Greater City Providence

Waterplace Shoals

The flood has left an archipelago in Waterplace (well, OK, it is only two islands). You actually have to smell it to get the full effect.






All photos by Jef Nickerson

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I was downtown later Friday night and as I was there I noted that distinct smell. You usually don’t get that until mid summer but it’s here already. Rotting something or other in dried out bottom silt.

  • We’ve been saying for quite a while that the river needs to be dredged. Now I guess there’s no choice.

  • The Providence River is really an estuary and the shoals are simply the dynamics of natural systems in the city. I think it is great that Providence smells like the sea again. What if sedimentation restores an estuarine habitat and we gain a vibrant, biologically diverse river flowing through the city… “Marsh-Fire” anyone ?

  • Liriodendron:
    I grew up on Cape Cod, that smell down at Waterplace is not marsh. It is 100 years of industrial waste, a touch of sewage, mass quantities of crap washed off the streets, and a smidge of dead fish (though dead fish also makes up a bit of the natural marsh smell). Marshes would be lovely though. Maybe we can give the parking lots behind Citizens back to the river and have the old Cove come back. Seems it will be decades before anything gets built there, give it back to the river, have some boardwalks running across it for recreation. It would be quite cool.

    Not sure about MarshFire though. Did you see the photos of the brush fire in the Fens in Boston a couple weeks ago? Cool in a pyro way, but probably not a good thing to bring the kids to.

    Found a couple YouTubes of the Fens fire:

  • some shoals also developed upstream on the Woonasquatucket near the Paul Cuffee School

Providence, RI
5:27 am8:16 pm EDT
Feels like: 79°F
Wind: 6mph SW
Humidity: 53%
Pressure: 30.06"Hg
UV index: 0
86°F / 68°F
88°F / 66°F
86°F / 70°F