Newburgh (city), New York
Downtown Newburgh from Beacon,
across the Hudson River
State Historic Site
|Highest point||S city line on Snake Hill|
|- elevation||660 ft (201 m)|
|Lowest point||Sea level along river|
|Area||4.8 sq mi (12 km2)|
|- land||3.8 sq mi (10 km2)|
|- water||1 sq mi (3 km2)|
|Density||7,436.5 / sq mi (2,871 / km2)|
|- Incorporated as village||1800|
|- Incorporated as city||1865|
|- location||City Hall|
|- elevation||80 ft (24 m)|
|Mayor||Judy Kennedy (D)|
|City manager||James Slaughter (interim)|
|Timezone||Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5)|
|- summer (DST)||Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0958498|
|Wikimedia Commons: City of Newburgh, New York|
Newburgh // is a city located in Orange County, New York, United States, 60 miles (97 km) north of New York City, and 90 miles (140 km) south of Albany, on the Hudson River. Newburgh is a part of the New York metropolitan area. The Newburgh area was first settled in the early 18th century by the Germans and British. During the American Revolution, Newburgh served as the headquarters of the Continental Army. Prior to its chartering in 1865, the city of Newburgh was part of the town of Newburgh; the town now borders the city to the north and west. East of the city is the Hudson River; the city of Beacon, New York is east of the river, and is connected to Newburgh via the Newburgh–Beacon Bridge. The entire southern boundary of the city is with the town of New Windsor. Most of this boundary is formed by Quassaick Creek.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Government
- 5 Politics
- 6 Fire department
- 7 Notable people
- 8 Education
- 9 Crime
- 10 Transportation
- 11 Sports
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
Exploration and settlement
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2015)|
The area that became Newburgh was first explored by Europeans when Henry Hudson stopped by during his 1609 expedition up the river that now bears his name. His navigator, Robert Juet, is told to have called the site "a pleasant place to build a town", although some later historians believe he may actually have been referring to the area where Cornwall-on-Hudson now stands.
The first settlement was made a century later, in 1709 by German Lutherans from the Rhenish Palatinate, who named it the Palatine Parish by Quassic. By 1750, most of the Germans had been replaced by people of English and Scottish descent, who in 1752 changed the name to the Parish of Newburgh (presumably after one of the Newburghs in Scotland).
The American Revolution
Newburgh was the headquarters of the Continental Army from March, 1782 until the latter part of 1783. While the army was camped at Newburgh, some of its senior officers began the "Newburgh conspiracy" to overthrow the government. General George Washington was able to persuade his officers to stay loyal to him. The army was disbanded here in 1783. Washington received the famous Newburgh letter from Lewis Nicola proposing that he become king here. It drew a vigorous rebuke from Washington. In honor of his refusal of that suggestion, Kings Highway, the north-south street on which the Newburgh headquarters is located, was renamed Liberty Street.
Growth in the 19th century
Newburgh was incorporated as a village in 1800 and chartered as a city in 1865. At the time of its settlement it was in Ulster County and was that county's seat. When Rockland County was split from Orange County in 1798, Newburgh and the other towns north of Moodna Creek were put in a redrawn Orange County. Newburgh thus lost its status as the county seat to Goshen. The former Ulster County courthouse still stands as Newburgh's old city courthouse building (currently used as municipal office space).
Newburgh became quite prosperous during the Gilded Age that followed. In 1883, the West Shore Railroad inaugurated service to the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot at Jersey City and by 1886 was traveling to Weehawken Terminal, where passengers transferred to ferries to Manhattan. With its situation on the Hudson River, midway between New York City and Albany, it became a transportation hub and an industrial center. Its industries included manufacturings of cottons, woolens, silks, paper, felt hats, baking powder, soap, paper boxes, brick, plush goods, steam boilers, tools, automobiles, coin silver, bleach, candles, waterway gates, ice machines, pumps, moving-picture screens, overalls, perfumes, furniture, carpets, carburetors, spiral springs, spiral pipe, shirt waists, shirts, felt goods, lawn mowers; shipyards; foundries and machine shops; tanneries; leatherette works; plaster works.
J. J. Nutt made this comment about Newburgh: "The year 1891 finds us the most thriving city on the Hudson, with citizens full of spirit of public enterprise, with public institutions comparatively unequalled, and with apparently every factor and requisite to ensure its bright future as a manufacturing and commercial city of importance. . .".
The development of modern Newburgh
It has been a city with many distinctions. It was home to the second Edison power plant, installed to power 126 lamps at the Orange Woolen Mill, and was the second American city (after New York's Pearl Street) to have a street lighted using electricity. In 1915 it became one of the first American cities to delegate routine governmental authority to a city manager. Broadway, which at 132 feet (40 m) in width is one of the widest streets in the state of New York, runs through the city culminating with views of the majestic Hudson River. Newburgh was one of the first cities in the country to fluoridate its water in 1945.
Newburgh played a pivotal role in television history. In October, 1939, RCA chose to test-market televisions in Newburgh, which was within range of the television signal of RCA's experimental station W2XBS. 600 sets were sold in Newburgh at a deep discount. The test-marketing campaign's success encouraged RCA to go forward with developing the new medium. Additionally, with consumer television production ceasing during World War II, those Newburgh households which purchased televisions during 1939 and 1940 were among the few to enjoy television (albeit with a greatly reduced programming schedule) during the war.
The 20th century
Newburgh was hit hard economically by several factors in late 20th century and the subsequent decline was precipitous. The industrial base of the city declined as industries relocated operations south or to other locations with cheaper labor costs and lower taxes. The Hudson River, which previously served as the main means of transporting goods, lost much of its shipping traffic to trucking. The city's trolley system was shut down in 1924 in favor of buses. The nation moved to the automobile for transportation and, as with many other cities, there was a resulting migration to the suburbs. In 1963 the Newburgh–Beacon Bridge was opened, carrying Interstate 84 and spanning the Hudson River, bypassing the Newburgh waterfront and the City of Newburgh altogether. The ferry closed down soon thereafter − it was not revived until 2005 − and the waterfront area declined rapidly. In 1962, Lloyd's Department Store became the first major shopping center in the Town of Newburgh. Its motto was "Years Ahead" and the motto proved prophetic. Many features of Lloyd's, including widely divergent ministores under one roof, did not become common in other shopping centers for many decades. Lloyd's successfully drew a great deal of retail business away from the downtown area. In 1964, the Mid Valley Mall opened, also outside of the city limits in the Town of Newburgh, and attracted many long-established local businesses away from the waterfront and downtown City of Newburgh. Other retail shopping malls soon sprang up, all also outside the City of Newburgh, and the retail portion of the City was doomed. The city continued to lose its previously well regarded retail sector along Water Street and Broadway to the suburban shopping malls, which did not share the City's congested parking and traffic problems — or the perceived rising crime rate.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the city's response to the economic decline was an ambitious urban renewal plan. The city's historic waterfront area, an area composed of several square blocks which included numerous historically significant buildings, was completely demolished between 1970 and 1973. Residents were relocated, or were supposed to be relocated, to newer housing projects around Muchattoes Lake in the city's interior.
A grand complex that was planned for the urban renewal area was never built when state and federal spending began to dry up after the 1973 oil crisis. To this day, the blocks which slope down to the river remain open, grassy slopes, offering sweeping views of the Hudson but generating no property taxes for the city. Public sentiment is mixed on whether they should be built on again at all, and the city's view-protection ordinances make it less likely. Below, the waterfront was developed in the late 1990s after the city was once again able to secure grants from the state's Environmental Protection fund for riprap (a type of stone) to stabilize the shoreline.
In the early 1960s, city manager Joseph McDowell Mitchell and the council attracted nationwide attention and the admiration of political conservatives when they attempted to require welfare recipients to pick up their payments at police headquarters. Mitchell later announced a program aimed largely at blacks on welfare, whom many in the community blamed for its economic problems. The program would have denied welfare payments to all after three months except the aged, the blind and the handicapped. Those affected would have largely been single mothers of young children, the only category in which blacks were predominant. The program also would have denied payments to single mothers who had working relatives living in the city. After opposition by both state and federal officials, the program created a national controversy and never went into effect.
Along with the failed urban renewal, the mid to late 1960s in Newburgh were also marked by race riots and other tensions. The last big one, in 1978, led African-American students at Newburgh Free Academy, the city's public high school, to boycott classes, and ultimately to a major reorganization of the school system.
These tensions flared up again during the city's hotly contested 1995 mayoral election. Allegations of electoral fraud had dogged the city's first African-American woman mayor, Audrey Carey, since her 1991 victory in a four-way race. Supporters of Republican candidate Regina Angelo (subsequently a Democrat herself) alleged that many registered voters in neighborhoods Carey had carried heavily used false addresses. In response, four years later deputy sheriffs were stationed at polling places and challenged voters to provide proof of residency and identity.
Although she won, Carey's supporters claimed that the deputy sheriffs had singled out minority voters for such challenges, and accused the Republicans of voter suppression. These tensions were only aggravated when the council selected the county's Republican chairman at the time, Harry Porr, as the new city manager. Animosity between Carey and Porr and their respective supporters dominated city politics in the late 1990s. Carey was defeated by Tyrone Crabb, a black man running on the Republican line, in 1999. Porr was fired (rehired and fired again in 2001). Crabb died suddenly of a heart attack ten days before he was slated to take office. The vacancy was filled by his widow, Mary.
Newburgh in the early 21st century is more racially diverse than it used to be, as a growing Latin immigrant (mainly of Mexican descent) population complements the city's sizable African American contingent. Economic development is a major concern, but poorly realized, as the good jobs once found in the local manufacturing sector have not been replaced. Pockets of poverty persist in the city, often mere blocks away from its many historical and architectural landmarks (some of which are themselves in serious need of repair). In addition to this, the city has been facing issues regarding illegal immigration, like many other cities across the United States, ranging from overcrowded apartment buildings to mild racial conflict.
In spite of the current financial crisis in the US, Newburgh is experiencing a spurt of new businesses on its historic Liberty Street near Washington's Headquarters. An art supply store, a gourmet food market, an antique store, a used furniture shop, a souvenir shop, a flower shop, a bakery and a restaurant have joined an existing cafe, a graphic design shop and two additional antique stores in the final months of 2008 and January 2009. This is all in the midst of the redevelopment of East Parmenter Street in a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and a private developer to build 24 new houses. The city has completed the overhaul of the infrastructure of the street.
Preserving the past
Newburgh's preservation history can be traced all the way back to 1850 when Washington's Headquarters was designated a state historic site, the first in the country. Newburgh's Historical Society was founded in 1884. It purchased the David Crawford House, its museum, in 1958, saving it from being demolished to make way for a parking lot for a funeral home.
The city's modern preservation efforts began when the Dutch Reformed Church, a Greek Revival structure designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, was slated for demolition as part of urban renewal after the congregation left the decaying building in 1967. The movement to stop it led to the development of a historic district, now the second largest in New York State. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places three years later, and in 2001 became the city's second National Historic Landmark after Washington's Headquarters.
The city was designated a Preserve America community in 2005 and it also signed an agreement with the State Office of Historic Preservation as a Certified Local Government community. Its East End Historic District, recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as that and the Montgomery-Grand-Liberty Streets Historic District, has the most contributing properties of any historic district in the state.
While the city's historic architecture, featuring historic designs by Calvert Vaux, Andrew Jackson Downing and Frederick Law Olmsted, has attracted a stable core of preservation-minded community activists willing to spend the time and money renovating houses, much work remains to be done. Part of the problem lies in the fact that the city government warehouses a large stock of in rem properties within its Historic District that have fallen into disrepair as a result of its inability to secure them. Despite progress from the early 1990s, poverty remains a major (and visible) problem. The 2000 census found that two of the city's five census tracts are among the poorest in the entire state. In 2004 the state declared it one of the state's five most "stressed" cities, based on a mix of statistics like families headed by single mothers, abandoned buildings, unemployment, residents under the poverty line and adults without a high school diploma.  Local citizens and city officials blame the county's Department of Social Services for making problems worse by using the city as a dumping ground for its poorest clients. County officials respond that they are only sending people where housing costs are the cheapest.
The city is on the west bank of the Hudson River. Next to it, the land rises at first sharply to a bluff, where many historic homes are located due to the sweeping views it offers of the Hudson Highlands to the south, Mount Beacon to the east and the bridge to the north; then more gradually to a relatively level western half. There are some notable hills in outlying areas, such as Overlook Terrace in the city's southeast corner and Mount St. Mary's at the northeast.
The lowest elevation in the city is sea level along the river; the highest is roughly 690 feet (210 m) on Snake Hill along the city's southern boundary with the Town of New Windsor.
Newburgh is located at (41.503193, −74.019636).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2). 3.8 sq mi (9.9 km2) of it is land and 0.97 sq mi (2.5 km2) of it (20.08%) is water.
New York State Route 32 and U.S. Route 9W pass through the city. New York State Route 17K and New York State Route 207 also reach their eastern termini within city limits. Interstate 84 passes just north of the city and the New York State Thruway is not far to the west.
|Climate data for Newburgh|
|Record high °F (°C)||71
|Average high °F (°C)||35
|Average low °F (°C)||20
|Record low °F (°C)||−15
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.66
|Source: The Weather Channel|
As of the census of 2000, there were 28,259 people, 9,144 households, and 6,080 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,393.6 inhabitants per square mile (2,856.2/km2). There were 10,476 housing units at an average density of 2,740.9 per square mile (1,058.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 42.33% White, 32.96% Black or African American, 0.71% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 18.11% from other races, and 5.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 36.30% of the population.
There were 9,144 households out of which 40.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 25.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.62.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.2% under the age of 18, 12.7% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 16.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,332, and the median income for a family was $32,519. Males had a median income of $26,633 versus $21,718 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,360. About 23.0% of families and 25.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.3% of those under age 18 and 16.1% of those age 65 or over.
Newburgh has five elected officials, a mayor and six city councilmembers, all elected at-large to four-year terms, staggered so that the mayor and two councilmembers are up for re-election one year and two others two years later. Currently, all four councilmembers are elected at-large, or citywide. It was anticipated that in November 2007, Newburgh voters would decide on whether to split Newburgh into eight wards and elect one councilmember from each ward. The City Council voted to disallow this referendum from appearing on the ballot pending further public input. 
The mayor accepts all legal process and often serves as the symbolic head of the city, but other than that has no special powers or role. The city manager, who appoints all other city officials subject to council approval, serves at their pleasure.
City managers are frequently hired amidst high hopes, yet minimal criteria, and mutual resolve to do better; then fired a few years later, almost ritually and sometimes spectacularly. Since the position was created in 1916, there have been 33 managers who have served an average tenure of 2.7 years, with John Fogarty holding the longevity record at eight years in the 1950s. His term ended with his dismissal, as did eight others.
In January 2009, Jean Anne McGrane, the first woman to hold the position, was fired for, among other issues, withholding an unfavorable federal report on the city's mishandling of two HUD grants from the City Council in the midst of the consideration of a $6 million bond, the 2009 city budget and the 2009 CDBG funds.
The city has had five mayors and seven managers (five if two who served twice are counted only once) since 2000. Two subsequent acting city managers, after McGrane, quit. Richard Herbek, the third acting manager, took the job months later. He resigned in 2013 amid reports that he had misrepresented an encounter with a prostitute the year before. The police chief, Michael Ferrara, has replaced him on an interim basis.
A recurring complaint has been that, rather than taking direction from council, some city managers have exploited divisions among members to turn it into a rubber stamp for their policies and actions and render themselves unaccountable. There have been proposals to change the situation by assigning council members towards or eliminating the city manager's position. But they have been perceived as politically motivated, and thus have not been adopted. Newburgh is in the 18 Congressional District.
Despite demographics and urban trends favoring Democrats, the voters of the city had until recent years regularly voted across party lines. Nicholas Valentine, Mayor from 2003 until 2011 and several other recent mayors and councilmembers were Republicans. The late Thomas Kirwan- Republican, a resident who served in the New York State Assembly until 2008—and was re-elected in a successful comeback bid in 2010, by one of the smallest margins in state history (15 votes). He died late in 2011. On March 20, a Special Election was held to fill the vacancy in which former Assemblyman Frank Skartados - Democrat, won by a large margin. In the general election held in November 2011, a newcomer to the city named Judith Kennedy was overwhelmingly elected Mayor over incumbent Republican Councilwoman Christine Bello. In addition, the Democratic candidates for Council seats, Gay Lee and Cedric Brown, were also overwhelmingly elected. Accordingly the Council is now 5-0 Democrat—the first time in memory one party monopolizes the City government.
An independent documentary was made in 2004 about the mayoral race in Newburgh, called Saving Newburgh.
In 2009, the Republican party did not field its own candidates for City Council. Instead, the Republican Committee endorsed two Democrats --- one a former Councilman, the other an incumbent Councilwoman --- and they were not opposed for the Republican nomination in the primary despite their being registered Democrats. The Conservative and Independence Parties both nominated them also. They lost the Democratic primary and despite their appearing on three party lines they lost the November election to two straight Democrats, both one time Republicans.
The City of Newburgh is protected by the firefighters of the City of Newburgh Fire Department which has 55 members and operates out of two city-wide firehouses. The department runs a frontline apparatus fleet of four engine companies (including two reserve engines), two ladder companies (including one reserve ladder), one fire boat, one fire alarm truck, and seven support units.
Fire department history
Newburgh's Fire Department is one of the oldest chartered departments in New York State being established by an act of the young state legislature on March 24, 1797. The earliest Newburgh fire companies were the Protection Engine Company, Cataract Engine Co., Washington Engine Co., and Empire Hook & Ladder. More appeared as neighborhoods expanded. The department purchased its first steam engine in 1872. In its inaugural test, the engine threw a stream of water over the top of the cross of St. Patrick's Church, 161 feet high, to the delight of the citizens watching. The first firefighter to die in the line of duty, Joseph Tillotson, burned to death in a fire at The Bleachery on Lake Street in 1887. In March 1889, the city purchased and installed a modern electric telegraph fire alarm system with 23 alarm boxes placed around the city, these boxes are still in service today. As horses were phased out of service, Ringgold Hose on Colden Street was the first of Newburgh's companies to get a motorized fire truck in 1907. As early as 1915, editorials were calling for the establishment of a paid fire department to assure the response necessary for a densely populated and heavily commercial and industrial city like Newburgh. Beginning with drivers, tillermen and then officers, paid positions for full-time firemen were gradually created for each company. In 1934, the volunteer companies disbanded, and a professional department was instituted by resolution of the City Council. Protection has a cost. Eight men have perished in the line of duty during the department's history: Joseph Tillotson, Willis Meginn, James Hunter, Moses Embler, Armand Santacroce, Edward Maney, Frederick Carpenter and Patrick Bardin.
Fire station locations and apparatus
- Fire Headquarters - Fire Station # 1 - 22 Grand Street
- Truck 1
- Truck 10 (reserve)
- Engine 1
- Engine 10 (reserve)
- Engine 11 (reserve)
- Fire Boat
- Car 4
- Car 4 (reserve)
- Support Units
- Fire Station # 3 - 492 Broadway
- Engine 3
- Fire Alarm Truck
- Shad Barry, former MLB player
- William W. Belknap (1829–1890), United States Secretary of War
- Rob Bell (1977-), former MLB pitcher
- Mary Bonauto (1961-), civil rights attorney known for work on same-sex marriage
- James Cromitie, leader of the 2009 Bronx terrorism plot
- Elias Smith Dennis (1812–1894), US Army general
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- Lee Lorenz, cartoonist
- Albert J. Myer (1828–1880), United States Army general,
- Benjamin Barker Odell, Jr. (1854–1926), Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives (March 4, 1895 – March 4, 1899) and Governor of New York State (1900–1904).
- James Patterson (1947-), novelist.
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- Saul Williams (1972-), poet, actor and hip hop artist.
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|This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
Newburgh is served by the Newburgh Enlarged City School District . The local high school is called Newburgh Free Academy or "NFA", and is the largest public high school in Orange County. It serves approximately 3,000 students in grades 9-12 from the Newburgh area. NFA is currently split into two campuses, with NFA main located on Fullerton Avenue and NFA North located on Robinson Avenue a few blocks away. The north campus of NFA was formerly North Junior High School. Between the two campuses, there are roughly 3,600 students enrolled.
Newburgh, New York was ranked as safer than just 5 percent of US cities (that is, more dangerous than 95 percent of all US cities) by Web site NeighborhoodScout based on 2012 FBI crime data. This group also ranked Newburgh as the 10th most dangerous place to live in the United States based on the same 2012 dataset. It was ranked at number 12 in the previous year's rankings.
In 2010, the New York Times wrote an extensive article on gang activity in Newburgh.
Stewart International Airport serves the city. Metro North Railroad accessible via the Newburgh–Beacon Ferry during peak hours connects to the Hudson Line, with frequent service to Westchester County and Grand Central Terminal in New York City. There is also service on Metro North Railroad nearby in Salisbury Mills-Cornwall on the Port Jervis line to Hoboken Terminal and Secaucus Junction in New Jersey with a connection to Penn Station in New York City.
Ulster County Area Transit provides limited bus service to New Paltz on its route X. Short Line, part of Coach USA, provides daily service down Route 32 to Central Valley and points in New Jersey and New York City. Local service is also provided within the city. Leprachaun Lines also provides a Newburgh-Beacon-Stewart link. Coach USA also provides transportation to other points in Orange County, including Middletown & Woodbury.
Newburgh has a professional baseball team, the Newburgh Newts, who are a member of the East Coast Baseball League. The Newts will begin play in 2015 as one of the league's founding franchises, and will play their home games at Delano-Hitch Stadium. Delano-Hitch has formerly served as the home field for the Newburgh Black Diamonds and Newburgh Nighthawks baseball teams.
In addition to professional and semi-pro sports, both local colleges field athletic teams (the Mount Saint Mary Blue Knights and the SUNY Orange Colts).
Newburgh Free Academy also fields numerous athletic teams, the Goldbacks. The Goldbacks share a rivalry with the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders. The Goldbacks have had a strong athletic tradition and produced state championship teams in basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. Also, the Goldbacks have several alumni move on into higher competition. These include Los Angeles Angels minor leaguer Rick Pacione and football players Mykal Myers (at the University of Connecticut) and Jalen Williams (University of Pittsburgh).
Newburgh also hosts Ice Time Sports complex which is home to Section 9 High School Hockey and the Hudson Valley Polar Bears Hockey Association with teams ranging from 10U to 18U.
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