Crime to Sublime

Baker, Michael Allen ©Robert Mecea

A few days ago I mentioned that I will be sharing some articles I’ve been looking at that show the redevelopment of urban neighborhoods. There was this intriguing article on Clinton Hill in the Daily News. Here are some points that I find are interesting when you look back at the neighborhoods transformation.

  • “A gritty Clinton Hill corner once known for an open-air drug market and shootings has been reborn as a hot spot for trendy nightlife.”
  • “I wouldn’t send my daughter to the corner store,” said youth counselor Shawn Walker, 38. “But crime is not as prevalent as it once was. You still get petty crimes, but not the major stuff.”
  • “A neighborhood is just like a human body: if you don’t nourish it, it will die,” said baker Michael Allen, who opened Desserts by Michael Allen around the corner on Fulton St. in 2008 and has lived in Clinton Hill for 25 years. “If you want to stop crime and drugs, you have to clean and build.
  • “Newcomers look at the lively strip and can’t believe the the intersection was not too long ago down on its luck.”

The article also expresses the fear of local residents with the coming change. Change is scary and it will always make some people unhappy. I am not looking to be controversial or debate about change, yet I am just looking to share the hope that other neighborhoods have experienced after years of negative histories. My family who has actually lived in a Brownstone in Clinton Hill over 20 years is even seeing the change. Buildings that were boarded up for as long as my cousin can remember are now being fixed up and occupied. Newburgh has also been down on its luck. But there are plenty of opportunities for different ideas and people to bring change to Newburgh.