Sin works as a bartender at The 201, next to this window, every Thursday night. She specializes in improvized cocktails: give her a name, and she’ll make you a drink to fit it. She’s previously been a stage carpenter at Trinity Rep theater, and toured the world with a children’s show. Next fall, she’ll be starting graduate school, to get a Masters degree in teaching Latin. “Classics has always been a passion of mine. It’s about time I explored it professionally.”
Daniel works for Centrex, a drinks distribution company. About once a week he comes to Westminster Street to deliver to Eno, Tazza, and The 201. “Beer, wine, liquor, water, Red Bull, you name it. I’ve been working for this company for eight years. It’s a job, that’s all that matters.”
Nathan is a manager at Subway on Weybosset Street. He works between 50 and 60 hours a week. Right now, he’s carrying a bottle of vinegar over to the store. He lives with his brother, and they have three cats. “My favorite sub? The Italian.”
On the spot where the window now is once stood the Chin Lee Chinese restaurant, whose menu offered more American dishes than Chinese. It was opened in 1914 by Chinese immigrant Dong Goon Chin. His family lived for a while here above the restaurant. In 1924, the family moved to New York City. That same year, a Chin Lee restaurant opened on Broadway, seating nearly a thousand people.
Some days, Al goes next door to Mama Teresa’s for lunch. “I usually go for the chicken pizza strips.” Then he returns to his desk at AAA, on the other side of this window, where he helps members compile information for upcoming road trips. His own favorite destination? “The Grand Canyon. It’s just beautiful.”
Jacob works in Farmstead, selling cheese, meats, and sandwiches. He also studies music at Rhode Island College. “My favorite band around here is [alternative brass marching band] What Cheer? Brigade. They embody the Providence musical spirit of being inclusive, they’re always in the middle of the crowd. It really makes a difference in how the audience perceives the music. That’s what Providence is, the music is just a part of the city.”
Donna and Marie have lunch every day at Amenities deli, a block further down Westminster Street. “They fax us the specials each morning,” says Donna. “Everything there is delicious,” adds Marie. They’ve both been working at Rhode Island Housing, a few blocks away, for more than a decade. “They really take care of their employees and their customers.”
Sara is studying graphic design at RISD. We met her in November, buying a turkey sandwich at Farmstead. “I’m buying turkey because we didn’t have it for Thanksgiving. My boyfriend is a vegetarian, and we had tofu. It was delicious though.”