Friday, April 3, 2009

Portland, Maine: America's "most livable city"

Eat your heart out Bethesda, Maryland and Stamford, Connecticut: has named my home city of Portland, Maine as America's Most Livable City. That's right: #1. Take that.

Truth be told, Forbes didn't really pick Portland -- or any other city -- per se. Their list was really of the Most Livable US Census Metropolitan Statistical Areas. That's why "Portland" (population: 65,000) is said to have 513,000 residents, or nearly half the population of the entire state. Indeed, the Portland MSA includes all of Cumberland, York, and Sagadahoc County, an area larger than the state of Delaware and which comprises more than fifty municipalities from Bath to Kittery and as far north as Bridgton.

They also didn't spend much time investigating their #1 city. In the main story, the writer started at Gritty's and, well, never got out the door. (Those Forbes guys....)

On a less upbeat note: I've just learned that one of our city's best bookstores, Books etc on Exchange Street, will close its doors in June. Books etc has been at that location since1972 and, with the recent closure of Amaryllis and Movies on Exchange, its departure marks the end of an era for Portland's main shopping drag.

Other Maine independent bookstores to bite the dust this year include Bookland (in Brunswick and Rockland) and Somesville's Port in a Storm, one of my favorite book tour venues. Books etc's Falmouth location lives on (for now), as does our Now Undisputed Best Bookstore, Longellow Books on Monument Square. That's the best in the MSA, by the way!

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