Having a real, live moose trot down the street in front of one’s new home is a good enough story for one’s first month in a new city, but equally entertaining is another told to me on the day of my arrival in Portland, Maine, by a neighbor: only recently, he said, had the bordello on the corner been closed.
“Being one of your ‘male’ readers I am extremely disappointed that in your brief photographic tour you neglected to neither photograph nor point out the ‘corner bordello’.”
How right he is, so today I’m correcting that omission. This is the front entrance to the building that may or may not have held a bordello on the top floor. It looks like any other well-maintained, middle class apartment house of a style common in Portland.
Then you walk around to the side. What you can’t see well in this photograph is that this is, obviously, the more usual entrance where the doorbells and mailboxes for three apartments are mounted.
It lends credence to the bordello story that there is a small parking lot behind the house. Nevertheless, there is nothing about the building that signals its possible past notoriety. But isn’t it always that way. I know of two townhouses in Greenwich Village that are well-known as bordellos, but there is nothing about them that would reveal the business behind their ordinary façades.
It’s in my nature to hope the bordello story is true; such tales give shape and color to neighborhoods. But until I get enough detail to convince me, I’ll consign this one to the category of legend or (which would be a good story too) to the natives pulling the newcomer’s leg.”