04/23/13 10:30am


With the mid-Spring warmth FINALLY trying to settle in, what better time than now to put on comfy sneakers or shoes and head on over to Bay View Terrace in the  Heights for a healthy and visually stunning power walk taking in the Bluffs and Newburgh’s special urban charms.

Start at the corner of Overlook Place and Bay View Terrace, tightly lace those shoes and head south. Take in the truly magnificent views and absolutely gorgeous vintage one of a kind Victorians and historic Row houses that line this broad and airy much loved street.


Many of the homes here are not only architectural gems but also represent some of the most aggressive revitalization efforts of “Newburgers with Vision”. They are not only “Rooms with a View” to the fabulous Hudson Vistas, but also “Rooms with a View” to  cultivating your own interest in Newburgh’s hopeful future!


Continue your power walk by taking a right turn onto Liberty Street. Following along Liberty Street you will see a myriad of well kept Rowhouses and refurbished Folk Victorians along with examples of aggressive efforts by Habitat for Humanity and invevitabley some “rescue me” homes that cry to be someone’s restoration project and may intrigue the “inner pioneer” in some of you.


Make a right turn onto Carson Ave which will follow along onto River View Place and back to Overlook Place and Bay View Terrace where you began. Now at that starting point TURN AROUND and head in the opposite direction to repeat a reverse journey. The view along Bay View Terrace heading north is equally incredible.  Plus it may allow you to notice different aspects of those absolutely beautiful homes along the way.


Remember to take bottled water as it is always important to hydrate. Don’t forget your cellphone or a digital camera to possibly capture a special view of the bluff to share with your friends on facebook. And maybe pay the message forward that Newburgh and the efforts of many are so worth investing in its future.

At the end of your power walk, reward yourself by heading on over to one of the fine Newburgh eateries for a fresh salad and a well earned moment to relax and enjoy your… “YOU TIME”!

04/18/13 10:00am


BUZZZ…Fron the “BURGH”.  A monthly feature that  looks at people,  current events and stories with roots to Newburgh that have affected main stream media. This month BUZZZ looks at one of the most talented and prolific contemporary American authors of our time…world best selling author James Patterson, who was born and raised on the city streets of Newburgh.

For those Newburgh Restoration followers that may not be aware of the talents of this iconic author, James Patterson has set more records (including the Guinness Book of Records) in writing the most back to back hardcover best sellers to hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list than ANY other author in history. In fact, James Patterson’s novels account for one in seventeen hardcover books sold in the United States. And his novels have sold more copies than the next top three thriller writers…combined.

Patterson is responsible in bringing to life one of the more infamous fictional characters in  contemporary literature…detective, Alex Cross, who not only captured the public’s attention in print over a series of novels but also later transitioning to film in two popular movie hits “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls”. Also James Patterson’s most recent and possibly the most riveting of his works. “I,  Michael Bennett”, has another very popular fictional main character, Michael Bennett and his family unexpectedly facing the hardcore realities taking place in the city of Newburgh (a much changed city than Bennett remembers growing up as a child) as they encounter the grittier side of some of the city streets at the turn of the decade.

On a lighter note (but equally as important), James Patterson also is responsible for developing the much touted www.readkiddoread.com initiative nationwide. The message of his “Read Kiddo Read” program is that it is of utmost importance to teach kids how to WANT to read. The program promotes the need to allow children to read about things and subjects that they personally find interesting. In fact Patterson first introduced this initiative in order to aid his son Jack in helping him build much needed reading skills.


Last July James Patterson returned home for the purpose of speaking to local Newburgh  families in order to promote the Read Kiddo Read Program. With almost 200 people gathered outside the Newburgh Free Library on Grand Street, Patterson accounted his early days growing up on the streets of Newburgh. And to the joy of the crowd, he shared with them where his favorite places were in the city, as he signed autographs and wrote dedications inside many of the children’s books who had attended. But his main message to Newburgh parents was to encourage their children to read books from early in their youth, especially during middle school years with hopes of translating that into helping their children in attaining greater academic achievement overall.

04/15/13 11:00am


Sometimes finding a subject for a great Newburgh Restoration blog post can be ” just around the corner”. In this case it quite literally was, when I was recently leaving my Heights rowhouse on Overlook Place.  Heading  around the block and up Courtney Ave (by the corner of Liberty St), I could not help but notice scaffolding set up and and a towering young man balancing on that scaffolding, stripping the large decorative columns in front of a pastel colored  “Painted Lady Victorian” that appeared as visually striking  as the first lilac colored crocuses popping out of the ground to welcome Spring. In 2008 the house looked totally different.

Of course, I stopped and proceeded to introduce myself as an “almost new homeowner” in the nabe and as a contributing writer for Newburgh Restoration. As a response back, I was then treated to a very pleasant smile from the homeowner and an extremely welcome “break the ice” comment that he was indeed a fan of the Newburgh Restoration Site!

What followed was a wonderful conversation with a very talented artist, sculptor and stone cutter and an inspiring full tour of his historic Victorian that has kind of been a “blood, sweat and tears” project house that has spanned intermittently over the last 5 years.


The artist/homeowner is Chris Lewis who has a working stone cutting/art studio located at the once gritty, but now burgeoning waterfront Brooklyn Navy Yard area, (which for those not familiar borders both Williamsburg and the trendy Clinton Hill nabes in Brooklyn.). To get a sense of Chris Lewis and his  bold sculpting style, stone cutting projects and outdoor hard scapes can best be experienced at his website www.christopherlewisdesign.com


The hard work he has put into his house is obvious when you enter into the large front foyer.  Chris is particularly pleased in literally uncovering the carved staircase (pictured here) which was fully enclosed in wallboard when he purchased the home.  Additionally, Chris explained that he had to level the entire house which had as much as a six inch slope as you went from the front living room to the back dining room (and I can say, job well done Chris…no “old house tilt” felt underfoot). The  lovely hardwood floors and the beautiful original stained glass in the upper front bedroom are decorator items that additionally help to add to the home’s Victorian personality.


Two aspects in particular that Chris is particularly proud of is the absolutely spectacular totally renovated bathroom with custom cabinetry, bold granite counter top, large and visual claw tub and a gorgeous hand cut stone floor that of course he designed, cut and installed. It  includes a creative shower area that drains to the center of the bathroom floor and gives an artistically inspired “spa like feel” overall.

The other is the “self designed and hand cut” stone patio in the huge back garden area. He explained that he had to dig, excavate and remove a full foot (in height) of soil in some places to level out the garden area in order to prep it for his large stone slabs and enable him to plant the lovely Hemlock trees that border along the back and sides of the yard area.


Lastly, I asked Chris what his thoughts are regarding Newburgh’s revitalization. He explained that working on a project for 5 years is quite an experience and journey in a city like Newburgh. He has seen the city definitely improve (especially most recently again) and is inspired and hopeful of Newburgh’s path to a promising future.

A post script to the story is that Chris may need to potentially consider selling the “Newburgh Project” house as career demands force him to spend more time either traveling to site locations and spending many extended hours in his Brooklyn studio. If and when that time comes, after seeing his home, I can honestly say that he will be leaving Newburgh with a bit of his artistic talents as part of the urban landscape and even in my brief conversation with him, I think a bit of his heart will actually always remain.

04/10/13 11:34am


Dear Diary, at this point you probably feel my fingers strumming a rhythmic beat (in between keyboard strikes) on my computer.  And why might you ask?  Well… it’s because of my anticipation regarding  “the prolonged waiting for a closing date” in purchasing my needy rowhouse on Overlook Pl.   In fact, the last time I wrote a post regarding this subject (this will be the 6th one for you Newburgh Restoration followers) was March 14th, and I could not even remotely have imagined that I’d be writing this one with a third of April gone, and still NO CLOSING DATE!!!!

OK Diary…that actually felt good getting  all that angst out of my system (LOL).   But now back to the facts.  It turns out that the city inspection of the boiler and chimney venting (that I wrote  about in my 5th Needy Rowhouse post),  did not go without repair issues that were sited during the inspection.   Again, to clarify, any issues that turn up with an open permit item (in this case for the new boiler installation) and was not closed out by the city prior, becomes  the responsiblity of  the current owner (the seller in this case) in order to remedy  the issues sited.

So pay attention readers (who are potentially considering to buy or sell in the near  future)  to this recap.   If transferring a property in the city, ANY OPEN PERMITS “that have not been filed as completed”, will need to be addressed prior to closing and a property CANNOT transfer ownership till they are inspected and ANY issues found MUST be remediated and approved with a final inspection so that a certificate of compliance can finally be filed in the city.  And this could easily delay a closing if issues surface.   The GOOD NEWS regarding my rowhouse is that it FINALLY  did pass this week (after a second inspection needed to be conducted)!


Also Diary, I’d done my homework when my own property inspection was completed after I first went into contract on the house (as  I also highlighted in an earlier entry here). I knew I would be facing important electrical work that I wanted to have done. That new work  included a new outside entrance cable, new meters and breaker boxes and increased capacity for safer and better service for my tenants (when they become my tenants). I had researched a number of possibilities, also with understanding that an electrician MUST be licensed in the city of Newburgh in order to satsify code. I untimately found Fetzer Electric LLC, and happy I did! (Fetzer is an Angie’s List award winner with a number of reassuring testimonials). Most importantly it is about professional, friendly and timely service that makes a difference. I had felt that from initially speaking to Sheri in administrative and scheduling and then of course with my actual recent meeting with the electrician John Mottolese (pictured here with his assistant Ernesto Gusman) for a very detailed and educational consultation at my needy rowhouse.


So Diary,  I’ll try to patiently wait for that “ellusive” actual closing date (strumming fingers starting in that rhythmic beat again).   But in the interim, I can take  comfort in looking at this recent picture I took of beautiful Overlook Pl.    And  I’ll just continue to wait for that day I can proceed to dance, “the ELECTRIC slide…boogie, woogie-woogie”. Till then, remember I HEART Newburgh!

04/08/13 1:31pm


My recent visit to Newburgh allowed much needed exploration and overdue urban bonding there.  What made it  particularly worthwhile was that the prolonged winter chill was finally on its way out and the first real hints of Spring were definitely  having an effect on some “start-up” revitalization projects. One project that never allowed Winter to delay it or chill the spirits of the amazing volunteers working on it was the Habitat for Humanity Phase III of The East Parmenter project.


I had been looking forward to visiting the construction site that day.   On arrival, the first thing that’s obvious is not only the frenetic pace of the work being done, but the truly pleasant nature and absolute symetry of this work-force.  To see it up close and personal, it truly supported the saying that there’s no “I” in TEAM, as this was a group on a mission together!  That being said, out of this team a pleasant older gentleman quickly approached me as I was taking pictures that day.  He introduced himself as Jim Ferguson and was one of the house captains for this particular project.

While there,  I took the opportunity to ask Jim about his thoughts of the revitalization efforts in the city and also as to why he was part of this particular effort.   He  explained that he had been part of Habitat’s revitalization work-force for  quite a while, had worked on a number of previous restorations and still happy to be part of it.   When answering my question,  he smiled and without  having to strain for an answer,  he said that he felt  “It was a really great way to spend his retirement days.”   He  told  me that he’s been a resident on upper Broadway for over 28 years and the main reason  he continues to volunteer is  because it was extremely important (and  his personal wish) to do his part so more children in Newburgh would have the opportunity to live in a safe community and enjoy a solidly built, attractive home to grow up in  like he remembered having for his family.


Lastly he expressed that Habitat’s March for Housing on April 28th along with the much anticipated dedication of East Parmenter’s Phase III taking place that day also, is a date to keep on the calendar. He smiled, a genuinely warm smile and then raced back to “THE TEAM”.  I headed back towards Liberty Street with not only my question regarding Newburgh’s revitalization visually satisfied, but also with a wonderfully reinforced definition of “Humanity”!

04/04/13 11:00am


When in “discovery mode”,  sometimes you have to stray off the beaten path to stumble upon a noteworthy place that deserves recognition and  a “shout-out” to Newburgh Restoration followers. I traveled to Newburgh last week in order to tend to business regarding the purchase of my rowhouse on Overlook Place, (A “Needy Rowhouse” update  will be posted here early next week regarding that), when the explorer gene in me kicked into high gear.  After my appointment with an electrician was completed, I then headed on a much anticipated diversion along Overlook Pl in the direction of Monument Street in order to basically “historic rowhouse stalk”. It did not disappoint as my stroll took me past a myriad of row and Victorian style houses with a good number of them, I am pleased to say,  in decent to well kept condition.

My journey would include checking out a little eatery that I had put on my radar since discovering the Heights neighborhood last November. That place is called Washington Heights Pizzeria, located on the corner of South Lander Street and Overlook Pl. I had saved my appetite (missing breakfast) to make sure I could grab a couple of slices there and not feel guilty about doing it.


On my way there, I stopped to have a pleasant conversation with a gentleman doing some early spring yard clean up in front of his extremely well kept rowhouse (with a gorgeous cornice, I must say), who had told me he’d been born some 50 years prior in that house. He and his wife had moved back there after inheriting it from his mom. When I told him I was also purchasing a home on Overlook too, he shared helpful information with me in addition to describing the renovations and rehabs that were recently completed on his street (pure joy for me). Naturally good comes with some disappointment, as he also explained that a few of the homes had deteriorated over the last few years too (Pioneers take note….that spells  more opportunity!!).


But back to my post, (I love to stray), regarding Washington Heights Pizzeria! I turned onto South Lander St and was treated to an attractive commercial exterior. Seeing this cozy pizza restaurant conform to the historic nature of the Heights neighborhood, with vintage detail on the facade like dental molding and simple yet tasteful carved signage, was a pleasant surprise. As I walked into the place one can’t help but notice that the interior of this little oasis is bright, spotlessly clean and super cheerful with just a few comfortable booths and framed baseball memorabilia on the walls. Naturally for the pizza lover in me it offered a staple yet good variety of basic pizzas (nothing too designer but with ample toppings) plus wings, heroes, finger foods and more. As for my Brooklyn pizza loving heritage well, I will always be spoiled by the Borough of Kings. But, this was definitely worth the walk off the beaten path. Just for the record, my two slice order, could have easily become three if I didn’t exercise some restraint. Check out Washington Heights Pizzeria, 102 South Lander Street. Eat in or take out, but no delivery service. And worth the walk to appreciate the vintage architecture along Overlook Place!