What’s Missing from this Article on Newburgh?

Newburgh Gothic Mansion

We wrote up this piece for the New York Times about ex-New Yorkers helping to revive Newburgh, mostly by way of architectural restoration but also by joining the passionate community of Newburghers who work tirelessly to ameliorate the city’s troubles.

There were some good comments at the end of the piece, pointing out what was missing, including a discussion of the race riots that marred the city; the effect of suburbanization, which stole business from the city of Newburgh and moved it to the town; and that, eventually, when all of Newburgh’s 700 (or more) abandoned buildings are restored, it will indeed be gentrified, and the poor population will largely be forced out. All of those people are correct, and we appreciate their pointing it out. (It’ll be a heck of a long time, though, before the place is truly gentrified — right now, there’s plenty of room for residents of all stripes.)

We liked the following comment, although we thought it missed the point of the article, which was to focus on the community hard at work to revive the place: “This dismal and lopsided view of The City hardly reflects the accomplishments and energy of the New Newbughers–many of whom are artists, musicians, writers and photographers who not only support each other but provide an ongoing welcome to anyone who shows any interest in living/working here. Sure, it’s great to have housing stock at rock bottom prices but really? The deep-gut pull of Newburgh is possibility.”

We couldn’t agree more, at least with the latter part of the quote.

P.S.: The best resource for info on great stuff in Newburgh is the Newburgh Restoration blog – another important aspect of Newburgh that we didn’t have room to mention!

Category: Newburgh, Top Stories

By: lisa | 11 November 2013 01:00 PM | 13 Comments

13 Responses

  1. Chuck Thomas says:

    No more waiting for the magic rescue or great redeemer for Newburgh. Newburgh is growing and thriving organically as individual homesteaders move to Newburgh and tell their friends and business opportunities are recognized and acted upon.

  2. newburgher says:

    “As a resident for 25 years – by reasoned choice- its laughable at what it takes to get attention paid to this magical place. All the charm of a small town with rough urban edges, a deep romantic history, premiere architecture, passionate citizenry, central location, breathtaking landscapes. As the mayor states, knock on wood, the crimes happen primarily between the criminals. Newburgh never lost its mojo, it just became more of a secret. Arms length investing has always been a losing proposition here- and I hope it ultimately remains that way. The benefits of this community grow exponentially with a commitment to it. Worth noting- missed in the article- NewburghRestoration.com, Newburgh Art Supply, the Wherehouse, Thornwillow Press, Commodore Chocolates, Downing Film Center.”

    I like this comment as well.

  3. Genie Abrams says:

    i thought the Times article was great; it really covered the tip of the iceberg. The exciting thing is that there is so much else, below!

  4. Yaakov says:

    I moved here 5 yrs ago from Brooklyn. I made the move because I worked at Columbia University with some friends who lived here. They convinced me and I do not regret the decision. The biggest obstacle for me is being a non-driver. That is a limitation and solutions must be found, creative solutions. Neighbors help.
    I came up, saw a few properties and decided on one, where I am living now. I find this community vibrant, gritty, creative, with a group of people, diverse in composition, which is dedicated to being here and making Newburgh a more vital and building on it stunning beauty. We have more music in our midst than many surrounding communities. We have the Heights Neighborhood Association. We have Downing Film Center.

    We also have many problems, racial division, and class differences, like any community that has been hit by movement out of manufacturing, lack of skills for a rapidly changing economy. I do not accept the term “gentrification”. It is a euphemism that is not helpful. Aesthetic beauty, safe streets, a sense of civic responsibility, and neighborliness are not exclusive goals for any one racial group. It is what all people concerned about their children, and living in a vibrant community in which all can contribute and benefit should be working toward.

  5. Lisa Silverstone, Safe Harbors of the Hudson

    Newburgh brims with creative energy, hard working, innovative neighbors and a panoply of cultural, natural and historical destinations. Not to be overlooked (forgive my bias!) is the cultural hub created by the award winning contemporary arts venue – the Ann Street Gallery; the intimate performing arts space – Lobby at the Ritz and the proximate restaurants, shops and national historic treasure.

  6. Lynda Parisi says:

    I’m not sure that the “gentrification” of the City of Newburgh should be our biggest concern. In 2002, I did a documentary about the revitalization of Newburgh entitled “Newburgh Rising…Planting the Seeds of Renewal.” It focused on a few of the many organizations that work tirelessly to revitalize the city and, more importantly, to make sure that as many of its residents as possible participate in the revitalization. Some large-scale plans for the city, that probably were more along the lines of gentrification, fell through when the economy fell apart, but the positive forces at work in the trenches, so to speak, have continued on. For example, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh has been rehabilitating vacant and condemned buildings since 1999, and over 70 low income families, who were living in deplorable conditions, now thrive in safe, affordable homes. HFHGN’s work continues, at an even more rapid pace. Safe Harbors of the Hudson has been housing the formerly homeless since 2002, but they don’t just provide a roof over their heads. SHOH seeks to transform lives and, with the help of innovative programs, they do just that.

    Today, there are many more organizations in the trenches, including Newburgh Preparatory Charter High School, where 16-21 year olds who have dropped out of high school get one-on-one help and a second chance to graduate and move on to college, a trade school or gainful employment. In my view, NPCHS may be the single most important weapon that we have in the fight against poverty and violence in the City of Newburgh. The low-income citizens of Newburgh are not without resources or reasons to be hopeful about the future. However, it is important to note that while efforts continue daily, to fight poverty and turn the city around, there are most definitely people who are working against the revitalization of Newburgh. I perceive these people to be those who live on the fringes of society and who are, in some way, shape or form, part of the criminal element in the city. I actually know some of these people, and whether they are drug distributors/dealers, gang members, or just people who benefit greatly from the plight of others, (and therefore have a vested interest in keeping the status quo), these are people who I would be very happy to see leave the City of Newburgh. If gentrification (the restoration of run down urban areas by middle-class individuals) would help get rid of them faster… it wouldn’t be the worse thing to happen in the City of Newburgh. At least, that’s what I believe.

    • Arianna Koudounas says:

      Lynda I am very interested in viewing this documentary of yours—where/how may I access it?

      • Lynda Parisi says:

        Thank you for your interest Arianna. I am actually in the process of re-editing the project in order to account for some things that have changed over the years and to incorporate some of the organizations, like Newburgh Prep, that were not around in 2002.

      • hannah says:

        Lynda–can’t wait to see it! Hannah

  7. Hannah says:

    A Newburgh ‘clean and green’ friend who is a bit less tech-savvy has forwarded these comments to me in response to seeing the NYT article, and asked me to post them for her:

    “The chatter of seagulls awaken the people of Newburgh, and the warmth of a southerly wind drifts across the majestic Hudson River into the city’s soul. The river ebbs and flows with the dreams of the people of Newburgh that come and go. I came to Newburgh five years ago, and I can think of no lovelier place to call home. No other city can evoke such passion, such fantasies, such devotion.”

    Christa Holder Ocker

  8. Arianna Koudounas says:

    Beautiful words from your friend, Hannah- thank you for sharing. Lynda I am very interested in viewing this documentary of yours—where/how may I access it?

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