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The Point Street Bridge in Providence, Rhode Island marks the end of the Providence River, more or less, as shortly afterward it meets the Seekonk in Narragansett Bay. (The beginning is all of four blocks away, where the Moshassuck meets the Woonasquatucket in WaterPlace Park.) It connects the "downcity" chunk of land (where reside the Jewelry District and Financial District) to Fox Point, which was once the docks district back when minor port cities weren't so minor and is now one of those charming ethnic districts you get when the poor immigrants brought in to work the docks make good, pretty the place up, and prepare to gripe about the lucrative influx of yuppies.

As little bridges go, it has a lot going for it. On one end you have the South Street Power Station and the Point Street Substation, shiny new paint and gleaming geometry humming at 60 hertz across from a big blocky branch of the Smithsonian (the power station having been converted into a museum), and on the other Wickenden Street, the RISD and Brown student neighborhood, and India Point Park. The real pleasure, though, comes from walking out from among the occluding architecture and taking in the complementary half-panoramic views of (to the North) downtown Providence and College Hill and (to the South) the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, a huge gray concrete dam keeping out the bay with three great steel garage doors kept perpetually open as if to invite the calm sea in. The bridge is a modern steel thing of triangles formed into trapezoids supporting a smooth arc of road, but beneath it and stretching out a ways to either side you can see an old wooden dock held together with rotting pilings sunk into the riverbed.

She and I used to go there, to stand on either side of the crack that marked the center under the riveted white I-beams, looking out to the city or the sea, meeting in the middle to lean against the railing and kiss. Standing on a bridge, even a little one, is not like standing on the sidewalk on solid ground: your feet hum in tune with each passing car, the wind plays with your legs and feet as much as your head, coming at you from odd angles around the steel, and the scent of the river and the wood surrounds you.

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