Tag Archives | People

Assembly Bill would rename Iway bridge for late architect William Warner


Iway bridge viewed from the Hurricane Barrier

A bill (H 6029) before the General Assembly would rename the Route 195 Iway bridge over the Providence River for late architect William Warner.

Warner, who passed last summer, is perhaps best known for the napkin sketch that eventually resulted in the relocation of the rivers and the creation of Waterplace Park. Fittingly, Warner also designed the Iway bridge which would take his name.


Introduced By: Representative Cale P. Keable
Date Introduced: April 24, 2013
Referred To: House Municipal Government

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 22-7.4 of the General Laws entitled “Permanent Joint Committee on Naming All New Buildings, Bridges, Edifices and Other State Constructions” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

22-7.4-119. The William D. Warner Memorial Bridge. – The bridge in the city of Providence known as the I-195 Providence River Bridge, (Bridge #1081), shall hereafter be named and known as the “William D. Warner Memorial Bridge.”

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
This act would name the I-195 Providence River Bridge the “William D. Warner Memorial Bridge.” This act would take effect upon passage.


News & Notes

firstworks dining

People eating at Kennedy Plaza during last month’s FirstWorks Festival

The Atlantic Cities: The Power of the Movable Chair

In his classic 1980 study of the use of public spaces in New York City, William H. Whyte and his team of researchers used cameras to watch people and understand how they used the public places in the city. One of the takeaways from the film footage was that people like to sit in public places, and, far more fascinatingly, that if given the option they will almost always move chairs before they sit in them.

The New York Times: How the G.O.P. Became the Anti-Urban Party

A leading Republican columnist, trying to re-stoke her candidate’s faltering campaign before the first presidential debate, felt so desperate that she advised him to turn to cities.

“Wade into the crowd, wade into the fray, hold a hell of a rally in an American city – don’t they count anymore?” Peggy Noonan lamented in The Wall Street Journal. “A big, dense city with skyscrapers like canyons, crowds and placards, and yelling. All of our campaigning now is in bland suburbs and tired hustings.”

But the fact is that cities don’t count anymore – at least not in national Republican politics.

See also: Greater Greater Washington: Presidential debate again ignores urban issues

Continue Reading →


Storified: Changing the perception of Downcity

Changing the perception of Downcity

A commenter at last week’s Providence Preservation Society Symposium stated that Downcity Providence is just vacant buildings and homeless people, prompting the following discussion on Twitter.

Storified by Gr. City Providence · Wed, Oct 17 2012 08:52:08

Ugh. Downcity is NOT just vacant buildings and homeless people. #pvdsymposiumGr. City Providence
@gcpvd do they really think that? Our population doubled in from 2000-2010Jason Becker
@jasonpbecker people who only come Downcity on Sunday mornings it seems. Maybe they’ll learn on the lunch break.Gr. City Providence
@gcpvd @jasonpbecker <chuckle> on Sundays it _is_ like that. Solution is to double downtown pop every 5 yrs.Allan Tear
@gcpvd I can’t sleep on weekend until 1 because its loud and I love that. Restaurants are full all the time. Tons of people work here.Jason Becker
@gcpvd I’m so sick of Warwick and Cranston pretending they know anything about Providence. They don’t come here. They don’t know.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd lots of ways to do that. Too bad neither city or state rigorously pursuing itJason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd or an individual/private group. All sorts of problems w/ that being a public led vision – witness Oaklands 10K project.Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd generally agree but a lot of that work is dependent on currently government held land & a lot of what’s needed are "bones"Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd you won’t double downcity population by building 10,000 parking spots over existing surface lots.Jason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd so true!Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd won’t get suburban RIers to pay for city living where they still feel need for car & are surrounded by surface lotsJason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd those are the wrong assumptions, IMO. The next 1K residents will not be RI suburbanite émigrés. They will be imports.Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd who aren’t going to be excited by parking lots & no grocery shopping in sight. And there is 0 residential visionJason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd people don’t want to come here bc they don’t get the full benefits of a city. Need car. No family housing.Jason Becker
@jasonpbecker @gcpvd so let’s change it.Allan Tear
@allantear @gcpvd Westminster is what they want to see– for a couple of miles continuous.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd I think @ProvPlanning has the vision 80% right. But they were shut out. I don’t see opportunity to influence commission.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd feels like it marches in isolation barely interested in or accountable to the city, it’s residents, and its needs.Jason Becker
@allantear @gcpvd Im 25, own Downcity, knowledge sector employee in policy, interested in development- 0 opportunity to authentically engageJason Becker
@jasonpbecker Fair critique. No doubt trad powers have no place to plug in. But they’ve no mo’, either. Sounds like u r ripe for RIIF grant!Allan Tear
Yesterday’s story from PBN highlights the exacerbation I feel with the notion that Downcity is dead. It is not 1982 anymore people, come downtown and see what is happening.
Boutique shops build momentum – .comWhen Nora Alexander was a student at Rhode Island School of Design 10 years ago, the only things that routinely drew her and her classmat…


Regarding the weed ordinance and enforcement

WPRI reports on City Councilman Michael Correia’s proposal to fine homeowners for unruly weeds on their property. The ordinance would impose a $25 fine per day on homeowners who have weeds or grass on their property exceeding 8 inches in height.

While there is a neighborhood beautification component to the proposal, as the WPRI video above shows, it is also a safety concern. As I’m sure you’re all aware, we have another ordinance which addresses a safety concern, snow shoveling.

WPRI reports: “The Department of Public Works would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance.” Great, DPW is also responsible for enforcing snow removal. How is that working out? The City admitted this to the Providence Journal way back in 2010 regarding snow removal:

Peter T. Gaynor, city director of emergency management, acknowledged, however, that the DPW is not yet ready to discharge its new duty. For the time being, he said, it’s still up to the police.

Before we pass another toothless ordinance, let us figure out who is going to enforce it and ensure they have the resources to do so.


Megan Andelloux: The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health before Pawtucket Zoning Board of Review

This post was submitted by friend of GC:PVD Megan Andelloux (A.A.S.E.C.T Certified Sexuality Educator, A.A.S.E.C.T Mentor, A.C.S Board Certified Sexologist). Monday night (11/30/09), she will be going before the Pawtucket Zoning Board of Review to defend her right to educate adults about the topics of sexual health and pleasure. Find out more info on upcoming workshops & sexuality questions at

csphYou may have heard about it in the news, The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health. It’s the name on many individuals lips. The CSPH has been called a sexual pleasure center, a sex clinic, a sexual health center, a brothel, an abortion clinic, a sex toy store and a havenhouse for sex trafficking. Let me clear rumors folks, The CSPH is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing accurate information to adults about sexuality that is seeking to open in The Grant Building on Main Street in Pawtucket. Nothing more, nothing less.

When put that way, it seems pretty fantastic right? A place where adults can go to access information about sexuality without having to buy anything? Like a library? Or a resource center? That’s the plan, but some city officials in Pawtucket (and other individuals) appear to oppose adults being able access sex information. They have taken some serious steps to prevent it from opening.

At first glance, the blatant censorship shines through loud and clear and gives people more than enough to be angry about. But look a little deeper. The issue that lies beneath most censorship issues surface is fear. In this case, it’s a fear of sexuality. People who are opposing The CSPH say it has to do with “the elderly“ not liking that type of talk, that the center doesn’t fit into the town’s image, that it’s not the kind of thing they like OR that they may be teaching immoral things. It’s interesting to me, as the founder of The CSPH, that those who are most vocal about preventing it from opening have never spoken to me, taken me up on offers of visiting The CSPH, or asked me my plans regarding it. They have just become talking heads, ready to attack without knowing the facts.

If we are really invested in growing Rhode Island cities by bringing in tourists, getting people to move into the area, revitalizing our downtown’s, it seems that setting up invisible hoops, only to be used if city officials want to flex their muscles, is not the way to welcome small businesses.

On Monday night (at 6:30pm), I will go before the town of Pawtucket’s zoning appeal board at Pawtucket City Hall, ready to stand firm on my belief that people have the right to access information if they so choose. I hope that you will stand with me.

– Megan Andelloux


Is it Christmas?

I thought the Dancing Cop only came out at Christmastime, like some sort of yuletide groundhog. Guess I was wrong, here he is today at Westminster and Dorrance.


Providence War Memorial Relocation

The Providence War Memorial has been under construction for some time, but until recently it has been all work on the footings, we now see the memorial itself taking shape.




Photos by Jef Nickerson

This is a reconfiguration of the memorial that used to sit outside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center before renovation. When it was at the Dunk the panels were arranged in a fan shape, now the panels are being spread out and each getting it’s own base to stand one with interlocking bands connecting them. From what I’m told the bands will be red and blue when complete. The rededication will take place September 24th:

With construction of the Providence War Memorial well underway (see below pictures), the Authority is pleased to announce the dedication ceremony scheduled for Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. located at LaSalle Square, just across the street from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (DDC). The event will include a brief speaking program as well as an unveiling ceremony presented by elements of the world renowned “Spirit of America” group, which is performing at the DDC September 25 and 26.

The Authority recognizes and appreciates the assistance of the Department of Planning and Development and the feedback and recommendations from local veterans on this important project.

For more information, please contact: Kim Keough, RICCA, at 401-572-3528, or via e-mail at

From Rhode Island Convention Center

This memorial honors Providence residents from all American conflicts. There was a portion of the original memorial which honored veterans state-wide, that section of the memorial is being moved to state land outside Providence.


Get on the water

6/30/09 - 5

Just over the Providence city line in the Edgewood neighborhood of Cranston lies a well kept secret: The Edgewood Sailing School. Advertised almost exclusively on a sandwich-board sign at the intersection of Narragansett Blvd and Shaw Ave, the sailing school has been giving lessons from the Edgewood Yacht Club for over 50 years.

In the summer of 2003, I had been out of college for over a year and found myself wanting to take better advantage of the Narragansett Bay beyond sitting at a beach. My company had just relocated to the South Elmwood neighborhood, so cruising over to Edgewood after work took only minutes. There, my instructor taught me, over the course of six weeks, everything I needed to know to sail about on a small boat in the upper Narragansett Bay.

The on-water classes get you in a boat on the very first lesson. For adults, the classes are small groups and start at 5:30pm; perfect for after-work sailing. After completing the six weeks of sailing instruction, you become eligible to participate in the Wednesday night one-design racing on Rhodes-19s, the same fixed-keel boats on which the classes are taught.

I spent that summer taking every class the Edgewood Sailing School offered. Still wanting to be on the water, I signed up for a membership at the Providence Community Boating Center at India Point Park, where I practiced my new skills on a variety of small boats every night after work and on the weekends.

This being Rhode Island, word gets out pretty fast to friends and friends-of-friends once you know how to sail, and before I knew it, I was being asked to crew on races all over the bay and teach sailing to others.

Consider this an invitation to get outside and do something active, learn to sail!


Art Scene Lately: Scenes within scenes


Soundsession photo by brownbeatle from Flickr

In a robust urban arts scene there ends up being pockets of scenes within scenes. Each fertile core is a community unto itself. This always causes me think about the notion of cross-pollination “¦Can we migrate more? Enjoy more arts diversity and in doing so create more diversity? In a city the size of Providence the fluidity between our arts enclaves and the way the distinct arts disciplines combine and reflect each can be one of our greatest strengths.

To encourage more cross-pollinators, I’ve asked a bunch of people in the business of Providence culture to provide their top picks for the upcoming summer arts season. Hopefully this provides new access points and ideas about our arts scene.

Karen BeeBe (co-owner/curator, Queen of Hearts boutique) is admittedly a downtown gal. She is looking forward to our city’s well-regarded Sound Session music festival running July 11-15. A big part of Karen’s enthusiasm for this event is her anticipation of the diverse audiences it will bring downtown. Billed as a festival with selections that excite, educate, surprise and inspire, Sound Session is definitely a good place to partake in what’s genre-defying about Providence culture. Tickets are sold for each night, several nights or the entire festival. The 2009 festival site is not up yet, but its parent organization The Black Rep does have information online and you can sign up for eblasts or volunteer!

Kathy Bert (of Bert Gallery) emailed me about Gallery Night’s new Wickenden Street art tours. As I understand it, these tours operate under the theme “…I know what I like“ and are designed to engage people in a dialogue about art collecting (hopefully debunking the feeling that you have to know something about art to know what you like). Often the hurdle to talking about art can be a bit like wine tasting – everyone has opinions but sometimes it helps to have a few handles on the terminology offered or to have your own gut reactions put into a larger framework.

In addition to these new tours, Bert Gallery has a series of art talks lined up for the third Thursday Summer Gallery Nights. The August 20th talk looks particularly interesting with exhibiting artist Carmel Vitullo being interviewed about growing up in RI, attending RISD, and the impact on her photography. Vitullo’s work depicts Rhode Island urban streets shots from the 1950-60s and is part of a photography show at Bert Gallery (July 14th – August 28th). I’ve been to several Bert Gallery events and they are informative and attract a combination of local arts appreciators and the gallery’s well-cultivated regional audience of collectors.

Then there are the suggestions of Christina Bevilacqua who comes close to embodying cultural cross-pollination. She admits this is in-part personal passion and also professional duty (One of Christina’s roles is putting together The Providence Athenaeum’s Friday Night Salons that skate across all arts and humanities topics. Note: When Fall swings back around check these out by becoming a member or tapping a friend who is a member to bring you along). Well Christina really got into my question because for her summer is a less scheduled time ripe for exploration that goes a little beneath the surface. She also is similarly obsessed about the idea of crossing cultural boundaries and offered that she views the Providence Cultural scene on both a micro and macro or meta level. What I love about her meta-lens is that she takes note of the relationships between the pockets that exist, the relationships that could be nurtured and also notes that what sustains our scene are the ideas being played collectively.

playwrightsSo where does this culture skater go for her summer sustenance? Christina’s list of cultural organizations was half a page long so I pressed her for specifics. Here are the three things she offered: 1) Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep that brings emerging alumni talent back to perform three plays each summer. Dates for this year are July 8th- August 1st and there is even a very affordable summer fun pass (all three plays for $25). 2) Not About The Buildings’ third annual Spelling Bee on June 22nd. Again this event is touted for its own wonderfully quirky merit as well as the very interesting mix of audience. 3) Perishable Theater’s new Live Bait series. Here Christina notes how timely Live Bait is. After checking out the Perishable website I see why she feels this way – it’s all about the audience telling stories.

And whether it’s Pecha Kucha or NPR’s This I Believe, it does seems like we are all being invited to tell our stories, albeit briefly.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg in what’s going on in Providence this summer. What are you looking forward to this summer in the Providence arts world?

Girl with fish image from Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep


TONIGHT: A Conversation with Daniel Libeskind

Rebuilding the World Trade Center

Photo by Erik Charlton from Flickr

I totally forgot about this until I was catching up with the Daily Dose (mostly I forgot because I have class tonight and can’t go. Stupid class).

The Second J. Carter Brown Memorial Lecture “A Conversation with Daniel Libeskind”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | 4:00pm
Salomon Center for Teaching, De Ciccio Family Auditorium
Brown University

“I think architecture is a dialogue…. It’s not a monologue…. It’s a cultural medium. It has to be able to communicate.”

Daniel Libeskind is an international figure in architectural practice and urban design. With over forty projects worldwide, Libeskind’s practice extends from museums and concert halls to convention centers, universities, hotels, shopping centers, and residential projects.

In this conversation with Dietrich Neumann, professor of history of art and architecture at Brown University, Libeskind will discuss his design practice, his architectural philosophy, and some of his most important projects. A book signing will follow at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

The Salomon Center is through the arch off Waterman at Brown Street, you can find it on the interactive campus map here.

Putting those lots to use…

mini golf

Photo by TheMunkyHouse from flickr

Not everyone is a fan of golf. Some argue that golf courses are a tremendous waste of land, use too much water and pesticide simply to grow too much grass. George Carlin once said “Think of the brains that it takes to play golf. Hitting a ball with crooked stick, and then walking after it. And then hitting it again. I say pick it up, you are lucky found it. Put it in your pocket and go home, will you!”

Rarely, however, does one hear someone speak out against mini-golf.

In fact, mini-golf takes up much less land, perhaps less resources, and if you add a wind-mill or two… 😉

But how often do you see mini-golf in the city? Well, that’s exactly what “The Putting Lot” is out to do. According to their website,

The Putting Lot examines the relevance of empty space in the city. Located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, this miniature golf course occupies what was once a vacant lot.

Regarding The Putting Lot, the website Inhabitat reports,

Its coordinators are soliciting artists, architects, and any other interested individuals to submit their design for one of the nine holes that explore the idea of urban sustainability, and winners will receive a $500 stipend to build and install their design.

This sounds like a fun idea! Could you imagine if a bunch of Providence’s many parking lots became a big mini-golf course?

More from The Putting Lot:

The use of empty spaces will play a critical role in the evolution of this neighborhood. Taking advantage of this moment of fluctuation, The Putting Lot explores the possibility of an alternate use for these empty spaces.

Maybe the Historic Parking District could become the Historic Putting District and be a nice compliment to the Grants-Lot Bocce Court!