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New Bedford hits the Zeitgeist

Is New Bedford about to burst into the national consciousness? It very well may be happening.

The year 2017 saw the city featured in positive headlines throughout the state and region. There was no need to read between the lines or parse sentences in the stories underneath: New Bedford was being recognized in regional magazines and by New England newspapers as a destination city with a historic past and, more importantly, a promising future.

The positive coverage the city finally began to enjoy last year was capped off by nothing less than a Valentine to it labeled “New Bedford Renewal” – an over-the-moon episode of WCVB’s “Chronicle” program broadcast out of Boston.

And now, 2018 looks to be picking up right where 2017 left off, but coverage is going national – if not global.

Drink like Melville

This week, The Manuel website featured New Bedford in its travel section with a story entitled, “New Bedford, Massachusetts: Drink Like Melville in the Most Portuguese U.S. City.

That’s right – New Bedford – featured right beside stories on Dubai and Boca Raton!

The Manual is an online publication geared toward the male of the species. Indeed, it’s sub-titled, “The Essential Guide for Men.” They write of themselves, “The Manual is simple — we show men how to live a life that is more engaged. Whether it be fashion, food, drink, travel, grooming, or culture, we’re here to provide insight into it all.

“Founded in 2012 in Portland, Oregon, by our parent site, DigitalTrends, and run by our Editor-in-Chief, Cator Sparks, who resides between Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City, we pride ourselves on sharing genuinely interesting and informative experiences from a national perspective.”

The Manual is hip and eclectic – which is no doubt why editors chose to feature our funky city. It’s a great fit. It also helps that the writer, Mike Richard, is a Rhode Island native and is able to place the city into some context.

New Bedford, Massachusetts: Drink Like Melville in the Most Portuguese U.S. City” strikes a nice balance between the classic appeal of the city and its current charm. It also gives a shout-out to some of our favorite spots – Like dNB Burgers, Hippo, Cork, Purchase Street Records and others.

Entering the ranks

But most important of all, it’s another step in the right direction – another nudge for New Bedford into the national zeitgeist as a city that culturally belongs in the rank of great small cities in the nation. Right alongside Asheville, NC, Portland, ME, and Asbury Park, NJ as a city with a storied past and creative future. And, as in those cities, it is moving forward on its own unique terms.

The new picture of the city emerging regionally and now nationally is like an Impressionist painting. It’s being painted online, in newspapers and magazines and on television bit by bit and dot by dot.

That’s a good thing – because that step-by-step preciseness leaves room for all of us to make our mark on the final canvas – which is how we began this journey toward New Bedford Renewal to begin with.

Steven Froias