English 269: Intro to Cultural Studies
30 September 2010
Cultural Geography Project
The small piece of property between Torches on the Hudson and Gully’s Restaurant in Newburgh has become a cornerstone of revitalizing the city’s economy. Although it is only about half a mile long, in less than ten years the enormous facelift that has been given to the area has done wonders for the city’s revenue and tourist appeal as well as provided a much needed aesthetic boost to the waterfront area. Newburgh’s waterfront area has a rare appeal for this particular case study because it has aspects of providing a sense of community in the sense that it is often a focal point for local social ...view middle of the document...
A few years ago everything began to change. Restaurants, most notably perhaps Torches on the Hudson, began to spring up as the city poured money into revitalizing its’ waterfront property. Rather quickly the place that was once just a pier became an array popular of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The landscaping is now well maintained and the area is now geared towards pedestrians. Sidewalks will take you from one bar to the next very easily. In fact, although there are parking spaces, the majority of them are literally cut off from the area where the restaurants and bars are. A stone wall separates the entire area from parking areas with only two underpasses to serve as a connection. There is also now a lively atmosphere apparent, especially on weekends. Generally the entire half a mile or so has become a much nicer area than it once was and Newburgh has been reaping the benefits.
One of the more underrated benefits the revitalization effort has afforded Newburgh is the positive effects it has had as a focal point of the community. The city of Newburgh is notoriously lacking any type of well maintained public space. Due to lack of funding, interest or a variety of other reasons public efforts in Newburgh usually fail. This time however, the project succeeded and for the first time in years the city of Newburgh has a public space people actually want to visit. Now, those who need to take their client out to lunch during the week or who simply would like to enjoy a quiet dinner in a nice atmosphere no longer have to leave their own city to do so.; they can simply head down to one of the many restaurants along the waterfront. This is most certainly a positive thing as it leads to people valuing their hometown as something more than just a place to live. It gives them a reason to be proud of their community. Additionally, because the nightlife created by the buildup has become so popular, many times one will run into an old friend from high school or an acquaintance they have not seen in a while simply by going out within their own town. Encounters such as this help residents reconnect with those they may have previously lost touch with which helps the community grow closer together as a whole. One of the catalysts for these types of interactions is the fact that, although there is a small road that runs along the strip, the area is primarily designed to cater to pedestrians. As a result if one is walking from one place to the next on a Friday night when the bars are packed, you are more likely to run into someone you recognize than if you were in your car driving from place to place. This has happened to me on a number of occasions. I have even run into old friends that work at the restaurants on the waterfront which have created several jobs and been a significant source of revenue for the city in the past few years.
In The Geography of Nowhere,” James Howard Kunstler conveys a very negative opinion of urbanization or heavy...