In The Know on the East Side

From crime to RISD's $8 million face-lift, get the low-down on this month's East Side happenings


Taking a Bite out of East Side Crime?
Responding to what it perceives as an increase of crime on the East Side, residents gathered recently at an open meeting convened by councilman Sam Zurier to explore the pros and cons of establishing neighborhood watch programs. Police representatives were joined by Jay Tavares from the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and Monica Anderson from Summit and shared programs for crime prevention that are being tried in their neighborhoods. This included efforts to coordinate reports of suspicious activity, monthly follow-up meetings to review specific cases and arrests, and the importance of feeding “real time” tips to the police. For more information about starting a crime watch group, Councilman Zurier suggested accessing his website: Other East Side neighborhood associations are discussing ways to help the police do battle against the bad guys but no new initiatives have been made public. An informal listserv of East Side crime reports is currently being offered by local resident Cheryl Simmons and is available by emailing her at
CLICK HERE to read our cover article on East Side Crime

River Road Redux
Several months ago, in response to a petition from a group of nearby residents, an attempt was made to experiment with reconfiguring River Road. The idea was to restrict vehicular traffic so as to benefit visitors on foot or bicycles. Opponents, on the other hand, saw nothing wrong with the traffic pattern that currently exists. A compromise was tried that would bar cars but for weekends only. Unfortunately the barriers that were set up to prohibit traffic that weekend were removed after the first day so the results were inconclusive. Organizers of this effort are trying to persuade Councilman Zurier to try the experiment again. A public meeting was held on June 12 to hear all points of view with an eye towards creating a final plan of action (or perhaps inaction). One concession is that vehicular travel would now be permitted at least one way (southward) at all times. To add your thoughts to those expressed at the meeting, contact Councilman Zurier at
CLICK HERE to read our cover article about River Road

Former East Side Resident and Second Oldest Brown Alumna Passes Away
In case you missed it, Brown’s second oldest alumna, Beatrice Coleman ’25, a retired local schoolteacher, passed away a few weeks ago at Tockwotton Home. The granddaughter of slaves, Ms. Coleman recalled how black students back then weren’t allowed to live in the dorms and “had to lodge with colored families in town.” A longtime church organist, she regularly used to entertain her fellow Tockwotton residents in Fox Point before the facility was moved across the river to East Providence. Ms. Coleman had no children and never married. As she explained in an interview in the Brown Alumni Magazine several years ago, “I didn’t want no man telling me what to do. It’s bad enough having a governor or president.” She was a still spry 109 when she passed away.

A Devil of a Time at 200 Hope
Neighbors continue to do battle with the owner of the mansion at 200 Hope Street, once owned by former Governor Lippitt. Developer David Baskin bought the building a few months ago and announced plans, say current residents, to turn the current configuration of apartments and an office into tighter, more student-friendly options. Protests to the zoning board were unsuccessful, so the neighbors decided to monitor the work being done and report abnormalities to the City. Apparently there have been several including use of non-approved materials and trying to circumvent lead abatement regulations. The Providence Preservation Society is watching events as well and has expressed concern over the changes taking place in this iconic East Side building. We’ll let you know how this turns out.

RISD Museum Completes an Eight Million Dollar Facelift
The Rhode Island School of Design Museum will be celebrating the opening of some new galleries as part of the completion of a major expansion of its 1926 Eliza Radeke building. The new space will be dedicated to ancient Egyptian and Asian art as well to showcasing part of the museum’s textile and costume collections. We plan to feature more of the specifics of the new offerings in next month’s issue, but we thought we’d at least whet your artistic appetite. A great community resource just keeps getting better.

Hot Time, Summer in the City
We’ve always maintained you don’t necessarily have to flee Providence to have a good time enjoying the summer. And the good merchants at Wayland Square are poised to do their part to prove the point. To celebrate the beginning of summer, Wayland Square will be holding their annual Sidewalk Sale on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 26, 27 and 28. It’s always colorful and a lot of fun as stores take over the sidewalks and offer incredible values and options to get your attention. It’ll be a great chance to check out some of the new stores that have come to the Square recently and, of course, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and make merry. Enjoy.