06/27/13 5:01pm

Orange County Rowing Association

Orange County Rowing Association’s Summer 2013 season offers an expanded program list, including Adult Learn-to-Row, Masters/Open, Youth Competitive and Collegiate Prep.

OCRA’s Summer season will offer an Adult program for all skill levels, including a Learn-To-Row program for adults new to the sport. The six-week program begins July 7 and runs through August 15, culminating in a “mini-regatta” for the participants as well as a celebratory barbecue open to members, supporters and the public.

“I’m very excited to see our program offerings grow. Our primary mission is to introduce rowing to those that may be unfamiliar with it–who want to try something new. The Adult Learn-To-Row program is for adults of any age who have never stepped into a scull and get them that experience safely and while having fun,” said OCRA Chairman Austin F. DuBois.

The fee for Adult Learn-To-Row is $250. To sign up, contact DuBois at adubois@orangecountyrowing.org or Head Coach Megan Shedden, mshedden@orangecountyrowing.org. There will be an orientation meeting on July 7 at 8 a.m. at the OCRA boat yard. Please visit www.orangecountyrowing.org or “Like” the Orange County Rowing Association Facebook page for directions and more details.

Other programs include

  • Masters/Open for adult rowers with experience, both recreational and competitive;
  • Collegiate Prep for college and high school graduate rowers seeking to improve their performance before leaving for college; and
  • Youth Competitive for high school-age rowers seeking aggressive training for medaling regatta performances

OCRA is a 501(c)(3)-pending tax exempt nonprofit dedicated to promoting the sport of rowing, community service and quality of life in Newburgh, Orange County and the Hudson Valley. OCRA’s primary mission is threefold: (1) to operate a rowing club for all skill levels (no prior rowing experience is necessary), focused primarily on post-high school age rowers, with training for both recreational and competitive rowing; (2) to partner with other organizations, such as colleges and schools, to assist them in developing their own scholastic rowing programs; and (3) to develop the Hudson River into a venue for national-level regattas (rowing races).

05/10/13 2:15pm

Quality – Integrity – Service – Hudson River Style

Few businesses lend themselves to urban revitalization more than those interwoven with the creative arts.  American Icon Screen Printing is such a business.  Off of the beaten path, the shop is tucked away in an old industrial building near the foot of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.  Two independent thinkers, with a DIY approach, decided to take matters in to their own hands by providing efficient, common sense production of printed apparel right here in Newburgh.


And produce they do. AI’s multiple-automatic press setup allows them to service anywhere from a dozen-shirt order from a local band, business or nonprofit to a corporate client needing 5,000+ shirts.  Thanks to their mantra of “Quality – Integrity – Service – Hudson River Style”, their clientele runs that gamut. Co-owner Rob Kucharek, formerly of the punk band Autopilot Off, believes that the keys to their success are universal (but not necessarily common) business ethics such as constantly striving to produce the best product and frequent communication with clients and business affiliates.

Beyond that, however, Kucharek adds that it all must be done while “paying homage to the great industrial meccas that have thrived historically in Newburgh and along the Hudson River”. Pride of place is integral to American Icon.  All core staff are Orange County natives, except owners Kucharek and his best friend and business partner, Andy Camay, both originally from Binghamton. They relocated to Orange County in the early 2000s and sought out Newburgh for its affordable industrial space and central location near multiple transportation hubs.  They’ve been at their current location since day one, which was eight years ago this past April.


Shop owners Andy Camay and Rob Kucharek


“…there is a certain pride that comes along with being in Newburgh”

– Rob Kucharek, co-owner, American Icon Screen Printing


Of Newburgh, it would be a disservice to paraphrase Kucharek: “I think there is a certain pride that comes along with being in Newburgh. It is such a diverse place that has seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. I am fascinated with the fact that it was such a major hub for manufacturing throughout history, and admittedly have an inexplicable love affair with the Hudson River.” Well said.

For more information, please “like” the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AmericanIconScreenPrinting or check out the website, http://www.americaniconmerch.com/.

02/27/13 2:30pm

Orange County Rowing Association

Orange County Rowing Association is seeking to raise $5,000 by March 22 to build a dock on the Hudson River.  In furtherance of that goal, they are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Cupcake Sale. Vice Chair and Co-Founder Megan Shedden, a gourmet cupcake baker and owner of Yummee Cupcake Cafe spearheaded this fundraising effort.

“All of our dedicated members are bringing their skills to bear to help us raise the money,” says Shedden. “I am happy to offer my services to help us toward our goal of improving the Newburgh waterfront.”

Cupcakes are available in three themed flavors: “Guinness”, “Green Velvet”, and “Bailey’s Irish Cream”, and are available as “mini” cupcakes or traditional size.

Orders can be placed on the OCRA Facebook pageYummee Cupcake Cafe website, or by emailing the club at OrangeCountyRowing@gmail.com. Send OCRA a message or click the image below for more information.


02/14/13 4:24pm

“The Newburgh Waterfront felt alive, I saw the potential for even more success,” Michelle Iorio, Salon Owner, THE aRT OF HAIR, INC.

Over the past decade, Newburgh’s waterfront has been primarily known for its bar and restaurant scene. But over the past few years, other businesses have emerged on Front Street to fill out the energy and experience of one of Newburgh’s finest assets.

One such exemplary business is THE aRT OF HAIR, INC. No, that’s not a typo. The small “a” is just your first introduction to Salon Owner Michelle Iorio’s unique detail-oriented style and savvy. Just this past October, Hudson Valley Magazine described TaOH as “Chic and Edgy”–an apt description that is obvious the minute you open the massive old-timey refrigerated storage door and step into the salon.

But why Newburgh? Iorio thought (and we agree), “I felt the location had the highest level of energy in the area. The Newburgh Waterfront felt alive, I saw the potential for even more success.”

Iorio designed everything. “I wanted to use fun and bright colors that are stimulating and cheerful but not overbearing” to create a “chill and energetic atmosphere,” she explains. And she pulls it off: the space is an old brick industrial storage room that Iorio repurposed with a layout and styling stations that include intermittent splashes of bright orange, lime and electric blue.  They’re bold, but not in-your-face; a perfect combination of class, functionality, and modern style.

315688_10150286647004599_671985627_nThat artistry is translated into her work product. From a classic men’s professional cut, to a punk-influenced coif, to any number of women’s cuts and styles that this author will never near a competence to describe, Iorio gets it done right. Coming from someone who has had everything from the $10 barber shop buzz to a $60 Center City Philadelphia precision cut–I can attest that attention to detail is the name of the game.

But results, while important, are not everything to Iorio. Regarding her business ethic, Iorio says, “I live by the philosophy to treat people how you would want to be treated. Customer satisfaction is key, without it you can’t have success. THE aRT OF HAIR  provides the highest quality in services and we strive to make sure that all of our guests enjoy every visit with us.” From the offer of refreshments on your arrival, professional and pleasant demeanor of the staff and stylists, to the follow-up message you get after your visit, TaOH has consummate client relations. That’s probably why this small business has lasted 10 years–notably through our nation’s epic economic downturn.


TaOH’s greeter, Giuseppe.

The exclamation point on the whole operation is Giuseppe.  Iorio’s rescue German Shepherd mix greets you upon your arrival with the same seemingly paradoxical laid-back enthusiasm that Iorio and her staff possess. If you’re not an animal lover like Iorio and this author, he’ll retreat to his own little “house within the salon” to relax for a bit.

THE aRT OF HAIR, INC. is a flagship in the Newburgh revitalization effort. Along with the other trendy spots growing more and more prevalent in the city, Iorio and her crew are pioneers. “I continue to introduce many new and exciting things to my clientele,” she says. And I say she does the same for the City of Newburgh.


02/08/13 9:15am

Newburghers hang out outside The Wherehouse Bar & Restaurant for Newburgh Brewing Company’s Launch party

Interesting, accessible people are rarely found in the heart of a city. Rents are high, much has already been done; there are too many barriers to entry. So where do we see them? Williamsburg, Astoria, South Philly, Fishtown.

Sure, in some cases it takes a good hour to commute to the center of the action (for work or play), but these communities develop their own independent and innovative character. They have creative businesses, bars, restaurants, concert venues, art galleries, food markets, coffee shops, parks and of course, the residents themselves.

As you walk down the street in Williamsburg or South Philly, you pass an entirely different kind of person than in Manhattan. They are the risk takers, the innovators, the critical thinkers, and the creators. They are the students of the arts waiting tables to fund their project; they are the young professionals that would rather have a loft apartment for half the cost it would be to live 10 minutes from work, and drink a good beer in a bar that’s rough around the edges but you always meet someone…well, worth meeting.

They are  interested in the status quo only to the extent that it needs to be periodically reevaluated.  And these communities are where that reevaluation–that redefinition–happens.

That’s Newburgh. The City Away From The City.

50 minutes from Manhattan–a great commute for doing work on the train or catching some extra Z’s–Newburgh is where the artists see the next Renaissance, the historians reacquaint with Washington, musicians see the new wave, and investors see the new opportunities for restoration. Newburgh is where a young professional can forgo the cookie-cutter condo or 3-bed/2-bath suburban sprawl, and instead steal a historic home in need of repair, and spend less buying and repairing it than any typical first home purchase. Not to mention the greater potential for it to appreciate in value.

Newburgh is the citygoer’s refuge from the hustle and bustle. For a fraction of the cost of any Manhattan real estate, in Newburgh you can live like a king. And with 2 months’ worth of the money you’ve saved on your mortgage, you can buy a seaworthy sailboat off of Craiglist to take out on the Newburgh Bay of the Hudson on the weekends.

Newburgh is the New Brooklyn, the New Astoria, the New South Philly or New Fishtown. Where these communities were once up and coming, they’ve up and came. And Newburgh is next.