Future Perfect

John Palumbo remembers bygone Rhode Island icons and points out present treasures.

“Rocky Point is so exciting. Rocky Point, where you can come alive. Rocky Point, you’re all invited to share the summertime. Roc-Kee Point!”

In true Rhode Island tradition, I have always speculated that a “Best of Things that Used to Be” issue would resonate with many in our state. This month’s cover only partially recaptures the magic of the legendary amusement park and the iconic advertising jingle so many grew up with.

The list would not stop there; residents of the East Bay had Crescent Park and its I.D. Looff Carousel. There was “the Tent” Warwick Musical Theatre, where the Bonoff family lured the likes of Carson, Hope, Liberace, bands like the Beach Boys and Chicago, and country crooners like Johnny Cash to a small theater in the round that was actually no longer “just a tent.”

While some of a certain age and history in the state may wax poetic about “the way things used to be,” the reality is we live in a pretty cool place in 2015. Whether it’s the great gilded mansions of Newport or the legendary gates at Brown, Roger Williams’s Baptist church or Sam Slater’s mill in Pawtucket, it is a place steeped in history. A place where our beaches lure visitors annually to vacation in South County, complete with initiation to the legendary clam shacks like Aunt Carrie’s and Iggy’s.

It is a place of festivals and feasts, whether it be jazz or folk in Newport, or dining in one of the many culinary gems in Providence we all too often take for granted. There is our legendary “rivers on fire,” WaterFire, that has evolved to a true “only in Rhode Island” phenomenon. And of course the grand place where we will celebrate this year’s induction into Best of Rhode Island lore, the Providence Performing Arts Center.

The Best of Rhode Island issue is an annual reminder, not of the way “things used to be,” but that the best is yet to come.

Enjoy the Rhode. –J.J.P.