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The 40 Steps

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newport_40steps.jpg

This is a place where you can feel free to discuss things that don't specifically have to do with the urban issues we focus on here at UP. Also new members who feel they don't really have something specific to contribute can introduce themselves here, or ask questions if they don't feel like they have enough to start a new thread about.

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not the "12 step program plus 38 more for good measure" thread i was expecting.

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not the "12 step program plus 38 more for good measure" thread i was expecting.

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What's the story about the forty steps, if there is one? I mean they don't really lead anywhere, except to some Portuguese guys fishing last time I was there.

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^The Cliff Walk is actually private property, each section being property of the owner of the adjacent estate. However, by longstanding legal precedent the walk must also be maintained as a public right of way. The original forty steps were built by the landowner in the mid 1800s, to help his children access a small (and now mostly eroded) beach at the base of the cliff. This of course also became a popular stop among people strolling the walk, and have been maintained ever since. Today's steps are the third or fourth staircase, the original wooden one being long since replaced.

In the 'Gilded Age,' when the mansions were in their heyday, the Forty Steps were a popular evening gathering spot for servants of the various estates, with dancing, drinking, and other such merriment.

Anyway, great title for the off-topic thread. :D

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^The Cliff Walk is actually private property, each section being property of the owner of the adjacent estate. However, by longstanding legal precedent the walk must also be maintained as a public right of way. The original forty steps were built by the landowner in the mid 1800s, to help his children access a small (and now mostly eroded) beach at the base of the cliff. This of course also became a popular stop among people strolling the walk, and have been maintained ever since. Today's steps are the third or fourth staircase, the original wooden one being long since replaced.

In the 'Gilded Age,' when the mansions were in their heyday, the Forty Steps were a popular evening gathering spot for servants of the various estates, with dancing, drinking, and other such merriment.

Anyway, great title for the off-topic thread. :D

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I deem this news to be officially off-topic. I was given a gift today, a book called Newport Revisited by Rob Lewis and Ryan Young. Mostly pictures, all black & white, mostly pre-urban-renewal, very little commentary except for the obvious remarks to situate the viewer (in place and time). Utterly fan-freaking-tastic. Numerous aerial shots, very interesting.

Somebody knows how I like to be tickled. :P

Gusterfell, it includes the picture of the Audrain Building that you posted for me. :thumbsup:

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^I haven't seen that book, but it sounds like a great one. I'll have to see if I can track down a copy.

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Well it's very interesting to me to see the degree of change that took place in Newport in less than 70 years. A LOT of change -- not much of it for the better.

But I'm not sure how much of this would surprise you. I expect that you've seen many of these very photos before.

Looking at these before & after scenes, I find myself musing how easy it is to stripmaul (!) a place and how hard it is to repair that damage afterward.

BTW, what's going on next to Arnold Art?

Edit: and the Sovereign on Thames is going to be an abomination. I already want it razed. :angry:

Edited by Lone Ranger

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BTW, what's going on next to Arnold Art?

Edit: and the Sovereign on Thames is going to be an abomination. I already want it razed. :angry:

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I'm going to hold my opinion on the Sovereign Bank. It's safe to say that this project had no HDC oversight! Sure, I'm no fan of the quasi-flat roof...but I don't even know what the materials are yet!

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Is the Market on the Boulevard planning on making a comeback?

I happen to know that they continue to retain a PO box. And I know they operated not only as a market and deli but also as a caterer. It occurs to me, as the PO box remains open and (ahem) continues to receive a good deal of mail, that the catering business is probably still in operation, even though the market & deli are gone. But does that leave open the possibility that they would reopen the popular market & deli if they could find a suitable location?

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^I seem to remember hearing that they planned to continue the catering business, but for the time being have no plans to reopen the market. I would love to see that change... I miss the market.

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Again, I have to recommend this book, not just to people from Newport or the islands, but to everyone here on UrbanPlanet. These pictures of downtown Newport are AMAZING. It's unbelievable to me how developed, how compact, how urban Newport was at the turn of the century. Brimming with life, bustling with use. In a word, beautiful.

The city of Newport, as a city, was so ... so ... so healthy. :blink:

The pictures of Thames St are heartbreaking. For anybody who knows what Thames St is like now, to see what it was like back then ... god. Why, why, why does America's Cup have to exist? They smashed that road through the heart of town like a battering ram. They gutted the city with it. It's almost enough to make you cry. By comparison, what we have left of downtown today, in some ways, feels like a cheap mockup.

Not to denigrate the value of what's there now. I don't mean that at all. But there was so much more.

Other pictures of note are those of the destruction left in the wake of the '38 hurricane. We hear a lot about what that hurricane did to downtown Providence. I'd never considered its impact on Newport before. Yeah it hit hard. Hard.

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From the Daily News:

JEERS to the continuing inadequacy of street signs in Newport.

It's not that we don't like the new signs that have been going up in the past several years; they might not be as quaint as the old signs, but they are easier to read.

However, the city still seems to be miserly in the amount of guidance it is willing to give drivers. At many intersections, there is only a single sign naming one of the streets. At some crossings, there is no sign at all. Drivers on certain streets can go for block after block without seeing a single sign that tells them what street they are on.

We've complained about this before, and we had hoped the city's sign replacement program would correct some of these deficiencies. Now, as the city considers revising and updating its tourism signage yet again, it also should work on better identifying its streets, for the benefit of visitors and residents alike.

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I saw an interesting advertisement today introducing Bristol as "Newport's beautiful little sister." I think it was for the Stone Harbour condo complex, if that rings a bell.

I was interested. I thought some of you might be as well.

I think I like it. :)

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In many ways, Bristol is "Newport's beautiful little sister." That would make a nice ad campaign for the town itself.

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In time, it might make a nice ad campaign for the state as well. Newport, the marina, Carnegie Abbey, Bristol, you see where I'm going with this? :whistling:

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I deem this news to be officially off-topic. I was given a gift today, a book called Newport Revisited by Rob Lewis and Ryan Young. Mostly pictures, all black & white, mostly pre-urban-renewal, very little commentary except for the obvious remarks to situate the viewer (in place and time). Utterly fan-freaking-tastic. Numerous aerial shots, very interesting.

Somebody knows how I like to be tickled. :P

Gusterfell, it includes the picture of the Audrain Building that you posted for me. :thumbsup:

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I stopped into the new Brooks Brothers store this afternoon. Turns out it's a new store concept for BB called "Country Club." Rather than focusing on business and dress clothes, as at most locations, this line is almost entirely casual and sportswear, in keeping with the Newport scene. In addition to ours, BB has opened similar locations in Palm Beach and the Hamptons.

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Today should be a wild day in Newport. On the one hand, traffic will suck. On the other, it will be nice to see (finally) a few bodies in Newport. This year has been a dud so far.

What I want to know is, where are all the cruise ships this year?

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What I want to know is, where are all the cruise ships this year?

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Has anyone else noticed the new color scheme on the Brick Market Place buildings? They've broken up the facade into sections, each painted in a different, colonial-Newport inspired color. No one will ever mistake this for a historic building, but at least now it seems to be made up of individual, smaller-scale buildings, rather than the block-length monolith it was before. The new look is a much better fit to the buildings' surroundings:

33554981gp6.jpg

In this pic, the old natural wood/orange color scheme can be seen at far right, while the sections stretching down the street have been repainted:

64606462pj9.jpg

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