Diary of a “NEEDY” Row House…Kindling a Passion


Dear Diary…My passion for Newburgh all started late last year, when my brother Dominick from Portland, Maine was coming to visit me in New York.  It actually was right around when Hurricane Sandy was going to hit (I should have realized something BIG was brewing from then.) Dom and I had remained close over our decades and DECADES of our life journey.  Part of our bond is that we have ALWAYS had a common thread of LOVING real estate, discovering historic neighborhoods, investing and checking out neighborhoods that have had new life breathed into them.

Again, decades ago, we both had bought coops and lived in Downtown Brooklyn’s historic Park Slope neighborhood.  After a few years, Dominck had sold his adorable studio coop at Garfileld North, which was one of the first substantial gut renovated, restorations in all of Park Slope. In fact , he literally was  the first occupant in that newly restored building in the early 1980’s. He had then opted fto find his dream project, a row house to renovate (on Baltic St between 4th & 5th Ave) further down from the comfort of what was already developing as “trendy” 7th Ave. Anybody that is familiar with Park Slope (especially back then) knows that the further down from the Park you traveled , really MEANT the further DOWN (physically and figuratively) you were going. But the excitement for he (and for I) was that the “idea” of down only gave us the thrill and hope of seeing things progress upward. Needless to say, watching my brother’s hard work and beautiful renovating of his original needy row house and the transition of his home over time and how his efforts (plus those that preceded) and  those that had followed, affected the entire block and neighborhood’s physical and social appeal, was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

OK Diary….back to his “fateful November visit”… Well it didn’t take he and I much time to hit the ground running with our conversation centering on REAL ESTATE and what is the latest on “Brownstone Brooklyn” . As you know diary, both his life and mine took many different and exciting paths to other locations since our days in Brooklyn, so part of our amazement is how our old Park Slope neighborhood (in addition to those like Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Bedford Styvesant and others) have and continue to grow in popularity, urban appeal and did I mention PRICE!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, “can we talk”!!!
In the next breath of our Brownstone Brooklyn conversation, my brother interjects… “What do you think of Newburgh”?   Now, the truth is I have to admit, I was always intrigued by the “idea” of Newburgh,  but only like someone who was watching a theater production in the last row of the balcony.  In addition, I had taken to “media mind-control” and how when Newburgh was mentioned in news etc. , the buzz seemed to always focus on the “M” word and how it had gained notariety across the state because of that (especially in 2010).

But further into our conversation, my brother started to mention the NEWBURGH RESTORATION blog/website.  And it was he, who introduced me to touring (the blog/site) it with him during what I will continue to refer to as that “fateful November visit”.   I was intrigued,  engaged actually smitten with all the posted details.  My reaction to reading that Newburgh indeed is the 2nd largest historic district in NY State, and the amazing blog posts, stories, accomplishments and efforts made me want to find out more, See More, READ MORE.   And MORE and MANY (words I will use over and over again describing Newburgh) times I did, coming back to “absorb” every post of what was going on in this city.   Also I researched about the  ONGOING efforts of law enforcement that had made tremendous inroads in quelling the “M” word drama, and though not perfect, it was definitely becoming better. Truth is…Newburgh IS A CITY…life happens more in an “in your face” way when you live in ANY city and when you are dealing with a city in particular that has had “issues” it takes time to resolve and be able to see tangible benchmarks of resolution after so many years of ills.

So Diary, since the “fateful November Visit” I have traveled to Newburgh a number ot times.  I have toured around and taken some amazing photos of some of the most interesting, promising, decaying, restored. jaw dropping and needy historic properties with each visit I’ve made. Each time, a pact I have with my brother is to send the pictures to him and in his words each time I send them, he is “insatiable” for MORE. That kind of sums it up for me too regarding Newburgh, “Insatiable for MORE”…MORE interest by others, MORE restorations, MORE people realizing the amazing potential it has.

In my visits, I have discovered a city that actually is MORE PROMISING than I had ever realized and yet MORE SAD than I had realized at the same time.  It is a city where MANY uber talented and devoted individuals have already discovered, nurtured, restored and brought back from the dead hundreds of amazing homes to pay the “inspiration message” forward.   But it is also a city where perceptions need to be diminished over time. And that I have found out to be true. even in my own city of Binghamton.   Efforts, restorations and sweat come first (and LOTS of it) and then the patience that hopefully  the negative perceptions will chip away.

DEAR Diary….I’m signing off for now, but I wanted to close by saying that since the “fateful November visit” and since my website absorbing, blog reading, trulia checking, 2.5 hour road tripping butt has devoted to this all… I think I have found “THE ONE”!   Yes diary…the one, the “needy” row house that  I have only dreamed about the possibility of owning (but PRICED OUT of in Brownstone Brooklyn a LONG time ago.)…Yes diary… I’m heading towards an investment in Newburgh.   I will write my experiences in you diary as I move along on this journey. And until next week,  I have to say …YES….I  admit it, even at my ripe “older” age…I “HEART” Newburgh!!

4 Comment

  • This is great news since I live only a few doors down from #25 and am excited that I will have another neighbor with a Brooklyn connection that loves Newburgh even more. Looking forward to meeting you and showing you what I have done with the twin rowhouse.

  • Thanks Mike, I can’t wait to see how your journey begins!

  • This is great news, a breath of fresh air to a much needed project.

  • Welcome to the Heights!! So many of us wondered who the mystery person was that snatched up that wonderful little house!

    Please contact us as soon as you can so we can introduce you to the rest of us former Brooklynites…who know a great thing when we see it 😉

    Cher, give him my email and thanks for your fantastic blog once again!