This is big, folks! Listen up! Travel + Leisure, the top magazine of its kind, has ranked Providence No. 1 in its list of best U.S. cities. “5 Reasons to Visit Providence” is here, and it is a joy to read, but even better is the summary article, “America’s Favorite Cities 2014,” in which Providence ranks first stacked up against its much larger rivals in many categories, most especially in those that place our glorious city into a high class of über-hipitude. Needless to say, the architecture of the largest city in the smallest state scored bigtime. Unaccountably, Los Angeles even scored higher, probably because of Frank Gehry’s ridiculous concert hall – which just goes to show that even great judges sometimes hock a goober.
This set of rankings will have Rhode Island’s brand marketeers doing a jig. They should read my free advice to Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo in my latest GoLocalProv.com column, published today. In it, I urge her to gently suggest to developers that they use traditional rather than modern architecture to design projects. Luckily you have to look at the Facebook version to read the snarky comments at the end, to whom I replied that they were incapable of trash-talking their way out of a paper bag!
And by the way, “5 Reasons” author Nikki Eckstein gets free admission into my Providence travel writer’s hall-of-fame museum for her reference to the Dorrance restaurant as having once been “the Federal Reserve.” No, sweetheart, that was the name of the previous restaurant in that space, which was originally the Union Trust Bank. Luv ya, Nikki! At least you didn’t say that the Arcade was America’s first indoor shopping mall. That is the top-ranked Providence travel-writing oops in the annals of recorded world history. The Arcade is the oldest. Older ones in Philadelphia and New York were razed eons ago.