MY VIEW – Kevindaryan Lujan, Legislator Newburgh’s District #4
More Future Opportunities for Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport
Recently, I had the opportunity to fly to Dublin, Ireland, from Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport. For months I’d been reading about the amazing deals and short wait times to get through security at Stewart. However, I never could have imagined to what extent this small airport had revolutionized travel.
I have been to more than 50 airports, in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. What Newburgh may lack in size and décor it makes up for with its welcoming, top-notch professional staff and a comfortable and painless process. That is not to mention its bargain international rates, starting at $220 round-trip for a direct flight to Dublin, Belfast and other great cities. If that is not enough to entice local residents to fly through Stewart, the convenience should. By using our own airport, we avoid expensive limos orlong drives to JFK, LaGuardia or Newark and theirhigh-priced parking lots; trains and shuttles to connect with; and negotiating Grand Central Station. City of Newburgh residents are a 15-minute cab ride from Stewart and, with foresight on the part of regional planners, we also should soon be just a short bus ride from the airport, as well.
That’s the beauty of Newburgh’s airport: The best is yet to come. I don’t think it’s too optimistic to envision more restaurants, souvenir shops and other amenities at our airport. Likewise, it would be nothing more than common sense for regional planners and tourism officials to pave the way for shuttle buses leaving Stewart at regular, frequent intervals for Legoland, Woodbury Common, Washington’s Headquarters and other notable locations.
The opening of the Catskills casino brings with it tremendous opportunities that should spur Stewart’s management to work with regional transportation and tourism officials to turn that casino into a boost for the economy of Orange County, as well.
I for one, dream of seeing tourist shop off a “Stewart-Newburgh-Casino Shuttle”to dine at Newburgh’s world-class Liberty Street Bistro, Caffe Macchiato, Seoul Kitchen, or Calabash; shop for gifts at Cream; grab a coffee to go from Ms. Fairfax or 2 Alices; or enjoy a burger and live music at the Wherehouse or national award-winning Newburgh Brewing Company before (and/or after) going to the casino. Certainly, visiting the Birthplace of the Republic at Washington’s Headquarters (and taking in that gorgeous river view) should be on everyone’s itinerary. Equally important: Regular, frequent buses going back and forth from the casino to downtown Newburgh and then Rt. 300 before continuing on to the airport would give local residents a chance to obtain good-paying jobs.
As I sat awaiting my flight home at the Dublin airport, I was overwhelmed with pride when I saw Newburgh listed among some of the world’s largest and greatest cities. I’m attaching a photo of that “Departures Board” here, as a reminder both of “where we are going” and the importance of capitalizing on this unique moment.
As a new Orange County legislator, I am proposing that my colleagues and our city, state and federal elected officials meet with regional tourism, transportation, and economic development leaders to take Newburgh’s Stewart Airport to the next level. Now more than ever, we must dream and work for what is to come next.
Kevindaryán Luján, Orange County Legislature, Newburgh – District 4