The historic Aladdin Theater is the northern anchor for the Brooklyn neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. It serves as a bright landmark on Powell Boulevard for this quaint neighborhood on Portland’s south side.
The Brooklyn Neighborhood is small, but has a vibrant business area and relaxed residential area. This includes several restaurants, the Aladdin Theater, and Rose City Coffee. You can tell that Brooklyn is a well-loved neighborhood.
Getting to the Aladdin Theater
The neighborhood is easy to get to since it sits on Powell Boulevard. This is the street name in Portland for Oregon State Route 26. From I-5 or 99E take the exit for Route 26 and follow the signs to Route 26. The Brooklyn Neighborhood and Aladdin Theater are to the right at the intersection of SE Powell Boulevard and SE Milwaukee Avenue.
I did the pencil sketch and line work for the drawing from the patio at Botto’s BBQ. I ate an excellent pulled pork sandwich while I was drawing. This was convenient as I had worried about finding some place to draw from and finding lunch.
I went to the Clinton Street Coffeehouse to finish adding the watercolor from a photo. This has become one of the new habits when I am drawing in southeast Portland.
The challenge of this drawing was the billboard in the background. I am not a cartoonist so rendering the Geiko Gecko was a stretch for me. While I captured the feel of the gecko, I don’t think Geiko’s marketing department will be calling me soon.
Exploring Portland’s Brooklyn Neighborhood
The Brooklyn Neighborhood has a lively business district along 4-5 blocks of SE Milwaukee Avenue. There are several restaurants and bars like Botto’s BBQ. Rose City Coffee Company offers warm drinks and a relaxed atmosphere. And a large neighborhood park provides green space, a play structure and a port-a-potty if needed.
The residential area is packed with bungalows from the 1920s and 1930s. The neighborhood is wedged between Portland’s main rail yard and the Willamette River. The rail yard workers made very efficient use of the space they had to build housing.
You would not know that the Brooklyn Neighborhood was a residential hold out in a primarily industrial part of Portland though. The small yards are lovingly planted with Japanese Maples, Woody Hydrangeas and other large bushes and small trees. This gives the neighborhood a sense of intimacy and a relaxed atmosphere.
I did visit the Brooklyn Neighborhood on a Friday, so it was quieter than I would expect it to be on a weekend. Most of the people I saw seemed to work in the area and came to get food. The Aladdin Theater and the neighborhood park hosts regular events that draw crowds too.