From the New York Times:
Rough, but Readier for a Close-Up
By JERRY CHESLOW
GEORGIA DANIEL, a retired college administrator, says her friends told her she was crazy for moving into Paterson from nearby West Orange five years ago. With 151,000 people in 8.2 square miles, it is the third-largest city in New Jersey, and it is plagued by drugs, gang violence and stubbornly underachieving schools.
Ms. Daniel, though, sees Paterson as “a place that’s clearly on the move.” To emphasize the point, she added: “Construction is everywhere. It’s diverse, with 58 different ethnic groups, and it’s a place where a person can effect positive change.”
Mayor José Torres would not contradict her. He sees his city as clawing its way back from a half century of postindustrial blight, with $550 million invested in or committed to Paterson since 1998. “When I took office in 2002,” he said, “there were 3,000 vacant lots and boarded-up buildings. Now there are fewer than 100. The rest have been auctioned off to developers or are being turned into affordable housing.”
Scattered throughout the problem areas are solidly middle-class enclaves of Capes, colonials and bilevels with neat lawns and big backyards like the Hillcrest section, where Ms. Daniel now lives, and the Lakeview section.
There is also the more bohemian Upper East Side, a 10-block-by-10-block area now designated a state historic district. Hugging the Passaic River and surrounding the 60-acre Eastside Park, which was laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, the district is home to mansions built for titans of industry at the turn of the 20th century. Many have been renovated by people drawn to their size, architecture and affordability.