Harrison, New Jersey is one more industrial city having a rebirth with a fresh new perspective and an eye for authenticity and its history.
Visitors to Urby Harrison, a multi-family housing complex, find a playful and organic experience in the transit-oriented micro-neighborhood. Features include outdoor cooking and dining spaces, table and lawn games, a firepit lounge, and a pool terrace. There is also a café with an outdoor terrace, a dog park, and a spacious lawn for leisurely play or picnicking. Each of these elements is framed with native shrubs, wildflowers, perennials, and ornamental grasses.
Harrison was a manufacturing and transportation center and the hardscape design reflects that. Seen from above, there are clay paver pathways that criss-cross in a design that recalls bridge trusses, connected to courtyards, terraces and patios.
Authenticity up close
Up close, the Old Towne and Rumbled Full Range pavers pick up the colors found in plants within the natural environment and in the nearby buildings, thus providing a pleasing foreground to what lies just beyond.
In a nod to red-brick factories that were part of Harrison’s industrial beginnings, the design called for pavers that are reminiscent of recycled brick, but have the advantages of today’s clay pavers.
Clay pavers are consistent in size, making installation easy. They are also more durable, meaning they will last virtually forever. And because they will require minimal maintenance, they’re cost-effective for the long term
This authenticity and durability is in keeping with Urby Harrison’s surroundings.
Harrison, the town, is on its way back, after falling into disrepair.
Just across the Passaic River from Newark and east of New York, Harrison was effectively shut down as was much of the industrial Northeast in the 1960s and 1970s.
In its heyday, during World War II, Harrison was an industrial powerhouse. Begun in the late 1800s close to rail lines and a waterfront with an available workforce of recently arrived European immigrants, Harrison attracted more than 90,000 people every day within a 1.3 square mile industrial district.
Many of the manufacturers were household names: R.C.A. made the vacuum tubes that gave console radios their voice; Otis Elevators made access to New York City skyscrapers possible; Edison Lamp Works (later to become General Electric) lit up the night.
Today, Harrison is back, with billions in new investment, spurred on by the construction of a professional soccer stadium. With the Red Bull Arena came development of 7,000 new housing units and more than a half-million square feet of retail space.
But it was more than that one project that led to the renaissance. It was the realization that Harrison still has what it has always had: Its location.
And that’s exactly what Urby Harrison has.
The complex is within walking distance of the PATH Station, now upgraded with a $256 million renovation. Residents can now commute to work in lower Manhattan within about 20 minutes, without the high rental costs in New York City – and with more amenities.