Beacon, NY- Hudson Valley’s best Success Story

I only included the pre WW-II portion of Beacon in this evaluation.

Beacon was named to commemorate the historic beacon fires that blazed forth from the summit of the Fishkill Mountains to alert the Continental Army of British troop movements. During the 1800s, the city  became a big manufacturing town and was known as “The Hat Making Capital of the US. Its important to note that Danbury, CT makes this claim as well!

But like most Hudson River Valley cities, Beacon experienced economic decline especially by the 60s.and 70s. By 1990 almost 80 percent of the city’s commercial business spaces and factories were vacant. Starting in the late 1990s, Beacon really focused on an art’s based revitalization strategy beginning with the opening of  Dia Beacon, one of the world’s largest contemporary art museums Dia. This spilled over into the Main Street and other historic warehouse buildings.

Main Street has become so successful that quality urban in-fill is starting to fill the gaps. Beacon’s revitalization success has also spilled over into a high standard of living for its residents, quality schools, good parks spaces, and a great array of cultural and walkable retail amenities focused on Main Street. To help make Beacon a great urban environment, I’d like to see better bike and ADA infrastructure along with a strong emphasis on providing affordable housing as this is a pretty high cost place to live. 
Click here to view my Beacon, NY album on Flickr


* Wonderful historic architecture along the main St. Nothing spectacular
 in the residential areas.
* Dwtn Beacon is becoming such a strong market that there is not quality urban in fill being constructed.
* Good public transit in dwtn Beacon, but it drops off in the neighborhoods esp. east of Fishkill Creek. Beacon is connected to the Hudson line providing convenient access to Poughkeepsie. One can even get to Manhattan in 2 hours.
* Over 60% of households are family households.
* Strong middle class community but still with good economic diversity. Great racial diversity as well.
* Excellent main street overall with great vibrancy, streetscaping, and lots of diverse retail and stores.
* Solid park amenities including a great waterfront park, extensive sport fields at Memorial Park, the South Ave Park, and several other smaller community parks. 
* Crime is low here and blight is limited.
* Very nice array of public, private, and parochial elementary schools within the City core. Middle and high schools are to the north more on the outskirts of town.
* Good cultural amenities including a great array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, several nice live music spots, a performing arts center, movie theater, and one of the world’s largest art museums. Also a good array of art galleries and a couple local museums.
* Not surprisingly lots of boutiques, local creative retailers, a small nature grocery store and a full service grocery store, a drug store, a couple bookstores, several bakeries, a cheese shop, and many antique stores. There is also a dwtn library and post office.


* Good sidewalk infrastructure but up-to-date ADA curb cuts are rare.
* A short bike lane along the Hudson is the only one in town.
* For sale housing skews expensive but still a good diversity of product. Start homes run in the 200K, 300Ks, medium sized in the 400-500Ks. Top of the market is 600Ks-700Ks.
* Rental housing is also pretty expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms lease in the $1,000s,  2 & 3 bedrooms anywhere from the high $1,000s to $3,000.

Newburgh, NY- Historic headquarters of the Continental Army

Downtown is generally bound by Washington to the south, 1st to the north, Robinson to the west, and the Hudson River to the east.

Newburgh area was first settled in the early 18th century. During the American Revolution, Newburgh served as the headquarters of the Continental Army. Newburgh became quite prosperous during the Gilded Age helped by its situation on the Hudson River midway between New York City and Albany.

Things started to unravel in Newburgh starting in the early 20th century with mills and industry shutting down. By the late 1960s the city was in full economic decline and used urban renewal plan to demolish the historic waterfront area. Newburgh has struggled for several decades even as Beacon across the river has stabilized and prospered. Much of this has to due with a lack of civic vision and political continuity. Fortunately things have begun to improve in Newburgh. More and more residential properties are being renovated with many homes selling in the 200K and 300Ks. The smaller Liberty Street biz district has seen many new businesses. Broadway Ave is still pretty rough but have businesses and most of its historic urban form. 
Click here to view my Newburgh, NY album on Flickr


* Excellent connectivity Dwtn.
* Hispanic majority population but still good diversity.
* High percentage of family households.
* Good for sale diversity ranging from around 75K-350K depending on size and condition.
* Rentals are a bit more expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms rent in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms in the mid $1,000s. This high end price range is pretty surprising given the blight of the neighborhood, but it is New York.
* Good park amenities with Washington Head Quarter’s historic site, a waterfront park, safe harbor’s green (a good civic space), and the expansive Delano-Hitch Park to the west of Dwtn with a swimming pool and many sport facilities.
* Decent cultural amenities including a handful ethnic restaurants, several cafes, and a good number of bars on Liberty, the Ritz Theater, a couple of art galleries.
* While rough the main street urban form is very much in tact. Streetscape still pretty rough. Liberty Ave has the most investment, Broadway has a ways to go still.
* Great density here. 


* Consistent sidewalks but lots of crumbling infrastructure and ADA
 curb cuts are rare.
* Not many jobs Dwtn but Beacon is only a 15 minute drive. Poughkeepsie is 35 minutes away.
* Public transit is very limited.
* No bike infrastructure really in Newburgh.
* Pretty high poverty Dwtn but some income diversity.
* Really no modern in-fill.
* Lots of blight remain in downtown Newburg. Crime is high but getting better.
* Retail amenities are more limited but include several nice boutiques and local stores on Liberty Ave, lots of small ethnic grocery stores, a florist, a bakery, a hardware store, and some other local retail. 
* The post office and library are located north of Dwtn. No banks dwtn, nor a pharmacy or full service supermarket.
* Only the Catholic grade school is located within New borough. A couple good school options north of Dwtn.
* Even with recent investment in dwtn Newburgh it still has a pretty bad reputation.

Poughkeepsie, NY- A historic Hudson River town with an incredible Walkway over the Hudson

As Poughkeepsie is a pretty old community with lots of development in the 1800s there are distinct neighborhoods and pockets. Figuring out exactly where the boundaries are is a bit undefined, a common problem with historic towns of this size. This review deals specifically with the Historic West End of Poughkeepsie. Its actually not an official neighborhood name but I use it to include the most historic parts of Poughkeepsie and the area west of Downtown. It includes the Union Street Historic District, which dates back to the late 1700s.

The Historic West End of Poughkeepsie is generally a walkable neighborhood with nice historic architecture, good park amenities and several small commercial nodes. It has great cultural amenities but limited neighborhood retail. Fortunately Downtown provides this and is walkable to most residents in the neighborhood. The district is also the main entrance to the Walkway over the Hudson, a spectacular pedestrian/bike bridge spanning the Hudson River. There are several places the neighborhood could improve including the need for walkable schools, more retail amenities, up to date ADA curb cuts, and better connectivity.
Click here to view my Poughkeepsie, NY album on Flickr


* Good density.
* Great public transit access and good access to jobs with the Historic West End being adjacent to Dwtn (where Poughkeepsie County offices are located) and Marist College is located just to the north.
* Good bike lanes in the neighborhood with a waterfront trail and the Walkway over the Hudson trail.
* Incomes are a bit on the low side but plenty of economic diversity here. Also a very racial diverse neighborhood and good generational diversity.
* Good for sale diversity ranging from around 75K-350K depending on size and condition.
* Rentals are a bit more expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms rent in the low $1,000s and 2-bedrooms in the mid $1,000s. Several aff. hsg towers mixed in as well.
* Good park amenities including the Hudson walkway, Pulaski Park, Upper Landing Park and several other smaller parks.
* Cultural amenities include: a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes clustered at several nodes, a couple community theaters, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, and convenient access to Downtown’s cultural amenities
* Solid Tree canopy.


* Connectivity is the not the greatest as the street grid is pretty erratic.
* Retail amenities are limited in the Historic West End. One generally needs to good Dwtn for this. The MidHudson Hospital is just north of the neighborhood.
* Some blight and crime is higher than the national average in Poughkeepsie.
* No schools in the Historic West End but a couple dwtn.
* Sidewalk infrastructure is good and consistent but up to date ADA curb cuts is rare.