Gimme Shelter

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1191347837As kids, we always wanted to have a secret fort. We had some success with large sheets of plywood propped against rocks, but never got the homey atmosphere of the forts we saw on television. That little fort-loving part of us is completely jealous of eight artists who built a secret apartment in the Providence Place Mall’s parking garage.

No, seriously.

Michael Townsend, 36, said he and seven other artists built the apartment in a 750-square-foot loft in the parking garage four years ago and lived there for up to three weeks at a time while documenting mall life.

The apartment included a sectional sofa and love seat, coffee and breakfast tables, chairs, lamps, rugs, paintings, a hutch filled with china, a waffle iron, TV and Sony Playstation 2 — although a burglar broke in and stole the Playstation last spring, Townsend said. The artists built a cinderblock wall and nondescript utility door to keep the loft hidden from the outside world.

Why someone would steal a PlayStation out of an illegal dwelling is beyond us. We would have just asked to join their PlayStation-and-waffles club.

Even Providence Police were excited by the totally illegal structure:

. . . Providence Police Major Stephen Campbell said he and other detectives were so intrigued they visited the apartment to see for themselves.

“I was surprised at what he was able to accomplish,” Campbell said. “But what he did was clearly criminal. The mall is private property.”

Boston.com helpfully posted a link to the website that documents “The Apartment at the Mall.” If that’s Townsend in the pictures, we’d like to offer him a spot on the Boston Daily couch if he needs a place to crash. He’s a dreamy little hipster.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2007/10/02/gimme-shelter/