I was talking to an app developer about how I was planning to write this very article you are reading, and he responded, “I’m so glad you are finally going to set the record straight!”
Having been born and raised in Park Slope, and having moved to Williamsburg when I was in my early 20s and seeing the wave of gentrification that I was a part of there, I can tell you that Portland Maine is nothing at all like Brooklyn.
While Portland Maine has recently experienced rapid gentrification and property bubbles because of yuppies like me who telecommute to our $100k+ tech jobs in NYC from our million dollar condos in Portland, the truth is, Portland really cannot be compared to Brooklyn.
First off, they start with different letters. Brooklyn Starts with a “B.” Portland does not. It’s Portland, not Bortland. What is that, even? That’s not a thing… Bortland? Please, come on.
Second, Brooklyn has four bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, the Verazzano Narrows bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge. How many bridges does Portland have? Like two? And neither of them are called the Portland Bridge. I mean, you can’t compare the two cites at all, not in the area of bridges.
Brooklyn also boasts a population of over 3 million people. That’s three times the number of people that live in the entire state of Maine! The wave of yuppification that happened in Brooklyn took decades to complete, made especially difficult because of housing cooperatives and rent control ordinances. Meanwhile, Portland has no such legal protections for renters, and only has like 65,000 people living in it. The yuppification of Portland could be way more rapid than it was in Brooklyn!
Another big difference is that Brooklyn is incorporated under the city of New York. It’s actually got so many people, that it’s a county. Is Portland a county? No, it’s part of Cumberland County. Brooklyn is also located on Long Island, in New York State. Where is Portland Located? Not in New York State, that’s something we can surely all agree on.
From where I’m sitting, Portland is nothing like Brooklyn. For one, it’s way more affordable. You can buy a condo for only like $1.3 million dollars! That’s so cheap compared to condo prices in Brooklyn! In fact, the price of condos in Brooklyn is so high, some Brooklynites are moving to the Bronx. You can’t even get subway service in most places in the Bronx! Granted there’s no subways in Maine, so maybe Portland is the next Bronx? Hahaha!
And rents are so cheap in Portland. Only $1500 a month for a studio apartment? Only $800 a month per room for a three bedroom? You Portlanders are so lucky to have such cheap housing! It would be a shame if rent was driven up by yuppies like what happened in Brooklyn.
Thankfully, Portland’s chamber of commerce keeps boasting about all the top 10 lists Portland gets into for it’s unique qualities. So when all the people moving here from Brooklyn kick all the locals out, they will know exactly how to preserve of all the things that make Portland what it really is. Y’know, the authenticity.
Granted, there are some parts of Portland that DO in fact remind me of Brooklyn. Like the East End neighborhood on Munjoy Hill. It’s boutique shops, and overpriced restaurants, skyrocketing rents, and high end condos remind me of the Brooklyn I left behind. But I’m sure that yuppies from NYC moving here had nothing to do with why Munjoy Hill is what it is. Munjoy Hill has always been the ritzy part of Portland– as far back as I can remember!
Truth be told, many Brooklynites came to Portland, not to find the next Brooklyn, but to pursue something we just couldn’t at home– the fruitless pursuit of authenticity that can only be achieved via the aesthetic of living in a quaint post-industrial New England seaside town. Some people accuse us NYC transplants of trying to recreate Portland in New York’s image. What malarky! If anything, we are seeking to preserve Portland, by rebuilding it as we’ve always imagined it to be, based on the information gleaned from films we’ve seen, books we’ve read, and buzzfeed listicles we’ve skimmed.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn has suffered greatly thanks to yuppies moving in from more expensive parts of NYC, transforming everything good about Brooklyn in ways that no Portlander could possibly understand.
There was once a time that you could survive in Brooklyn working one job, and focus your time on artistic and cultural pursuits. Rent used to be affordable, not expensive like it is today. You used to be able to park on the street for free! Not so now. Now, because of skyrocketing rents, we find that Brooklynites like me are fleeing NYC by the thousands. Portland should be glad that it’s not Brooklyn. Brooklyn used to be a great place, teeming with arts and culture until it was overrun by yuppies like me. Portland isn’t anything like that.
Take it from me– I know about Portland not being like Brooklyn far better than any working-class Portlander complaining about gentrification does. After all, I moved here from Brooklyn like two years ago.
I’m practically an expert on Portland by now.