HANDS Offers Tour of Oranges
The 25-year-old non-profit has new tour dates for summer
Twenty-five years of history in 55 minutes? No problem for HANDS, the neighborhood organization behind the Valley Arts District renaissance, which offers walking tours of the area three times each week. The next tour is Tuesday, August 7, at 6 p.m. Meet at Hat City Kitchen 459 Valley Street, Orange, NJ 07050
Want to know more? A past tour is described below:
Beginning at Hat City Kitchen, the flagship restaurant of the arts district, the tour – free and open to the public – showcases recent HANDS work. Molly Rose Kaufman, a HANDS representative, explained that there were 400 vacant properties in Orange in 1986. By 2007, there were only 47, many filled by new homes and enterprises. The Valley Arts District spans sections of Orange and West Orange.
One such enterprise is the Garden State Urban Farms, led by Maplewood resident Lorraine Gibbons. The greenhouse, a first stop on the tour, "produces some 150 pounds of food weekly," said Gibbons.
The Ironworks, which houses after-school teen programs and artist studios, is home to a community earth oven. A work in progress, the large, clay, outdoor oven, will provide a place for the community to bake bread sometime before Thanksgiving of this year.
The tour, noted Kaufman, showcases the first firehouse in Orange, one of the oldest settlement houses in the state, and a bus depot that once served as the New Jersey State Theatre, rotunda and all.
ArtsUnbound is just around the corner, noted Molly, from the old Stetson bar. The Stetson entryway is crafted from the same bricks that form the Holland Tunnel.
HANDS has many works in progress, as it seeks to match enterprise with existing space. Planned projects include artist lofts, studios, and retail. Two signature buildings of the district are the hat factories that gave Orange its Hat City moniker. The Stetson factory and the Berg factory stand as sentinels on either end of the area, ready to flank a thriving neighborhood once again.
For a tour, call 973-678-3110x8 or email@example.com so we can prepare some refreshments and materials for you. If you prefer a private tour or are unable to take a walking tour, please contact us for special arrangements.
All tours begin and end at Hat City Kitchen, 459 Valley Street, Orange, NJ
Tour dates for the summer season are:
- Tuesday, August 7th 6:00 - 7:00 pm
- Saturday, August 25th 12:00 – 1:00 pm
- Tuesday, September 18th 6:00 - 7:00 pm
- Saturday, September 22nd 12:00 – 1:00 pm