Category Archives: Providence

Authenticity in placemaking

AS220’s “Unpacking Authentic Placemaking” at the Peerless Building. Left to right, standing and on panel: Marc Levitt, Lucie Searle, Rick Lowe, Myrna Breitbart, Umberto Crenca and Andres Duany. (This and first photo below by David Brussat) Here is a relatively … Continue reading

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Flub at Brick School House

I drove up downtown’s beautiful Westminster Street yesterday and saw director Brent Runyon of the Providence Preservation Society sitting outdoors at a café around noon. I wanted to scream at him: “WTF are you guys doing!” PPS plans to add … Continue reading

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Presto chango bus hub idea!

Seemingly out of the clear blue sky a completely new bus hub idea has suddenly emerged in Providence. The Innovation District Transit Center, it’s called. The reigning notion of shifting most buses from Kennedy Plaza to a pair of new … Continue reading

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Creative capitulation in Prov

In recent decades, art in Providence has served as a wrecking ball aimed not just at beauty but at the very concept of art, in a city that depends on art for its historical character, even as it brands itself … Continue reading

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Providence dodges a bullet

Providence dodged a bullet last Tuesday morning. That’s the good news. For all the horrifying videotape, rioters managed to do little real damage to downtown. Lots of glass was broken, boosting the local glass and plywood industries. There were a … Continue reading

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Hardscrabble and Snowtown

Hardscrabble in 1824 was a poor hamlet of respectable families headed mostly by free black tradesmen, craftsmen and servants in the town of Providence. Blacks and others along Olney Lane (now Olney Street) lived cheek by jowl, however, with prostitutes, … Continue reading

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A view of Providence in 1808

The Rhode Island Historical Society yesterday displayed its amazing 1809 drop curtain, owned by the society since 1833 and depicting the town as it appeared in 1808, twenty years before the Providence Arcade was built in 1828. It is thought … Continue reading

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The stately capitol of R.I.

In whole or in part, the design of the Rhode Island State House (1901) can be read at many levels, directly or intuitively. The volutes of the Ionic capitals on the four cupolas, or tourelles, surrounding the dome suggest the … Continue reading

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Tenn. Tuxedo & P. Purebred

The image above of the Rhode Island State House (Charles Follen McKim, 1900), set against a classical metropolitan backdrop in its role as City Hall, is from the 2007 film Underdog. That year I wrote a column for the Providence … Continue reading

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A history of Thayer Street

I’ve been invited to read from my book Lost Providence during an open-mic session this Friday, March 22, at the Brooklyn Coffee, Tea & Guest House, 207-209 Douglas Ave., at 6 p.m., $5, in Providence. But I think instead that … Continue reading

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