Waterfire – Providence, RI, USA

From Newport there is a RIPTA 60 bus that goes to Providence directly. But I didn’t know this, and took a long route via Peter Pan bus, which required a transit in Fall River of 1.5hr. Nevertheless, I ultimately arrived at downtown Providence. I camped at a Starbucks for about an hour before heading to my Airbnb on Federal Hill (about 15mins walk).

After settling down, I walked back to downtown Providence, entered a side entrance of Omni hotel to enter the link bridge to Providence Place. This building is our standard shopping center packed with big names like Macy’s, Zara, H&M… Anyway I am not here for shopping but just cutting across to the other end.

My first attraction in Providence is the Rhode Island State House.

Rhode Island State House. Some couple is taking their wedding shots here. :D
Rhode Island State House. Some couple is taking their wedding shots here. 😀

Next up, Water place park.

Waterplace Park. Those piles of wood is for the waterfire event later.
Waterplace Park. Those piles of wood is for the waterfire event later.
Waterplace Bridge.
Waterplace Bridge.
Providence River. As its a full lightup, even the canals will be lit up.
Providence River. As its a full lightup, even the canals will be lit up.
Downtown Providence.
Downtown Providence.
WaterFire Event.
WaterFire Event.

But as the waterfire starts only at sunset, I decided to visit Brown University. The path along the river conveniently links these touristy spots together.

Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design
Staircase next to RISD
Staircase next to RISD
Some fountain with statues I passed by...
Some fountain with statues I passed by…
The famous Brown University clock tower.
The famous Brown University clock tower.
Brown University Main Green
Brown University Main Green
Marcus Aurelius statue
Marcus Aurelius statue
Lyman Hall
Lyman Hall
Lamp/Bear Sculpture on Simmons Quadrangle
Lamp/Bear Sculpture on Simmons Quadrangle
Saint Stephen's Church
Saint Stephen’s Church
Some building...
Some building…
Not forgetting the squirrels :D
Not forgetting the squirrels 😀
Old Stone Bank. This building looks really spectacular, so I googled it up abit. It was built in 1819 as a bank, but went bust during the 1990 financial crisis. It was sold to Brown University in 1995, whom later sold it to Gold Dome Properties LLC for around $2million. It is privately owned, and not opened to public.
Old Stone Bank. This building looks really spectacular, so I googled it up abit. It was built in 1819 as a bank, but went bust during the 1990 financial crisis. It was sold to Brown University in 1995, whom later sold it to Gold Dome Properties LLC for around $2million. It is privately owned, and not opened to public.

Went to grab a bite at a cafe named melt which serves cheese toast.

Finally arrived back at Water place park for waterfire at a little past 6pm. Place is full of people, but no where near the squeeziness of China or even Singapore. For some reason, Singapore maybe small, but if there is some free events, you can expect the 5 over million population to turn up. Providence only have under 200k residents, so it can’t be that bad. Indeed, for an event starting at 7pm, it’s amazing I can still find an elevated spot with a good vantage point. I really liked the American crowd. They respect your little area of privacy, and will not squeeze body to body, skin to skin with you, or shove and push their way around just to get a good standing place. In fact, they are pretty vocal about it when it happens. There was a group of tourists (you know from where) trying to squeeze between me and an old American couple along the railings. They pretty much got destroyed by the American lady, and left. On the flip side, I think logistics and organization could be better handled. Because there are fire points all along the bridges and river side, it is not safe to be along them when the lighting ceremony starts. Thus I can understand the need to chase people out of these areas. But these were great vantage spots, and unknowing people might have arrived early to secure them, only to have to move away almost at the start of the event.

Nice weather for a great event. Full of anticipation.
Nice weather for a great event. Full of anticipation.
Back at Waterplace Park.
Back at Waterplace Park.
Lighting up
Lighting up
Waterfire. Pictures doesn't do the event justice. Its not only visually stunning, but the accompanying music is awesome as well.
Waterfire. Pictures doesn’t do the event justice. Its not only visually stunning, but the accompanying music is awesome as well.
Somehow, watching the fire and their reflection is pretty therapeutic in relieving life's stress.
Somehow, watching the fire and their reflection is pretty therapeutic in relieving life’s stress.
At some point, blue balls are dropped from the bridges.
At some point, blue balls are dropped from the bridges.
Waterfire in its glory.
Waterfire in its glory.
A 'blurrier' photo, as I try to up the exposure time without a tripod....
A ‘blurrier’ photo, as I try to up the exposure time without a tripod….
The canals are lit up too
The canals are lit up too
Stars line Waterplace bridge.
Stars line Waterplace bridge.
Rhode Island State House at night.
Rhode Island State House at night.

Waterfire is definitely a must-visit attraction if you happen to be in the vicinity. Checkout their calendar for the next light up. A couple of tips: 1. Arrive early and choose the upper railings area to stand. Stay off the bridges and the immediate waterfront, as it will be condoned off. 2. The lighting up can take about 1hr plus to reach its full glory. And once it starts, the entire Waterplace Park will be PACKED, read body to body jostling. I was there for 2hrs and only wandered off when there is less people. 3. Don’t bother driving. The only light you will see is the lights from the cars around you. When I wander off, people are still stuck in their vehicles. 4. Apart from the main event happening at Waterplace Park, there are a couple of smaller shows/acts along the river. Walk along it and enjoy the free music. Kudos to the organizers. Fantastic event.

These next few pictures below are of my dinner at Nami in Little Italy on Federal Hill the next day. I thought I will just lump them here.

Little Italy
Little Italy
Many crowded restaurants around the fountain...
Many crowded restaurants around the fountain…
Playing with my Asahi before food comes
But I chose a sushi bar – Nami instead. Playing with my Asahi before food comes
Pandas
Pandas
Spider and Spicy Tuna rolls @ Nami
Spider and Spicy Tuna rolls @ Nami
Breakers and the Marble House, Gilded ages and opulence – Newport, RI, USA

September 2016

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