12/02/16 7:30am

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Seeing inside this grand beauty is a special treat. It looks like it belongs in the English countryside. Judging from the photos, there doesn’t appear any need for renovations. Everything is move in ready. Many beautiful details remain, and I love the bathrooms. This house is located at the north west end of the city. It is much quieter and more suburban here. Make sure to click through the link to see many more photographs.

33 City Terrace North Newburgh NY (Kathleen Carhart, RE/MAX )
Asking Price: $385,000
Year Built: 1937
Size: 3,338 sq ft
Neighborhood: North end of city
Taxes: $17,489
Distance to NYC: 55.7 mi, 1 hr 2 mins
Public Transportation: MetroNorth to Beacon, then take ferry across
Closest Roadways: 9W, I-87, I-84
Google Map

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12/01/16 7:30am

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It has been installed for a few weeks now, but I would like to officially let everyone know that the Little Free Library has finally been installed at the corner of Liberty Street and Broadway. Its new home is in the Safe Harbors Green Park.

This whole project started when I contacted local carpenter, Stephen Sinnott, to see if he would be willing to build a simple small library for a fee. Stephen not only built it free of charge, but went above and beyond, creating something truly special and unique for Newburgh. All of the materials used to build the library were free of charge. The lumber came from Space Create, the copper roof from ABC Supply and Stephen reused 100 year old windows he found from a Balmville carriage house. Inside there is a rotating book shelf and a whimsical door knocker on the side.

Literally every time I have passed this corner someone is opening the library. There is a steward who looks after the library from Safe Harbors. But it will be a community effort to make sure it stays stocked and used. If you have books you would like to place in the library, please stop by every once and a while and drop off a book or two.

A special thanks again to Stephen Sinnott who built the library and Lisa Silverstone who helped give it a home!

11/30/16 7:30am

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The City of Newburgh is accepting requests for proposals for the purchase and rehabilitation of some of the most historically significant buildings in the city. Up for sale are the Dutch Reformed Church, the City Club aka William Culbert House and 2 Montgomery, a vacant urban renewal lot. RFP’s are due by Wednesday, February 1st, 2017.

A master developer is sought to collaborate with the City in the creation of viable residential, commercial, and public space. The empty lot is included for the purposes of providing for an income generating project to support the preservation and restoration of the City Club and the DRC, and to ensure a public use of the DRC. To view the RFP register with BidNet or check back with the city’s website to see if it has been published there.

The City has given a nice summary of historical details of the properties. Let’s take a look at each of the offerings.

Historic Dutch Reformed Church

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Recognized as the ‘Beacon on the Hill”, this National Historic Landmark building was recognized as a “Save America’s Treasures” site by the federal government, was named one of the World Monument Fund 100 most endangered heritage sites and was named one of the “7 to Save” by the Preservation League of New York State in 2015. An outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by world-renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the monumental structure borrows proportions and details from classical Greek precedents and was intended as a symbol of the community’s enlightened taste.

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Today, however, after several decades on non-use and neglect, the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) is in a dire state of disrepair needing immediate stabilization and extensive restoration. The magnificent, acoustically acclaimed interior has deteriorated significantly, specifically following a collapse of a large portion of the vaulted coffered ceiling in 2014. The DRC has been the site for a National Park Service and World Monument Fund Summer School in Restoration Arts in the early 2010s. Presently, the Preservation League of New York State has undertaken an update of the engineering study which will be available to potential developers. The nomination for the Dutch Reformed Church’s National Historic Landmark status is available upon request.

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The City of Newburgh is seeking a full restoration of the DRC and re-establishment of its historic role as a civic center for the City, where people can gather together in common purpose to discuss ideas, celebrate our heritage and culture, host important events, and enjoy the arts. The final use and management of the DRC should be considered in consultation with the adjacent community in order to allow for some or all of those uses mentioned above, and to ensure long-lasting preservation of the structure.

The DRC, with its commanding hillside location, is highly visible from the river. Its lot size is approximately 160’ by 215’ (tax map parcel: section 19 block 1 lot 25). A community garden has been created along the southern end of the lot adjacent to the Newburgh Free Library and Newburgh Enlarged City School District administration building.

The City Club aka William Culbert House

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Just south of the Dutch Reformed Church, is 120 Grand Street – commonly referred to as the “City Club” building. Like the DRC, it is located in the heart of Newburgh’s East End Historic District.

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This distinctive brick and sandstone building was based on a collaborative design by Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux. It was built between 1852 and 1857. A description of the building was included in the 1857 Vaux publication “Villas and Cottages” as Design No. 22 (“Suburban House with Curved Roof”). The building was originally designed as the home/office of William Culbert. In 1904, it became headquarters of the Newburgh City Club, an organization catering to the city’s leading businessmen and politicians. Shortly thereafter some additions were made to the original structure.

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The building was carefully restored in the 1970’s but succumbed to a fire in 1981. Sadly, all that remains of the original structure are the foundation walls and exterior walls of the first and second stories. The first and second floors were listed as having a combined square footage of 7,128 square feet. The building has no interior walls or roof. The structure’s exterior walls are supported by interior steel beams.

The City Club building is prominently located on a 45’ x 122’ lot (tax map parcel: section 24 block 2 lot 17) at the corner of Grand and Second Streets. The property borders a parcel containing the Newburgh Free Library as well as the offices of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. The 1841 County Courthouse and St. George’s Episcopal Church, one of the oldest buildings in the City of Newburgh, sit across the street – to the west of the City Club building. A municipal parking lot is situated across Second Street, to the building’s south.

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Both the City Club and the DRC are located in the Downtown Neighborhood zoning district. Interested developers are urged to consult the City of Newburgh’s Zoning Ordinance for information on the variety of uses permitted within the Downtown Neighborhood District.

A full exterior restoration would be preferred, however alternative plans for rehabilitation or reuse may be considered. Additionally, some public access or community use would be preferred. However, the City may consider projects or developments that offer less public access in exchange for a more substantial restoration.

Parcel of Former Urban Renewal Land

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Bundled with the two historically significant buildings is 2 Montgomery Street, a 1.8 acre block of former urban renewal land bounded by Montgomery Street, Second Street, Colden Street, and Orange County Community College. This vacant, commercial parcel possesses panoramic, unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Mount Beacon.

The property is also known as 1-3 Colden Street, 2-34 Montgomery Street and 56 Second Street (tax map parcel: section 24 block 10 and lot 1.2). It was formed by combining several small lots into one larger parcel. Years ago, a city street transected the property; remnants of the street’s retaining walls emerge as outcroppings throughout certain sections of the lot. The parcel has access to both municipal water and sewer.

Mid to high-rise buildings, with shop  fronts on the first floor to foster pedestrian activity, are encouraged in this zoning district. Projects that meet the zoning requirements without the need for substantial variances are expected. Details of the Waterfront Gateway Zone can be found at http://ecode.com/30538943.

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Historical windows, you either hate them or you love them. If you hate them it’s probably because you don’t think they are energy efficient, or the ARC is requiring that you use pricey historically accurate replacements.

Newburgh is the second largest historic district in NY State. That means that there are thousands of historical windows that still remain despite many replacements. What about the windows that remain that have broken panes, rotted sashes or torn ropes? Should you try and save them? Fortunately there are some die-hard old window aficionados out there who are painstakingly restoring Newburgh’s windows one at at time. Ben Brandt of Newburgh Sash and Restoration is one of them.

Here, Ben will explain why it’s worth saving those 100 year old windows on your home. Make sure to visit his facebook page or instragram for other examples of his work! You can also email him at newburghsash(at)gmail.com.

Reasons to restore windows:

“They’re important original features of your house! They were designed for your particular house, and are a significant part of the “look” of a building.  Replacement windows fit inside your existing window frame, so they are slightly smaller than the original sashes. And because they have to accommodate a doubly thick insulated glass unit, they have less depth and edge details than the original wood sashes.  This gives new windows the appearance of being “cut and pasted” onto a building instead of being integrated into the design.  And because modern aluminum and glass are manufactured to have a flawless surface, new windows have a “dead” appearance compared to historic windows that acquire character gracefully over time. While the differences may seem small, it’s the small details that add up to make a big difference.

“They don’t make them like they used to” is a phrase that definitely applies to windows.  Most importantly, the wood that was used for old windows is several orders of magnitude better than wood that is commercially available today.  It was milled from slow-growing, old-growth forests that provided much denser, and more naturally rot resistant lumber. The joinery, or the way the wood parts were assembled were developed to last a lifetime, be super strong as well as reversible, allowing the possibility of repairs as opposed to wholesale replacement.  Also, the pulley- and-weight balances are a simple, durable and effective system that allow for easy repairs compared to the modern proprietary plastic parts that are often difficult to track down when they inevitably brake.

They’re more energy-efficient than we’re led to believe by the replacement window industry. Independent studies have confirmed that a well-maintained or properly restored window with weather-stripping and a good storm window is just as efficient as any modern replacement. When you factor in the energy saved by NOT throwing away the embodied energy in your existing windows and the energy required to produce new glass and wood/vinyl/aluminum replacements, you came out even farther ahead in energy savings.

Quality. Because of their unique materials and traditional construction, they’ve lasted over a hundred years! We can make them last 100 more. The majority of commercially available replacement windows cannot make that claim. Approximately half of all replacement windows ordered today are made to replace failed replacements. Take a look at the windows at the Foundry Condominium development. They’re only about fifteen years old and the color is faded and the insulated glass units have failed and become fogged up. I’d be curious to ask the occupants if they still operate well, my bet would be that they’re sticky and don’t stay open.  Old windows are designed to be maintained for decades, new windows are designed to be thrown out and replaced again.”

To learn more about restoring historical windows, see the following sites:

Studies on efficiency.
Another overview:
11/25/16 9:30am

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The weekly link roundup is a collection of links related to Newburgh, revitalization, urban planning and anything else that might inspire change or create dialogue. Photo by NR Flickr user Brian Wolfe.

D.C. Raises Taxes on Blighted Buildings [Next City]
Does Foot Traffic Still Matter on Main Street? [SBT]
When Nonprofits Are the New City Leaders [City Lab]
Few Thriving Downtowns Include a Stadium — for Good Reason [VSD]
Community Allies: The Virtue of Locally-Owned Business [Strong Towns]
Juliana LoBiondo Recognized for Bringing Diversity to the Hudson River [US Rowing]

Add your own photos depicting city life to the Newburgh Restoration flickr pool to be used on the blog, oremail me. **Flickr users please do not forgot to remove disabling of downloading of pictures. Otherwise I can’t use them** Please do not take photos for your own use without consulting the photographer