Photo: Andrew Losowsky

Tony, aged 62, started directing traffic on the corner of Westminster and Dorrance Streets in 1981. “I did it the old-fashioned way for a couple of years, but I always wanted to be a performer. One day in 1984, I started doing some spins, a few hand movements, and it went crazy.” He retired from the force in 1989, until he was called up by the mayor’s office in 1991, to entertain the Christmas shoppers downtown. And so, “they re-swore me back into the policeforce.” He still dances at Christmas time today — keep an eye out.

Chris is on his way to the theater. He’s a musician in “A Christmas Carol” at Trinity Rep — as he has been for more than twenty years, “way too many!” Originally from the UK, he lives up on the East Side, and walks down Westminster Street every day on his way to work. The rest of the year, he writes music, and plays “odd little gigs in odd little venues.” One of his bands, The Banished Fools, will be playing downtown this year at Bright Night.

Though he used to be a regular at the department stores downtown, Santa stayed away after they all closed in the 1980s. Now that downtown is coming back, so is Santa. He’s been visiting WestminsterStreet in the buildup to Christmas for the last four years. “Last year, I asked a 7 year old girl, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ and she looked up at her mom, and said ‘Santa, I got everything I need. I got my mommy’s love.’ I gotta tell you, these glasses, they were all teared up.”

Rudy lived on the top floor of the Conrad Building, a couple of blocks to your left at 385 Westminster Street, even though “there was no zoning for residency then. There were probably over a hundred people living downtown then, everyone looking the other way.” Most often recognized from his days in local rock band The Young Adults, he also had other jobs. “I was the last guy to dress as Santa Claus at The Outlet store on Weybosset Street, in the early 1980s. I did a lot of Santa work off and on. In the mid 1970s there was a favorite seasonal photograph: Santa, passed out on the street with a bottle of vodka and some binoculars. I was that drunken Santa Claus.”

This is Christmas Eve. Actually, it’s Lisa, who plays a character called Christmas Eve, a Japanese-born psychotherapist in a show called Avenue Q. Her real parents are Finnish and Korean. She and Ben, a musician in the show, are taking a break between their two Sunday shows at PPAC. “PPAC is a great space. It’s huge — the largest venue we’ve played on the tour so far.” They’re both from Virginia, and leave tomorrow morning to play a theater in Vermont. The national tour of the show runs until June.

Rosaries for Xmas Gifts
Most acceptable of gifts at the Christmas season — made of a guaranteed gold-plated chain, with genuin imported fine cut amethyst, garnet, emerald, jet and all other desirable colored beads.
Guaranteed 25-Year Rosaries at 2.50
Guaranteed 20-Year Rosaries at 1.50
Guaranteed 15-Year Rosaries at 1.98
Guaranteed 10-Year Rosaries at 98c.
Street Floor, Center – Main Aisle

Callender, McAuslan & Troup – The Boston Store, 239 Westminster Street

— Advertisement from Providence Evening Bulletin, 1909

Natural Hair Goods as Xmas Gifts
Does mother need a new Switch? Is Sister longing for a braid? Has Grandma not been promised a new front-piece, or does Girlie want a wig for her doll? We have everything in the hair goods line — all qualities, styles and prices.
Hair Dressing Rooms, Fifth Floor

Callender, McAuslan & Troup — The Boston Store, 239 Westminster Street

— Advertisement from Providence Evening Bulletin, 1909

Negligees and Dressing Sacks
Of course no “mere man” can be expected to know how to buy these eminently feminin garments, so our young lady salespeople will do all in their power to give you expert advice and assistance should you wish to present HER with one as a Christmas remembrance.
Undermuslin Dept, Second Floor, East Front

Callender, McAuslan & Troup — The Boston Store, 239 Westminster Street

— Advertisement from Providence Evening Bulletin, 1909

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