North Bergen, New Jersey

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North Bergen, New Jersey
Township
Township of North Bergen
View looking westward from Meadowlands to Hudson River
View looking westward from Meadowlands to Hudson River
Official seal of North Bergen, New Jersey
Seal
Map highlighting North Bergen within Hudson County. Inset: Location of Hudson County in New Jersey.
Map highlighting North Bergen within Hudson County. Inset: Location of Hudson County in New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of North Bergen, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of North Bergen, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°47′39″N 74°01′30″W / 40.794175°N 74.02496°W / 40.794175; -74.02496Coordinates: 40°47′39″N 74°01′30″W / 40.794175°N 74.02496°W / 40.794175; -74.02496[1][2]
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Hudson
Incorporated April 10, 1843
Government[5]
 • Type Walsh Act
 • Mayor Nicholas Sacco (term ends April 30, 2015)[3]
 • Clerk Erin Barillas[4]
Area[2]
 • Total 5.575 sq mi (14.438 km2)
 • Land 5.134 sq mi (13.296 km2)
 • Water 0.441 sq mi (1.142 km2)  7.91%
Area rank 267th of 566 in state
5th of 12 in county[2]
Elevation [6] 112 ft (34 m)
Population (2010 U.S. Census)[7][8][9][10]
 • Total 60,773
 • Estimate (2012[11]) 61,960
 • Rank 23rd of 566 in state
4th of 12 in county[12]
 • Density 11,838.0/sq mi (4,570.7/km2)
 • Density rank 21st of 566 in state
8th of 12 in county[12]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07047[13]
Area code(s) 201/551
FIPS code 3401752470[14][2][15]
GNIS feature ID 0882223[16][2]
Website http://www.northbergen.org

North Bergen is a township in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a total population of 60,773,[7][8][9] reflecting an increase of 2,681 (+4.6%) from the 58,092 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 9,678 (+20.0%) from the 48,414 counted in the 1990 Census.[17] Originally founded in 1843, the town was much diminished in territory by a series of secessions.[18] Situated on the Hudson Palisades, it is one of the "hilliest" municipalities in the United States.[19] Like neighboring North Hudson communities, North Bergen is among those places in the nation with the highest population density and a majority Hispanic population.

Geography[edit]

North Bergen is located at 40°47′39″N 74°01′30″W / 40.794175°N 74.02496°W / 40.794175; -74.02496 (40.794175,-74.02496). According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 5.575 square miles (14.438 km2), of which, 5.134 square miles (13.296 km2) of it is land and 0.441 square miles (1.142 km2) of it (7.91%) is water.[1][2]

The township is roughly shaped like an inverted "L". It northern section stretches east-west and is south of Bergen County. Its north-south section lies between Secaucus to the west and Guttenberg, West New York, and Union City, which with it meets Jersey City at a single point at its southern end.

North Bergen has a diverse geological features. Partially situated on the North River, the Hudson Palisades rise from the waterfront, while the northern part of the town sits atop the plateau. The cuesta, or slope, on the west side of area makes North Bergen the city with the second most hills per square mile in the United States after San Francisco,[20] some of which are extremely steep. A rock formation along the slope (located at 40°48′27″N 74°01′05″W / 40.80750°N 74.01806°W / 40.80750; -74.01806) is composed of unusual serpentinite rock and made up of small rock cliffs. Because of this, it is one of the few undeveloped parts of North Bergen. Low-lying areas along the west side are part of the New Jersey Meadowlands. The unusual shape and diverse topography of North Bergen have create a diverse historical and contemporary neighborhoods.

On the western slope overlooking the Meadowlands
Woodcliff Treatment Plant at the foot of the Palisades

History[edit]

Colonial era[edit]

At the time of European colonization. the area was the territory of Hackensack tribe of the Lenape,[23] who maintained a settlement, Espatingh, on the west side of the hills.[24][25][26] and where a Dutch trading post was established after the Peach Tree War.[27] In 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, then Director-General of New Netherland, repurchased from them the area now encompassed by the municipalities of Hudson County east of the Hackensack River. In 1660 he granted permission to establish the semi-autonomous colony of Bergen, with the main village located at today's Bergen Square, considered to be the first chartered municipality in what would became the state of New Jersey.[28] At the time, the area of North Bergen was heavily forested, traversed by paths used by the indigenous and colonizing population and became known as Bergen Woods, a name recalled in today's neighborhood. After the 1664 surrender of Fort Amsterdam the entire New Netherland colony came into the possession of the British, who established the Province of New Jersey. In 1682, the East Jersey legislature formed the state's first four counties, including Bergen County, which consisted of all the land in the peninsula between the Hackensack and Hudson Rivers; that is, the eastern portions of what today is Bergen and Hudson Counties.[29] In 1693, Bergen County was divided into two townships: Hackensack Township in the north, and Bergen Township, encompassing the Bergen Neck peninsula, in the south. The border between the two townships is the current Hudson-Bergen county line.[30][31] While settlement was sparse, communities developed along the Bergen Turnpike at the Three Pigeons and Maisland, later New Durham. French botanist André Michaux developed his gardens nearby. On the Hudson River, Bulls Ferry became an important landing for crossings to Manhattan. While ostensibly under British control during the American Revolutionary War, the area was patrolled by the Americans on foraging, espionage, and raiding expeditions;[32][33] most notably the Battle of Bull's Ferry.

Toponymy, secession, and urbanization[edit]

On February 22, 1838, Jersey City was incorporated as a separate municipality,[34] and in 1840 Hudson County, comprising the city and Bergen Township, was created from the southern portion of Bergen County.[32][35] North Bergen was incorporated as a township on April 10, 1843, by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature, from the northern portion of Bergen Township. At the time, the town included everything east of the Hackensack River and north of and including what is now Jersey City Heights.[36][37] The entire region which is now known as North Hudson experienced massive immigration and urbanization during the latter half of the 19th century, and led to the creation of various new towns. Portions of the North Bergen were taken to form Hoboken Township (April 9, 1849, now the City of Hoboken), Hudson Town (April 12, 1852, later part of Hudson City), Hudson City (April 11, 1855, later merged with Jersey City), Guttenberg (formed within the township on March 9, 1859, and set off as an independent municipality on April 1, 1878), Weehawken (March 15, 1859), Union Township and West Hoboken Township (both created on February 28, 1861), Union Hill town (March 29, 1864) and Secaucus (March 12, 1900).[18] During this era many of Hudson County's cemeteries were developed along the town's western slope of the Hudson Palisades. At their foot in the Meadowlands the Erie, the New York, Susquehanna and Western, and the West Shore railroads ran right-of-ways to their terminals on the Hudson, the last building its tunnel through Bergen Hill at North Bergen.[38] The area was important destination during peak German immigration to the United States, and is recalled today in Schuetzen Park, founded in 1874. Further north, the Guttenburg Racetrack became a notable and notorious destination which after its closing became a proving ground for new technologies, the automobile and the airplane.[39][40][41][42][43][44]

20th century[edit]

North Hudson Park and the Stonehenge

The development of Hudson County Boulevard, now known by its two sections which meet in North Hudson Park, Kennedy Boulevard and Boulevard East, was completed in the early 20th century,and by 1913 it was considered to be fine for "motoring".[45] Residential districts along and between the boulevards were developed.[46][47] Bergenline Avenue, a broad street which accommodated the North Hudson County Railway streetcars[48] to Nungesser's became (and remains) an important commercial and transit corridor. In 1935, in one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history, local hero James J. Braddock won the world heavyweight championship. A resident of the town until his death, the county park in North Bergen is now named for him.[49] Soon after the opening of the Lincoln Tunnel Approach, the Susquehanna Transfer was built to accommodate passengers who wished to transfer to buses through the tunnel. At the time of its construction in 1949 the WOR TV Tower, in the midst the residential Woodcliff Section,[50] was the tenth-tallest man-made structure in the world.[51] In the early 1960s two notable paleontological finds of fossils from the Newark Basin were made near the foot of the cliffs at one of several former quarries, the Granton, of which today's avenue is a namsake.[52][53][54] The former quarry remained an archeological site until at least 1980.[55] In contrast to other Hudson County communities during the latter half of the century, North Bergen grew significantly in population. Many residents are part of the wave of Spanish language speakers which had begun in the 1960s with Cuban émigrés, leading to the moniker "Havana on the Hudson" for the North Hudson area.[56][57]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 3,578 *
1860 6,335 * 77.1%
1870 3,032 * −52.1%
1880 4,268 40.8%
1890 5,715 33.9%
1900 9,213 * 61.2%
1910 15,662 70.0%
1920 23,344 49.0%
1930 40,714 74.4%
1940 39,714 −2.5%
1950 41,560 4.6%
1960 42,387 2.0%
1970 47,751 12.7%
1980 47,019 −1.5%
1990 48,414 3.0%
2000 58,092 20.0%
2010 60,773 4.6%
Est. 2012 61,960 [11] 2.0%
Population sources: 1850-1920[58]
1850-1870[59] 1850[60] 1870[61]
1880-1890[62] 1890-1910[63]
1910–1930[64] 1930–1990[65]
2000[66][67] 2010[7][8][9]
* = Lost territory in previous decade.[18]

2010 U.S. Census[edit]

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 60,773 people, 22,062 households, and 14,539 families residing in the township. The population density was 11,838.0 per square mile (4,570.7 /km2). There were 23,912 housing units at an average density of 4,657.8 per square mile (1,798.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the township was 66.98% (40,705) White, 4.04% (2,456) Black or African American, 0.88% (535) Native American, 6.55% (3,979) Asian, 0.08% (49) Pacific Islander, 16.63% (10,107) from other races, and 4.84% (2,942) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 68.40% (41,569) of the population.[7]

There were 22,062 households, of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.35.[7]

In the township, 21.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.1 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.[7]

2000 U.S. Census[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[14] there were 58,092 people, 21,236 households, and 14,249 families residing in the township. The population density was 11,179.6 people per square mile (4,313.4/km²). There were 22,009 housing units at an average density of 1, 634.2/km² (4,235.5/sq mi). The racial makeup of the township was 67.36% White, 2.72% African American, 0.40% Native American, 6.47% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 15.53% from other races, and 7.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 57.25% of the population.[66][67]

There were 21,236 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% 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 3.33.[66][67]

In the township the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.[66][67]

Males had a median income of $35,626 versus $29,067 for females. The per capita income for the township was $20,058. About 9.6% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.0% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.[66][67]

Commerce[edit]

North Bergen has several retail districts, along Bergenline Avenue, Tonnelle Avenue, and near Transfer Station. It is a state-established "Urban Enterprise Zone", implemented through a program designed to assist businesses in communities across New Jersey. Businesses within the zone are eligible for a variety of incentives, including a sales tax reduction to 3½% to customers at eligible merchants (from the mandated 7% statewide sales tax), with no tax on clothing or on purchases made by merchants related to running their businesses. Revenue generated from the reduced sales tax is maintained in a special fund dedicated for use within the zone for specific economic development and physical improvement projects.[68] The zone was established in February 1995 through the efforts of Senator Sacco, one of the sponsors of legislation creating the zones.[69]

The Vitamin Shoppe is headquartered in North Bergen.[70] Hudson News and Liz Claiborne are large employers.[71] New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway operates five intermodal freight transport facilities within the township.[72]

Government[edit]

North Bergen Town Hall.

Local government[edit]

North Bergen is governed under the Walsh Act form of New Jersey municipal government since 1931.[73] The government consists of five commissioners elected at large to the Township Committee in non-partisan elections to serve four-year terms of office on a concurrent basis. After each election, the commissioners select one of their members to serve as mayor and each individual is assigned to head one of the five commissions.[5]

As of 2014, members of the North Bergen Township Committee are Mayor Nicholas Sacco (Commissioner of Public Affairs[74]), Hugo D. Cabrera (Commissioner of Parks and Public Property[75]), Theresa V. Ferraro (Commissioner of Public Safety[76]), Frank J. Gargiulo (Commissioner of Public Works[77]) and Allen Pascual (Commissioner of Revenue and Finance).[78][79]

Corruption[edit]

In February 2004 Peter Perez, former commissioner in charge of Parks and Recreation, was sentenced to serve six months in a federal prison for accepting kickbacks and bribes from a contractor who had several business contracts with the township. He received a reduced sentence in light of his cooperation with authorities.[80]

On March 27, 2008 North Bergen Athletic Director Jerry Maietta and Guidance Counselor Ralph Marino were among 45 men swept up in a Bergen County raid. Bergen County Prosecutors described the two as lower level operatives in an expansive network of bookies, package holders, drug dealers and drug distributors. Other transactions included knock off woman purses and human organs.[81]

On September 11, 2012 North Bergen's Superintendent of DPW James Wiley pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to one count of second degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct. Mr. Wiley was convicted for using the town's resources to participate in political campaigns.[82]

In 2013 a report issued by the state Office of the Comptroller revealed that an attorney for North Bergen made $18,800 a year plus health benefits, but township officials had no idea what he was doing, or whether he was even at work. It was reported that he was hired between the years of 1988 and 1990. He had been actively working until 2006, when he had a falling out with a township official and stopped receiving legal work. Despite not being assigned work, the attorney told investigators that throughout his employment with the township, he was routinely solicited to make political contributions to Nick Sacco's political allies. His contributions in 2012 to this committee totaled $6,600.[83]

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

North Bergen is located in the 8th Congressional District[84] and is part of New Jersey's 32nd state legislative district.[8][85][86] Prior to the 2010 Census, North Bergen had been split between the 9th Congressional District and the 13th 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.[87]

New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York).[88] 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)[89][90] and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).[91][92]

The 32nd District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nicholas Sacco (D, North Bergen) and in the General Assembly by Angelica M. Jimenez (D, West New York) and Vincent Prieto (D, Secaucus).[93] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[94] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[95]

The Hudson County Executive, elected at-large, is Thomas A. DeGise.[96] Freeholder District 8, compromised of North Bergen, the North End of Secaucus and northernmost tip of Jersey City near Transfer Station.[97] is represented by Thomas Liggio.[98][99]

Politics[edit]

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 30,595 registered voters in North Bergen, of which 18,816 (61.5%) were registered as Democrats, 2,462 (8.0%) were registered as Republicans and 9,301 (30.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 16 voters registered to other parties.[100]

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 69.6% of the vote here (14,791 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 28.7% (6,100 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (169 votes), among the 21,254 ballots cast by the town's 34,402 registered voters, for a turnout of 61.8%.[101] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 65.4% of the vote here (12,783 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 33.5% (6,541 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (118 votes), among the 19,540 ballots cast by the town's 30,540 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 64.0.[102]

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 73.9% of the vote here (9,680 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 22.3% (2,922 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 1.5% (200 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (151 votes), among the 13,106 ballots cast by the town's 28,555 registered voters, yielding a 45.9% turnout.[103]

Public safety[edit]

The North Bergen Police Force was founded in 1923, replacing the peace force known as "roundsmen".[104] North Bergen's fire department merged with those of neighboring communities in 1999 to form North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR).[105] Engine 1, Engine 6, Engine 9/Battalion 3, Engine 13 and Ladder 5 are all located in North Bergen.[106] NHRFR and North Bergen Emergency Medical Services (headquartered at 63rd Street and Granton Avenue) were among the many Hudson County agencies that responded to the January 2009 crash of Flight 1549, as did Palisades Medical Center, where 57 of the survivors were treated for injuries.[107][108]

Education[edit]

McKinley School (left) and North Bergen High School (right).

The North Bergen School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[109]) are six elementary schools — Franklin School[110] (grades 1–8; 634 students), Robert Fulton School[111] (K-8; 1,205), John F. Kennedy School[112] (1–8; 530), Lincoln School[113] (PreK-8; 1,486), Horace Mann School[114] (1–8; 1,121), McKinley School[115] (K-8; 420) — and North Bergen High School[116] for grades 9–12 (2,630 students).[117] Students from Guttenberg attend the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Guttenberg Public School District.[118]

North Bergen is also the location of High Tech High School, a county grade 9 - 12 magnet school with a student body of over 600, operating as part of the Hudson County Schools of Technology that provides technology education to students from across the county.[119][120][121]

A Step Ahead Preschool is a private pre-K through kindergarten school established in 1993.[122][123]

Transportation[edit]

The Tonnelle Avenue Light Rail station.

Public transportation in North Bergen is provided by bus and light rail service.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) service is available at the Tonnelle Avenue station and Bergenline Station to points in Weehawken, Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne.

Bus service is provided along busy north-south corridors on Kennedy Boulevard, Bergenline Avenue, and Boulevard East by New Jersey Transit and privately operated guagua (minibus) within Hudson County, and to Bergen County and Manhattan, New York City. Nungessers is a major origination and transfer point. Lines terminating at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan are the 121, 125, 127, 128, 154, 156, 158, 159, 165, 166, 168, 320 routes. The 181 and 188 lines terminate at George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in Upper Manhattan. Lines 22, 23, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88 and 89 terminate either at Journal Square or Hoboken Terminal. The 751 travels to Edgewater and Hackensack.[124]

Route 495 travels between the Lincoln Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike with interchanges for Route 3 and U.S. Route 1/9, which runs north-south on the western edge side of town.

Media and culture[edit]

North Bergen is located within the New York media market, with most of its daily papers available for sale or delivery. The Jersey Journal is a local daily paper based in Jersey City. Local weeklies include the free bilingual paper, Hudson Dispatch Weekly,[125] (named for the former daily Hudson Dispatch),[126] North Bergen Reporter (part of the Hudson Reporter group of local weeklies), and the Spanish language El Especialito.[127] River View Observer is a monthly newspaper that covers the Hudson Waterfront market.

In the late 2000s, North Bergen, Weehawken, Union City and West New York came to be dubbed collectively as "NoHu", a North Hudson haven for local performing and fine artists, many of whom are immigrants from Latin America and other countries, in part due to lower housing costs compared to those in nearby art havens such as Hoboken, Jersey City and Manhattan.[128]

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Township Clerk, North Bergen. Accessed November 12, 2012.
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  6. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Township of North Bergen, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed March 8, 2013.
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  8. ^ a b c d Municipalities Grouped by 2011-2020 Legislative Districts, New Jersey Department of State, p. 13. Accessed January 6, 2013.
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External links[edit]