01/29/13 8:30am


The Greater Newburgh Partnership is in the process of rolling out their latest campaign, Love Newburgh. They are looking for video submissions explaining “why I love Newburgh”. The purpose of this campaign is to inspire people and organizations to share their positive stories about living and working in Newburgh. Videos need not be professional, you can even use your smart phone. And, if spreading the Newburgh love is not motivation for you to share your videos, how about a free ipad? The best video submission will receive a free ipad.

Hopefully the Newburgh love will be contagious and inspire others to restore homes and contribute to the community. See the video below for ideas.

12/09/10 11:15am

Two years ago this Saturday, I started Newburgh Restoration. I really didn’t know where I was going with it when I started it. I just knew that I wanted to bring to peoples attention the positive things that were going on in Newburgh. If you dug a little, you’d find out that there was so much more than what usually made the headlines. I am pleased with where the blog is at right now and I really enjoy it. Blogging about a transitional city is always a challenge. (Even some of my early blog postings make me cringe!) I am constantly trying to find a harmonious balance of stories to write, news to share, and of course, my own opinions.

Things in the beginning started off a little slow but, more than 370 blog postings later, 2010 has been a great year for the blog with traffic increasing every month. Visitors include people currently living in Newburgh, people who have left Newburgh, and people interested in Newburgh from the NYC Metro area and internationally. I continue to to receive emails from people who feel that Newburgh is on the brink of a turn around and imminent upswing. One recent commenter said,”Your site, and all the positive information it contains, almost make me want to move back.” Another Brooklynite commented that she and all her dinner guests were checking out Newburgh and the amazing house prices and, “we were saying how we should all move [to Newburgh] and chuck Brooklyn 😉 .” We are at over 31,000 visitors for this site since it began. That’s 31,000 visitors interested in positive Newburgh news.

Literally every month there are positive things going on in the city. Not only do my blog postings show that, but so do news articles. You can check out the positive news section of this blog, which is a collection of great Newburgh articles. There have been some awesome things that have happened since this blog started and my City of Progress posting showed that. Here are some of the newer things since then:

  • The Chapman Steamer Firehouse is no longer a renovation in danger, and will soon be home to artists lofts and a community center
  • The East Parmenter project is now starting Phase 2. An entire block will be changed due to this project.
  • Habitat for Humanity will start a new project called Brush with Kindness.
  • The Guardian Angels graduates a class in November 2010
  • Prime real estate on the Newburgh waterfront is now pollution free.
  • The newly purchased Armory is now ready for community events, and has even hosted a basketball tournament
  • The Westshore Train Station which was on the brink of collapsing, is completely renovated and is now the home to a playhouse and pizza shop
  • SUNY Orange Community College will soon be opening it’s doors for the Spring 2011 semester, bringing about 2000 more people to the City of Newburgh.
  • A grant has been awarded to revitalize 11 homes on Dubois Street
  • The Newburgh Heights Association is active again
  • Newburgh will be in the movies with a movie filmed on Grand Street
  • People continue to come to Newburgh and restore gutted homes and businesses, transforming blocks one property at a time.
  • The Washington Park Florist is back open in business
  • Youth are taking a stand in Newburgh starting their own groups
  • The Urban Farmers League is a success
  • The Ann Street Gallery, is named “Best Gallery” by Times Herald Record readers for the second year in a row, and has  welcomed over 1,000 visitors in 2010
  • In 2010 Safe Harbor of the Hudson received a planning grant to create a healthy cafe in one of their storefronts. 2011 will be the year that plans begin to take shape.
  • In 2010, the Ritz Theater received $950,000 in grant funding for Phase I of the restoration. In 2011, SHOH will break ground. It will include the removal of two projection booths and the creation of a window through to the Ritz Theater Lobby so that patrons can view the renovation process as it happens. Work is also beginning on the box office space on Broadway.
  • And something new to look out for in 2011, is a new project from SHOH that  will combine family housing with economic development and the arts.
  • Newburgh has gained a vital new launch pad for the arts with the certification of a film production facility.
  • The Colden Street waterfront development project is almost fully approved and will apparently start construction work ASAP
  • The Pop Up Gallery was a success bringing almost 200 people to downtown Newburgh. Many would like to see future gallery openings!
  • Stay tuned for more projects in the works that I haven’t been able to blog about yet!

It is easy to think that Newburgh hasn’t seen much change because people easily forget Newburgh’s accomplishments. But read some news articles from the early 2000’s, and you’ll see talk about a future gallery on the waterfront (now the Yellowbird Building/Downing Film Center), a future revived Hotel Newburgh (now the Cornerstone Residences of Safe Harbors of the Hudson), or a future ferry connection from Newburgh to the MTA (now the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry). The same articles said that Newburgh had no art and no theater, something certain commentaries felt was necessary for a revival. Today, we have the Railroad Playhouse, the Ann Street Gallery, the Newburgh Actors Studio, the lobby of the Ritz Theater, and a few Pop-Up Galleries around the city. There are more artistic events happening around the city and, there are definitely more on the way.

We are still waiting to see more progress with the Ritz Theater, the Liberty Street School, the City Club, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Regal Bag Building (which I hear is far from dead), new businesses to come on Liberty Street, Broadway, and the Waterfront. I can’t wait to see what developments the next year will bring for all of Newburgh!

Thanks for following and be sure to spread the word about Newburgh’s restoration to everyone you know! Sign up for email updates here! For more positive Newburgh news check out this link.

02/10/10 8:00am

A few weeks ago, we did a posting dedicated to the people crushing on Newburgh from afar. That means people who are interested in Newburgh, google the heck out of Newburgh but, they still haven’t made a decision on seriously considering moving here. In an effort to help all of you have someone to relate to, we present to you, soon to be married Sherry and Eddie who after crushing on Newburgh for quite some time, have finally bought their dream home!

One of the things that is really great about their blog is that they have chronicled the ups and downs of trying to buy a home in Newburgh. They have great information on the loan process and the different grants and programs available for first time home buyers in Newburgh. The information they give is truly insightful.

PS- I am seriously jealous of their home! It’s gorgeous!

Meet: Sherry and Eddie of the blog My Second Favorite Organ
Can you tell me about you and your fiance’s career or educational background?
I graduated from Boston University with a BA in International Relations then, I got my Master’s from the New School in International Affairs. That’s where I met my fiancé, who also got his Master’s from the same program. I work in fund raising at NYU and am getting another Master’s degree at NYU – in Social Work. Eddie worked as a program manager for CabWatch, a now-defunct program at Citizen’s Committee for New York City. Then he worked as a Research Analyst at a finance/investment company. Now, he is working with his brother in construction and could not be happier.

Their kitty named Tracer that will be making the Newburgh move too!

Where are you guys moving from? From Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. It’s a great neighborhood and the location of our favorite restaurant – Purple Yam!

What made you start to consider Newburgh out of all places?
Our weekends away from NYC had mostly been to towns upstate along the Hudson – Tarrytown, Hyde Park, Rhinebeck, Redhook, etc., and we loved it! Then my dear friend, Margaret, moved to Ossining, and we thought, “Wait, WE could move upstate.” We had been looking to buy something in Brooklyn, but nothing was in our price range. Margaret suggested other towns she and her husband had looked at: Fishkill, Newburgh and Peekskill. She also recommended this design blog, Door Sixteen, whose author lives in Newburgh. I fell in love with her house! Then I realtor-dot-commed the heck out of Newburgh.

How long had you been watching Newburgh? Since March of 2008.

How did you research the area and who did you speak to to find out about the city?
We drove up and looked around the city. The first thing we noticed was the mix of good and run-down neighborhoods, which changes from street to street or even mid-street. We went to an open house with river views and spoke to the realtor. She was very nice, but it wasn’t until we met Chris Hanson, another realtor, that we got really excited. He was showing a place on Henry Street, and he took a good hour first explaining all the developments happening in Newburgh. Knowing that things were changing and that we could be a part of the change really excited us.

What sealed the deal that you were going to buy a house in Newburgh?
Finding the house that we finally bought. It’s a three-story Victorian with small backyard.

How long did you take to find a house?
In the end, it took us from March 2008 until December 2009 to actually buy a house. 21 months!

What were some of the dilemmas you faced in the buying process? We saw at least three places we wanted to buy! The only problem is that the best real estate deals are not straight-forward purchases. There was an awesome mixed-use building on Liberty Street, but because of its zoning, we couldn’t get a regular mortgage. Chris (our amazing realtor) suggested the 203k loan because you can buy a mixed-use property with it, AND it allows you to borrow money for renovations (but you can’t renovate the commercial part of the building with that money), AND it doesn’t require a full 25% down payment needed for commercial real estate loans. Unfortunately, the deal fell through because of various reasons, including our own inexperience. Then we saw an amazing house that was a foreclosure. It was in great condition but the price was a little high. I kept watching the property, and the price was reduced a few times, so we finally put in an offer when it seemed within our budget. A major setback, though, was that the house had been vandalized since we first saw it and needed a lot more work. Again, we couldn’t take out a straight loan because we didn’t have enough for a traditional down payment AND we needed money for renovations. And again, the deal fell through. This time it was because the 203K loan takes a long time to secure, and the bank that owned the house didn’t want to wait that long. We kept working on the loan, thinking we could secure the loan and then approach the bank again to buy the property. We would have succeeded, too, but right when we got the loan, Eddie lost his job and we didn’t want to have a mortgage on a one-person income. Then in October 2009, I saw that the same house had been auctioned online at a much, much, much lower price. The auction had closed and the property had been sold, technically, but because I knew how difficult it is to close on time when dealing with a bank, I obsessively trawled the internet to see if the deal fell through. And it did! The bank’s website listed the property in mid or late October and we made an offer. This time we decided to buy it outright with cash and figure out how to find money for renovations later.

What are your thoughts about moving to a city like Newburgh that has urban blight and is still in the restoration process? Or, why has Newburgh’s turbulent history not stopped you from buying a house there?
Eddie still has his reservations, especially with the recent news stories that have brought Newburgh to national attention. I know it will take time to reverse the urban blight, but you have to buy into change to make it happen, and we’re buying in! We also just kept meeting people who were enthusiastic about Newburgh. Chris, our realtor; Anna and Evan from Door Sixteen; the owners of Newburgh Art Supply; the owners of The Wherehouse; and, of course, you (Newburgh Restoration)! Newburgh offers an opportunity to be part of a dynamic, diverse community with really noble goals that I haven’t found anywhere else.

What progress or positive things have you seen first hand?
SUNY Orange County’s groundbreaking was a big sign for us that despite the recession, projects were still moving ahead. I know that Leyland’s Waterfront project has suffered some setbacks, but it’s still going to move forward on a smaller scale.

What would you say to people who are skeptical about buying a house in Newburgh?
It’s good to be skeptical. There are going to be a lot of obstacles, the commute to Manhattan is going to be tough, and Newburgh politics are messy, but it’s a chance to revive a city and to own an amazing home.

Tell me a little bit about your house like: The restoration the house will need?
For starters…the house needs windows (55, to be exact), plumbing (all the copper was stolen), heating, and electric work. The roof needs major repair work, and we need to replace the gutter system.

When can you move in? Hopefully October of this year (2010).

Was it love at first sight? Yes! The tall ceilings, the five fireplaces, the beautiful brickwork, the cast-iron tub…it was my dream house!

Thank you so much Sherry for taking the time out for this interview! If you know anyone else who recently has bought a home in Newburgh and would like to share their experience please email me at NewburghRestoration{at}gmail{dot}com.

01/27/10 8:00am

So, not that I’m curious, well maybe sort of. I’ve noticed the visitors here at Newburgh Restoration. And, I’ve noticed that many cool people (like yourself) are checking out Newburgh, especially people who live far away in places like Washington, D.C., California, and Ontario, Canada! Even people in the outer boroughs of NYC like Brooklyn, and Manhattan are checking out Newburgh. You are looking at houses for sale, looking up loan information, and finding out about the revitalization going on. So this blog posting is dedicated to all of you out there that are secretly crushing on Newburgh.

Now, I know that some of you might have received a variety of reactions if you have confessed your secret crush on Newburgh, due to it’s past. But, you can’t listen to everyone else’s opinion. If you are excited about Newburgh, go with your gut! Newburgh is a depressed city with a lot of urban blight, so #1 be realistic with what you are expecting. You won’t find the Newburgh of the old glory days because a lot has changed. Nor will the neighborhood instantly change because you have bought a house here. But, what you will find is awesome architecture, priceless character, and a city that is so amazingly set up, you could not plan a better city even if you were to build a new one from scratch. You’ll also find people that are head over in heals in love with their city and are really doing the dirty work of trying to make a change.

If you are interested in Newburgh, # 2 take a drive/train ride and VISIT! You can read every blog, newspaper article, go on the internet and look at all of the pictures in the world of Newburgh, listen to all the rumors and opinions, and you still wouldn’t be able to grasp it all. Newburghers are more than delighted when they meet new people visiting from out of town who are interested in this city. They know about houses for sale before anyone else does, and they know about programs and organizations that you can’t find online. They know what is going on in their city. This blog is intended to highlight the good things going on in Newburgh, but even I can’t write everything on here. There are many plans going on behind the scenes. But, it’s no ancient Chinese secret. Make a visit and hear the great developments that are going on from Newburghers themselves.

Lastly, # 3 don’t expect to see change over night. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it took a while before Park Slope became posh. Any kind of change takes time, but many believe Newburgh is in a spot that the change will only continue to be positive. And, the change will only continue to be positive if preservation minded people like you continue to have an interest in Newburgh. More and more people are being awaken for the need for Newburgh to be preserved. No one wants to see another building tore down from neglect. The city has already lost enough of those as it is. But little by little Newburgh has been changing and will continue to change. In the past decade Newburgh has seen a significant change at the waterfront with the addition of restaurants, night life, and even a film center. Hope is in the air that the development will continue to make it’s way up Broadway. The completion of the college campus- SUNY Orange in Newburgh is a crucial step, as is the restoration of the West Shore Train Station.

So what are you waiting for? Make a trip with your BFF next Saturday and to go to Newburgh. It’s only an hour (give or take some traffic) from midtown Manhattan driving, or just a train & ferry ride away on Metro North. Grab a bite at one of the many eateries in the area. Then head over to Simple Gifts and Goodies for more than delicious home made ice cream and iceys (my friend is still craving his mango icey). Pop in to the rest of the stores and talk to the owners who are in Newburgh for the long haul. Walk down to the riverfront where you will fall in love with the views of the Hudson River and Mount Beacon. Take a drive around and marvel at the architectural diamonds in the rough, yet at the same time cry when you see the ones that are condemned. Surely before you leave, you will have seen a couple of places that you will be itching to do research on. Take a look! And, don’t worry, your secret crush is still a secret with me!

The next Newburgh Crush posting, will feature someone, who after crushing on Newburgh for 21 months finally bought their first home! Stay tuned.