This article is part of the The Great American Reach Around series.
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and the state's largest city. It is located at the head of Narragansett Bay and has been an important shipping and industrial center for roughly 400 years. Providence is home to Brown University and was once home to bedridden and racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and his cat Niggerman. Providence is also a rotten shit hole that ranks fourth highest in the nation by percentage of population living in poverty.
If Boston or Portsmouth represents the friendlier side of New England and colonial history, then Providence is the creepy Dutch sailor waiting in a cobblestone alleyway to murder you with a hatchet by gaslight. It is steeped in history and its Downcity area is lousy with beautiful historic buildings.
Providence began its decline in the early 1920s, before the Great Depression, and it really was in on that decline thing for the long haul. From the closing of textile mills, foundries and dockyards to the rise of the Italian mob, the city suffered heavily all the way up to the 1980s. Much of it fell into disrepair and crime rates - still fairly high - spiraled out of control.
The city has struggled back, slowly, from the brink and long term revitalization projects are only now beginning to show signs that Providence may actually have a bright future ahead. As for the now, visitors to Providence can check out Federal Hill and take a look at the scenic abandoned lots, interstate and train tracks, or cruise over to Elmwood where if you're lucky you can find one of the derelict mansions that is slowly being restored.
Okay, maybe it's not quite apocalyptically bad. We'll save that for Baltimore.
Now is the part where our foreign friends step in and offer us a look at their homeland. This time around we do not have to journey far, physically or spiritually, to visit our friends in Canada.
It's time to get our glass of rum and pay a visit to those greasy bastards.