Buddy, we hardly knew ye.
September 6, 2002 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Buddy, we hardly knew ye. Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., mayor of Providence, R.I., heads off to jail on conspiracy charges, thus ending one of the most colorful relationships between a mayor and his city since Daley's Chicago. Whether revered for his astounding reconstruction of an embattled downtown, chastised for a career of shady dealings with shady people (and one unfortunate incident involving a fireplace, a lit cigarette, and his wife's lover), or turned into a cult figure by artsy college students, one thing is certain: Providence is a more interesting place because Buddy was a part of it.
posted by PrinceValium (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My own recollections of Buddy Cianci are quite fond, having spent four years as a student in Providence. Buddy used to show up at Brown football games and play cymbals with the Brown Band. Whenever he showed up, the saxophone section would play the theme to "The Godfather"- he never minded. One day I shook his hand to thank him for coming to the game and invited him back the next week to play with the band again, reminding him that it was the annual Governor's cup game with the University of Rhode Island and the governor would be there. His response: "Ah, who cares, that asshole always sits on the other side."
posted by PrinceValium at 5:26 PM on September 6, 2002

Quoth Buddy from the New Yorker: "Yeah, I punched a guy in the mouth for fucking my wife, but look at the city."

I became a fan of Buddy through my girlfriend, a native of Massachusetts just outside of Providence. From the first time I heard about him, going to the Foxy Lady and having secret Mob dealings and what not, I've been hooked. I mean, the guy has his own spaghetti sauce called "The Mayor's Own." That's character! And I've been in the city; he really has done a great job with the place.

BTW, PrinceValium, do you know Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches on Thayer St? The Juggs is truly by far the best sandwich I've ever eaten.
posted by The Michael The at 5:44 PM on September 6, 2002

While it is all well and good to wax romantic for a guy and a town that you were at but no longer are at, my former city, Bridgeport, Ct., has a may and a batch of notables being readied for big trials soon, and the city is sinking lower and lower as a result of just one additional nail in the coffin. those who must continue to live or work there are not very happy abut the happenings, though certainly the mayor of Bridgeport did not have what seems to be the flare and daemon Runyon quality of the mayor you seem so fond of.
posted by Postroad at 6:03 PM on September 6, 2002

When he gets out on work release, please put him on a bus straight to NYC.
He'd be the perfect Yin to offset Giuliani's formidable Yang.
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:15 PM on September 6, 2002

Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches on Thayer St.

Thought it was on Benefit street by RISD? They have some of the best signs on the walls ever:

"We talk about you when you leave."
"We do not cash checks. Does your bank serve sandwiches?"

Sending the mayor of a town that serves as the mafia headquarters for most of New England is likely to have lasting and painful results. If I were the DA, I wouldn't plan on eating pizza on Federal Hill anytime soon.
posted by machaus at 7:17 PM on September 6, 2002

Ah, but the guy seemed cool. I only know a bit about this guy - mostly from interviews he has done with Don Imus. But entertaining and apparently highly effective. As far as corrupt, Runyon himself said something once about all cities and all mayors’ being corrupt. (I am too lazy to dig up the quote). I live in Denver (once a home to Runyon) and it may be indictment-free it has its moments. (Have you ever tried to get a building permit out of that organization?)
(Can I use more parenthesis?)
posted by majikwah at 7:58 PM on September 6, 2002

Did he actually punch the guy? I only recall a fireplace log to the back of the head. The thing I love about Buddy is the shamelessness. He's an amazing man— there's some sort of disconnect in his head that makes it all justifiable.

I like to think of his as a Rhode Island-sized James Michael Curley, but I dunno if there will ever be a statue in downtown Providence for Buddy. Unless you see a resemblance.
posted by yerfatma at 5:06 AM on September 7, 2002

machaus, having just conferred with the authority (girlfriend), she confirms that there are two, one on Thayer and one on Benefit. Both excellent, though.
posted by The Michael The at 6:31 AM on September 7, 2002

Postroad: Despite what you think about Ganim in Bridgeport, you should take a drive up Route 8 and be glad you don't live in Waterbury.

T-M-T: Geoff's moved into a smaller location on Thayer, presumably to save rent. They were always mean to their customers however.. for sandwiches and desserts Meeting Street Cafe is the place.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:16 AM on September 7, 2002

My favorite trivia bit about Buddy is that his ex-wife's name is Nancy Ann Cianci.

Say that a few times fast for maximum hilarity.
posted by briank at 9:18 AM on September 7, 2002

It was practically impossible to live in Providence while Buddy was mayor and not to meet him. I remember running into him, in his first regime, at a Brown Daily Herald party -- to paraphrase a line reported in the New Yorker, Buddy would show up for the opening of an envelope. He seemed like a very personable guy, but even back then, before the first felony conviction, everybody knew that he was a classic Jekyl/Hyde character.
posted by macrone at 1:52 PM on September 7, 2002

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