Liberty Street Begins to Buzz with Businesses
By Doyle Murphy
July 23, 2008 6:00 AM
CITY OF NEWBURGH — On Saturday, Michael Gabor and Gerardo Castro will open their shop on Liberty Street across from Washington's Headquarters.
They'll have displayed the professional-quality art supplies and arranged the pencils made of newspapers just so. Castro will have decorated the windows with scenes of historic Newburgh.
To the north sits Caffe Macchiato — proof the upscale can draw people to borderline neighborhoods. Two blocks south, boards cover windows of vacant buildings. Broken glass lies on the sidewalks.
Maybe more than any other neighborhood in the city, this one captures Newburgh's dual nature. The mixture of perfect location — short walk to the waterfront, neighbor to a national landmark — and rough edges makes it both an affordable investment and a gamble. Castro and Gabor have wagered it will swing toward shops and apartments rather than burned-out buildings.
"This isn't just people talking anymore," Gabor said. "This is people moving."
As in moving into empty storefronts. Within five months, four new businesses geared toward the coffee-shop crowd are expected to open there. First, there's Gabor and Castro's venture, a three-in-one space that will house Newburgh Art Supply, The Palatine Shop and, in the back, Eric Jarmann's custom-picture frame shop.
Next comes a 2,000-square-foot specialty food market called Moo and Oink Market at Liberty and Washington streets. Andy Nunez said he and his business partner, Spencer Gulliver, plan to sell locally grown produce and meats along with Hudson Valley cheeses and gourmet imports. Nunez said they'll open about Labor Day.
Then there's the Cheesecake Lady. At first, the Cheesecake Lady was cautious talking about plans to move into the spot next to Gabor and Castro because she hasn't signed the paperwork. But she started talking about cheesecakes and, well, she's excited about cheesecake. Her name is Mary Lewis. She hopes to open about the same time as Moo and Oink.
Add Michele Basch's nearly completed plans to open a high-end restaurant with her chef husband, Dan Brown, by late fall or winter at Liberty and Ann streets and, real estate agent Miguel Marquez said, the neighborhood is reaching a tipping point — the mass of businesses needed to drive the redevelopment of the whole area.