NEWBURGH – The City of Newburgh invites everyone to shop, dine, and relax on Liberty Street this summer! Outdoor seating is currently being offered at locations throughout the Liberty Street corridor from Rob’s Roast Coffee to the Wherehouse.
In an effort to assist local businesses and embrace the magnificent love of the arts, the City of Newburgh will re-launch the Newburgh Last Saturdays initiative. This monthly promotion of local arts and culture began in the early 2000s when Art Along the Hudson encouraged municipalities across the Hudson Valley to embrace local creativity throughout the region by providing increased community programing and events on weekends. Organizers in the City of Newburgh designated the last Saturday as a day to welcome locals and visitors to enjoy the City’s food, art, and music.
The initiative, spearheaded by Mayor Torrance Harvey and the City of Newburgh Planning and Development Department, will not only allow for increased socially distant outdoor activities, but also assist our beloved business community as we continue to rebound together from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As our City makes its way through this ‘new normal’ we are excited to restart the Newburgh Last Saturdays tradition while opening Liberty Street to give people the opportunity to come out and enjoy themselves while supporting our fabulous local merchants,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey. “Pairing these initiatives will enable us to safely celebrate the arts and expand access to the great restaurants and businesses the area has to offer.”
To facilitate increased shopping and dining, the City of Newburgh has collaborated with business owners to offer pilot closures of Liberty Street between Ann and Washington during the remaining weekends in July starting on Friday, July 10. The inaugural closing of Liberty this weekend will last until 10 pm on Saturday, July 11.
Several business and restaurant owners took the initiative to work with the City to ensure the street closures are a pleasurable experience for all. Philippe Pierre, who owns and operates several businesses in the City, including fine dining establishments and local eateries, praised the City for its efforts to assist the business and restaurant industries during these difficult times. “We are delighted with this initiative to facilitate pedestrian activity in the heart of our historic downtown. We hope this will encourage people to visit and experience our bourgeoning Restaurant Row and diverse local shops. It’s been hard for everyone, but we’re NY Tough, and so is Newburgh. This is an opportunity to adapt and rise to the challenge of our time.”
The current Executive Order from the State of New York regarding expanded outside dining is in effect until August 5, 2020. As the month of July unfolds, the City will monitor the pilot closures and welcome any feedback that residents and business owners may have regarding this process.
Councilmember Ramona Monteverde, whose Ward includes the section of Liberty Street impacted by the pilot closure, welcomes feedback from the community and spoke of the many ways the closures can be enjoyed by the community. “It is my hope that by offering the pilot street closures, the City will transform the Liberty Street corridor into a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly zone for all to enjoy! I look forward to hearing from the citizens and business owners. Hopefully, this will become a permanent fixture. It could be the new way of doing business, and a popular pandemic-era solution to provide businesses with outdoor space and accommodate customers who are wary of dining indoors.”
In addition to local eateries, the pilot closures along Liberty Street will also assist other business owners such as Amal Ishak, who spoke highly of the City and its street closure initiative. “Cream Boutique is excited to announce that both locations, Cream, and Cream Vintage, will be joining forces at 101 Liberty Street starting this weekend,” said Ishak, owner of the two boutiques in Liberty Street. “By closing the street, we are able to bring the store outside, close to our customers. We are committed to customer safety and thankful for the opportunity to serve people who are still wary of shopping inside.”
Longtime restaurant and bar owner, Michele Basch, who has created an innovative business model in recent weeks at the Wherehouse, encouraged the public to continue to enjoy outside dining at her establishment. “Weekends in July, and any time, stop by the Wherehouse on Liberty where carnivores, herbivores, craft beer enthusiasts, summer cocktail sippers, and music lovers meet,” said Basch.
Even though sections of Liberty Street will remain closed for extended amounts of time, parking options are plentiful. Nearby options include stretches of Ann Street between Grand and Liberty, as well as the municipal parking lot on Ann Street. In addition, the City added 30 parking spaces on the South side of Washington Street between Liberty and Colden to accommodate growing parking demands throughout the area.
Local businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the City’s expanded Sidewalk Café permit application process as well as explore the facilitation of street closures for socially distanced events. People who are interested in these options can contact the City’s Department of Planning & Development at 845-569-9400.