Thursday, September 19, 2013

Food trucks at the Providence Flea, Back to the Bike Path and Waterman Grille

The weather last weekend was gorgeous here in Providence. Saturday was a class day for Susie so we spent it catching up on household chores and a few condo association items.

Sunday was another beautiful day and since we had few pressing things "to do," we decided to spend at least some of it outside. Now living in the city can be a bit of a challenge when looking for outdoors stuff to do, particularly when you're not outdoors people (as in "us"), but this is Rhode Island and serious water is never very far away no matter where you are.

First up, we drove downtown to check out the Sunday morning flea market.

Located along the river just short of the hurricane barrier (and the entrance into the head of Narragansett Bay) this summertime market has fast become one of the more popular destination events in the city. Even though this was the last show of the season, there were plenty of vendors out and browsers to match. Hoping to tap in to the hunger of all those savvy shoppers was a virtual convoy of food trucks parked along South Water street catering to a variety of food tastes.

Once back to the car we drove a short 5 minutes across the Seekonk River to the northern terminus of the East Bay Bike path. Although lots of folks were out biking, jogging, rollerblading, walking, and fishing, we quickly found a place to park and spent an hour or so soaking up the sun and views along the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay.

Directly across the water from the bike path is, or rather was, Fields Point. In the 19th century for the residents of Providence,  this was the place to go for swimming, boating and just generally being out of doors. Then it became something else altogether. . .

After a gorgeous day we couldn't quite bring ourselves to let go of it. So we opted to go to one of the better places to eat outdoors, Waterman Grille.

Now when I say better I don't mean the food is up to the same level as New Rivers, Broadway Bistro, Chez Pascal or Nick's on Broadway (four of our favorite haunts) but the location is quite nice and that's what we were after.

We started with a glass of prosecco and asked for a a hit of Aperol. They didn't have Aperol (hmmmm) but we substituted Camapari. They put in two or three drops (that's right, drops) just enough to turn the drink pink rather than red.  Obviously making cocktails isn't one of their strong suits we thought. But the drink tasted OK so what the heck -- we were sitting outside on a lovely evening enjoying life.

Susie had the the fish tacos followed by a Caesar Salad; I opted for Harissa meatballs as an app followed by a burger and (not-so-great) fries -- obviously meat night for me. Our server was pleasant and moderately attentive although he kept repeating his name as if we didn't "speaka da ahglish."  Or maybe we looked to be a bit on the dumb side?

Anyway, as I said the food is OK but it's the ambience that's everything.

OK so the view from the restaurant is Seekonk and not Manhattan, that's true

harissa meatballs on orzo salad == somewhat bland actually

the salad was a bit boring but the anchovies lively

The bike path and our other favorite outdoor haunt Colt State Park are two of the natural treasures around here. Waterman Grille, on the other hand. . .

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Photo exhibition of just a few select pieces of incredible sculpture in Pere-Lachaise

Based on selections from my book Garden of Stone: 101 Incredible Sculptures of Pere-Lachaise, my photo exhibition at the Johnson & Wales University Library in Providence, Rhode Island, runs from September 26 to December 13. Since the library is not open to the public, I'm posting all the photos right here.

Division 4, French politician Felix Faure (1841-1899):

President of France from 1895 until his death in 1899, his seemingly peaceful effigy belies the turmoil of the last years of his life, which saw his administration embroiled in the notorious Dreyfus Affair. Sculpture by René de Saint-Marceaux.

Division 11, Fernand Arbelot (1880-1942), effigy by Adolphe Wansart:

Little is known of Arbelot's life but perhaps his epitaph tells all we need to know:

Ils furent emerveilles du beau voyage/

Qui les mena jusqu'au bout de la vie.
"They were filled with wonder at the beautiful voyage/
Which carried them until the end of life."

Division 12, French painter Théodore Géricault (1791-1824). Sculpture of Géricault reclining with brush in one hand and his palette in another by Antoine Etex (buried in division 8 Montparnasse Cemetery). :

One of the pioneers of the romantic school of painting in France, Géricault is perhaps best known for his profoundly moving canvas, "Raft of the Medusa." Based on the story of one of the most horrific disastrous shipwrecks of the 19th century, the creation of the canvas is a tale all its own and one well-told by Jonathan Smiles in his masterful The Wreck of the Medusa (2007, Atlantic Monthly Press)

Medusa detail
Division 15, Georges Rodenbach (1855-1898), Belgian lawyer and Symbolist poet:

Division 18, French chemist and politician Francois Vincent Raspail (1794-1878):

Francois Vincent Raspail was imprisoned during the reign of Louis-Philippe (1830-1848) and again shortly after the aborted revolution in 1848. It was while he was in prison that his wife died. Sculpture representing the spirit of his dead wife attempting to visit him in prison by Antoine Etex (division 8 Montparnasse Cemetery).

Division 20, French actor and comedian Leon Noël (1844-1913); bust (1889) by Gustave Déloye:

"Leon" is "Noël" backwards and, "Noël" is, well, you get it.

Division 25, French librarian and historian Anatole de Montaiglon (1824-1895); death mask by Francois Sicard:

Division 27, Gillet family:

Gillet, detail
Division 32, French sculptor Henri Allouard (1844-1929); sculptor; statue (1899) by Allouard:

Division 42, French sculptor Henry Triqueti (1803-1874), was noted primarily for religious themes. This haut-relief bronze sculpture was to honor his only son Edouard, who was killed in a horse riding accident in 1861. It represents Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead:

Division 64, Memorial to the Soldiers Who Died during the Siege of Paris, 1870-1871.

This monument consists of four statues:

Soldat de la lign
le Fusilier Marin

La garde mobile
Division 70, Adelaïde-Louis-Jeanne-Victoire Herbemont Moris (1802-1875); sculpture "The Last Good-bye" (1877) by Léopold Morice:

Division 71, Joseph Croce-Spinelli (1843-1875) and Theodore Henri Sivel (1834-1875); effigies (1878) by Alphonse Dumilatre:

Both men died of asphyxiation when their balloon ascended too high. A third man, Gaston Tissandier (1843-1899) survived. Tissandier is buried in division 27.

Division 84, Achille Dester-Miard:

Division 88, American ballerina Harriet Toby (1929-1952):

Born Harriet Joan Katzman, she died in a plane crash with French actresses Michele Verly and Alice Topart. Every time I look at this relief I wonder, "How much of her short life did she spend up on her toes?"

Division 90, French socialist politican Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881); sculpture (1885) by Jules Dalou (buried in division 4 Montparnasse Cemetery):

Division 93, Jules Lewin (1847-1915):

This isn't just a figure resting on a tomb lamenting the passing of someone buried beneath the stone; it's someone who is in pain so profound that all she can do is drape herself over the cold marble like a human shroud, forever placing that last kiss on the broken column representing a life cut short.

Division 94, Richard Valentin (1892-1916), fell at the Somme and Jean Valentin (1896-1916) was killed at Verdun. Sculpture by A. Chatillon:

Division 96, Paul Boucherot:

Little is known of Boucherot and his connection was to the Prometheus story remains a mystery.

Division 97, Memorial to the French Deportees for Compulsory Work Service in Nazi Germany during the Second World War; sculpture by I and J. Gallo:

Division 97, Memorial to the Jewish Deportees to the Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen concentration camp; sculpture by J. B. Leducq:

Division 97, Zerbini:

Who were they, these two, sharing a tender moment of affection forever carved in stone?