From Leonard A. Zax, President of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson

April 9, 2010

We’ve just launched a website helping to answer the question Why is America’s newest National Park in Paterson, NJ, featuring the words of some of the people who are helping create the national park: President Barack Obama, novelist Junot Díaz, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe, American Academy in Rome President Adele Chatfield-Taylor, historian Ron Chernow, and others. Rounding out these tributes is one in music: a hip hop video biography of Paterson’s founder, Alexander Hamilton, performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House last year. Click to see for yourself:

Paterson is the most historic place in America that hardly anyone has heard of, let alone visited. Just 12 miles west of New York City, Paterson’s spectacular natural wonder—the 250-foot-wide Great Falls—pours more than two billion gallons of water each day into a basalt chasm. While serving as our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton selected the Great Falls as the place to begin transforming a rural agrarian society based on slavery into a modern industrial economy based on freedom.

A thriving city for more than 150 years, Paterson now suffers from a familiar litany of urban problems. One federal agency has ranked it as the most economically distressed city in America.

But now we can change that, starting with a national park that Paterson residents of all races and faiths have united to support. It will be a national park like no other, beginning with a master plan by James Corner Field Operations, designers of the High Line in Lower Manhattan.

We are using historic preservation to improve the quality of life today and for the future. At the site of America’s first hydropower system, an historic hydroelectric plant produces clean renewable energy for over 11,000 homes. A renovated 1902 silk mill will soon provide affordable housing. Youth programs are expanding in the historic district, including a youth conservation corps as part of the national park.


One Response to “From Leonard A. Zax, President of the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson”

  1. Myrna Geller said

    As a native Patersonian, I am aware of Mr. Zax’ efforts to declare the Great Falls a National historic District. And I’m sure he is aware of the efforts to save Hinchcliffe Stadium. As one who spent many a chilly Thanksgiving watching an exciting Eastside-Central game, I hate to see the historic stadium fall to ruin. I hope something can be done.
    I am forwarding a recent e-mail on a story by Paul Lukas on the ssubjectunder sparate cover.
    Best Regards,
    Myrna Geller

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