Know That! Greater New Bedford's Golden Nuggets -- Historic People, Places and Events): "When New Bedford wakes, the nation will turn to look as if upon a found jewel. . . ."

After the textile industry fled the city, with its attendant riches, the area took on a threadbare look. Yet, writes Mr. FitzGerald, New Bedford "has stretched out to pluck destiny from the life swirl too often to drowse about much longer. . . .

"No small matter that generations of gutsy whalers stared foaming death in the face to subdue thrashing giants. Casks of New Bedford oil so drawn lit the world and lubricated invention.

"No small matter that even as bigotry sprinkled its streets New Bedford offered shelter to the escaped slave, ripening for civilization the meaning of the word Friend. . . .

"No small matter that wave after wave of men, women and children of different skin tones, speaking different tongues . . . splashed ashore here to run thousands of humming looms. The warp and woof they wove clothed cities. . . .

"No small matter that even today, New Bedford's daring sons quietly float their fate upon the sea, [pulling] from its depths the richest ocean harvest east of the Pacific." Just look at the jaunty boats: restive in port until heading out, yet again, for the North Atlantic.

But what about Culture? Well, you've got Melville, of course, and Emerson and Thoreau; the painters Bierstadt and Ryder; Robert E. Lee did architecture here (Fort Taber), and this is where abolitionist Frederick Douglass launched his career. (Robert's Rules of Order was penned not for Parliament but for the First Baptist Church, which suffered from chaotic meetings.) There's a symphony orchestra, a regionally known theater, an art museum, and the Whaling Museum -- as much art gallery as explication of the past and the sea.

Maybe most exciting is that creative people are now gravitating to New Bedford, with its luminous air and palatial mills, in which to make art -- not to mention its non-Boston rents. In the gathering of the artists, visual and performing, you can feel ferment.

Walk these stones, smell the salt, lunch at a Portuguese eatery -- or an elegant fish restaurant. Visit the fishing boats; gaze out over the waters. Pay respects at the Seamen's Bethel (1832) to those lost in the huge maritime enterprise; the simple wooden structure both warms and charms. Take in all the faces -- wood, brick and stone -- of the buildings that tell New Bedford's story.

New Bedford is, as Mr. FitzGerald predicted, re-awakening, and it is, as he says, a jewel. But it's not glass-encased. Here are the scratches of wear and of life -- which are its patina.

From The Providence Journal

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Yup crickets. :whistling:

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Portland is a nice city. I have been through there many times and used to commute from Lewiston to attend high school there for a few years. Sometimes I still go up to visit my family in the surrounding areas. It is undergoing a tremendous boom right now. They say its the biggest construction boom in over a century.

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I would have to say that Portland is one of the nicest cities in NE. I have an Aunt and Uncle who run an B&B in scarborough (suburb of Portland), and every time I visit I have an awesome time there. I seriously thought about leaving the sunbelt to live in that city. Now my big question, do they have any HR jobs up there?? lol. Who knows. I have a few pictures that I'll try to put up.

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I've been spending quite a bit of time in New Bedford and Fall River for work lately, and am continually amazed at how vibrant especially New Bedford is becoming in its downtown. It's always packed with people when I'm there and definitely feels larger than it really is despite only having two buildings over 10 stories. I imagine once the JFK Highway is reconstructed into a waterfront boulevard it will be able to reach its full potential and capitalize on its amazing waterfront and all the history it entails. Oh, and the peninsula is great too, bike path alongside some nice waterfront. :thumbsup:

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