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by Peter Moskos

September 14, 2010

Lunch in Newburgh, NY

"Let's bike over that bridge and have lunch in Newburgh." That's what I told my wife. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Unless you know Newburgh, NY. I didn't.

My wife and I were on a weekend biking getaway and found ourselves in Beacon, NY. Beacon is a pretty but depressed place (though it's less depressing since Dia: Beacon opened in 2003). I figured Newburgh, on the other side of the river, must be the "nice part of town." Mostly I wanted to bike over the two-mile bridge that crosses the mighty Hudson.

The bridge is impressive. Over we went. And then we biked downhill and saw signs to a ferry. We were elated at the though of not having to bike back uphill. There are a few restaurants by the river, but they all looked new and touristy and none-too-inspired.

We can do better, we said. So we locked our bikes, crossed under a train track, and headed up a grassy slope looking for some hipster cafe or yuppie coffee-shop.

At this point, if you know Newburgh, you're laughing.

There are lots of "cute" towns on the Hudson. Newburgh isn't one of them.

We were greeting by old no-longer courthouse and rundown buildings. The black part of town, I thought. We made a right on Liberty Street looking for the business district of this very historic port city.

I don't mind run down and rough around the edges. In fact, I'm rather fond of it (for instance, two days earlier we had spent a very nice day in Peekskill, which you won't find in any guidebooks). But this quickly got grim. Very grim. I've rarely seen such grim. It was kind of like Baltimore's Eastern District, but the buildings and view in Newburgh are prettier.

Like most urban ghettos, Newburgh is heartbreaking. There used to be city here. And Newburgh, if you squint hard enough, is beautiful -- the view, the buildings, the history! But between the vacant lots and boarded up buildings live human beings with no jobs, little school, and no hope.

An entire class of people forgotten and abandoned by everything but lame social services and the criminal justice system. Is it a failure of capitalism? Maybe. But regardless of who is to blame, it makes me a bit ashamed to be American. Can we really not do better?

I was thinking all these heady thoughts and more but at some point I just had to ask, "What the hell are we doing here, and where are we going!?"

Now I've found that most people in the ghetto are incredibly nice, especially to a polite lost white boy. But I'm still not going to ask directions from just anybody lounging about. So I stopped when I saw a very old man painting his house.

"Excuse me, sir, but can you tell me where...," I was kind of at a loss for words here, "downtown is?"

The old man looked at me quizzically. I wondered if he could hear. I also realized how stupid my question was because I was literally in the down part of town. Newburgh is steep. We were standing at the bottom. And I'm asking which way is down. At this point words kind of failed me. What was I looking for? Luckily, the man figured me out, "You mean, where are the stores? The businesses?"

"Yes. Where can we eat lunch?"

"Broadway," he said, "a few blocks back that way. You can't miss it."

It was back in the direction we came from. So we went up a block (we try not to retrace our steps in any part of town) and headed back.

"He's not going to finish painting that house," my wife said glumly.

"Why not?"

"He's not going to last that long."

Who can say? But Broadway indeed could not be missed. It's truly broad. And also sad. Nowhere non-ghetto to eat. Chinese take out. A very greasy dinner. Ninety-nine-cent pizza. There was a Mexican restaurant that seemed like the best option. But even that was a sad looking place with no customers.

There's a bit of immigrant influx in Newburgh. But not enough. I felt sorry for these guys standing on a corner waiting for a bus that runs once an hour (till 5pm). Can you imagine trudging across Mexico, risking your life to cross the border illegally, all while driven on by dreams of the promised land and a better life, and then ending up in Newburgh because rent is cheap?

What I can't get over, though, is all this good infrastructure abandoned. They built things to last back in the days. Train stations and ferry terminals and homes and streetcars. And rather than deal with problems, we just left them literally to rot as we built suburban roads and homes and malls and roads -- all with government money -- and left the city.

I mean, even a parking lot was abandoned! How do you abandon a parking lot? Never before have I felt wistful nostalgia for a parking lot, but there was a great big old sign advertising "safe overnight municipal parking" pointing to a block of chest-high weeds.

That grassy hill we climbed? Used to be beautiful buildings. Run down, but they could have been saved. Instead, in the 1970s, they torn them down for "renewal." But they ran out of money before they could actual "renew" anything.

Here's a "then" picture. I think of Water at 2nd, looking north.


And now:


For what it's worth, the homicide rate of Newburgh isn't that high. It's lower than Baltimore's and a fraction of where I policed. But it's still, I've since been told, the most dangerous city in New York State. I'm sure there are nice parts of Newburgh. But I didn't see them.

Then we worked our way over to Liberty Street on the south side of Broadway. It's considered the newly "gentrified" part of town. I put that in quotes because it means a few stores have opened. And that's better than nothing, I suppose.

At one, an old lady missing some teeth ran out of her store when she saw us reading a flier in her window about an "Art Bus." She told us about her wonderful cheesecakes. She didn't have any that day because, "Business hasn't been too good recently and I don't want things to sit around." But she made us promise to come back. I doubt I will. But you never know.


A list of art attractions that includes Razor Sharp Barber Shop does not inspire much confidence. And Hip-Hop Heaven was selling a bunch of white t-shirts. It was actually kind of funny to see "the uniform" on display. But I guess you gotta buy your white T's somewhere.

Ironically, we did end up having a very nice lunch in Newburgh. We ate at the Wherehouse and our glum spirits were lifted by Anita, the charming and ever-cheerful bartender.

"One problem," said Anita, "is that there are no art programs in school. Nothing to give kids the idea that there's something bigger in this world. And then the few programs they do have, basketball and such, are all in school. What kind of kid wants to spend all day in school and then stay in school?"

I wish I had the energy and willpower of others to make Newburgh a better place. But I don't. Like most people, I don't want my neighborhood to be a struggle or a place where I fear for my safety. Luckily, I have enough money to choose where I live. Not everybody is so blessed.

And then we left. We climbed back down the hill, got our bikes, and waiting for the ferry. About to take a picture of the boat I was told by the captain, "You can't take pictures of the vessel. Homeland security." Whatever. But he was nice enough about it and I was too tired to question the logic or the absurdity of a terrorist putting Newburgh on their to-do list. But the picture I didn't take of "the vessel" would have been better than this one I had already snapped.


In the background, you can see a bit of the bridge we biked over. Newburgh faded into the distance.


And the Hudson was beautiful as a storm passed nearby.


A beautiful rainbow appeared in the east.



And the captain saw no national security threat in me taking pictures of his cute dog.


And here, for the hell of it, are a few other shots from our bike ride. New York City to Newburgh. Four days. Six counties. And a train ride back. No speed records were set.

Beacon Falls.


South Bear Mountain Pass.


New York City drinking water. Sure tastes good.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coming from the capital of the rustbelt, Flint Mi, I saw the same process of downtown decline. Even a small city of 200k had an incredibly vibrant downtown in 60s and early 70s - until the advent of the shopping mall. Within a few years, downtown was deserted. The waste never made any sense to me.

Randy said...

I had an almost identical reaction to Newburgh's downtown when I passed through on my way to apple picking down the road last fall.

Interesting that you say "look at all the wasted infrastructure" I was thinking a similar thing when I wrote this post about Detroit in our travel blog: http://cementandsoil.com/?p=239
Detroit is considering ways to shrink it's footprint and infrastructure that is no longer needed by it's dwindling population.

When we recently passed through Las Vegas I was thinking the opposite, or more specifically, "boy, it's going to be interesting when this city turns in to a ghost town" What the hell is Las Vegas thinking? The city continues to grow when they know explicitly that they have an unsustainable water deficit. No one in American politics has the stomach to ever say, "stop growth" even when it's unsustainable. I find it the most obnoxious American tendency, to put our heads in the sand and embrace rhetoric over facts.

Every time I'm in a large western city (Los Angeles?) I think to myself, half these people should move to Philly, Baltimore, Detroit, Buffalo and now Newburgh.

On a sunnier note, this site has a few great of photos of Newburgh. Here's one: http://www.shorpy.com/node/8846
And another: http://www.shorpy.com/node/8166

I had the first Newburgh image open in a tab in my browser for a few days last week. Wondering what to do with it, before finally closing it at the thought, "no one cares about old Newburgh pictures". Apparently there was a reason.

Mitch Hellman said...

I have no reason or basis to expect this, but I'm hoping that some day, probably long after we're gone, someone will look at the ghostly remains of Newburgh and other towns like it and say "Hmmm. I can make something from this." And roll up their sleeves and begin. But it will not be 'urban renewal'-- it'll be somewhere in between 'salvage' and 'found art.'

David said...

Why no pictures of Newbergh? You could have illustrated your story.

PCM said...

I can't tell if you're serious or joking... but I'm not crazy.

I certainly wanted to take pictures, but the bad blocks were not places to be walking around taking snapshots.

I may be bold. But I'm not that bold.

(But I did add a much older picture and a google street view.)

Randy said...

To Mitch's point, Detroit

http://www.palladiumboots.com/exploration/detroit

newburghartguy said...

I appreciate your candor. Unfortunately part of the problem is the lack of insight by our corrupt and incompetent government, voted into office to keep things as near to the same as possible by people who understandably fear being pushed out. However there are many here fighting an uphill battle and succeeding slowly. Until there's a critical mass of people who care and vote, the battle trudges on in baby steps. I really wish you ended up next door to the cheesecake lady, in our shop. I could have added some meaningful context to your observations. You did end up in one of the most inviting spaces in the city for lunch. The owners have made a huge investment and commitment to the community with their restaurant. You missed alot, just by blocks either way, that would have evened out your experience. You also seemed to have missed a lot in Beacon. I think our communities need to address those who do show up here with better signage and easily available information. Your comments are helpful. Thank you.

PCM said...

Newburghartguy,

Thanks for your comment. If you're part of the art supply store on the west side of Liberty, my apologies for not mentioning it.

It is a very good looking store. The best on the block, dare I say. But being hungry and not particularly arts and crafty (though my wife does own a Bedazzler), well, we walked right by it. But it did catch my eye... and in a good way.

In terms of signage, I have to say that despite my somewhat mocking tone, the "art bus" sign actually helped. I was able to look at the addresses and see that there was stuff on that side of Liberty St. So that's where we went.

Where are these other blocks I missed? I mean, we covered Liberty Street, east and west of Broadway, and went from the water to about five blocks west of Liberty on Broadway.

Regarding Beacon. I don't think we missed it (though we did miss Fishkill entirely) as much as didn't linger. It's not Beacon's fault. We just wanted to get to Newburgh!

But there was something about Beacon that bothered me. Ignoring the high level of business vacancy, the stores that were struck me as catering to two very different worlds that probably don't mingle too much.

Boutiques and "cute" stores in one area and the blue-collar "townie" stores in the other. And the occasional tweaker strolling imperviously between the two.

But like I wrote, the city certainly looks better than it did last time I was there, in 2003.

My only other problem, which I just discovered has already been somewhat addressed, is the lack of transportation for those who arrive by train. It's surprisingly spread out (and uphill) from the train station to the museum and the downtown. It's quite a long walk.

Anyway, thanks for finding this and taking the time to comment. I wish you and Newburgh all the best. As you point out, it's a long slog of baby-step progress.

Give Juanita my best. She'll remember me because I left my credit card there (she was nice enough to call the bank)! And the leftover butter beans with bacon were outstanding. Even two days later cold.

Anna at D16 said...

I take offense to this comment:

"Luckily, I have enough money to choose where I live. Not everybody is so blessed."

Though it may seem unfathomable to someone who was too terrified to even take photographs (!!) in Newburgh, there are quite a number of people living here with the means to live just about anywhere they want to, and yet, they have chosen Newburgh.

Not everyone who lives here is struggling to get out. Not everyone who lives here walks around in a state of fear.

I made a choice to move to Newburgh. I made a rational decision to move here and to buy and home and renovated it get to know my neighbors and figure out a way to improve the community as a whole.

I'm not one who believes in blessings, but I do believe in the powers of choice and change, and despite knowing I could pack my bags tomorrow and move elsewhere, I remain in Newburgh.

And yes, you did miss a lot. From the sound of it, you missed the majority of the residential areas--the splendor of Grand and Montgomery Streets, and the spectacular views and beautiful homes overlooking the Bluff in the Heights, to name but two of many areas that perhaps could have softened your highly critical view of this the City of Newburgh.

Don't get me wrong, I know Newburgh is rife with poverty and governmental corruption and is in dire need of help (from within and without), but what I've read here does not describe the Newburgh I know and love.

PCM said...

Sorry to offend. And thanks for commenting.

I'm very happy to hear there are beautiful and nice parts of Newburgh I missed (and even the parts I stumbled upon were beautiful).

But the offending sentence wasn't directed to all the residents of Newburgh. It was directed at people who live in dangerous or unpleasant neighborhoods and want to leave but can't. I didn't mean to imply that nobody in Newburgh wants to live in Newburgh.

But everybody in Newburgh (and many other cities as well) isn't so lucky.

And I am sorry if I brushed all of Newburgh with too crude a brush. But it's what I saw. Clearly I didn't do the city justice.

But please, if you haven't recently, take a stroll up Liberty Street, north of Broadway and let me know your impressions.

My problem isn't Newburgh. My problem is that nobody seems to care.

Anna @ D16 said...

Recently? I LIVE in Newburgh, right off of Liberty Street! How's that for recent? ;) Check out my blog if you're curious.

I have friends from NYC who recently bought (and are rehabbing) a property on Liberty just north of Broadway. Yes, they're dealing with graffiti and theft and other issues, but they're also expecting their first child, and are wholeheartedly committed to the future of Newburgh--and they aren't the only ones.

That's why I prickle at the suggestion that Newburgh is too dangerous to even be photographed, or that no one seems to care. Many of us really DO care...a lot.

If you ever do muster up the courage to come back, take out your camera. Say hello to people. Walk through the residential streets. Smile! Wave! Give real thought to whether what scared you during your last visit was the threat of actual crime, or just the idea of danger that poverty often implies.

Is it a battle living here sometimes? Yes, absolutely, but the battle most often feels like it's against the incompetence of the government that newburghartguy referenced, not against each other.

PCM said...

Good on ya! And I hope it all works out.

And I'm no scaredy cat. I did smile, and I did say hello. But no, I didn't feel safe to whip out my camera and start taking pictures that people who don't want to be photographed might think they're in. Some people don't take kindly to white people conducting "slumming tours."

You live there. I don't.

I do wish you and everybody there the best. Clearly you're not part of the problem! The problem is most Americans who won't go there and don't give a damn.

We should care more. But when I say people don't care, I don't mean people who live there. I mean people outside of Newburgh [or the troubled city of your choosing].

Perhaps I should have made that clearer. I see how what I wrote could be misinterpreted as a visitor looking around, tisking, saying with a harrumph, "Why don't these people care?!"

No... my question is why other people (anti-urban Republicans come to mind) don't care about poverty and urban blight.

Why do we subsidize freeways, Wallmart, and suburban developments and then refuse to give tax incentives to rails, existing downtowns, and saving the buildings we already have? Why have we as a country been so willing to abandon our existing infrastructure and urban core to build anew in former farmland?

Though admittedly my negative portrayal may not help matters, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people take offense when I criticize their home(town). (Same thing happened when I wrote some not laudatory comments about St. Louis.)

But I see these problems as real and sometimes choose not to look on the bright side. Too many people are simply unaware of how much suffering goes on in this rich nation. Flag waving and "support the troops" bumper stickers are no substitute for actually doing something.

But what should people do who care, but not enough to actually move there and become urban homesteaders?

KPG said...

There was just a double homocide on Liberty Street last night, unfortunately.

Question: Does anyone on here know of a program in place that is working on social restoration, or any breed of recovery thereof?

I'm a transplant who is in the market for a home in Orange or Dutchess County, and I have not ruled out the Newburgh area...I was very surprised to learn of Newburgh's reputation for crime and the like when I moved down here. I had only heard the city's name uttered a few times previously...which perhaps speaks to the theory that there should be more attention paid all-around.

PCM said...

I don't think there's any program on any large scale. The problem is bigger than one neighborhood or even one city.

Part of the problem is that the programs we do have -- incarceration, urban demolition, the war on drugs, tax money going to suburbs -- make problems worse.

Whatever the solution, it will require government. Yes, even Big Government. But that position doesn't seem to win any votes.

I don't see any massive sea-change anytime soon.

Jeff said...

I think the historical pic is taken from the corner of Smith St. and Water St. looking north on Water Street. I am researching for my personal history I want to pass on. I graduated from Newburgh's great high school (at least when I went there) Newburgh Free Academy in 1966 and saw the city in decline. I joined the Army 9 days after graduation and never looked back, but I do go back periodically. I delivered newspapers from the corner of Broadway and Grand, up Broadway and then North on Liberty. It is very sad now, but hope springs eternal. Water Street in the 1950's was totally amazing, like something out of a Hollywood "Our Town" business district, especially in December. The feds went in in the late 90's and put in a huge infusion of dollars into restoring a bunch of very old brick townhouses on Lander St. It failed, too. There are too many problems literally to address. No jobs, no industry, entrenched gangs, drugs, corruption and poverty on a scale with the worst of anyplace in the US. And there are architectural treasures and history there that cannot be replicated, only restored if it's not too late already. It it's glory days, Newburgh was a center of manufacturing, business, and a major transportation hub. All that is gone, and without strategic leadership it will continue to decline. And the arts is not the solution, despite the best of thoughts and intents.

So, thanks for your research and wherever you got that pic of Water St. - good find. I need to go back and do some more research myself.
Hope you have better luck on your next outing. I suggest the West side of the Hudson to Cornwall. Make sure you bike over NY 218 between West Point and Cornwall-on-Hudson. I started doing that when I was 12 years old. The history of the area is amazing. Some of work on 218 in that area was done by the WPA in the 30's and it is rumored that there were isolation camps from the smallpox epidemics in NYC in the hills to the west of this area once upon a time (late 1800's). You live in an amazing area.
Best of luck for your continuing adventures.
J. Lincoln

jarod213 said...

I enjoyed this post, because it does describe the sadness I feel when I see historic pictures of Newburgh and then remember what it is today. However, others are right. You missed the restored sections of the City. Montgomery, Liberty, and Grand Street have incredibly detailed and restored estate homes owned by NYC residents (North of Broadway). It doesn't seem like you went north of Broadway. Downing Park was designed by Olmstead (the first of its kind). The City is the birthplaces of American Architecture. Andrew Jackson Downing, Withers, etc. They all built in Newburgh, and a bunch of these homes still stand in very good condition. Please, spread the word about Newburgh to friends in the City. The problem with Newburgh is that these accounts have pervaded the consciousness of people that would otherwise take a chance in a place like this. The urban pioneers of Brooklyn have been dreaming of a place like this since the 1990s, but everyone works to deter them. Tell them! Get the to come. Have them roll up their sleeves. With this "critical mass" the City can tip toward the better in a relatively short period of time. As gasoline prices continue to rise, as the suburbs continue to collapse, and as more Americans become "near poor," places like Newburgh will blossom. Downtown Detroit is already an arts Mecca, and in no time the rest of us will realize. By that time, it would be too late to take advantage of a good investment in Detroit. You need to get in on the ground floor at least 5 years before "the rest of us" figures it out. P.S. You should see the South Bronx these days. I think Americans are living in a fog from the 1970s. They still think "cities are bad" (generally), and are missing the boat.

AResch said...

I just have to correct this article slightly; although there are many accurate points there is one that is wrong. There are actually massive arts programs throughout the entire Newburgh Enlarged City School system, a well respected and awarded arts program at that, especially within the high school.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I was born and raised in Newburgh And I am glad you did not eat any Texas weenies so that you would not have any reason to come back to town...Goldbacks forever!!!

Andrew said...

I am from the Bronx, currently live in White Plains, and am interested in purchasing a house near Hawthorne Ave on the edge of the city bordering the town of Newburgh. Can someone give me any insight on that neighborhood as compared to the areas that I always see online that are considered really dangerous? It is about a mile from Newburgh Free Academy. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am looking at a house to buy on north drury lane, does anyone have any feelings about that area?
Thank you.

PCM said...

If somebody has an answer, they're welcome to leave one. But just for the record, I don't really see the comments section of copinthehood.com as the ideal place for real estate advice.

Dietrich Orris said...

PCM,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your observations on the City Of Newburgh. Your point of view, being an outsider and visiting for the first time with no prior knowledge of the area, seemed to be right on par with my experiences.

Ironically, I stumbled upon your blog while doing a google search for a potential riot that was supposed to have happened this past week. If you reference the local newspaper, The Times Herald Record, you might find articles about a shooting that occurred between police and a skell:
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120308/NEWS/120309810

Where did this incident occur? It happened on the much contested Liberty St! The law enforcement loving community of the city (please note sarcasm) has been in strong defiance of this action under the suspicions that it was "unjustified". As a reaction, there have been loud demonstrations with the threat of violence. I won't give you a blow by blow account of the story as I'm sure that you are fully capable to read the attached article and all subsequent articles hence forth; however, if that was not enough, ANOTHER shooting/fatality transpired about a week later.

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120324/NEWS/120329871

This time it was on Broadway and City Terrace, just a few blocks up from Liberty St. This unfortunate scenario seemed to have the victim, who was NOT a Newburgh resident, killed while bringing a friend home.

Please don't let the indignant bloggers on here make you feel bad about your honest reaction to your trip. I work in the law enforcement community as well (although on the higher income Dutchess County side) and have survived multiple combat tours in Iraq. I value and respect instinct as being our only God given ability to detect danger. When people ask me why I chose to live in the City of Newburgh, I often joke that I love the "Fallujah feel" about it.

Despite its problems, I do have an irrational attraction to the city. I wish that more investors, businesses, and DINKs (dual income no kids) types would rejuvenate this place. Its a part of our heritage as New Yorkers and Americans. (ie. Washington's HQ)

Please feel free to return and give it another shot. I would love to provide you with more insight about this troubled little river city.

Cheers!

newburghartguy said...

To Dietrich Orris: Your statement is rife with ignorance and overly dramatic prose so commonly used to broadbrush a community for the sake of some incessant need to prove to someone that a police force is never big enough. Your supposed facts are overblown lies. There was nothing akin to a riot of any size, unless, of course, you define a small group of protesters as a riot. The situation of the man who was shot on Broadway is still under investigation and it happened quite a distance from Liberty Street. The only indication that the victim was here for a "friend" was his wife's statement in a newspaper article. If you're really a police officer, you need to go back to training. Most of us in the City of Newburgh enjoy living here- as do all of the newer folks coming from the NYC metropolitan area. For the most part we live a peaceful quiet existence.

Dietrich Orris said...

To "newburghartguy" (whomever you might be):

I wish I could write a thoughtful retort to your emotional response; however, I do not see my last post here anymore. I do not know if there is some blogger nuance that prevents me from seeing my own post, as similar sigts allow, or if my post was simply deemed inappropriate for the forum and removed. I will admit "ignorance" as far as my lack of knowledge of the blogger dynamics since I rarely to never participate in such forums. With that said, I will defend my last post, or what I remember of it.

First off, my statement was based soley on empirical information. For you to accuse me of ignorance would be for you to accuse me of never experiencing the life that is "City of Newburgh". I have lived here for a number of years now. If you like, I could tell you about the random confrontation I experienced at an ATM with a stranger. I could also discuss with you the gang of teenagers that tried to goad me into another confrontation while stopped at a traffic light. If that's not enough, I could tell you how I've had two attempted burglaries at my residence since I moved in a few years ago or how the local homeless guy feels so at home in my neighborhood that he constantly walks on to my property to steal my recyclables. Then there's the crazy lady cab driver that sneaks behind my garage to feed feral cats. I could go on if you would like; however, these are my experiences and you cannot deny any opinion I have developed.

Second, I never compared the protest to a riot. I simply stated that there were threats of violence made by some of the participants and did a google search to see if there was some legitimacy to the claims. That is how I wandered onto this forum.

Third, I provided links to the local newspaper in order to show legitimacy to the stories to which I was referring. This was in order to show that I was not pulling my statement out of air. I am a free thinking, mostly rational, person and know that the media is not hard evidence. I know the situation is still under investigation, but my point is that it was NOT fabricated by me.

Fourth, I may have stated being in the law enforcement community but never alluded to my role, nor will I ever post my opinion under the auspices of an official agency. I am glad that you feel that you know enough about the profession to judge me. Perhaps one day you could take the civil service exam, go to an academy, and proudly patrol the streets while armed and in uniform. Considering your vast knowledge, you may ascend to the rank of chief in no time! Ironically, I have only had the city pd respond to one of my handful of calls that I have made to them since living here. Apparently, my other complaints were out of their scope of responsibility.

Finally, I apologize to the forum administrator if I have unintentionally trolled his blog. I did enjoy your perspective and even invited you back in my last post. As for "newburghartguy", I would have enjoyed a dialogue with you if you made clear specific references to my alleged "overblown lies" rather than an emotionally charged, ad hominem rant. It is obvious that we have polar opposite perspectives of the exact same geographical location. That, alone, would have been interesting to me, but you chose confrontation. In the end, I do have a strange attraction to the Newburgh charm and it is apparent that we both desire positive momentum for our community.

Cheers,
Dietrich

PCM said...

Your previous comment just got sent to spam for some reason. I fished it out.

Care said...

I too am an outsider of Newburgh, and my impression of this small city of 29,000 is a mix of sadness and fear. To the residents of Newburgh who are offended of the crude comments about your city, I feel for you. I grew up in a rural, small town that I love dearly. It wasn't until I moved away then came back to visit family that I realized how rundown and "scary" my little hicktown was.
The thing is, Newburgh is a rundown looking city period. It is riddled with gang violence, graffiti, litter and abandoned buildings. Sure, there are little pockets of renovated homes, but they are few and far between. I hope that these pockets will continue to grow and the city can "look" attractive to outsiders once again.

Anonymous said...

Your an ignorant fuck. Dont bother coming back to Newburgh, Honkey!

Anonymous said...

I'm from Brooklyn, NY & happened to found this blog through a google search. I'm in the market home buying, & have been told by realtors that Newburgh is a city that I should avoid, its a shame that the government in Newburgh would allow a city to fail. Is there anything the citizens can do? By the way I throughly enjoyed your article & everyone's views.

Brooklynite

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a resident of the area, and recently made a big move to the ADK region of NY. I would like to add also that there must have been much missed during your trip to Newburgh. For Example, the two beautiful institutions along the Hudson. In fact, some extremely impressive work in science, and education come out of Mt. Saint Mary College and SUNY Orange, pulished works and studies alike. Many of the local professors and teachers within the region call Newburgh home. I guess i find it hard to believe that those parts of Newburgh that are HARD to miss from the bridge were missed. Especially since there is a large portion of Powell Ave. that is flourishing with college students and new development. Isnt that something the city can be noted for?

Anonymous said...

I worked in Union Square where I had to pass junkies passed on on the street too and from work every day. I lived in Park Slope when there was a crack house on every other corner. Now a brownstone will run you a million minimum. I moved to Beacon when I was scared to walk the streets late at night and now high end hotels and restaurants are swarming main street. I am now looking at houses in Newburgh because the energy of the place is astounding - between the land bank, habitat for humanity and entreprenuers who see the character in the buildings of Newburgh, the city is poised for a tremendous sea change.

There are those who see misery and simply write it off. There are those who see the same misery and see the hope and profit in rejuvenation and want to be a part in making such a place better. Its cool to want to be someplace safe and have the money to do so. Its also cool to have the money to make a place better and to take the risk to do so.

PCM said...

Well said!

(And keep in mind I haven't been there in over three years.)

Anonymous said...

i know newburgh well - my great great grandparents immigrated there from Ireland in the mid 1800s - my great great grandfather built many stores on Broadway in Newburgh - a couple of which are still standing - barely. I visited my grandmother there weekly until she died in 1967. In those days Newburgh was profiled in Life Magazine as one of the best 10 places to live in the country. SO.... what happened. Several things - for one - Newburgh was then and is probably now too far from NYC to be a comfortable daily commute. The city was reliant on factories and companies such as sweet ors and fabricoy- and the felt factory. These companies pulled out in the mid fifties and took the jobs with them. Secondly some bright eyes in state government decided that anyone in Orange County receiving welfare had to live within city limits. This brought a change in the demographics and white flight. The gangs moved in - landlords got tired of repairing their houses only to have irresponsible tenants destroy them again and became slum lords. The Newburgh Coalition put these homes up for auction - rebought them AT auction to be eligible for government moneys and rented them to the same people who continued to destroy them. The lovely architecture in newburgh cannot be replicated - look at those lovely homes on Grand Street. Look at what has been DONE to them. What is the answer ? Truthfully until the national guard and the marines infiltrate that city and drive out the drugs, the gangs and the gangsters NOTHING will change. Once that would be done - federal grants - tax free - not LOANS - should be available to anyone who wants to start a business in the city or restore a home. If my grandmother saw the condition of her home right now there would be some serious hell raising from an irish old lady. It is hard for me to empathize with those who live in newburgh right now - it doesnt take money to remove the refrigerator from your front lawn or remember to close the door of your home . Its call HOUSE PRIDE and until those inhabiting these once lovely homes either gets some or leaves -nothing will change. Poor old Newburgh - Im glad I have my memories

Anonymous said...

I LOL when I read of your visit to Newburgh. But I have to ask: how did you miss the crack houses?? I don't do drugs, yet I could probably find four or five. And there are also the panhandlers at the DMV, the former Woolworth's building on Broadway.

Anonymous said...

I'm from the area, yea newburgh is shit, but I'm tired of the hearing the ignorance......blaming capitalism. ....how about the government, and their taxes wish forced most of the industry and the jobs that go with it over seas. Which they needed to do in order to stay in business and compete. I'm so sick of everyone blaming capitalism for everything. I truly believe no liberal understands the true meaning if capitalism. ...and btw I'm not republican.

>/< said...

Hardly could be considered newburgh, youre in the town... And the far edge at that... Approaching montgomery or walden. Youd even be able to option into valley central schools iirc.

>/< said...

Good area, great food down the street, relatively safe, though the bar across the street can get rowdy at times.

nimi parker said...

Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!
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