02/08/17 7:30am


Last October the exciting news of the rehabilitation of the Liberty Street School was announced. Ever since then there has been an obvious curiosity to see inside the school. It has been vacant since the last class left almost 40 years ago in 1980. Thomas Burr Dodd of RipRap LLC was kind enough to share photos he took, documenting the monumental task of making this building safe for occupants. As can be seen in the photos entire floors and ceilings are missing. Tours are not being given of the school, nor should you try to gain access.

Before we take a look at the photos, I asked some key questions about the development of the school and the role RipRap hopes in play in the community.

What will the Liberty Street School become?
“RipRap LLC will repair and build out the school building at 1 Liberty and transform it into a multi-use creative space, giving attention to historic preservation as well as modern green building practices. The building will include studios for artists and entrepreneurs, as well as flexible spaces for galleries, classes, and community happenings. RipRap is hoping for a harmonious reinvigoration of the school building and the surrounding community.”

When will the work begin?
“Work has already begun to stabilize the building. Fingers crossed, the school will be operational in three years. The building will be available as a location for film shoots very soon, as we feel the space “as is” is incredibly beautiful.”

What is  RipRap’s commitment to the Newburgh community?
“In New York City, we have seen gentrification neutralize our creative incubators; hard-working artists and other makers continually seek out affordable, struggling neighborhoods and help these communities to thrive, only to find themselves and their neighbors priced out by skyrocketing rents. In Newburgh, RipRap hopes to add to the existing creative community by restoring and “upcycling” dormant infrastructures, like what we have achieved with the Brooklyn Fire Proof complexes in NYC. This time we are putting down deeper roots, and are extremely sensitive to the threat of displacement.

This past fall, RipRap started a community meeting called Navigating Newburgh, which meets on the first Thursday each month at Caffe Macchiato. This meeting pools experiences and resources in hopes of empowering residents and newcomers to buy their homes instead of renting, encouraging owner-occupied ARC-compliant restorations, and focusing on passive and environmentally-conscious building technology. RipRap LLC strives to be a resource and a cheerleader for homesteading hopefuls.”

RipRap has also taken over the Save the Liberty Street School Facebook page. Be sure to follow the page for up to date photos and announcements. All photos below are © Thomas Burr Dodd.























Photos © Thomas Burr Dodd

02/07/17 11:55am


The Newburgh Community Land Bank in cooperation with the City of Newburgh is seeking proposals for the development and operation of Downing Park Urban Farm for 2017. As can be seen on the map below, the 2+ acre site is adjacent to Downing Park. It is fenced in, and for the past 18 months repairs have been made. Also, old construction debris and hazardous materials have been removed. The goal is to create a youth-based urban farm project that creates personal and social change through agriculture, imitating similar projects in Boston and New Orleans.

This RFP is for development and programming at Downing Park Urban Farm from March through December of this year, 2017. Proposals are due no later than March 1, 2017 12:00PM. You can find out more details by looking at the official RFP.

Pages from DPUF+RFP

02/07/17 7:30am

This is an update for an old post on 144 First Street. I posted the “after” photo of this building to Instagram last week, and it was very popular.  There were a few comments asking if it was for sale and others admiring the beautiful exterior. It made me think that we should take a look back at what it looked like before. I’ve been calling it a carriage house, but it definitely seems to have been an old store that was replaced with carriage house doors. The result is beautiful and charming. Funny enough, most people don’t realize there are hundreds of buildings like this in Newburgh. They look scary at first but hold a lot of potential for anyone with a vision.

Before and After Brick Home

02/06/17 11:45am

Newburgh Property Sales Record 2016

It’s nice to get confirmation that the work I do showcasing some of these abandoned properties has produced positive results. Last year I blogged about city-owned property, 28 Courtney. Shortly after, a serious buyer contacted me. I put her in touch with David Kohl, the city’s economic developer, and a sale was completed. You can read more about it in the article above. If it’s too small, you can see the PDF version here.


Photo by NR Flickr user Brian Wolfe. “Teran’s Black and White Gala 2017”

Add your own photos depicting city life to the Newburgh Restoration Flickr pool to be used on the blog, or email me. **Flickr users please do not forget 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

02/03/17 9:45am

Newburgh Bench

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.

Life, death and demolition [WSJ]
Renter Hell, Part 1: Billions for squalor [APP]
Renter hell, part 2: fighting the rats [APP]
Renter hell, part 3: protected by the law [APP]
Stewart Airport still potential Superfund site [THR]
Newburgh ordinance proposal targets messy tenants [THR]
Newburgh Brewing Co.’s taproom rated tops in state [THR]
Johanna Yaun: Newburgh’s Dutch Reformed Church [NYHB]
GSAPP is taking its students out of New York and up the river [ArchDaily]
2 property owners keep up fight against plan for 91 Newburgh apartments [THR]

Add your own photos depicting city life to the Newburgh Restoration flickr pool to be used on the blog, or email me. **Flickr users please do not forget 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