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Old 12-31-2010, 05:56 AM   #41
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Patrick, great shots of Portland from across the harbor. Wish I could talk you into getting some shots from the top of the Temple Street Garage looking towards Monument Square. The corner right above the Nickelodium Theaters is the sweet spot, I need to buy a camera!

Did not include Promenade East or the Portland house due to being outside of the downtown area, but they do add to the skyline from Bug Light and heading south on I 295.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:22 AM   #42
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

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Regarding the Cambridge skyline:



I'm not saying it's peripheral to Boston; it's peripheral to Cambridge. The buildings of Cambridge's skyline are very much along the edge of the city, often largely inaccessible to most of the city, and completely disconnected from the neighborhoods and urban centers of the city. The Cambridge skyline, seen from Boston, is more of Boston than it is of Cambridge. It's fairly attractive and certainly prominent along the river, but unlike the skylines of Boston, Manchester, Providence, Hartford, Springfield and so on, it's neither tied to nor visible from the city. That's why I think it counts as a unique aspect of the Boston skyline, not a separate entity.
I think you're putting more importance on the skyline than I am. I really think a skyline is essentially a completely unimportant part of a city. It really only tells you that a city has had (or is having) some period of prosperity that took (or is taking) place after tall buildings began to be able to be achieved. They are a useless measure of the current vitality of the city (see: Hartford/Springfield) and often times are far from the most vibrant part of the city on an urban level (any city's Financial District is proof that).

For those reasons, I don't really care how well the Cambridge skyline interacts with Cambridge. When I'm in town, I'm hardly chilling in Kendall. However, from the Back Bay, Charles River Esplanade, BU, or Tobin Bridge, it looks separate (much like Jersey City does) which is why I put it in there. It's subject to a different municipality's laws than Boston and is physically separated by a relatively sizable body of water. You're more than welcome to your opinion. There's no question it is influenced by Boston (many cities are influenced by others), but it is physically separate and there are many locations where it can be viewed by itself (as seen in the picture on a previous page). Anyway, my list and my opinion are worth exactly how much you paid for them.

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Really, what I think gives portland its skyline isn't the number of buildings or their height, but as you said the spacing and clustering of them together, as well as the hilly topography. You could make a good skyline with 5 story buildings if they were situated and arranged correctly. Conversely, tall structures will do nothing for a skyline if arranged awkwardly (Worcester) or in the wrong topographical sense.
I agree. I think the hill makes some of the buildings appear taller from certain angles (i.e. 295) than they do up close (Time and Temp building for example). Worcester does look good at many angles. It has scale. Yes, there are only three 20+ story buildings, but there are a number in that "filler" range of 10+ stories. The taller buildings may make it seem like there are only three, but there are 9 buildings over 100ft in Worcester. Not too shabby. The 3 tall ones make it more than a lump of 10-12 story buildings though.

I know this is a thread full of Portland fans, so I'll take some crap for saying this. Portland has a lot going for it. Especially when you take its size into account. I think there's very little that's impressive about Portland's "skyline." Yes, there are certain angles where you can identify Portland's downtown core from a distance as it stands above the tree line. The Harbor is one, Back Cove/295 is another. That doesn't make it impressive.

In fact, what's so uninspiring about Portland's "skyline" (to me) is what makes the city great in every other aspect. Downtown Portland (Congress St) has a nice cluster of dense low and mid-rise buildings, many of which have architectural merit. They have nice facades, great street level interaction and a lot of history. All of these things help make Portland a great little city, but they don't really help the skyline. From a distance, they look like filler buildings. They don't have any real unique features that really stand out on a skyline. They're boxes. Boxes with great ground level interaction (again more important than any tower) and nice detail when viewed from up close; but boxes no less.

I think that even from the angles suggested, Portland's skyline is merely "there." It's less than impressive. It's bookended by an ugly 1970s brick public housing building (Franklin Towers, the city's tallest) and an ugly, squat hospital building that looks like a tumor on a hill (as opposed to the old building which is very attractive).

The other skylines on that list all have a few buildings that were designed to stand out from a distance and from certain angles. Boston has Rowes Wharf with International Place to identify it from the waterfront and Hancock/Pru from all other angles. Providence has the art deco "superman" building. Springfield has Monarch Place, New Haven has the funny shaped building with the cap on it (don't know the name, but I know it when I see it), Hartford has the Traveler's Tower, etc. Portland has filler buildings, but nothing that stands out and helps identify it from a distance. The light up sign on the T&T building may be unique by Portland standards (in a state where billboards and light up signs are illegal), but thousands of banks and buildings in cities across the country have the same type of display. Same goes for the illuminated sign on the Eastland. It's not at all unique. and it doesn't really stand out, anyway.

I think that it's sort of local pride that makes some of you love it so much. When you cruise in from the harbor or jog the back cove, you don't see a majestic skyline so much as you identify YOUR city which makes it feel much more impressive. Nothing wrong with that. When I take the ferry back from Martha's Vineyard or cruise into New Bedford down 18, I see that cluster of filler buildings and a few old apartment towers and get a welling of pride and nostalgia despite the city's problems. Same for crummy Fall River. There's noticeable cluster of buildings from certain angles, but it's hardly impressive other than the fact that it lets you (individually) identify YOUR city.

I doubt any visitor from outside the city (who isn't an urban enthusiast) would really look at downtown Portland from any of those angles and be wowed or even impressed by the city's skyline. The skyline never even occurred to me when I lived there, nor did it to any of my friends who visited. My girlfriend spent most of her life there (loves cities like Boston, Providence, New Haven and now lives in San Francisco) has never so much as mentioned it. There just isn't much of one to look at. The cluster of buildings that is there is just so nondescript from a distance that it's hard to be impressed. It's on the street level where Portland impresses which is far more important. Ask most people if they'd rather live in Bridgeport or Springfield than Portland and I'd be surprised if even 10% say anything other than Portland.


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I don't think Providence would exist without Boston. From my limited understanding of things, it was the puritans kicking roger williams out that led to the founding of Providence...so in a way that city is directly tied to Boston and its surroundings. That doesn't mean it is not urban on its own, just that it benefits from proximity to Boston like the other cities you mentioned benefit from proximity to NYC.
This is an interesting topic. I think Providence would exist. It's a good natural harbor and some settlement would have taken place there no matter what.

As far as Providence thriving? I don't know. I think it's twofold. I think Providence grew initially as a relatively independent regional city. As Boston's reach spread and the travel over distances became easier and faster, Providence sort of became less important. Now, Providence's renaissance can be largely attributed to being a satellite city of Boston.

That hardly means that Providence is just a suburb of Boston. It maintains its own very unique characteristics and feel. It has far more of a "creative" and bohemian vibe than Boston does. Federal Hill is more authentic Italian than the North End (now, anyway) and there many quirks that are very much unique to Providence (New York System Hot Dogs, Del's, Stuffies, etc). Still, economically, Boston plays a huge role.

Today Providence is very much a satellite city of Boston (again, not to be confused with "suburb" which it isn't by a long shot). But it's fun to wonder where it would be (or wouldn't be) without Boston nearby. Some would argue it would be larger and and more prosperous because it would absolutely be the regional center for all of Southeastern New England. Some would argue that it would be in dire straits without Boston to influence the local economy.

Personally, I think it would be in a similar position with a much heavier alignment towards New York.

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:09 PM   #43
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

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Patrick, great shots of Portland from across the harbor. Wish I could talk you into getting some shots from the top of the Temple Street Garage looking towards Monument Square. The corner right above the Nickelodium Theaters is the sweet spot, I need to buy a camera!

Did not include Promenade East or the Portland house due to being outside of the downtown area, but they do add to the skyline from Bug Light and heading south on I 295.
You are right about the temple street garage (which by the way is one of the most underutilized parcels of real property in the city....tear it down and build a high rise...its not that old). I do have some pictures from that spot, but they are a few years old and it would be good to take a few new ones.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:26 PM   #44
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

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I agree. I think the hill makes some of the buildings appear taller from certain angles (i.e. 295) than they do up close (Time and Temp building for example). Worcester does look good at many angles. It has scale. Yes, there are only three 20+ story buildings, but there are a number in that "filler" range of 10+ stories. The taller buildings may make it seem like there are only three, but there are 9 buildings over 100ft in Worcester. Not too shabby. The 3 tall ones make it more than a lump of 10-12 story buildings though.

I know this is a thread full of Portland fans, so I'll take some crap for saying this. Portland has a lot going for it. Especially when you take its size into account. I think there's very little that's impressive about Portland's "skyline." Yes, there are certain angles where you can identify Portland's downtown core from a distance as it stands above the tree line. The Harbor is one, Back Cove/295 is another. That doesn't make it impressive.

In fact, what's so uninspiring about Portland's "skyline" (to me) is what makes the city great in every other aspect. Downtown Portland (Congress St) has a nice cluster of dense low and mid-rise buildings, many of which have architectural merit. They have nice facades, great street level interaction and a lot of history. All of these things help make Portland a great little city, but they don't really help the skyline. From a distance, they look like filler buildings. They don't have any real unique features that really stand out on a skyline. They're boxes. Boxes with great ground level interaction (again more important than any tower) and nice detail when viewed from up close; but boxes no less.

I think that even from the angles suggested, Portland's skyline is merely "there." It's less than impressive. It's bookended by an ugly 1970s brick public housing building (Franklin Towers, the city's tallest) and an ugly, squat hospital building that looks like a tumor on a hill (as opposed to the old building which is very attractive).

The other skylines on that list all have a few buildings that were designed to stand out from a distance and from certain angles. Boston has Rowes Wharf with International Place to identify it from the waterfront and Hancock/Pru from all other angles. Providence has the art deco "superman" building. Springfield has Monarch Place, New Haven has the funny shaped building with the cap on it (don't know the name, but I know it when I see it), Hartford has the Traveler's Tower, etc. Portland has filler buildings, but nothing that stands out and helps identify it from a distance. The light up sign on the T&T building may be unique by Portland standards (in a state where billboards and light up signs are illegal), but thousands of banks and buildings in cities across the country have the same type of display. Same goes for the illuminated sign on the Eastland. It's not at all unique. and it doesn't really stand out, anyway.

I think that it's sort of local pride that makes some of you love it so much. When you cruise in from the harbor or jog the back cove, you don't see a majestic skyline so much as you identify YOUR city which makes it feel much more impressive. Nothing wrong with that. When I take the ferry back from Martha's Vineyard or cruise into New Bedford down 18, I see that cluster of filler buildings and a few old apartment towers and get a welling of pride and nostalgia despite the city's problems. Same for crummy Fall River. There's noticeable cluster of buildings from certain angles, but it's hardly impressive other than the fact that it lets you (individually) identify YOUR city.

I doubt any visitor from outside the city (who isn't an urban enthusiast) would really look at downtown Portland from any of those angles and be wowed or even impressed by the city's skyline. The skyline never even occurred to me when I lived there, nor did it to any of my friends who visited. My girlfriend spent most of her life there (loves cities like Boston, Providence, New Haven and now lives in San Francisco) has never so much as mentioned it. There just isn't much of one to look at. The cluster of buildings that is there is just so nondescript from a distance that it's hard to be impressed. It's on the street level where Portland impresses which is far more important. Ask most people if they'd rather live in Bridgeport or Springfield than Portland and I'd be surprised if even 10% say anything other than Portland.
I both agree and disagree.

1. What you said about no building really sticking out from a distance is absolutely correct, and I think that's what most of us on this forum WANT for precisely the reasons you mentioned. We have come very close in the past, only to have the project in question blocked or fail due to economic circumstances, and it is frustrating. I do NOT suspect many people from other cities come here and are wowed by Portland's skyline, but it is impressive nonetheless, in terms of its situation near the water (great reflections), and in terms of its clustering, which adds a certain ambiance to the core.

Worcester, I don't so much care about, so I won't go on and on about it, but I have yet to see an impressive skyline of it. The same is NOT true for Providence, so its not just a "I hate everywhere that's not Portland" attitude. The city is pierced by three big towers, and they are out of scale. That my opinion. Perhaps if the other 100+ story buildings were clustered around the skyscrapers more, it would appear different. I am familiar of the view from the hill at CoHC, and it isn't much. Please, if I am mistaken, post a picture.

Also, I don't think it is "pride" that drives me to like Portland. Like your girlfriend, I never paid much attention to the skyline growing up. Never thought much of it. Thought Boston was a city and 15 story structures were short. Thought Portland was a lazy boring place to be. Then I moved to Burlington, VT for four years, and when I returned I had a different perspective. I began to realize there are different classes of cities, and for a small to mid-sized city, Portland does very well in a number of areas, skyline being one of them. If I were from, say, Westbrook for example, I wouldn't like the looks of that town just because I was from there. I grew up in Deering center, and feel no pride driving down the street there.

Next, the signs on the Time and Temp and Eastland etc. may very well be generic in a national sense, but Portland is viewed at a local scale (obviously), and so these characteristics really DO stick out. In fact, a Boston member of this forum mentioned upon visiting the city that one of the things which stuck out to him most about Downtown Portland were the lit up corporate logos on the tops of buildings. In a place like Miami, such structures would be nothing, but context is everything and as you mentioned, the rest of the state is devoid of these things, making them special in a way.

Moreover (and you're not "catching crap" for your comments, we are aware of, acknowledge, and respect your opinions), if you go to any number of other skyscraper enthusiast threads and do a search for top skylines, Portland is cited as an example in several of them as a small city with a wonderful skyline. These references are made by people living outside the city and state.

Perhaps some clarification could be made by saying that "top" skyline doesn't mean--to my mind--tallest....it means best arranged. Portland, in my opinion, beats Worcester in this sense. Would you want a picture of the Worcester skyline hanging on your wall? Framed Portland skylines sell for hundreds of dollars. Just saying,



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This is an interesting topic. I think Providence would exist. It's a good natural harbor and some settlement would have taken place there no matter what.

As far as Providence thriving? I don't know. I think it's twofold. I think Providence grew initially as a relatively independent regional city. As Boston's reach spread and the travel over distances became easier and faster, Providence sort of became less important. Now, Providence's renaissance can be largely attributed to being a satellite city of Boston.

That hardly means that Providence is just a suburb of Boston. It maintains its own very unique characteristics and feel. It has far more of a "creative" and bohemian vibe than Boston does. Federal Hill is more authentic Italian than the North End (now, anyway) and there many quirks that are very much unique to Providence (New York System Hot Dogs, Del's, Stuffies, etc). Still, economically, Boston plays a huge role.

Today Providence is very much a satellite city of Boston (again, not to be confused with "suburb" which it isn't by a long shot). But it's fun to wonder where it would be (or wouldn't be) without Boston nearby. Some would argue it would be larger and and more prosperous because it would absolutely be the regional center for all of Southeastern New England. Some would argue that it would be in dire straits without Boston to influence the local economy.

Personally, I think it would be in a similar position with a much heavier alignment towards New York.
I didn't so much mean it wouldn't exist at all as a place, but that its name, history, founding, etc. would never have happened.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:48 PM   #45
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Not to derail the skylines of top N.E. cities, and keep that discussion going by all means. But I was surprised Salem MA hasn't been mentioned. Its a gem that has more character/history/distinction than some of our country's biggest cities, say Phoenix. It is the capital of probably the funnest holiday (Halloween).

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MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

When you put it that way you begin to realize just how pathetic and irrelevant this region has become.
I'd disagree, NE actually created one hell of a niche in this world. If you want your kids to have a great life, have them come here for college. Which is to say "Go through our gates, and the world is your oyster."
Obviously you can get great educations else where, and some will rise to power going different routs, but I think you get what I'm saying. Everyone wants a great future for their kids, and this region IMO is better at Higher Ed than any other.
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:49 PM   #46
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Lrfox, I tried to emphasize that Portland's skyline is impressive for a city of 64,000 and it's grouping of mid-rise buildings (100 ft +) would get a thumbs up from just about any fan of urban landscapes. I do agree that we have our fair share of boxy 10 story structures and Portland is definitely lacking a signature 20+ story building.

Why you choose to bust on Franklin Towers is beyond rational thinking, you have obviously not checked it out in the dark of night when it is at it's most attractive! It's unfortunately Maine's tallest and we are stuck with it.
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:51 PM   #47
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I both agree and disagree.

1. What you said about no building really sticking out from a distance is absolutely correct, and I think that's what most of us on this forum WANT for precisely the reasons you mentioned. We have come very close in the past, only to have the project in question blocked or fail due to economic circumstances, and it is frustrating. I do NOT suspect many people from other cities come here and are wowed by Portland's skyline, but it is impressive nonetheless, in terms of its situation near the water (great reflections), and in terms of its clustering, which adds a certain ambiance to the core.
I'm not sure I understand this. You don't want a high rise building to break the plateau Portland has going on right now? I thought you Portland thread people were all about increasing height? Scale is critical to making a skyline attractive. If you think of the best skylines in the country (IMHO, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, etc. in no particular order), they all have a range of buildings of various heights. One of the biggest complaints about Boston's skyline is that it appears to be "stumps" from a distance with the exception being Back Bay where the Hancock and Pru tower over their surroundings. NYC's Empire State Building sits in an area of the island where it really towers above the surrounding buildings. It's this variety in height that's so impressive.

Quote:
Worcester, I don't so much care about, so I won't go on and on about it, but I have yet to see an impressive skyline of it. The same is NOT true for Providence, so its not just a "I hate everywhere that's not Portland" attitude. The city is pierced by three big towers, and they are out of scale. That my opinion. Perhaps if the other 100+ story buildings were clustered around the skyscrapers more, it would appear different. I am familiar of the view from the hill at CoHC, and it isn't much. Please, if I am mistaken, post a picture.
I don't care about Worcester either. I think Portland, as of right now, is a more livable city. Not that Worcester won't progress (it already has); but even though it's much smaller, Portland is a nicer place. This picture is a nicer angle.


There's more cluster. I agree it would be nicer if the taller buildings were closer together, but it's still fairly attractive. Set along the hills, I think it's a far more striking skyline than Portland. Just my own two cents, not really something I can quantify in any way.

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Also, I don't think it is "pride" that drives me to like Portland. Like your girlfriend, I never paid much attention to the skyline growing up. Never thought much of it. Thought Boston was a city and 15 story structures were short. Thought Portland was a lazy boring place to be. Then I moved to Burlington, VT for four years, and when I returned I had a different perspective. I began to realize there are different classes of cities, and for a small to mid-sized city, Portland does very well in a number of areas, skyline being one of them. If I were from, say, Westbrook for example, I wouldn't like the looks of that town just because I was from there. I grew up in Deering center, and feel no pride driving down the street there.
I don't think it's just "pride" that makes anyone like Portland as a whole. It's a great little city in many ways. However, I think civic pride often leads some people to get more excited than they need to about something. The Portland "skyline" is one such example. I love driving into Philadelphia or San Francisco (from Oakland or Marin County) and getting that "wow" factor even though I've never been a resident of these cities. Even Providence, Springfield and Hartford give you some sense of being impressed when you see their skyline (have loved driving on 91 by Springfield since I was a kid). I never got that with Portland. I even think Portsmouth NH looks better with that giant white church spire in the middle of those federalist brick buildings. How much more "New England" does it get? Newport RI is tiny but the Pell Bridge and the small buildings set against the harbor is gorgeous too.

Quote:
Next, the signs on the Time and Temp and Eastland etc. may very well be generic in a national sense, but Portland is viewed at a local scale (obviously), and so these characteristics really DO stick out. In fact, a Boston member of this forum mentioned upon visiting the city that one of the things which stuck out to him most about Downtown Portland were the lit up corporate logos on the tops of buildings. In a place like Miami, such structures would be nothing, but context is everything and as you mentioned, the rest of the state is devoid of these things, making them special in a way.
Fair enough. Of course if you're comparing it to Maine alone it does stand out. And in that capacity, so would Portland's "skyline." The question was about the best New England skylines, though. Still, I hardly find it to be impressive. On a side note, I wish some of the other smaller cities would have signs like that. New Bedford has a number of stumpy filler buildings that are visible for miles and could take advantage of it. So while signs like that on buildings aren't exciting, they are better with them than without.

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Moreover (and you're not "catching crap" for your comments, we are aware of, acknowledge, and respect your opinions), if you go to any number of other skyscraper enthusiast threads and do a search for top skylines, Portland is cited as an example in several of them as a small city with a wonderful skyline. These references are made by people living outside the city and state.
Maybe. I've seen a few threads where Portland has been brought up, but never with ringing endorsements about the skyline. Though the there have been ringing endorsements about many other aspects of the city. Generally, the best things said are from other city-nuts who hardly view these things like average visitors.

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Perhaps some clarification could be made by saying that "top" skyline doesn't mean--to my mind--tallest....it means best arranged. Portland, in my opinion, beats Worcester in this sense. Would you want a picture of the Worcester skyline hanging on your wall? Framed Portland skylines sell for hundreds of dollars. Just saying,
Even if it didn't mean tallest (I never inferred it that way), I wouldn't put Portland up there. To me, it's a cluster of bland (from a distance) low to mid-rise buildings about the same height book ended by generic, ugly brick buildings (Maine Med and Franklin Towers). Sure, the natural surroundings ARE beautiful, but not the skyline.

I've seen the Worcester skyline on sale before for hundreds of dollars. I wouldn't buy it, but it does look nice from certain angles.


Quote:
I didn't so much mean it wouldn't exist at all as a place, but that its name, history, founding, etc. would never have happened.
I agree. It would be a different type of place (hence my comment about alignment with NYC). It's fun to think about.

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Old 12-31-2010, 04:55 PM   #48
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

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Lrfox, I tried to emphasize that Portland's skyline is impressive for a city of 64,000 and it's grouping of mid-rise buildings (100 ft +) would get a thumbs up from just about any fan of urban landscapes. I do agree that we have our fair share of boxy 10 story structures and Portland is definitely lacking a signature 20+ story building.

Why you choose to bust on Franklin Towers is beyond rational thinking, you have obviously not checked it out in the dark of night when it is at it's most attractive! It's unfortunately Maine's tallest and we are stuck with it.
I don't disagree. Portland is sort of unique in that it's a regional center despite being as small as it is. It has a vibrant downtown that's both active and attractive (more so than many cities much larger... have you been to Tucson?). I think it's buildings are best on the street level (where it really counts) and really not noteworthy from a distance. The skyline just appears sort of "meh" to me, no matter what the size of the city is.

Franklin Towers does look best in the dark. To be fair, many cities with similar style towers built at the same time fared much worse (Fall River, for example). Still, it's not a pretty building.
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:11 PM   #49
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

I don't know how to quote both of our comments at once,,,so here goes the alternative:

Originally Posted by Patrick

1. What you said about no building really sticking out from a distance is absolutely correct, and I think that's what most of us on this forum WANT for precisely the reasons you mentioned. We have come very close in the past, only to have the project in question blocked or fail due to economic circumstances, and it is frustrating. I do NOT suspect many people from other cities come here and are wowed by Portland's skyline, but it is impressive nonetheless, in terms of its situation near the water (great reflections), and in terms of its clustering, which adds a certain ambiance to the core.

LRFOX wrote: 'I'm not sure I understand this. You don't want a high rise building to break the plateau Portland has going on right now? I thought you Portland thread people were all about increasing height?

My fault. What I meant to say is that what most of us want is precisely what you mentioned we are currently lacking, a tall building to stick out some more. The way I wrote it was grammatically incorrect and the subject didn't refer back to what I meant it to. Anyway, I hope that is clear now.

Secondly, for the record, I wouldn't care if Downtown Portland had no buildings at all and consisted of nothing more than a mountain range that was shaped like a central business district. My point being this: a skyline is where the earth or structures protruding from it meets the sky, and has nothing to do with height. Portland's skyline is fantastic in this regard, from several angles, even if it could be improved. The photo you posted of Worcester is probably the best I have seen yet, but looks like it is visible from a peculiar and not easily accessible area. Where was it taken from, if you know? It looks like it was on someone's roof. Portland's skyline, even though short, is perfectly lined along the high spine of congress street in a linear fashion and it can be seen from numerous angles and approaches to the City. Coming down Brighton ave, you can see downtown from the top of the hill almost two miles away, and the same is true coming down Forest Ave. So, although the portland skyline could always be improved (and that's the focus of most discussions on this site regarding the city), it is great already. The other day I took a photo snapped by Corey and blacked it out, so the buildings were all black, and the sky was all white, and this can be seen in the header of my blog linked to at the bottom of this page. That image dramatically illustrates the skyline in the sense I mentioned it earlier (where the structures meet the sky), and really shows how great of a skyline Portland has.

I mean, although I think it is a waste of time to really discuss this any further with someone whose mind is made up (especially on NYE), I just can't seem to let it go without making these points. Your point about my comment about portland being special in maine when this is a 'New England' thread is valid, and I concede that it probably has less relevance because of this, but the rest of what you say just seems rooted in a bitterness of some sort...and I'm not really sure where it stems from. OK, Portland is no Chicago (or even Springfield), we get it, but it nevertheless has a fantastic skyline. Moreover, the people in this thread aren't some locals who have never traveled outside the state, yet it appears your bitterness (correct me if it is something else, but that's what it sounds like) stems at least in part from a feeling that we are naive about the rest of the world. the poster who goes by the name Portlander is a retired career military vet and has traveled and lived all across the country. His name isn't the Tusconian. Its the Portlander. Additionally, though young, I have seen my fair share of cities here and abroad, and still think Portland's skyline is great, along with all of its other amenities. I had my choice of law schools to attend in Boston and Philly, yet I chose Portland. I wanted to return home to watch the Intermed building going up, that's how committed I am to this place. Granted, finances played a part, too, but they only sweetened the deal for me when my mind was already made up. Portland is a continuously changing and growing City, unlike many places, with substantial commercial construction having taken place in the 1980s, and a period which just passed which could have seen even more had the economy not gone bust. This is more than local pride. I get the local pride aspect, believe me, but I don't think it exists much outside of Munjoy Hill. The Hill is so parochial you feel like you're talking to someone from Southie when you talk to some old timers (those who grew up there before gentrification). Other Portland residents look at Portland like your girlfriend and move out of here for Boston (or San Francisco, as the case may be. SF, for the record, is another city, like Portland, that benefits tremendously from its topography....its not about the buildings, its about their arrangement and interaction with the sky, regardless of what causes that interaction). Done rambling. If you want, we can talk this up some more after NYE, but I get the distinct feeling whenever I read posts from you, unlike posts by anyone else, that you take a view of anyone who likes Portland that labels them naive as if they have never seen, or are oblivious to, the outside world. NOT the case. FYI.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:44 AM   #50
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Thanks for the clarification on the height issue, that's what I assumed you meant.

As far as the definition of the skyline goes, you're right. It can be mountains, buildings, trees, etc. As I said before, Portland does have a skyline from a few angles. It has more mid-rise buildings than many cities its size all clustered together. To me, that doesn't make it an attractive skyline to look at. I think looking from Portland towards the harbor and Casco Bay or from the Western Promenade toward the mountains (Mt. Washington on a clear day) is far more attractive than looking at the skyline. I've seen it from all of the vistas you mention (Forest, Brighton, etc) many times. However you define Portland's skyline, I don't think it's that attractive. To me, there's absolutely nothing striking about it. Again, that's just one person's opinion. You like it, you live there, enjoy it.

As far as what you inferred from my posts, I think you're reading WAY too much into it. I mean like pulling stuff out of thin air, too much into it. First, in this thread, my ONLY point has been that there is nothing about Portland's skyline to write home about. That's it. In fact, I've made it abundantly clear that I think Portland is a great city in a LOT of ways. It's ahead of many of its peers. I don't think a skyline is one of them. There is no bitterness at all.

As far as me implying that the members of this forum are all ignorant homers... I have no clue where that comes from. My posts have been regarding the skyline. That's all. I'm well aware that many of you are well-traveled and love Portland. No problem there. That's great, in fact.

What's wrong with civic pride? I have civic pride for some cities that many people don't care about. It doesn't make you an ignorant bumpkin, it's a good thing. However, to pretend you can look at the city you love in an unbiased way IS ignorant. No one can do it. Not completely, anyway. It's not a personal attack to assume that local pride has at least a slight influence over your opinion on certain aspects of the city (the skyline in this case). I have a photo of New Bedford's "skyline" blown up and on my wall. I've sold two copies of it and gave it to a local organization to use on their monthly magazine. I like the skyline for the same reasons you like Portland's. It's pretty from the harbor (like Portland Harbor and Casco Bay, New Bedford Harbor and Buzzard's Bay are VERY attractive from a natural standpoint) and the buildings are clustered together nicely. With the hurricane wall and the lighthouse in the foreground, it's almost striking. I've even posted pictures of it on some internet forums about skylines and city-nerds (like myself) have often remarked on how surprised they are that they had never seen it and how it is pretty good. However, I know full well that my local pride for an underrated city heavily influences my opinion of it. And while some city geeks may enjoy a shot or two of the skyline, the average person could care less. I love it, there's nothing particularly special about it except that it's special to me.

I have never implied that anyone on this forum was naive. Not by a long shot. I think the "feeling" you get is an alternative viewpoint from someone who has lived in Portland and didn't fall in love. I have no attachment to the city but a lot of familiarity with it (I was there 2 days ago as my gf is home for the holidays). If it seems bitter, it's probably because I don't share the same enthusiasm you do for your city. That's not to be read that I think Portland is a "bad" city. I don't. Quite the contrary, actually. It's a nice place and (again) way ahead of the curve in terms of similarly sized cities. It was a terrible fit for me, though. Still, when I'm active in the community down here, I often use it as a positive example. Not just the city, but the way the metro area works as a whole. It's not a place I'd care to live again but I took a lot away from living there and I don't regret it. There is no bitterness even though my view of the city isn't as rose-colored as yours.

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Old 01-01-2011, 11:35 AM   #51
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Lrfox, if I move New Bedford up one slot to #9 on my top 15 list can we all be boys again? That will of course alienate the Bridgeport contingency on this site and they may head up to Portland for a beat down. Let Patrick and I know the next time you are in Portland and maybe we can meet up and grab a beer. You would actually like Patrick, he is one straight up cool dude! Happy New Year

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Old 01-01-2011, 11:55 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Portlander View Post
Lrfox, if I move New Bedford up one slot to #9 on my top 15 list can we all be boys again? That will of course alienate the Bridgeport contingency on this site and they may head up to Portland for a beat down. Let Patrick and I know the next you are in Portland and maybe we can meet up and grab a beer. You would actually like Patrick, he is one straight up cool dude! Happy New Year
Hahaha, no, leave it where it is (I was surprised you had it even that high). Bridgeport can have that spot. I like NB because it's home. I have no misconceptions about its importance or its flaws. I use it as a comparison as it's familiar to me, not because I think it's in the same class as Portland (it isn't).

I wouldn't mind meting for a beer. I'm sure I'd like Patrick. We have different views of Portland, but I enjoy his posts (which is why I respond). Happy New Year to you as well.

*Edit*
Just for the hell of it, I'll list my "fine 15" New England Cities in terms of size and significance since that's what this thread was created for:

1)Boston/Cambridge
2)Providence
3)Hartford
4)New Haven
5)Springfield
6)Worcester
7)Portland
8)Manchester
9)Lowell/Lawrence
10)Burlington
11)Bridgeport
12)New Bedford/Fall River
13)Newport, RI
14)Bangor
15)Portsmouth

The bottom is a little dicey. Some of them are interchangeable. Burlington's so high because despite it's small size, it is VERY significant on a regional level. The seaports of Portsmouth and Newport are small, but they both have a big military presence.

What's interesting to me is to think about which direction the cities on the list are heading. I think Springfield, Hartford, and Bridgeport are becoming less significant/important as they sort of deteriorate. The decline of the insurance foothold in Hartford is sad.

New Bedford/Fall River and Lowell/Lawrence are interesting. These cities are both often lumped in together due to similar size and geographic proximity. It really seems like in both areas, one of the cities is starting to assert itself as the primary city of that area and make positive strides forward (Lowell and New Bedford) while the other (Lawrence and Fall River) seem to be going further and further downhill. Lowell has really become a thriving satellite city while New Bedford has seen a boom downtown in a bad economy and grown its seaport. It's a fascinating trend.

I left Stamford out because it really is a NYC area city. Bridgeport is on the edge, but I still think the rest of CT counts. New Haven is built around a New England style common still exudes some of that New England city vibe. I love it. Absolutely one of my favorite cities in New England.

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Old 01-01-2011, 12:53 PM   #53
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Just to clarify, the charge I leveled at you regarding your attribution of naivety to people who enjoy Portland is not just based on this thread (if it were, I would agree I was pulling things out of thin air). It is based on what I view to be recurrent themes and undertones running through many of your posts, in almost anything to do with Portland. This is NOT intended to be a personal attack against you, just an observation. A case in point would be the Portland restaurant scene (lets not go there, please).

Also, I chose the word bitterness because it is perfectly suited for the description of the sense I get from you. In romantic comedies, the back covers always refer to someone who is at first "bitter" because love in their past relationships didn't work out. You summarized it perfectly when you said you lived in Portland and "didn't fall in love with it." I get it, you were hoping for more of a cosmopolitan presence, and that is understandable for someone your age. I left Burlington VT with the same feeling.
If my hometown bias comes in anywhere, it is in accepting Portland's lack of amenities on some level because I have hope it can grow up and improve (while others, less invested in the community, like you, would just say "the heck with this place" and move on, like I did with Burlington, and I can't blame you...no strings attached, its like speed dating on a city level, if you don't see what you like, move to the next table). I maintain, however, that my bias does not enter on the skyline. I am aware of the criticisms (blocky buildings) and that is exactly what I hope to change through advocacy and involvement. However, I think just about any set of buildings would look great situated along the long spine of Congress, and the ones we have already do a nice job of it as is.

Also, at the risk of steering this thread a bit back off topic (and then we can let it remain on course with your previous post, a good one imo)...those views you mentioned in Portland (western prom to the mountains and the view out to the harbor) are both ruined for me by (a) hideous oil tanks, and (b) the Maine Mall, airport, and the St. Johns Valley. The view from the eastern prom out to see is magnificent, probably the best in Portland imo, but it isn't urban and therefore doesn't do much for me.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:26 PM   #54
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Solid looking list and fairly close to mine as far as the top 10 is concerned. As I mentioned earlier the Hartford/Providence was almost to close to call for me and in the future they could easily switch due to Hartford's recent decline and Providence's upswing. Five to ten years ago it was no contest between the two.

New Haven has Yale which will always keep it competitive, but the lack of a respectable airport (Tweed's limited commercial service, short runway), no arena, and no professional sports teams forced me to place it behind Springfield. I realize that Springfield shares Bradley with Hartford and currently only has one NBA D league franchise.

New Bedford earned it's top ten because I personally like the city, and still consider it a classic New England hub with great historical relevance and considerable potential. Also, a population of 90,000+ cannot be ignored.

Burlington and Bangor are two of those great "bang for your buck" towns that carry considerable clout due to their isolation and regional draw.

Portsmouth and Newport and New London are so identical to me because of the ports, military connections, and small populations. I would give a slight edge to New London because I feel it is the most urban of the three and the Coast Guard Academy along with the Submarine Base in Groton trumps the other two as far as military involvement. Newport is the most picturesque of the trio!

Am in total agreement with your observations concerning Lowell and New Bedford surpassing their counterparts in substance, development and image. And in a strange twist, the opposite is happening with Lewiston/Auburn. The secondary city appears to have outclassed and outperformed the larger Lewiston in recent years. Stand by for updates, Lewiston is very resilient!
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Old 01-01-2011, 02:57 PM   #55
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words
It seems as if you're determined that I'm "bitter." I'm really not. Like I said before, I took a lot away from Portland and actually DO think the city is impressive in many ways (just not always the ways you think it's impressive). "Let down" or "annoyed" would be a better term. I moved to Portland (from Farmington, ME) as my current school situation wasn't cutting it (good school, not a good town for me). USM was one of the schools I was considering transferring to. I had visited Portland a few times for hockey games (A friend of mine was on the Prov. Bruins coaching staff and we'd go to games and hang out with the team at the Holiday Inn after) and like what I saw. When running the idea by friends who were from Portland or Maine, they often ecstatically praised how "awesome" just about everything in Portland was (nightlife, the "big city feel," the arts, and yes, that good 'ol restaurant scene). USM was also the cheapest option (as I had established residency already using a family vacation home in Bethel as the address) so I settled on that passing on more expensive options.

Without going into detail, I never felt the same way about Portland that my friends did. Most things never lived up to the local hype and some weren't even close. To top it off, the city was so small and isolated away from everything that it became almost suffocating. Hence the "bad fit" thing. It just wasn't for me and I'm not at all bitter about that. I wasn't thrilled with Washington D.C. either (different reasons).

What was worse was not sharing the same "love" of the city that many of my peers did. Most larger cities have a blend of people. Some locals who spent their entire lives there, some transplants from all over the country and all four corners of the earth, and some just passing through. What's generally true is that many of these people HAVE to live there for some reason or another. It could be the only place they can find a good paying job or it could be that they are dependent on the system (welfare, disability, etc) and can't leave. As a result, there is a good chunk of the population that ranges from "less than thrilled" to "don't like it at all" living in many of these cities. Look at the Boston forum here on Archboston. There are ALWAYS people criticizing all aspects of the city (amenities, mentality, development, etc). The good thing about this is that those who don't like it will often "check" those with over-the-top civic pride and keep both sides on sort of an even keel. It's good for the "don't like it" crowd to see that maybe it's not as bad as they think; and it's good for the "love it" crowd to see that it's not all peaches and roses.

Civic pride is a good thing as it makes people take interest in their city. In Portland, it's unchecked and at times it's as aggravating as it is helpful for the city (again, it's hard to say civic pride is a bad thing). I think this is because Portland isn't one of those places that people HAVE to be. There are cheaper cities and towns that offer more work opportunity than Portland. Most people who live in Portland do so because they want to. Not necessarily because they need to.

The result is that it's very difficult to have a conversation with someone in Portland if you're not convinced that Portland is the most awesome city on earth. This back and forth is a good example. You're trying to be civil, but it's clear that my lack of enthusiasm for Portland bothers you when it really shouldn't. I'm just one person after all. But this isn't uncommon. I hardly just rant about whatever is on my mind, and I'm generally sensitive to other people's feelings. I've been plenty complimentary of Portland in many ways and that's how I am in person too. However, if I ever disagreed that something in Portland wasn't as "awesome" as someone else thought, you would think by their reaction that I just said Hitler should be canonized.

Then there's the defensiveness. My god it's tough. If a debate puts Portland's "greatness" into question, the defensiveness is on display. For example, if someone is talking about how "awesome" the Old Port is for nightlife they'll use big exaggerations often equating it with nightlife in other known nightlife locations (real life example: "Wharf Street has the atmosphere of Bourbon St. when the bars let out" as told by someone who, of course, had never been to New Orleans) to really emphasize just how awesome it is. Then when they are contradicted, the response is "Well, We're not Boston!" (as if Boston itself is a major nightlife hotspot, but that's another story) in a huffy, angry tone. Not to pick on you, but you did just that a few posts back. I said Portland's skyline doesn't really stand out and you mentioned how you think it does and how it's unique for Maine (which I do agree with). After a little more debate, you begrudgingly conceded, "We get it, we're not Chicago or even Springfield." Right. So which is it? Is Portland's skyline "Magnificent" on a world-wide level (even though you admit it's not even as impressive as Springfield's), or is it impressive relative to Maine? I This type of stuff happened on a near daily basis with smart, well-traveled people in Portland.

There is an attitude in Portland that it's an "underrated city" even though it's been mentioned in all sorts of national media for being a great little city. It gets equal, if not more attention than any of its peers. I can't think of many cities with 64,000 people that get more coverage on a national level. Maybe Asheville, NC but what else? Portland's not underrated. Maybe 15 years ago, but Portland's very much a known commodity at the moment. It deserves just about every bit of attention it gets. I'd go so far as to say it's a role model for small cities attempting revitalizing their downtown areas. The Bostonian's post a few days ago was a perfect summary. Still, the constant back-patting gets old quickly and I have never lived anywhere where it's so prevalent.

Finally, just to reiterate, I hardly think that anyone who enjoys Portland is naive. I enjoy Portland. I don't want to live there again, but I enjoy visiting. My only problem with the people (not everyone, and next to no one on this forum... my girlfriend of 5 years and some of my close friends are from Portland) is the absolute unchecked pride. I don't think that anyone here is naive. I just think that sometimes, the local pride really gets in the way of some opinions. Most of the time, though, the Portland discussion is fun and informative. You really know your stuff. I add my two cents based on my experiences, but if it bothers you that much I'm more than fine with refraining from posting about Portland so you don't have any more negative vibes.
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:13 PM   #56
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

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Solid looking list and fairly close to mine as far as the top 10 is concerned. As I mentioned earlier the Hartford/Providence was almost to close to call for me and in the future they could easily switch due to Hartford's recent decline and Providence's upswing. Five to ten years ago it was no contest between the two.
I agree. Same here. I could flip it both ways. PVD's rail connectivity really separates the two for me but it could go either way. I have bias, I lived in PVD for a while and love the city. I'm less familiar with Hartford, so I would be fine with being told I'm wrong.

Quote:
New Haven has Yale which will always keep it competitive, but the lack of a respectable airport (Tweed's limited commercial service, short runway), no arena, and no professional sports teams forced me to place it behind Springfield. I realize that Springfield shares Bradley with Hartford and currently only has one NBA D league franchise.
Yeah, this is another one where I sort of ranked by "heart" more than fact (I do love New Haven). Again, it has good rail service (Metro North as well as regional and Acela trains), a thriving downtown, a great college, etc. I didn't even consider the lack of a sports team. I can easily see why you would place it where you did. The pizza is just so good.


Quote:
New Bedford earned it's top ten because I personally like the city, and still consider it a classic New England hub with great historical relevance and considerable potential. Also, a population of 90,000+ cannot be ignored.
I agree. I'm sensitive with New Bedford because it's not exactly highly reputed (especially locally). I love the look/feel of the downtown area and it's boom (quietly, I might add. NB takes a back seat to PVD and BOS in the media) over the past 5 years is nothing short of impressive. 40 new storefronts downtown (including a new waterfront hotel), and 30% increase in seaport cargo in a down economy is good news.. It's about to undergo a $50+ Million dollar expansion and be the biggest staging area for offshore wind technology in the country. It is, of course, "homadafish" and it has had the highest grossing fishing fleet in the nation for 10 years running. It's finally a city that's starting to come into its own. Maybe it'll be higher up in a few years.

Quote:
Burlington and Bangor are two of those great "bang for your buck" towns that carry considerable clout due to their isolation and regional draw.
Agreed. They sort of offer a unique feel. I have a lot of family in Bangor and used to enjoy visiting. Don't get up there much anymore.

Quote:
Portsmouth and Newport and New London are so identical to me because of the ports, military connections, and small populations. I would give a slight edge to New London because I feel it is the most urban of the three and the Coast Guard Academy along with the Submarine Base in Groton trumps the other two as far as military involvement. Newport is the most picturesque of the trio!
I forgot New London! I would place that above Newport and Portsmouth too. It is more significant on that level. I knew I left someone out. Yes, Newport is very pretty, but Portsmouth and New London are sort of under the radar as far as fun urban centers go. I love visiting both.

Quote:
Am in total agreement with your observations concerning Lowell and New Bedford surpassing their counterparts in substance, development and image. And in a strange twist, the opposite is happening with Lewiston/Auburn. The secondary city appears to have outclassed and outperformed the larger Lewiston in recent years. Stand by for updates, Lewiston is very resilient!
LA is a weird creature. I used to pass through there all the time (2 years of school at UMF) and never got a good read on it. The local opinion of Lewiston is tough to peg as well. Many people fear it to death. I like the look of the downtown area, it just needs a shot in the arm. Auburn may get all of the chain retail, but there's nowhere in Auburn with the downtown core that Lewiston has. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a turnaround (same goes for Biddeford which is already showing signs of life).
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:35 PM   #57
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Here's a great shot of Downtown Bangor from last night's New Year's Eve celebration........great too see such a heavy turnout!



Bangor's positive momentum will hinge on such things as the continued development of its waterfront, ensuring the long term viability of its summer concert series, and building a new arena.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:03 PM   #58
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

Jeff, great shot. The arena is approved, no?
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:44 PM   #59
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It seems as if you're determined that I'm "bitter." I'm really not. Like I said before, I took a lot away from Portland and actually DO think the city is impressive in many ways (just not always the ways you think it's impressive). "Let down" or "annoyed" would be a better term.

Just for the record, to be "annoyed at" is the definition of resentful, and to be bitter is to resent.

I understand what you are saying here, but it doesn't play out with the posts I have read from you time and again. I know you are trying to appear as though there are some aspects of Portland you liked, but in every other thread it seems as though you are either attributing our restaurant success to a media conspiracy propelled by one or two chefs with connections to foodie circles, or are saying the other urban successes are a dime a dozen outside of Maine (hence my earlier comment about you appearing to think anyone who loves Portland is naive). I'll take you for your word that these things aren't true, but I am basing my opinion off of dozens of posts that suggest the opposite. Is there a reason you were the only one of your friends who was less than satisfied with Portland? Don't get me wrong, I know it has its shortcomings, and I am usually the first to admit and criticize the place for them (which is what I do most on this forum) but to constantly denounce the place in the manner typical of your posts is a little suspicious, leading me to suspect some bitterness.


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To top it off, the city was so small and isolated away from everything that it became almost suffocating. Hence the "bad fit" thing. It just wasn't for me and I'm not at all bitter about that.
Burlington, VT is isolated. You have to leave the country to get to a nearby metropolis. Bangor, maybe. Portland? I don't see it. Removed from the BosWash, sure. Isolated? Might we be a bit exaggerating? It's 45 minutes to Portsmouth, another great little town, and 1 hour 45 minutes to Boston. I realize its not the same as Providence to Boston, but that is hardly the defining characteristic of "isolated."

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Most larger cities have a blend of people. Some locals who spent their entire lives there, some transplants from all over the country and all four corners of the earth, and some just passing through. What's generally true is that many of these people HAVE to live there for some reason or another. It could be the only place they can find a good paying job or it could be that they are dependent on the system (welfare, disability, etc) and can't leave. As a result, there is a good chunk of the population that ranges from "less than thrilled" to "don't like it at all" living in many of these cities. Look at the Boston forum here on Archboston. There are ALWAYS people criticizing all aspects of the city (amenities, mentality, development, etc). The good thing about this is that those who don't like it will often "check" those with over-the-top civic pride and keep both sides on sort of an even keel. Civic pride is a good thing as it makes people take interest in their city. In Portland, it's unchecked and at times it's as aggravating as it is helpful for the city (again, it's hard to say civic pride is a bad thing). I think this is because Portland isn't one of those places that people HAVE to be.
Look, nobody thinks Portland is all "peaches and roses." In fact, most Mainers dislike Portland precisely because there IS a blend of people living here, from all over the world, and of all economic classes. The largest Sudanese refugee population in the country is located in Portland. Those "dependent on the system" are all over the place. Downtown Portland (the peninsula) is exactly what you described above. It is a very new trend for people to live on the peninsula by choice.

I just have to point out, also, that if Portland lacks something, it is over the top civic pride (and a 20+ story building!). We could benefit from some more of it. If we had the sort of pride attributed to us by you, we wouldn't have the generic development that has been taking place here, and we would be OK with investing more money in civic improvements. Its not a city devoid altogether of pride, but it sure isn't what the magazines would suggest. If anyone has over the top pride, its the monthly magazines (aimed at transplants).

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Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
There are cheaper cities and towns that offer more work opportunity than Portland. Most people who live in Portland do so because they want to. Not necessarily because they need to.
This is laughable. I'm not sure what Portland you lived in. This view applies perhaps to some of the suburban parts of Portland, and the brand new luxury in-town population, but not much else. And lets be honest, when we like Portland, we mean we like Downtown Portland, or urban Portland, which is the exact opposite of how you describe it.

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Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
The result is that it's very difficult to have a conversation with someone in Portland if you're not convinced that Portland is the most awesome city on earth.
Again, laughable. I can't walk two steps without someone complaining about "the City" and what a bad job it does handling things, or how it is too crowded, not enough parking, etc. It is rare, unfortunately, to meet someone who is a resident-native of Portland and raves about the place. Most who do are those who can afford the opportunities for recreation it allows, or people who are interested in cities, not the everyday Joe. Please, do tell, who are these hoards of Portland fanatics that you speak of?

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Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
This back and forth is a good example. You're trying to be civil, but it's clear that my lack of enthusiasm for Portland bothers you when it really shouldn't. I'm just one person after all. But this isn't uncommon. I hardly just rant about whatever is on my mind, and I'm generally sensitive to other people's feelings. I've been plenty complimentary of Portland in many ways and that's how I am in person too. However, if I ever disagreed that something in Portland wasn't as "awesome" as someone else thought, you would think by their reaction that I just said Hitler should be canonized.
I am trying to be civil because although your comments do bother me--and they do--it is hardly worth it to escalate this matter beyond the current dialogue. I'd be much more tenacious in person.

I got the same feeling about Burlington, VT when I was there (anything less than perfect and I felt ostracized. That isn't the vibe I was going for, but if that is how I am coming across I apologize. I just don't see the compliments of Portland you keep referring to. What I see is a "Portland has plenty of pros (without listing a single one), BUT here are the overwhelming cons (listing each in detail).

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Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
Then there's the defensiveness. My god it's tough. If a debate puts Portland's "greatness" into question, the defensiveness is on display. For example, if someone is talking about how "awesome" the Old Port is for nightlife they'll use big exaggerations often equating it with nightlife in other known nightlife locations (real life example: "Wharf Street has the atmosphere of Bourbon St. when the bars let out" as told by someone who, of course, had never been to New Orleans) to really emphasize just how awesome it is. Then when they are contradicted, the response is "Well, We're not Boston!" (as if Boston itself is a major nightlife hotspot, but that's another story) in a huffy, angry tone. Not to pick on you, but you did just that a few posts back. I said Portland's skyline doesn't really stand out and you mentioned how you think it does and how it's unique for Maine (which I do agree with). After a little more debate, you begrudgingly conceded, "We get it, we're not Chicago or even Springfield." Right. So which is it? Is Portland's skyline "Magnificent" on a world-wide level (even though you admit it's not even as impressive as Springfield's), or is it impressive relative to Maine? I This type of stuff happened on a near daily basis with smart, well-traveled people in Portland.
Fair enough. Portland is not Bourbon Street. However, does it have to be king of the hill to not suck? Just wondering. I think your point about saying "we're not Boston" is spot on, my own comments included (as you so nicely pointed out), but that's not so much a Portland resident thing as it is a normal reaction to argument. In fact, you do the same thing as well (and everyone does). When you do it, its not in reference to a city, but to your own attitudes as regard a city or cities. Example: You: Portland sucks. Me: you're bitter. You: Portland has plenty of great aspects. It's simply a way of showing the other side you're not delusional.


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Originally Posted by Lrfox View Post
Finally, just to reiterate, I hardly think that anyone who enjoys Portland is naive. I enjoy Portland. I don't want to live there again, but I enjoy visiting. My only problem with the people (not everyone, and next to no one on this forum... my girlfriend of 5 years and some of my close friends are from Portland) is the absolute unchecked pride. I don't think that anyone here is naive. I just think that sometimes, the local pride really gets in the way of some opinions. Most of the time, though, the Portland discussion is fun and informative. You really know your stuff. I add my two cents based on my experiences, but if it bothers you that much I'm more than fine with refraining from posting about Portland so you don't have any more negative vibes.
You know, it really sucks that it has to be an ultimatum like this, and that was not at all my intention. However, I feel compelled to point out that you are just about the only person, resident or visitor, that rags on Portland on a constant basis. And speaking of pride, some introspection on your part is in order. A while back, I made a comment like "not to go all negative on Providence, but the place is a dump..." to which you immediately responded in a fierce tone, perceptible even over the internet, for which you later apologized and attributed to drunk posting. I mean, for its success, Providence deserves the acclaim it gets, but it is ratty in plenty of areas. I don't think my reaction to your posts on Portland are half as bad as how you responded to the comment I made about Providence, and you don't even live there anymore.

So, in sum, although I understand your insistence that you are not bitter, it comes off as bitterness most of the time. But, that being said, no, I do not want you to refrain from posting.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:35 AM   #60
mainejeff
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Re: MY TOP 15 NEW ENGLAND CITIES

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Jeff, great shot. The arena is approved, no?
Still up in the air pending the outcome of a citizen initiative collecting signatures to force a citywide vote. January 14th is the date that enough signatures must be collected to force the vote. Also, the design has been changed to decrease the cost of construction.
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