Submitted by New Town Commercial Association & Crier Staff
They likely won’t use this exact phrase but ask residents of New Town why they live here and most of them will point to the development’s philosophy of “New Urbanism.”
In short, New Urbanism refers to a community of homes and businesses that buck traditional design by interspersing homes and businesses among one another. Residents can live above restaurants like Center Street Grill, look over at trendy stores like Trader Joe’s, walk to Regal Cinema, Sola Salon Studios, Barnes & Noble and American Family Fitness. There’s even a small seasonal vegetable stand in the parking lot between Williamsburg institution Paul’s Deli and Ironbound Gym.
They can opt for inviting views of wooded areas or the community swimming pool. There’s something for every taste here, enhanced by businesses that front broad, brick-lined sidewalks, wide crosswalks, bike racks, streetlamps and welcoming benches.
At the heart of New Town’s public square is a fountain, with jets of water that arc toward the center – a striking feature that traditional development abandoned in the slide toward strip malls geared toward motorists.
Yet regardless of how well maintained, how eclectic and how welcoming a community is, the pandemic, supply problems and the nation-wide shortage of workers can have a negative impact anywhere.
According to an April article in The Wall Street Journal, roughly 200,000 establishments closed just during the first year of the pandemic. Even as we come out of the pandemic, the Federal Reserve acknowledges that many businesses continue struggling to remain open.
New Town is no exception.
Lately, residents say that there is a disturbing number of empty storefronts. National merchants like Pier 1 and Stein Mart have departed; other “mom and pop” businesses have followed suit. Adjacent to the movie theater, there have been at least two candy stores in the same location and two Mexican restaurants. One block or so away, two or three Italian restaurants have shuttered. Main Street seems particularly hard hit.
So The Crier wants to hear from you, the residents. We’ve placed a poll on the NTRA Facebook page
. Tell us what businesses you would like to see come to New Town. Maybe you have a favorite restaurant you frequented when you lived somewhere else. Maybe you can envision a “Cheers”-type hangout doing well here. Perhaps a men’s clothier.
Here’s a chance to tell us, and the Commercial Association, what you think.
There is much to appreciate about New Town’s design. There are hundreds of homes within walking distance of the community’s 170 or so shops, restaurants, medical offices, personal-service options and entertainment venues. Houses often front greenspace, such as a public park. Homes of numerous styles and price points – freestanding and attached, apartments and live-aboves – welcome a diverse cross-section of residents who have a range of needs.
They likely also have a wide range of opinions on how what is already an excellent place to live could be even better. We’re anxious to hear them. Go to our Facebook page and tell us your choice for new businesses.