May 2017 In The Know

What to know about the East Side of Providence


And the Winners Are… Us!
Forgive our exuberance, but we’re quite excited about how well we did in this year’s RI Press Awards. Our company, Providence Media, which includes Providence Monthly, So Rhode Island, The Bay and Hey Rhody, in addition to East Side Monthly, nailed it this year in terms of nominations. Last year we won 17 awards. This year we’ve got 19 awards and four honorable mentions, second only to the Journal and hell, they’re a daily! Kudos to our great staff for this well-deserved acknowledgement of their creativity and hard work. Hope you love their work as much as we do.

Ward 3: Don’t Forget to Vote on May 2
The long-awaited recall vote in Ward 3 to determine whether longtime Councilman Kevin Jackson stays or goes will finally be held on May 2. It’s a straight up or down vote and residents of the Ward will have three designated polling places: Summit Commons on Hillside Avenue, the Church of the Redeemer on Hope Street and the Vinny Brown Recreational Center at the YMCA on Doyle Avenue. Check with the Board of Canvassers (421-0495) if you’re not sure which polling place is yours. But do vote. The recall mechanism is one of the most important tools a citizen has to participate in the political process and voice their frustrations. Make your voice heard.

Tell Us a Story
Rebecca Bromberg, a consultant with the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau, is working on a new online guide that will showcase each of the city’s neighborhoods. She’s currently seeking memories and tidbits about College Hill and is hoping residents, new or old, will call her with some lively ones. Remember Allary’s? David’s Pot Belly? Something funny that happened in the old train station? Ever bump into a celeb on the Brown campus and do something foolish? Send your stories to with “East Side Project” in the subject line, so Rebecca can weave them into her neighborhood portraits. We assume they need to be PG-rated. Maybe not.

Rhode Islanders Speak Their Minds

The Providence Chamber of Commerce and Santander Bank combined again this year for their annual presentation of the State of the State. One of the annual highlights is that each of the over 400 attendees was given a pocket computer that allowed for the instantaneous tabulations of their responses to a series of questions. Based on their responses, it was determined this year that there is a surprising sense of optimism about our economy and, except for some deep worry about Washington, a much more upbeat assessment of things than usual. Here’s hoping this thumbnail Rhode Island moment is an accurate one, especially since the final question asked was if this will indeed be the year that the Sox go all the way. According to over 70 percent of us, prepare to fire up those duckboats.

Brown Graduation Remains On Course

Living on the East Side in such close proximity to Brown has its pluses and minuses. Sure, there’s the occasional rowdy party. Sure, the students treat Angell and Waterman Street crosswalks like they own them, especially when we’re driving and in a rush. And sure, grabbing a table at our usual favorite restaurant during Parents Weekend… well, not going to happen. But then there is the glory of Graduation Weekend. Providence is always at its full-bloom best. The sight of the students marching up and down the hill still brings tears to our eyes. And many of us still miss the pops concerts that used to be on campus. But one of the underutilized pluses is the chance we all get to crash some of the free Saturday morning classes that are available to the general public if you get there early enough to claim a seat. Do yourself a favor and enjoy. Thanks, Bruno.

WaterFire Moves to Higher Ground

Starting this month, WaterFire is beginning an exciting new initiative and will become a little more landlocked. Barnaby Evans and his merry cast of thousands are moving their headquarters to new multimillion-dollar digs in the long vacant US Rubber complex on Valley Street in Olneyville. The project is complicated, financed as it was with major community support and grants. WaterFire plans to combine all their activities under one roof in a just-rehabbed 37,000-foot building that is being gutted and rebuilt. To offset some operating costs, the building will also be rented out for funky party events, some for outsiders, some for WaterFire itself. Already this month, they have four big community events planned, including fundraisers for Sophia Academy and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence and two huge galas for Miriam Hospital on May 13 and the Pell Awards on May 22. Barnaby’s hope is that the new building will be a catalyst for that whole section of the city. And given what he’s been able to do on our modest riverscape, who knows what he’s capable of when it comes to dry land. Here’s wishing WaterFire good luck in their exciting new space.