Undgerground Tunnels and Longfellow's Garden
The big news this week is that the Portland Press Herald was finally sold. There have been discussions and negotiations for months and finally, the new owners of our city’s daily paper have signed on the dotted line. As a result, there are 31 less managers throughout the company and the real estate assets are already up for sale with a line of potential buyers out the door. The main building housing the operations sits at the top of the Old Port, directly across from City Hall, with the old printing facility and massive parking lot across the street.
When I used to work there my favorite part was having access to the tunnel beneath Congress Street, connecting the main building with the old printing plant. It was an underground labyrinth full of basement mystery. You traveled for hundreds of feet, passing through dark passages and heavy doors. Once you made it to the old printing plant, there was a gaping hole where the presses used to be before they were shipped off for their new life in a third world country. A few weeks after they removed the press (the paper is now printed in South Portland), I found two of the old gears on the floor, which I promptly brought to my desk to serve as industrial paperweights. It will be interesting to watch the paper change under new ownership in this time of ever evolving media consumption and habits.
Not exactly headline news, but I am thrilled to report that the Longfellow Garden is open once again after a two-year hiatus. Closed due to the construction of a new library for the Maine Historical Society, this sliver of tranquility in the heart of downtown was sorely missed. While slightly smaller in its footprint, it still serves as a private spot to bring your lunch and forget that you are in a city.
And on the topic of lunch, there is finally a spot on Congress Street to grab a slice of pizza. Otto’s Pizza is located at 576 Congress Street halfway between the museum and Monument Square. The sizes are generous, the pricing is reasonable and the selection is tasty. The owners are interested in keeping some late night hours on weekends which will be a pleasant alternative to the limited bar fare currently available. I would still love to see a quality diner that is open late night, similar to the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth. Some day.
More Portland food news: The instantly popular El Rayo Mexican restaurant is now open for dinner. There is also talk of the owners expanding their business to include a taco truck and a bigger sit down Mexican restaurant in the old Popeye’s Ice House. Let’s hope they remove the airplane from the roof.