Fair Lawn, New Jersey
|Fair Lawn, New Jersey|
|Borough of Fair Lawn|
|Motto: "A great place to visit and a better place to live."|
Map highlighting Fair Lawn's location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Fair Lawn, New Jersey
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Country||United States of America|
|Incorporated||March 6, 1924|
|• Type||Faulkner Act (Council-Manager)|
|• Mayor||John Cosgrove (term ends December 31, 2013)|
|• Manager||Jim Van Kruiningen|
|• Clerk||Joanne M. Kwasniewski|
|• Total||5.201 sq mi (13.472 km2)|
|• Land||5.139 sq mi (13.311 km2)|
|• Water||0.062 sq mi (0.161 km2) 1.20%|
|Area rank||270th of 566 in state
11th of 70 in county
|Elevation||69 ft (21 m)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|• Estimate (2013)||32,998|
|• Rank||69th of 566 in state
4th of 70 in county
|• Density||6,315.4/sq mi (2,438.4/km2)|
|• Density rank||77th of 566 in state
22nd of 70 in county
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||201 exchanges: 398, 475, 703, 791, 794, 796, 797|
|GNIS feature ID||0885214|
Fair Lawn is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, and a suburban municipality in the New York City Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 32,457, reflecting an increase of 820 (+2.6%) from the 31,637 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,089 (+3.6%) from the 30,548 counted in the 1990 Census.
Fair Lawn was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 6, 1924, as "Fairlawn," from portions of Saddle River Township. The name was taken from Fairlawn, David Acker's estate home, that was built in 1865 and later became the Fair Lawn Municipal Building. In 1933, the official spelling of the borough's name was split into its present two-word form as "Fair Lawn" Borough.
Radburn, one of the first planned communities in the United States, is an unincorporated community located within Fair Lawn and was founded in 1929 as "a town for the motor age." Fair Lawn is home to a large number of commuters to New York City, to which it is connected by train from two railroad stations on New Jersey Transit's Bergen County Line.
Fair Lawn's motto is "A great place to visit and a better place to live." Fair Lawn has been rated as one of the top 10 best cities to live in New Jersey. According to Nerdwallet, Fair Lawn witnessed a 5.3% increase in its working-age population between 2009 and 2011.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Neighborhoods
- 4 Ethnic diversity
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Education
- 7 Emergency services
- 8 Business and industry
- 9 Transportation
- 10 Government
- 11 Sports
- 12 Popular culture
- 13 Notable people
- 14 Historic sites
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
In its earliest days (and as late as 1791), Fair Lawn was known as Slooterdam: a Dutch word denoting a Native American weir used to trap fish on the Passaic River. Just north of the weir is a short stretch of Fair Lawn's Wagaraw Road, named for the Lenape term meaning "crooked place" or "river bend." Fair Lawn was named after the estate (or villa) built in 1865 by David Acker, a prosperous New York merchant, which he named "Fair Lawn." The home, which faced what is now Fair Lawn Avenue stood on a hill with a sweeping lawn, it was later turned into the borough's municipal building, but was eventually torn down. The Fair Lawn Senior Center and Public Library now occupy the site of the estate. Until its development as a bedroom community, the land on which Fair Lawn sits had been farms of Dutch settlers and their descendants.
Fair Lawn is located at United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 5.201 square miles (13.472 km2), of which, 5.139 square miles (13.311 km2) of it was land and 0.062 square miles (0.161 km2) of it (1.20%) was water. Its borders are: with Paterson (in Passaic County, across the Passaic River) to the West; with Hawthorne across Lincoln Avenue to the West; with Glen Rock across Harristown Road, Maple Avenue, the Northern border of the Nabisco plant and its extension north of Garwood Road and Naugle Drive to the North; with Ridgewood across the Saddle River to the Northeast; with Paramus across the Saddle River to the East; with Rochelle Park across another point in the Saddle River to the Southeast; with Saddle Brook across the two longer portions of S. Broadway and their extensions through Rosario Court to the South; and with Elmwood Park across the Bergen County Line, New Jersey Route 4 (Broadway), Cyril Avenue, and Willow St. to the South.(40.935833,-74.117504). According to the
Fair Lawn is an incorporated collection of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character and vibe:
- The Heights, more commonly known as "Columbia Heights", is near Hawthorne's industrial section along the Passaic River on Wagaraw Road and Hawthorne's residential area at Lincoln Avenue, ascending up to the Ramapo Mountains of Passaic and Bergen Counties, as well as bordering Bunker Hill in Paterson. This small, blue collar neighborhood houses some local industry outside of McBride (the industrial park at the border with Glen Rock). Known by locals as the Bunker Hill Extension and/or "Walsh Area"
- Radburn, a planned community, housing the landmark Radburn Plaza building, which was destroyed in a fire in 2002 and subsequently rebuilt. With its safe and easy access to local businesses and schools, it also offers an express train to Hoboken's PATH at the Radburn Station.
- Warren Point, a residential area located near the Broadway Improvement District, which holds an annual street fair in the spring. Bordering Saddle Brook, Elmwood Park, and Upper Eastside Paterson, it has many stores, both big and small, fine dining and activities. It also offers the Broadway District express train to Hoboken's PATH via the Bergen Line (making it the 2nd stop after Radburn Station), as well as the "Paterson-New York Shuttle"; an express shuttle from the Broadway Terminal shopping area in Downtown Paterson with only two other non-local stops (the Paramus Route 4 malls and Teaneck Road in Teaneck) to specific streets in Manhattan, allowing residents to easily avoid trains, stations, and Port Authority hubs before reaching their NYC destination.
- Radrock Estates is a section located off of Fairlawn Avenue in between Radburn and the area referred to as "Dunkerhook", sharing the border with Glen Rock, hence the derived term "Radrock". Although considered by many locals to be a sub-sub section of the Radburn District, it is the only section to have its own personalized "Radrock Estates" entrance pillars as you enter the section via Fairlawn Avenue. Although it is a very diverse residential section, it shares all the conveniences that come with living in Radburn, such as dining, activities, memberships, as well as train access through the Radburn-Hoboken PATH connection through the Bergan Local.
- River Road Improvement District, with an annual street fair in autumn, and notably close to the Passaic River and Memorial Park, the terminus of the annual Memorial Day parade and Independence Day fireworks show. Many stores are located here, from fine ethnic cuisines to super markets, as well as trinket shops and the famous Jokers Child
- Memorial Park, a working class neighborhood (sometimes called "The Dip") within and around the River Road Improvement District with street addresses aligned to the corner of 33rd St. and Martin Luther King Way (Broadway), called "Temple Corner" after the now defunct Jewish Temple on the Upper Eastside Paterson/Lyncrest side of 33rd St./Morlot Ave. from back in the days when modern Paterson was still Bergen County (eg; address 7-02 = 7 blocks from the corner/Temple, house number "2"). This highly diverse, blue collar neighborhood (1st through 6th) has come under crticism by residents, as they fear that gentrification has begun with the leveling of 2-family rental housing for more modern, "affluent for the section" style single family housing, and fear it will eventually become as un-affordable as neighboring Eastside Park and Eastside Proper. Here residents enjoy not only easy access to Hoboken and Manhattan through either the Radburn Station or Broadway Station of the Bergen-Local Line, but also enjoy easy access to Newarks Penn Station and the Secaucus Junction via the Bergen-Main Line in Downtown Paterson (or Bergen-West Line or "Downtown Line"). This area is also known by locals as the "Eastside Extension", "McClean (Rte.20) Area"
- Lyncrest neighborhood, located south of Morlot Avenue, in alignment with Paterson's 33rd Street split of Upper Eastside and Eastside, is an extension of the Upper Eastside notable for its older, stone houses in the footsteps of homes owned by Paterson's silk barons. It is a diverse community, boasting immigrants from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, as well as various parts of the Americas. It is home to many Orthodox Jewish families as well as Hindi, and other various religious sects. Lyncrest streets "1st-6th" are also known by the name of Rivercrest by locals, due to the split level and Cape Cod housing located in the "River Dip" of the River District via Memorial Park. It too shares train conveniences to both the Bergen Local and the Bergen Main Lines.
- The neighborhood stretching along both sides of Saddle River Road in Fair Lawn is not officially named but has its own character as an affluent enclave. This neighborhood includes a portion of the Saddle River, Saddle River County Park, and Fair Lawn's eastern border with Paramus. The whole area is referred to by many as "Saddle River District". Due to obvious differences throughout this side, there are sections that are identified by locals as "Dunkerhook Section" (named after the County Park located vicinity) starting at around the shared border with Glen Rock and Paramus up to around Morlot Ave. During the Spring through Fall months, fisherman from all over frequent this section, as the Saddle River within Dunkerhook is stocked with trout. The neighborhood south of Morlot Avenue is referred to as "Saddle River Section", which borders Paramus via the Garden State Plaza and Saddle Brook Township, which shares access to the Saddle River as well as having bike trails for leisure or to access the mall.
Another neighborhood is "Hendersonville", also referred to as Riverside East. This diverse neighborhood, located between Columbia Heights and the Municipal Complex within the "West Morland District" (another district acknowledged by residents) as well as sharing Route 208 with Glen Rock, is a one of a kind, mostly residential community of two-family Cape Cods located down the stretch of Henderson Blvd. What makes this neighborhood stand out (in comparison with other two-family districts and sections) is that each Cape Cod has two doors in the front so each residing family has its own entrance into their quarters, which is a blueprint that was abandoned shortly after being built in favor of the "one door, two entrances" model.
There also exists more intricate neighborhoods throughout the borough within districts and sections, such as "Fairlawn Commons" off Route 208, located within the Radburn Historical District, yet has a separate, more affluent feel and non-historical subculture, and security gates to provide extra security for residents. Like every part of Fair Lawn, The Commons area is very diverse in many ways. What sticks out about these areas is that The Commons not only shares a border with the "Chandler Houses" which, unlike The Commons more affluent, Townhouse-styled apartment feel, the Chandler Houses offer a more affordable experience for working American and immigrant families, elderly, and the likes, but it is also located a few blocks west of Radburn's El Dorado Village, which is known for its Eastern European immigrant residents. These communities of all classes and prices are located throughout the borough and have their own flair, making Fair Lawn not just ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse, but also a uniquely socioeconomically diverse area.
Fair Lawn has a longstanding tradition of ethnic diversity and tolerance for people of different ethnicities and religious faiths. Continuing steady immigration from Eurasia, Asia, Europe, and Latin America has transformed Fair Lawn into an international melting pot, and over 50 languages and dialects are spoken in the borough.
History of ethnic diversity
Fair Lawn has been a noted center for Jewish culture over a period spanning several decades. Since the early 2000s, the Orthodox Jewish population has been increasing significantly in Fair Lawn and has replaced the earlier decreases in members of the non-Orthodox Jewish sects. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian Jews began to migrate to Fair Lawn. Fair Lawn's Jewish American population has therefore maintained an at least one-third presence overall for several decades. Russian Jews were then followed by Russian Orthodox Christians to Fair Lawn. Over 10% of the borough's population is of Russian descent, the highest of any community in New Jersey. In fact, the size of Fair Lawn's Russian American presence prompted an April Fool's satire titled, "Putin Moves Against Fair Lawn". Fair Lawn also has the largest Israeli American community in Bergen County.
Fair Lawn has historically also had a large Italian American population, 19.7% in 2000, but this number is decreasing as the descendants of the original Italian immigrants are being displaced by immigrants to Fair Lawn from around the globe.
Fair Lawn as a magnet for immigrants
Fair Lawn's reputable school district, safe and well-policed neighborhoods, and the borough's convenient access to commercial centers and hospitals, a complex network of highways, transit lines, New York City, and Newark Liberty International Airport, have all made Fair Lawn a magnet for new immigrants from several regions around the world. The 2012 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau showed a significant increase in the Asian American population in Fair Lawn, including the Asian Indian, Filipino American, Chinese American, Korean American, and Vietnamese American populations, and the Polish American population is also growing briskly. The public library in Fair Lawn holds storytelling programs in Hindi (हिन्दी) and Hebrew (עִבְרִית) languages, while Mandarin Chinese (官話) is being taught in the school district.
A number of places for congregation cater to different nationalities in Fair Lawn, including two Korean (한국어) churches, Young Israel of Fair Lawn, Saint Leon Armenian Church, and the (Italian American) Cosmos Club of Fair Lawn.
Immigrants from other previous U.S.S.R. countries
Given the established presence of Russian Americans in the borough, immigrant nationalities native to previous other Soviet Republics, including Ukrainian Americans, Georgian Americans, Armenian Americans, and Uzbek Americans have also established an increasing presence in Fair Lawn.
Influence of Paterson
The international ethnic melange that describes Paterson, Fair Lawn's western neighbor, has now permeated Fair Lawn itself. Muslim immigrants, including Albanian Americans and Macedonian Americans, as well as Latino Americans, including Peruvian Americans and Puerto Rican Americans, have settled in Fair Lawn's western flank, in the neighborhood between the River Road Improvement District and the Passaic River, known locally by those who live there as the Memorial Park Section, where there is also a small but stable African American minority.
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 32,457 people, 11,930 households, and 8,971 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,315.4 per square mile (2,438.4 /km2). There were 12,266 housing units at an average density of 2,386.7 per square mile (921.5 /km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 84.36% (27,380) White, 1.75% (567) Black or African American, 0.06% (20) Native American, 9.72% (3,154) Asian, 0.00% (1) Pacific Islander, 2.35% (762) from other races, and 1.77% (573) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 10.15% (3,296) of the population.
There were 11,930 households, of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.7% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the borough, 22.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 30.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.1 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $92,727 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,701) and the median family income was $112,650 (+/- $5,760). Males had a median income of $70,990 (+/- $3,246) versus $54,358 (+/- $2,815) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,146 (+/- $1,700). About 2.1% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 31,637 people, 11,806 households, and 8,901 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,121.0 people per square mile (2,362.7/km2). There were 12,006 housing units at an average density of 2,322.9 per square mile (896.6/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.54% Caucasian, 4.92% Asian, 0.74% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 1.37% from other races, and 1.38% reporting two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 5.51% of the population.
There were 11,806 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the borough the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $72,127, and the median income for a family was $81,220. Males had a median income of $56,798 versus $41,300 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,273. About 2.6% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
The Fair Lawn Public Schools serve students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's nine schools had an enrollment of 4,586 students and 368.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.44:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics.) are six K-5 elementary schools — John A. Forrest Elementary School (278 students), Lyncrest Elementary School (221), Henry B. Milnes Elementary School (377), Radburn Elementary School (349), Warren Point Elementary School (430) and Westmoreland Elementary School (264) — both Memorial Middle School (469) and Thomas Jefferson Middle School (676) for grades 6-8, along with Fair Lawn High School (1,522) for grades 9-12.
Public school students from the borough, and all of Bergen County, are eligible to attend the secondary education programs offered by the Bergen County Technical Schools, which include the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and the Bergen Tech campus in Teterboro or Paramus. The district offers programs on a shared-time or full-time basis, with admission based on a selective application process and tuition covered by the student's home school district.
Fair Lawn has an all-volunteer fire department. The department has four stations, with Company 1 on George Street, Company 2 at Route 208 South (before Maple Avenue Bridge), Company 3 located at Corner Plaza Road / Rosalie Street and Company 4 on Radburn Road. Fair Lawn residents are served by the all volunteer Fair Lawn Volunteer Ambulance, Inc., which provides 24/7 emergency medical services. This service is equipped with four state of the art ambulances stocked with all necessary supplies to handle any medical emergencies.link title Fair Lawn is also served by the all volunteer Fair Lawn Rescue Squad. The squad provides heavy rescue and hazardous materials (HAZMAT) services to the residents and businesses of the borough.
Business and industry
Columbia Bank (New Jersey), the fourth largest mutual financial institution in the United States, and the largest mutual bank domiciled within the State of New Jersey, is also headquartered in Fair Lawn.
Fair Lawn is interwoven by a robust network of roads. As of 2010[update], the borough had a total of 99.60 miles (160.29 km) of roadways, of which 84.00 miles (135.18 km) were maintained by the municipality, 11.13 miles (17.91 km) by Bergen County and 4.47 miles (7.19 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Fair Lawn is bisected by two state highways, New Jersey Route 4, which connects Fair Lawn to New York City via the George Washington Bridge, and New Jersey Route 208, which links Fair Lawn to the New York City bypass highway Interstate 287.
Fair Lawn has several main roads crossing through it forming a rough 3x3 grid. Running north-south are Saddle River Road, Plaza Road, and River Road (County Route 507) while Broadway, Morlot Avenue, and Fair Lawn Avenue run east-west, and Route 208 runs northwest-southeast. Running east-west between and parallel to Morlot and Fair Lawn Avenues is Berdan Avenue, a residential thoroughfare which is bisected by Route 208 into two discontinuous segments, the western one of which contains Fair Lawn High School.
Broadway becomes Route 4 in Elmwood Park to the west and eventually Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in Paterson. To the East, it becomes Route 4 heading into Paramus and is less than 10 miles (16 km) from the George Washington Bridge.
Fair Lawn Avenue is considered the borough's main street, containing its Borough Hall, Police Station, Public Library, and Community School. The road goes west over the Passaic River into Paterson, and east into Paramus where it becomes Century Road. The intersection of Fair Lawn Avenue and Plaza Road form what could be considered a "town center", with several shopping plazas and the Radburn train station all within walking distance. Other commercial areas include Broadway and River Road.
Route 208 has its southern terminus in Fair Lawn, and goes through the middle of the borough from the northwest to the southeast, where it eventually merges with Broadway to become Route 4 not far from Paramus. Taken the other direction, Route 208 flows northwest to Interstate 287 in Oakland. Numerous commercial establishments and office buildings line Route 208 along the northwestern half of this limited access highway's trajectory through Fair Lawn.
South of Route 4, Saddle River Road goes through the eastern side of Fair Lawn and into Saddle Brook, where it provides a link to both the Garden State Parkway and Interstate 80. North of Route 4, Saddle River Road provides a link to Glen Rock.
Fair Lawn uses a street address numbering system in which most Fair Lawn addresses are given hyphenated numbers, such as 10-13 Some Street. This numbering system is also used in Queens, New York City. Exceptions to this numbering system generally exist on the Glen Rock, Hawthorne, and Saddle Brook sides of Fair Lawn and within the Radburn development. The first numbers (before the dash) correspond to block-distances from Broadway (on streets that run North-South) and to the numbered streets in the borough (example: 2nd Street, 17th Street, etc.) on the streets that run East-West; with the highest numbers being in the low 40s, and the lowest numbers being 0-30, etc.
Fair Lawn is served by the Radburn and Broadway train stations on the New Jersey Transit Bergen County Line, which offers service to Lower Manhattan via the Hoboken Terminal, and connections at Secaucus Junction to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan and to most other New Jersey Transit train lines.
New Jersey Transit buses include the 144, 145, 148, 160, 164 and 196 routes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the 171 and 175 to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal; and the 746, 758 and 770 lines, offering local service.
Fair Lawn operates within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the Council-Manager plan E form of New Jersey municipal government by a five-member Borough Council, as implemented as of January 1, 1986, based on direct petition. Members of the Borough Council serve four-year terms in office and are elected in partisan elections in odd-numbered years on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election every other year as part of the November general election. All policy making power is concentrated in the council. At an annual reorganization meeting held after each election, the council selects a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor, and a deputy mayor for Community Affairs from among its members. The mayor presides over its meetings with no separate policy-making power. The manager is appointed by the council to serve as the municipal chief executive and administrative official.
As of 2014[update], the members of the Borough Council are Mayor John Cosgrove (R, term on council ends December 31, 2015), Deputy Mayor Amy Lefkowitz (R, 2017), Deputy Mayor of Community Affairs Daniel Dunay (R, 2017), Kurt Peluso (D, 2015) and Lisa Swain (D, 2015).
Standard Borough Council meetings, Government-access television (GATV), are televised on local cable TV when held in the Council chambers in the Fair Lawn Municipal Building. Work sessions, where laws are discussed and prepared for adoption, are not usually televised.
Boards and commissions
Fair Lawn's government extends beyond the Council and Departments in the form of Boards and Commissions. Generally these groups are staffed by volunteers appointed by the Mayor and Council.
Boards and commissions include Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, American with Disabilities Advisory Committee, Arts Council, Broadway Special Improvement District, Cadmus House Museum, Environmental Commission, Garden Committee, Green Team Advisory Committee, Historic Preservation Commission, Open Space Committee, Planning Board, Property Maintenance, Rent Leveling Board, River Road Improvement Corporation, Shade Tree Advisory Committee and Zoning Board.
Federal, state and county representation
Fair Lawn is located in the 5th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 38th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Fair Lawn had been part of the 9th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Scott Garrett (R, Wantage Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus).
The 38th District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Robert M. Gordon (D, Fair Lawn) and in the General Assembly by Tim Eustace (D, Maywood) and Joseph Lagana (D, Paramus). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Bergen County is governed by a directly elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. The County Executive is Kathleen Donovan (R, Rutherford; term ends December 31, 2014). The seven freeholders are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year, with a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Chairman Pro Tempore selected from among its members at a reorganization meeting held each January. As of 2014[update], Bergen County's Freeholders are Freeholder Chairman David L. Ganz (D, 2014; Fair Lawn), Vice Chairwoman Joan Voss (D, 2014; Fort Lee), Chairman Pro Tempore John A. Felice (R, 2016; River Edge), Maura R. DeNicola (R, 2016; Franklin Lakes), Steve Tanelli (D, 2015; North Arlington) James J. Tedesco, III (D, 2015; Paramus) and Tracy Silna Zur (D, 2015; Franklin Lakes). Countywide constitutional officials are County Clerk John S. Hogan (D, Northvale), Sheriff Michael Saudino (R), Surrogate Michael R. Dressler (D, Cresskill)
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 20,302 registered voters in Fair Lawn, of which 7,150 (35.2% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 3,613 (17.8% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 9,528 (46.9% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 11 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 62.6% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 80.2% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 8,374 votes here (54.1% vs. 54.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 6,815 votes (44.0% vs. 43.5%) and other candidates with 188 votes (1.2% vs. 0.9%), among the 15,473 ballots cast by the borough's 21,563 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.8% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 8,834 votes here (53.2% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 7,464 votes (45.0% vs. 44.5%) and other candidates with 147 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 16,595 ballots cast by the borough's 21,378 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.6% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 8,745 votes here (54.3% vs. 51.7% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 7,177 votes (44.6% vs. 47.2%) and other candidates with 118 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 16,102 ballots cast by the borough's 20,372 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.0% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 5,503 ballots cast (51.1% vs. 48.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 4,590 votes (42.6% vs. 45.8%), Independent Chris Daggett with 521 votes (4.8% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 71 votes (0.7% vs. 0.5%), among the 10,763 ballots cast by the borough's 20,714 registered voters, yielding a 52.0% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
Fair Lawn also has one of the original organized street hockey / DekHockey programs in the state. In 1976, high school street hockey players Paul Spiegler and Randy Lipscher went to the Fair Lawn Chamber of Commerce to find league sponsors. The teams were funded just like Little League baseball from companies like Century 21, Fair Lawn Shopper and the International House of Pancakes. The league was first managed by Ronald Gatti of the Radburn Association and played in the parking lot of the Radburn Grange Hall, before moving to an official rink in 1977 at Memorial Park. League management then changed hands to the Fair Lawn Recreation Department. The program serves children aged 8–18, and runs during the winter months concluding early spring. Over the years the program grew to accommodate three separate rinks. The Fair Lawn Flyers competed in the first national street hockey championships in 1976 in Leominster, Massachusetts. In subsequent years, Fair Lawn sent teams to both the regional and national tournaments (as teams known as Fair Lawn Flyers and Fair Lawn Chiefs). Two of the three Fair Lawn Dekhockey rinks are named after Joe Gambucci and Jerry Bredehorst; both volunteered in multiple capacities for the league.
- In the 1976 film Taxi Driver, when Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is talking to a Secret Service agent, he provides a false name (Henry Krinkle), and a false address (154 Hopper Avenue, Fair Lawn, New Jersey). There is a Hopper Avenue in Fair Lawn, but 154 Hopper Avenue does not exist, and the ZIP code he provides is also incorrect (61045, which is actually in Kings, Illinois).
- In the 1996 Mel Gibson movie Ransom, Fair Lawn is seen when Gibson is told to turn from Route 4 onto Saddle River Road (Fair Lawn) and into the rock quarry (which is actually located in Haledon, New Jersey).
- In the 2004 movie Taxi, Fair Lawn can be seen on the map that Detective Washburn (Jimmy Fallon) is reading. The map is fake, since it shows a fictional uncompleted highway off the Garden State Parkway in Oradell.
- At the beginning of the "Pine Barrens" episode of the television series The Sopranos, Mob boss Tony Soprano tells Paulie Walnuts and protege Christopher Moltisanti to visit a Russian mobster, Valery, in Fair Lawn. However, this scene was shot in Paterson. A scene in the episode "The Happy Wanderer" was filmed in front of the historic Radburn Building.
- Fair Lawn was featured in the movie The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. The two main characters travel to Fair Lawn, New Jersey to get accounting files.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Fair Lawn include:
- Matt Ahearn, former member of the New Jersey General Assembly who represented the 38th Legislative District from 2002 to 2004.
- Ian Axel (born 1985), singer-songwriter and pianist.
- Steve Bornstein (born 1952), current head of the NFL Network.
- Donald Fagen (born 1948), singer-songwriter who is the co-founder and lead singer of Steely Dan.
- Nicholas Felice (born 1927), served in the New Jersey General Assembly and was mayor of Fair Lawn.
- Jim Finn (born 1976), football player with the New York Giants.
- David L. Ganz (born 1951), attorney, author and politician who was mayor of Fair Lawn from 1999 to 2006 and has served on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders since 2003.
- David Gewirtz, CNN columnist, cyberterrorism adviser and presidential scholar.
- Robert M. Gordon (born 1950), member of the New Jersey Senate since 2008, he served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2004 to 2008 and was mayor of Fair Lawn from 1988 to 1991.
- Boris Gulko (born 1947), International Grandmaster and former winner of the U.S. Chess Championship.
- Šaćir Hot (born 1991), soccer player for the New York Red Bulls, the United States U-20 team, and Boston College; attended Fair Lawn High School.
- Steve Malzberg, radio host.
- Lee Meredith (born 1947 as Judi-Lee Sauls), actress who appeared in The Producers, Hello Down There and The Sunshine Boys.
- Millie Perkins (born 1938), actress, who played the title role in her first film as the star of The Diary of Anne Frank.
- Ron Perranoski (born 1936), Major League Baseball pitcher from 1961-1973.
- Billy Price (born 1949), soul singer.
- Maurice Purtill (1916–1994), drummer in the Big Band era, most notably the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
- Steve Rothman (born 1952), Congressman who had represented New Jersey's 9th congressional district from 1997 to 2013.
- Charlie Schlatter (born 1966), actor.
- Dave Sime (born 1936), sprinter who won a silver medal in the 100m dash at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.
- Regina Spektor (born 1980), singer.
- Brendan Suhr (born 1951), Director of Program Development for the UCF Knights men's basketball team and former NBA scout and assistant coach.
- Steve Swallow (born 1940), jazz double bassist and bass guitarist.
- Donna Vivino (born 1978), stage and screen actress, who has performed the starring role of Elphaba in the Broadway National Tour production of Wicked.
- Benjamin Yudin (born 1944), Rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn.
A significant historic site in Fair Lawn is the Passaic River Fishing Weir, a prominent archaeological feature just north of the Fair Lawn Avenue Bridge. It was constructed by Lenape tribal members and is the best-preserved of several such weirs on the Passaic River.
- G. V. H. Berdan House - 1219 River Road (added 1983)
- Richard J. Berdan House - 24-07 Fair Lawn Avenue (added 1983)
- Cadmus-Folly House - 19-21 Fair Lawn Avenue (added 1983)
- Peter Garretson House - 4-02 River Road (added 1974): With a homestead that dates back to 1719, the sandstone house is one of the oldest surviving structures in Bergen County. The Garretson Forge and Farm Restoration operates the site, owned by the county, as a farm museum.
- Naugle House - 42-49 Dunkerhook Road (added 1983): Constructed in 1776, the home was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette. The site was purchased by the borough in 2010 for $1.7 million, and a plan has been formulated to repair the home and preserve the grounds as open space.
- Radburn - Irregular pattern between Radburn Road and Erie RR. tracks (added 1975)
- Radburn Station - Pollitt Drive (added 1984)
- Jacob Vanderbeck, Jr., House - 41-25 Dunkerhook Road (added 1983): Constructed in Dutch stone by Jacob Vanderbeck in the 1750s, the house has had a number of prominent owners, including Fair Lawn mayor and Assemblyman Richard Vander Plaat. Owned by a developer who has sought to use the site to construct a large-scale assisted-living facility, the houses has been listed on preservation New Jersey's 2013 list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey.
Fair Lawn also has a close association with two historic areas along the Saddle River in Paramus. One is the Easton Tower, a Bergen County historic site that consists of a stone tower and a small dam which mark the site of the colonial-era Jacob Zabriskie mill and the 19th-20th centuries-era Arcola community park. Another is the Dunkerhook community, focused around the New Jersey designated historic road, Dunkerhook Road. The western section of the community includes the Naugle House and the Jacob Vanderbeck, Jr. House, and the eastern section included a slave and free-African American community that consisted of a school, a cemetery, a church, and houses including the now-demolished Zabriskie Tenant House.
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- History, Garretson Forge and Farm. Accessed October 11, 2013.
- Staff. "The Record: Preserving history", The Record (Bergen County), August 1, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013. "Fair Lawn bought the 1776 Naugle House three years ago, snatching it from the jaws of a developer with plans to build town homes on the property. Not only was the house saved, but so were the grounds, keeping precious open space open."
- Sudol, Karen. "Fate of Fair Lawn historic homes becomes clearer", The Record (Bergen County), July 29, 2013. Accessed November 5, 2013. "Fair Lawn bought the house in 2010 for $1.7 million using municipal and county open space funds. The cost to develop the restoration plan — not the actual work on the house — was $38,500, funded through a county grant matched by the borough.... The house, which dates to 1776 and is listed on the national and state historic place registers, is said to have been the home of a paymaster for the Continental Army and to have once hosted the Marquis de Lafayette, the French nobleman who fought with the Continental Army."
- Radburn - National Historic Landmark Nomination form, National Park Service. Accessed November 5, 2013.
- Diduch, Mary. "Fate of old Fair Lawn house rests with proposal for senior complex", The Record (Bergen County), May 27, 2014. Accessed September 16, 2014. "The zoning board is poised Thursday to hear an application to build an assisted-living facility on a three-acre parcel where an 18th-century historic structure sits.The preservation of the Jacob Vanderbeck Jr. house on Dunkerhook Road has been an issue in the borough for years, and now the historic commission there is looking to negotiate with the developer to possibly have the home moved so it can be preserved."
- 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey 2013: Jacob Vanderbeck Jr. House, Preservation New Jersey. Accessed October 11, 2013.
- W. Woodford Clayton with William Nelson, History of Bergen and Passaic Counties, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1882.
- Cornelius Burnham Harvey (ed.), Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey. New York: New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Co., 1900.
- James M. Van Valen, History of Bergen County, New Jersey. New York: New Jersey Publishing and Engraving Co., 1900.
- Westervelt, Frances A. (Frances Augusta), 1858-1942, History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1923.
- Fair Lawn official website
- Fair Lawn online guide
- Fair Lawn Public Schools
- Fair Lawn Public Schools's 2012–13 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- Data for the Fair Lawn Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics
- Radburn, New Jersey - A Town for the Motor Age
- The Fair Lawn/Paterson Fish Weir
- Knights of Pythias - Benjamin N. Cardozo Lodge #163