Monday, November 15, 2010

Greatest American City, Round Four!

Boy, is this City vs. City tournament getting heated! Kansas City-ites throwing bottles at Seattlers, Boise Folk hollering curses at Miliwaukeeans--hopefully they can all work out their differences in a civil manner, sort of like the States did last time they had a conflict. (They didn't call it the "Civil" war for nothing) In this round we have Portland Maine duking it out with Washington, DC. Full disclosure--these are the two cities I've lived in longer than any other, so my affinity for both is well established. Let's go to the battle:

1) Portland boasts a sizable Somali population, while Washington has a large number of Ethiopians. While the latter have established a number of good ethnic restaurants, the Portland area has no Somalian restaurants to speak of. Boo! What's up with that, Portland? Would Somalian food be a little too "real" for you? Point to DC!

2) Portland has a number of quality restaurants and dive bars--in fact, most of the bars are of the dive quality. DC does have a number of bars, but in terms of restaurants it falls about equal to Portland (despite the latter's tiny size--DC has about ten times the population of Portland). Points to Portland for batting above its weight.

3) Portland is absolutely horrendous in the winter, with extreme darkness (due to its far north and far east location), extreme cold, and enough snow to make Jack Frost go batshit. DC is a fetid swamp during the summer. Breaking the tie is the long, temperate fall and spring in DC. Points to DC on weather.

4) Both towns have cheap baseball, since Portland has only a double-A team (the SeaDogs) and DC has a team that may as well be double-A (the hapless Nationals!). Push.

5) DC has a fairly extensive and state of the art metro system, connecting most of its neighborhoods and key urban points. Portland's most worthwhile points are all in walking distance from one another. Point to Portland.

6) Portland is definitely cheaper in terms of housing, but the pitifully low salaries are so far below the cost of living that many white collar workers are forced to work extra jobs. Boo! Points to DC.

7) When you have out of town guests in DC, you can send (or take) them to see monuments, free museums, open air markets, events, etc. When you have out of town guests in Portland, you can . . . hope the weather is nice enough to do something outside. (It won't be.) Points to DC.

8) Portland has a scenic location right on the Atlantic, with a rocky cove and many barrier islands nearby. DC is just sort of in the middle of a swamp. Points to Portland.

Looks like DC edges out my former home of Portland--though, Portland should be proud to put up a good fight against a heavyweight like that. It should also be noted that both towns blew the doors off Boston in the Northeast Regionals, because any town producing "Good Will Hunting" deserves to lose.

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