Saturday, September 28, 2013

Providence, Oh Providence

I survived my first week at my new job.  I week during which B was on the other side of the country for her job (which, from what I saw on facebook, seems to involve watching Dodgers games and eating fancy meals), and being woken up in the middle of Sunday night by a puking child.   My new job is right in downtown Providence, and I got to walk around a bit to get my bearings and drink quite a bit of coffee in local shops. 

I've lived in a few cities, and gone on interviews in many, many more.  My specialization seems to be the small post industrial (aren't they all) city, with a good dose of Rust Belt.  In each of these cities, I got a tour describing the place as a "city of neighborhoods"- aren't they all.  Providence isn't post-industrial like Chicago or Pittsburgh, but it is certainly post-manufacturing, and you can see that written all over the city.

My morning commute brings me to Kennedy Plaza, the central bus transfer point for the system.  The Plaza brings together all kinds of people, but overall it reflects the demographics of bus-riders who are poorer than the city as a whole, and described in one local NPR commentary as "the 3rd world" of Providence.  They also blast classical music through the loudspeakers on the Plaza.  I assume this choice was based on some broken windows theory that classical music keeps away the riffraff or generally classes up the place.  In practice, I can say that it is very disconcerting to stride away from the Plaza to a soundtrack of "Flight of the Valkyries."  My associations are either Apocalypse Now or Brown Shirts, and I'm assuming that neither of those was what the city fathers and mothers were going for. 

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