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_____ is to 'city' as _____ is to Providence

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Some people get a little annoyed that we so often compare Providence to Boston around here. But it is a really good way to discuss the way things are and the way we'd like things to be. Some good ideas come out of these comparisons. So let's make a game of it and see what we come up with. Boston is the obvious city to use as comparison, since its in the same region, and we are all relatively familiar with it, but the game is open to other cities. Photos and links to illustrate your comparison will help of course, but aren't necessary.

I'll start:

Prudential Center is to Boston as Capital Center is/can be/should be to Providence.

Prudential Center has a mix of offices and residential units, as Capital Center does and will. Prudential Center is attached to large hotels and a convention center as Capital Center is. Prudential Center has the Prudential Mall, Capital Center has Providence Place. Prudential Center has modern mid century architecture set in the midst of the Back Bay's historic architecture, Capital Center has modern buildings set inside Providence's historic core.

Prudential beats Capital Ctr. in sheer scale and the massive amounts of foot traffic, as well as having a large grocery store on site to serve its residents.

Capital Ctr. beats Prudential in the size and beauty of it open space (let's ignore Station Park for the moment), and benefits from having more space left to expand.

OK, comment on mine, and/or post your own.

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MBTA is to Boston as RIPTA is to Providence! Oh wait....maybe not...

Seriously though, the North End is to Boston as Federal Hill is to Providence, only Federal Hill IMO has a much better selection and Scialo Bros. beats Mike's anyday.

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Some people get a little annoyed that we so often compare Providence to Boston around here.

There is no comparison. Boston rules. They beat us in education ( colleges and universities ), culture, history, public transportation, airport, public green space, health, sports, jobs and technology. What have I missed? Maybe we have them beat on the culinary scence. Let's be realistic and compare Providence to Worcester, Springfield, New Haven or Hartford. Maybe even Manchester, NH. How in the world can you compare a city of 580,000 to one of 175,000, or a metropolitan area of several hundred thousand to one of about 2 million??? :wacko:

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Beacon St. is to Boston/Brighton what North Main St. should be to Providence

there isn't even a decent comparison here. Just what I envision North Main to be in an ideal (unrealistic, I think) future.

Harvard Square is to Boston Brighton what Thayer St. is to Providence.

Both attached to Ivy League schools. Both feature a eclectic crowd. I hate the overwhelming numbers of bikers on Thayer, though. They are both similar in that a lot of local retail has given way to dining and entertainment. Harvard still has the coop and a bunch of other good things. The Brown bookstore should be the Providence equivalent of the coop, but it's not even close.

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i agree with frankie... comparing boston to providence is a tough comparison. they're very different cities, mainly because of size.

here's some more...

mulberry st is to NYC as wooster st is to new haven as atwells ave is to providence. i think those are better comparison to federal hill than the north end in boston. of all those, i like wooster and atwells the best. new haven has the best pizza and italian ice (libby's) and providence has the best food (i'm talking strictly the little italy sections). i have never found new york pizza to be better than new haven pizza. and the food i've gotten in fed hill is better than what i've had in NYC's little italy. the north end in boston doesn't doesn't even come close to any of them in my opinion.

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Let's be realistic and compare Providence to Worcester, Springfield, New Haven or Hartford. Maybe even Manchester, NH.

i agree with frankie... comparing boston to providence is a tough comparison. they're very different cities, mainly because of size.

Well that's why I put 'city' in the thread title, and not 'Boston.' Feel free to use any city you want. As I said though, the Boston comparisons tend to be best since most of us are familiar with Boston.

It's interesting Jim that you would say Boston is too big to compare it to us, then compare us to NYC. :unsure:

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Well that's why I put 'city' in the thread title, and not 'Boston.' Feel free to use any city you want. As I said though, the Boston comparisons tend to be best since most of us are familiar with Boston.

It's interesting Jim that you would say Boston is too big to compare it to us, then compare us to NYC. :unsure:

the little italy section of atwells is about as big as the little italy section of mulberry (which is slowly shrinking). :P

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There is no comparison. Boston rules. They beat us in education ( colleges and universities ), culture, history, public transportation, airport, public green space, health, sports, jobs and technology. What have I missed? Maybe we have them beat on the culinary scence. Let's be realistic and compare Providence to Worcester, Springfield, New Haven or Hartford. Maybe even Manchester, NH. How in the world can you compare a city of 580,000 to one of 175,000, or a metropolitan area of several hundred thousand to one of about 2 million??? :wacko:

Well, I'll take the counterpoint position (from a visitor perspective):

Higher education: PVD has more per capita then BOS and has a higher % of "high-profile" institutions

Culture: PVD is again at least comparable to BOS...art, theater, culinary and historic buildings

Public transportation: BOS advantage for sure...but local transportation in BOS is a disaster and PVD is doing OK and will leap forward with a light rail.

Air travel: PVD is far better; BOS is a horror show...though it does have the big international advantage

Public green space: I see a a slight BOS edge but not for long

Health: BOS but...some great hospitals

Sports: BOS has MLB, NBA, and NHL but...PVD has NFL (just ask Chris Berman) and AHL and IBL

Jobs and technology: BOS but...if RI does what it should do; PVD will do very well

One correction- Metro Area: 1.6M (not "hundreds of thousands) to 3.6M

You missed "Density" and "Livability":

Both BOS and PVD are in the top 10 most densly populated major cities in the nation.

PVD is more livable (a real consideration for comparison) by a long shot- one of it's advantages

I agree - comparing a city of 180K to 500K is tough.

My point is that in New England, PVD is in a unique position. The smaller cities you mention are simply not in the same class as PVD in almost all of the areas listed - so BOS is the only point of reference left.

See the comparison as more understandable? Not exactly a David and Goliath case.

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I don't understand why every thread like this has to turn into civic pride 101 with slightly veiled insults at the other cities.

Regardless, I was thinking about this some more and oftentimes we have said that Prov is actually closer to Philly than Boston.

Thayer St. = South St.

Pine St. = Columbus Blvd. (or Delaware Ave.) although Pine isn't quite as clubbish as it was

Al Forno = Le Bec Fin

Providence River = Schuylkill River

Upper Narragansett Bay = Delaware River

Roger Williams Park = Fairmount Park

I-95 = I-95 (at least I-95 N in Providence takes you somewhere, though :) )

South County (sic) = Jersey Shore

RIPTA = SEPTA

I don't really know about what in philly Providence should emulate other than

- embrace nightlife a little more

- more public art

- better kept public spaces (this used to be a huge problem in philly, too, though)

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I don't understand why every thread like this has to turn into civic pride 101 with slightly veiled insults at the other cities.

Regardless, I was thinking about this some more and oftentimes we have said that Prov is actually closer to Philly than Boston.

Thayer St. = South St.

Pine St. = Columbus Blvd. (or Delaware Ave.) although Pine isn't quite as clubbish as it was

Al Forno = Le Bec Fin

Providence River = Schuylkill River

Upper Narragansett Bay = Delaware River

Roger Williams Park = Fairmount Park

I-95 = I-95 (at least I-95 N in Providence takes you somewhere, though :) )

South County (sic) = Jersey Shore

RIPTA = SEPTA

I don't really know about what in philly Providence should emulate other than

- embrace nightlife a little more

- more public art

- better kept public spaces (this used to be a huge problem in philly, too, though)

great comparisons... i've always found providence to be more like philly when comparing it to the "big cities". it's got similar problems, similar looks (small downtown area, large expansive residential neighborhoods), lots of individual neighborhoods, etc.

providence needs to emulate the community mural projects that philly uses to build a sense of community in some of the worse neighborhoods. it helps give the graffiti "artists" something to kill their time rather than tag expletives all over the place and they just really look nice. that's one thing philly has that i'd love to see in providence.

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T.F. Green Airport - Manchester Airport

They're both relatively close in size, both extremely dependant on Greater Boston traffic, both hailed for their convenience, and both began to boom b/c of the arrival of Southwest Airlines, which both of them are still very dependant on today.

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I don't understand why every thread like this has to turn into civic pride 101 with slightly veiled insults at the other cities.

Regardless, I was thinking about this some more and oftentimes we have said that Prov is actually closer to Philly than Boston.

Thayer St. = South St.

Pine St. = Columbus Blvd. (or Delaware Ave.) although Pine isn't quite as clubbish as it was

Al Forno = Le Bec Fin

Providence River = Schuylkill River

Upper Narragansett Bay = Delaware River

Roger Williams Park = Fairmount Park

I-95 = I-95 (at least I-95 N in Providence takes you somewhere, though :) )

South County (sic) = Jersey Shore

RIPTA = SEPTA

I don't really know about what in philly Providence should emulate other than

- embrace nightlife a little more

- more public art

- better kept public spaces (this used to be a huge problem in philly, too, though)

It surely should not be a "civic pride 101". I was sharing a visitor perspective although though my visits to many cities I confess I have developed a strong preference for PVD. I certainly did not mean to veil insults - my adjectives described conditions - not the value or worth of a city or it's people.

You make some interesting points about PHIL; especially the distinct neighborhoods, Thayer and South Sts, and the parks. So the two cities share common appearances and even "personality". The problem becomes one of size...PHIL is larger than BOS and much larger than PVD so the scale is a bit tough to work with.

I just find PVD so unique that it has both enormous strength (vitality and social "bag for the buck") and serious challenges (the business climate) to it's future... so any comparison is tough.

Take a look a a great "Tour of Providence" on the Waterplace website at http://www.liveatwaterplace.com

Gosh, with some edit outs the city should us it!

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It surely should not be a "civic pride 101". I was sharing a visitor perspective although though my visits to many cities I confess I have developed a strong preference for PVD. I certainly did not mean to veil insults - my adjectives described conditions - not the value or worth of a city or it's people.

You make some interesting points about PHIL; especially the distinct neighborhoods, Thayer and South Sts, and the parks. So the two cities share common appearances and even "personality". The problem becomes one of size...PHIL is larger than BOS and much larger than PVD so the scale is a bit tough to work with.

I just find PVD so unique that it has both enormous strength (vitality and social "bag for the buck") and serious challenges (the business climate) to it's future... so any comparison is tough.

Take a look a a great "Tour of Providence" on the Waterplace website at http://www.liveatwaterplace.com

Gosh, with some edit outs the city should us it!

philly is much larger than providence... but it's so very similar to providence that if providence were to grow 10x over, it would be philly. it's the closest big city to providence (at least in similarities) that i've seen.

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A good friend of mine from college lives in New Orleans. He and I often update each other on developments in our respective areas (I can't say 'our respective cities' because technically I live in Warwick, and I don't think he cares about our new Lowes :sick:). Anyway, I can actually see some similarities between Providence and New Orleans.

First of all, both cities have long histories and were built on maritime trade. Also:

The French Quarter is to Nola as Downcity is to PVD. Not in terms of the nightlife, obviously, but in terms of the abundance of restored old buildings.

The Garden District is to Nola as College Hill is to PVD. Both are upscale residential neighborhoods.

The Warehouse District is to Nola as the Jewelry District is to PVD. Both have industrial pasts, both lack neighborhood services, and both seem to be 'the next frontier' of development.

The Central Business District is to Nola as Capital Center & the Financial District are to PVD. Both areas are home to the majority of the offices and hotels in the city.

Tulane is to Nola as Brown is to PVD. Both are known for their medical schools.

And, unfortunately, both cites have been devestated my major hurricanes. Their Katrina could be seen as our hurricane of 1938.

Just my two cents.

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Those are some good comparisons.

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Maybe I'm projecting a bit, but I see a lot of the Chicago of my childhood in Providence (scale being a given). Neighborhoods and food and the relationship to the arts springs immediately to mind. I also get a vibe that's far more difficult to explain -- Sensible and practical, only with a twist. Humor, if you will. And none of the prissiness of Boston or the ego of New York. And, like Chicago, it can be as big or as small as you want it to be.

And that is my admitedly light impression.

Meg

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