The Underbelly of Providence’s Waterways

An often unseen view of the Seekonk River to downtown Providence.

Sharing this view of the river is difficult for me. Yes, I may be selfish, but this is a tiny slice of the state that few get to see this intimately, a sort of warts-and-all view that shows both the beauty and the degradation of the Seekonk River’s waterways as is spills into Narragansett Bay and is then funneled into the city.

This admittedly long but oddly mesmerizing video I took while rowing shows the decay that mankind leaves in it’s wake, alongside natural rejuvenation (blue herons, menhaden, the ubiquitous seagull) and the colliding beauty of it all.

Some points of interest:

0:31- The Henderson Bridge (connects the East Side to East Providence).

1:08- The Waterman Grille, which sits on what looks like it was once the foundation for another bridge.

1:31– Known colloquially as the ‘stuck up bridge’ this is officially the Crook Point Bascule bridge, an old rolling lift railroad track left frozen in time.

2:09- The I-95 Bridge, located almost above the Brown University Boat Club. I often see joggers popping their heads over to see the river.

3:05- Hard to see, but there is a massive barge on the right of the video. (Note: these behemoth ships may look like they move slowly, but they have HUGE wakes!) Here’s an interesting history of the Port of Providence.

3:11- Tugboats! I love rowing by this fleet of McAllister tugs (see left of video). Blue herons and cranes sometimes perch around them; there’s actually one hunched over like an old man on the tug that’s almost out of the shot (3:14). Can you spot him?

3:30- The always-lovely Providence River bridge.

3:45- Going through the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, which has a fascinating history. The barriers are quite narrow. You can watch a live cam of the barrier here (you might even see me rowing through it, if you’re up early enough!)

4:06-The marina near the Hot Club, next to the Providence Power Station. Let me just say, this is quite a view at dusk.

4:16- The Point Street bridge, a rickety-looking bridge with an odd circular base underneath. There are doors and windows in the circular base and I always wonder what is inside. Interesting facts: it is the third bridge built on this site (in 1927) and it used to be movable (it wast last swung open in 1959).

5:02- A spectacular view of downtown Providence. If you row a little further upstream towards RISD, it’s positively enchanting.