Think you know a place? We’re highlighting places that define a quintessential Providence experience for residents of the Creative Capital. In this edition, we asked Katherine Hypolite-MacMannis about what charming landscapes and architectural wonders make Providence, Providence.
About our featured wanderer:
If home is where the heart is, then Providence is Katherine Hypolite-MacMannis’ home. While she finds her actual residence in Warwick “simply marvelous,” her first love—Providence—stole her heart. Their love story goes something like this: Picture it, Providence, 2004, a young suburban girl leaves Connecticut for new adventures in the big (read: mid-sized) city. While her college self thought urban life equaled a little more Providence Place and a little less placemaking, her decade-long live (Fox Point), learn (Providence College), work (Business Innovation Factory, City of Providence, Johnson & Wales) and play (Providence is the playground) tale is one for the storybooks.
Crook Point Bascule Bridge
“What’s the deal with that bridge?” she thought, as she gazed at the commanding structure seemingly frozen in time. Whether you’re strolling down the East Bay bike path extension, cruising down I-195 or breaking bread at Waterman Grille, the iconic railroad drawbridge—that I quickly learned is called the Crook Point Bascule Bridge—is a symbol, a destination, and a source of creative expression and innovative design solutions. Want to grasp what makes Providence, Providence? Start here.
Two places in and I’m already contradicting myself; if you love sunsets, 35-foot stone statues, and open space—Prospect Terrace might be an even better place to start. Its dramatic views of Providence’s skyline will stop you in your tracks. You can see it all; the State House, the Superman Building, the steeple of First Baptist Church in America. Just the endless assortment of historic homes lining Congdon Street, with their magnificent front steps and period details, makes it worth the trip. If you’re walking from downtown, grab a book or a bite to enjoy for an afternoon picnic. While a cozy blanket adds to the magic, there are plenty of benches for all to enjoy.
Cherry & Webb
If you’re still reading, you’re probably on to my secret—I don’t know a lick about architecture. And yet sometimes simply the site of a building literally stirs my soul. When I’m craving chills (or a coffee from Small Point) I go to the Cherry & Webb building. Is it the Shephard clock only a few paces away? The Tri-Store Bridge connector? That was home to one my favorite things (fashion) and also currently home to even more of my favorite things (art, creativity, and education)? I don’t know, but she gets a 10/10 on my Providence places list.
Let’s add redevelopment to the list of things that Katherine is certainly not an expert in but recognizes its value. My time working with the Providence Planning Department left me with a deep appreciation for the positive impact historic restoration makes on a community. No project tells that tale better than the landmark Bomes Theatre. By making what was old and abandoned, new again, it revitalized a neighborhood. The stunning venue and retail spaces marked a transformative investment in Broad Street that continues to spark creative energy throughout Providence. Insert more chills.
Providence Biltmore Hotel (the Graduate)
Oh the Biltmore, how I love thee. You are 19-stories of brick, steel and charm. If you were a sailboat, I’d call you “yar.” Since you’re a hotel, let’s just stick with perfection. If the golden elevator, soaring ceilings, and hurricane marker weren’t enough, there’s that sign. That perfect, illuminated, red sign. Whether I’m grabbing a coffee at Poindexter, enjoying a staycation in the Graduates’ perfectly appointed rooms, or catching glimpses of that sign in the distance—you’re my Eiffel tower. Merci mon amour, merci.
All images courtesy of Katherine Hypolite-MacMannis