Recently, New Bedford was featured in the New York Times when journalist Elizabeth Goodridge documented her weekend in the whaling town, which included visiting historic sites and tasting local food.
The New York Times is the third most widely circulated newspaper in the country behind USA today and the the wall street journal and it is often cited as the “go-to newspaper” for the United States
Although coverage of New Bedford events often remains primarily in the local market, every once in a while something happens that grabs national attention, or at the very least, the attention of someone with a space of column in a newspaper with national circulation outside the boston globe.
These are five New York Times headlines and stories that highlight notable events or key cultural aspects of New Bedford:
“New Bedford Fishermen’s Strike” (Associated Press, December 28, 1985)
In late 1985, tensions between boat owners and the New Bedford Fishing Union led to a strike that brought an abrupt end to the world’s leading fishing port. About 750 fishermen went on strike and picketed along the New Bedford and Fairhaven docks after boat owners rejected a demand for fishermen to get a bigger share of the profit from their catch. In the end, the boat owners would prevail as the end result of the strike was the dismantling of organized labor for New Bedford sailors.
“The boat owners didn’t want a strike but were prepared ‘for a long siege,’ said David Barnet, attorney for 32 of the Seafood Producers Association owners. ‘During the winter months , it is cheaper to tie than to give to requests,” he said.
“36 Hours in New Bedford” (by Paul Schneider, May 6, 2006)
Similar to the column recently featured in the Time, “36 Hours in New Bedford” was written in 2006 by columnist and author Paul Schneider. Although New Bedford isn’t as bustling as it is today, Schneider seemed to have plenty to explore in the area as he recounts his trip to the Whaling Museum, Seamen’s Bethel, Rotch Jones Duff House, and makes quick stops on the shores of Fairhaven and the village of Padanaram.
“The truth is, New Bedford is full of history, architecture and little museums to fill a weekend, especially when you’re near some of the prettiest little towns on the coast and some of the best and least famous beaches in Massachusetts. ”
“Teenager attacks three men in Massachusetts gay bar” (By Katie Zezima, February 3, 2006)
Last year was the 15th anniversary of the infamous attack on the Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford by 18-year-old Jacob Robida. Robida entered the gay bar in New Bedford concealing a hatchet and a gun, ordered two drinks and began shortly after his violent attack. Robida then fled the bar and embarked on a cross-state pursuit with police that ended in a confrontation that resulted in Robida taking the life of an Arkansas State Trooper, a companion that Robida was driving with, and to himself. Robida’s vicious hate crime and subsequent pursuit as he fled across the country made national headlines.
“Richard Macedo, owner of the bar for 15 years, said he had never been discriminated against and said he did not know Mr Robida. “It’s hard to believe,” Mr. Macedo said.
“New Bedford Gets Curfew to Ease Racial Tensions” (By Bill Kovach, 1970)
July 1970 was an exceptionally hot summer for the residents of New Bedford. The city’s black community was rightly frustrated by its deliberate exclusion from job opportunities, health care and livable housing. This led to an eruption of tensions after clashes with police. Rioting ensued and the city’s West End was barricaded to police and city officials. This series of events led Mayor George Rogers to institute a 9 p.m. curfew for city residents. After a visit by then-Senator Edward Brooke and deliberations with City Council and the Mayor, the city agreed to build more affordable, low-income housing, which included the United Front now known as Temple Landing .
“New Bedford, once the whaling capital of the world, has found itself home to two camps of armed, anxious and worried citizens – one white and one black – after more than a decade of trying to overcome a pattern of economic decline.”
“New Bedford Keep Identity Portuguese” (by John Kifner, August 5, 1975)
Buoyed by the Carnation Revolution in 1974 which saw the ousting of a military dictatorship in favor of the democratic process in Portugal, Kifner asked local Portuguese residents for their thoughts on the rising tide of leftist politics in their country of origin. But above all, Kifner emphasizes the importance of the Portuguese community in New Bedford, how they found their way to New Bedford via other maritime port communities in Provincetown and along Cape Cod, and important cultural events such as the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.
“New Bedford is less a melting pot than a kind of bouillabaisse, the Mediterranean fish stew in which each ingredient retains its distinct identity, or better, a Portuguese paella. It is a city of immigrants where old ties are maintained and concessions to assimilation are made gradually.”