The Cranston Street Armory is a breathtaking backdrop to the city’s West Side neighborhood. You could do a lot worse for iconic landmarks. My wife and I had a killer view of it from an old apartment for a few years, and I feel confident saying that there are few views in the city better than the sight of a beautiful golden sunset hitting those orange bricks. As cool as it is to gaze up at it, one burning question remained: What does it look like inside? A few people knew the answer, but for a lot of us it was a mystery.
As part of this year’s PVDFest, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association gave people an answer in the form of a 30-minute tour. In a word: huge. The main hall, since the National Guard stopped using it, has been home to everything from the state fire marshall’s office to Mayor Elorza’s inaugural ball to, yes, a soundstage for the filming of Underdog. Long term, the WBNA is looking into re-use options for the structure, but for now it was exciting to get even the tiniest peek inside the massive castle. The tour was limited – there are safety issues with a lot of the building – but one look at the cavernous drill hall suggests some pretty awesome possibilities.