2017-09-07 / Opinion


We've All Been Let Down

To The Editor:

This past Saturday, Aug. 26, my wife and I went up to Bold Point Park East Providence to take in the Blues and Barbeque Festival, which was put on by the folks at R.I. Waterfront Events. Wow. Great show. Great food. Well run. Why can't Newport attract events like that? We saw a lot of familiar faces working in the crowd and behind the bar.

It seems to me that former and current members of Newport's City Council don't get it. They let a well-run organization down and let them slip away. They let the year-round residents down, who love live music and don't necessarily venture downtown during tourist season. They let the restaurants and clubs down who

There is a wonderful location in Newport that is expansive with ambiance that could hold such events. Fort Adams. I know this was explored and shot down by agenda driven NIMBY activists and well-

Noise. I have attended Jazz and Folk Festivals at the fort many times. There are multiple acts going on at the same time and you cannot hear the other act that is only a few hundred yards away. Inside the fort itself you wouldn't be able to hear the concert from just outside its walls.

Traffic. Provide shuttle service say from Newport Grand's parking lot. I am sure a deal could be struck up with Newport Grand that a concert ticket holder gets a free drink or a token to play a slot machine. Oh that's right: Newport Grand got let down in the last election.

Congestion. Besides a shuttle, the water taxi could be available just like it is for the Folk and Jazz Festivals. I am sure both the shuttle trolley and the water taxi could be underwritten by the business that benefit from the events presented by R.I. Waterfront Events.

The Fort Adams Trust I am sure could use the revenue it would reap from fort rentals. There are probably many other ways that it could have stayed Newport Waterfront Events instead of R.I. Waterfront Events but we were let down by the council.

Kevin Carlos

A Response to NIMBY

To the Editor:

In the Aug. 17 NTW editorial "Classic Case of NIMBY" you asked where would be a good place for a cell tower to provide the needed cell coverage. I think that the hill behind the 5th Ward fire station now being used for a public works repository would be a good place. I have seen towers in the form of a evergreen tree in Mass. and N.H. Now, the fire department may oppose because of their flag pole tower, even though that was put up as far as I know without input (not sure on that) but consolidation could work.

Bill Falcone

Loyalty Only Goes So Far

To the Editor:

Once upon a time there was a really wonderful restaurant where “everybody knows your name.” The atmosphere was friendly, the food was great and the place was filled with locals all the time.

Then came the new owners. After promising no changes, they began tearing down all the charming memorabilia from the walls. That was the first clue that things were changing but hope dies hard. Next, they raised all prices on food and drink. Then they eliminated many favorite menu items. The folks that had been loyal customers all year long got the message that they were not wanted. The owners wanted to attract a younger demographic.

Message to them: The crowd they wanted do not come up to Bellevue Avenue when all the action is in downtown. Meanwhile the regular customers of La Forge are taking their business elsewhere. When the tourist season ends, maybe the restaurant owners will realize the error of their ways but sadly they have ruined an institution.

Lois Lang

The Brutal Passing of LaForge

To the Editor:

It was distressing news: a few months ago LaForge Restaurant was sold, followed shortly by a front-page story about the bartender who was the fabric of the establishment’s place in the hearts of old-time Newporters. Mike Tuohy was going to retire.

For those of a certain age, Friday nights with Mike at LaForge was our social connection with each other. Dave Manuel playing show tunes, or any request at all, locals and visiting patrons alike would entertain with their talents. It was more than a meeting place. It was an essential part of our lives.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. I thought. The new management said it would stay the same.

After going in to see a friend who still worked there, I was horrified. Everything that made LaForge what it was has been stripped away. The road signs from Ireland, all of the pictures from the walls, family crests, flags were all gone leaving a bare, brick room and an empty, lonely shell.

It was a Friday night at 7 p.m. and not a customer in the place. A bar that should have been three deep and all tables full of regular customers enjoying a meal. Dave would be at the piano, locals and visiting entertainers singing songs. What a wonderful, happy place.

LaForge has been destroyed. It has been replaced with bare, empty space. An icon of Irish Newport has been erased.

Linda Perry

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