Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 02/12/2007 - 16:24.

 Providence, Rhode Island icy Burning River Fest image jeff buster

Here is a winter shot of where the Providence RI burning river fest takes place every summer. Firewood is stored under the arched stone bridge (like billy goat gruff would do) which you can just see the top of at the end of the sidewalk in the photo.  In the summer, firepots are moored floating in a line down the center of the river and are tended by boat persons who toss in more wood to keep them burning.  There’s very little current in the river even when it isn’t all iced over.  The old buildings along the river are generally set back 50 to 100’  - not like Wolstein proposes in Cleveland (to do by eminent domain on the east bank – his plans show barely a narrow sidewalk – the public river walk space is privatized for the developer’s profit).   Opening up our urban river corridors for pedestrian enjoyment and recreation is  the new urbanization plan that is taking hold  around the country.   In Providence this waterway – the Blackstone River – was in the past covered and used as a parking lot in downtown.  Now it has been day-lighted and made into pedestrian promenades to pick up the energy of the riparian forces.   Much of Providence is still down and out like downtown Cleveland, but there are 3 or 4 new high rises being erected on the west side of down town.



The Old Town center and most of the RISD campus  is behind the brick buildings on the left hand bank, and Brown University and other RISD buildings are off the picture to the right.  The stainless steel sculpture had no info plaque that I could find – as I would have liked to mention the piece’s name and its artist. 

Providence RI burning river.JPG73.71 KB
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Nice insight on river cities

Thanks to our roaming reporter Jeff Buster for bringing an ever-changing global perspective to NEO. Excellent points - it astounds me there is not a serious movement to plan the river and lake fronts rather than carve things up and literally give them to a few powerful developers. Since Wolstein already has his demolition permits for his slice of the Flats fortune he will demolish lots of great historic buildings that could be part of a Cleveland renaissance to come, despite bad planning and projects now... there is plenty of other land available for doing right. But it is a shame we haven't reached that master planning stage yet here.

Disrupt IT

and the sculptor is

Wow are you good

That is awesome you found this. I checked out the artist's site - he does interesting work. I know it is tough being a sculptor.

Disrupt IT

Signs of a healthy arts scene in Providence

This photo makes a great statement about the important role of public art and artists in a city. On one side of the river you see one of America's best art schools and on the other a very intersting public sculpture (the shadow is really beautiful too). In a city at its best, art should be part of every view.



Here is another view of Rober Lorenson’s river walk sculpture - looking east towards the Atlantic down the Blackstone River.  Since Evelyn commented on the shadow laid across the public sidewalk,  I thought I should share this opposite view - which for me helps explain the soft organic strips of stainless steel welded one to another on one half of the toroid (the soft civic culture side) , and the gear-like cog teeth on the other half (the gritty grindy industrial machinery side).  The machinery “tool shed” which historically supports the City of Providence is just downstream from the City center and includes the electric generating facility and the high tension lines emanating from it and the traffic clogged overpass.  And of course there are many old brick mills upstream along the Blackstone River which extends north into Massachusetts.