Books Through Bars, Inc. provides free reading materials for prisoners across the country. Every month, it receives more than 120 letters from prisoners requesting books. The organization responds by sending donated volumes from individuals, libraries, and community organizations, making selections based on the stated preferences of the inmate. Reading the books provides a productive activity for the inmates and can help them develop politically, spiritually, and academically during their time in prison.
Bar 101 satisfies hungry patrons with a revamped menu of affordable American fare and invites leisurely sipping with lively weekly entertainment. Frenemies can make peace over a basket of frings, a hybrid of spiced onion rings and crispy french fries ($5), before moving onto heartier fare, such as a buffalo-chicken toasted Torpedo sandwich ($7) or 8-ounce 101 burger with cheddar cheese, hickory-smoked bacon, onion rings, and special sauce ($8). Herbivores can snack on an array of salads ($4–$8) or caprese pizza, loaded with melted mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and fresh basil ($7).
Point Street Dueling Pianos's 10,000-square-foot space gathers guests to witness the musical prowess and comedic antics of four skilled performers. An array of chilled domestic and imported beers, which includes Sam Adams and local Narragansett, cools off revelers more quickly than bear hugs from a snowman.
The Paul Krot Community Darkroom at AS220 is the only black and white photo facility in Rhode Island offering affordable public access to skilled snappers and amateur aperture setters. Classes occur bi-monthly on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 7-10 p.m., and cover all the basics of manual 35mm shooting, such as shutter speeds, f-stop setting, ISO numbers, clutch popping, focal lengths, and minimizing glowy mouth. Class sizes are kept to five or fewer students in order to ensure each developing documenter gets personal attention. Once they've mastered the art of lens and light manipulation, students are ushered into the community darkroom to explore the chemical processes needed to advance their newborn negatives into fully mature prints in sizes ranging from 4" x 5" to 20" x 24".
As the sun begins to dip below the skyline, the Providence River’s surface flares up, tinged with its flickering glow. In the hazy sunset light, a gondola emerges cutting through the still water’s surface, though it’s just as easy to hear as it is to see; as it glides down the river, the boat wafts strains of song from its live accordion accompanist. Led by owner Marcello, La Gondola’s group of gondoliers row with the mission to only furnish passengers with romantic sojourns and to celebrate the riverfront and the city’s Italian ties. Each of his Venice-built gondolas gleams with intricately wrought ornaments and solid brass trim, and at 36 feet, they comfortably hold a gondolier, guests, an accompanying musician, and the occasional hitchhiking tugboat captain. Each gondola trip his company takes gets Marcello’s custom touch, as he tailors every trip to passengers’ desires. “No matter who you are,” he says, “we strive to make you feel like the queen and king of the river.” In agreement with many other residents, Marcello considers Waterplace Park a city hub: “If the park is the heart of the city, the river is the lifeblood,” He says. He hopes the rebirth of the local riverfront parallels a local renaissance for gondoliering as well, which inspired him to plan the inaugural Gondolympics in May.