Newburgh used to be the city where people would debut their acts before going to Broadway in New York City. Because Newburgh is only 60 miles away from NYC it was a common stomping ground for many rookies before they hit the big time; such as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Today, Newburgh will have a revivification of it’s old glory days with new professional acts coming from Broadway to New Zealand!
The West Shore Railroad Station, aka the Newburgh Train Station was once the hub of hustle and bustle. The train station brought thousands of people to Newburgh daily. It has now been abandoned for over 50 years and, was basically crumbling to bits. The building suffered a fire, the ceiling had collapsed and the façade was blanketed with graffiti. Not too long ago people were entering in and taking pictures and documenting the deplorable condition of the train station. The last train to leave the station to Grand Central in NYC was in 1958. Today the station has new life breathed into it. It’s be secured and restored in very little time compared to how long it has been abandoned. What is even better is that it has found occupants thanks to Key Properties !
Railroad Playhouse Inc, has just signed their lease with the West Shore Train Station. They are a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Newburgh Waterfront and the preservation of Newburgh’s historic West Shore Railroad Station by providing a space for high-quality, artistically creative performing arts experiences. In their mission statement they state, they “will strive to provide a home for playwrights to workshop and showcase new plays; present local, national, and international artists of all genres; create partnerships with local businesses and organizations to continue revitalizing the area; implement a summer arts camp for local children; and create teaching-artist residencies and after-school programs in local schools.”
The Railroad Playhouse will be a 99-seat flexible venue with a sprung wooden floor and a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. With no permanent seating or fixed stage, the audience experience will be different for every event. Other features include dressing rooms and office space. The building will be divided into three parts: a performance space, a grand lobby, and a cafe from Nick Citera of Cosimo’s Restaurant Group. The Playhouse will also be available to rent once the beautiful renovations are complete along with catering. Their doors should open in the Fall of 2010.
If you would like to find out more information about The Railroad Playhouse, it’s mission, and it’s founders who have an awesome resume, click on this link for their website. http://www.rrplayhouse.org/ or check them out on Facebook. They are accepting donations for those that would like to help their non-profit group. Any donation can help and can go towards things like stage lighting. They will need all the help they can get to make their Fall 2010 debut opening. This is a great option for those of you who have moved away from Newburgh but still want to see your home town thrive. Click here for the direct link to make a donation.
This project brings Newburgh’s revitalization a little further up from the waterfront, although still connected. It is important to remember what this building looked like before. A lot of hard work and effort went into saving this important part of Newburgh’s erased waterfront history. This accomplishment shows that this time around the revitalization in Newburgh is really starting to come around and more and more major historic buildings are being saved. As the developments progress we will keep you informed. Stay tuned next week for a tour of one of Newburgh’s biggest restorations going on at the moment.