Newburgh & Cornwall: A Riverfront with Two Faces | Newburgh | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Newburgh & Cornwall: A Riverfront with Two Faces

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Last Updated: 01/25/2019 9:50 am
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Of course, for-profit firms have their hands in the pot, too, with companies like Brooklyn-rooted SASRE Properties and Penchant Capital seizing the opportunity to revive the architecturally significant housing stock. By year's end, the two collaborating firms intend to renovate two commercial/mixed-used buildings on Liberty Street, as well as 11 one-family townhouses in the city's historic Washington Heights district, retailing them to clients (mainly from New York City) in a middle-class-friendly range of $225K to $275K.

Newburgh Restoration blogger and urban planner Cher Vick has been documenting Newburgh's revitalization efforts since 2008, and cited some upcoming projects that she's especially excited about, like the Liberty Street School (set to become a "multi-use creative space") and 257 Liberty, a former church parsonage (staged to transform into a preschool), right across from it. "The school is so pivotal for extending the revitalization of Liberty Street south," she says.

Liberty Street & Lower Broadway Revival

In all fairness, Liberty Street was first made a destination by George Washington, who utilized the historic Hasbrouck House here for his headquarters and residency during the end of the Revolutionary War (in 1782 and 1783). The nation's first public historic site, Washington's Headquarters will notably see the reopening of its 1887 Tower of Victory observation deck later this year.

The site overlooks the five-year-old Newburgh Brewery, credited as one of the area's revitalizing agents, which turns out craft brews in an old 1850s box factory; sample beers and light fare in their massive, rustic taproom—there are Saturday brewery tours, and live music acts on weekends, too.

Another pioneer in the strip's renaissance is the eight-year-old, rock 'n' roll-themed Wherehouse, pairing regular live music with more than 50 types of burgers, in-house smoked BBQ, and two dozen beers on tap. Caffe Macchiato, with its European vibe and specialty coffee bar, has been thriving under the ownership of CIA grad Jodi Cummings, who renovated the space and menu when she took over in September 2015. A parade of relative newcomers have followed suit: the June-debuted French/American eatery Liberty Street Bistro, helmed by young chef/owner Michael Kelly; the September 2015-launched Ms. Fairfax, offering a locally sourced menu, specialty cocktails, and backyard patio; December-debuted Korean eatery and Beacon-import Seoul Kitchen; and Calabash Caribbean Restaurant, which relocated here from Broadway in September. Or, stock up on eco-friendly shrimp raised on-site at the 2015-debuted Eco Shrimp Garden, just off Liberty on South William Street.

On Broadway, a second outpost of Cornwall's popular coffee shop 2 Alices Coffee Lounge debuted two years ago, featuring local art shows and live music, while Newburgh Mercantile vends items made in Newburgh, the greater Hudson Valley, and beyond.

Artistic Ambitions

The Liberty/Broadway area has been at the epicenter of the city's flourishing arts and cultural scene. Off Liberty on Spring Street, high-end furniture maker Atlas Industries transplanted their manufacturing center here from Brooklyn in 2013, leasing off the rest of their stylishly renovated warehouse space via their Atlas Studios arm, where 45 workspaces are filled with a hive of creative tenants. Their gallery space, which hosts intimate musical performances from occupant Queen of the Hudson, will put on regular art exhibits for the first time this year.

The partners behind Newburgh Art Supply have helped launch several of the city's arts festivals, including Newburgh Last Saturdays, featuring open studios, live performances, and special dining and entertainment events on the last Saturday of the month; the annual OPEN Studios event, which highlighted over 100 Newburgh artists last year (September 30 to October 1); and the Lightbulb Project, a biennial showcase of public artworks. They join the annual Newburgh Illuminated Festival (June 3), a block party-style fest brimming with live music, food vendors, and performance art.

Nonprofit organization Safe Harbors of the Hudson, committed to "building community through housing and the arts," has served to revitalize a block of real estate at the Liberty/Broadway junction with projects like the contemporary Ann Street Gallery; a new urban park; and Space Create, a collaborative workspace and gallery that they lease space to. They're currently planning a full renovation of the historic 1913 Ritz Theater, with the already renovated lobby presently hosting small-scale performances and art shows (April 29 kicks off a "Newburgh Visionaries" exhibition).

The film industry is another emerging force in the city, being further boosted by special film tax credits extended to the region in 2016. Umbra of Newburgh debuted in 2011 as Newburgh's first film production studio; filmmaker/actor Robert Fontaine has since partnered with the studio to bring his own Industrial House Films production company to the city.

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