Belleville, New Jersey
|Belleville, New Jersey|
|Township of Belleville|
Wesley United Methodist Church
|Nickname(s): Cherry Blossom Capital of America, The Ville|
Location in Essex County and the state of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Belleville, New Jersey
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||April 8, 1839|
|Named for||French language for "beautiful city"|
|• Type||Faulkner Act (Council-Manager)|
|• Body||Township Council|
|• Mayor||Raymond Kimble (term ends June 30, 2018)|
|• Manager||Kevin M. Esposito (interim)|
|• Clerk||Kelly Cavanagh|
|• Total||3.399 sq mi (8.805 km2)|
|• Land||3.340 sq mi (8.651 km2)|
|• Water||0.059 sq mi (0.154 km2) 1.74%|
|Area rank||317th of 566 in state
14th of 22 in county
|Elevation||161 ft (49 m)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|• Estimate (2015)||36,354|
|• Rank||64th of 566 in state
7th of 22 in county
|• Density||10,755.7/sq mi (4,152.8/km2)|
|• Density rank||31st of 566 in state
5th of 22 in county
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1729713|
Belleville (French: "Belle ville" meaning "Beautiful city / town") is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 35,926, reflecting a decline of 2 (0.0%) from the 35,928 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,715 (+5.0%) from the 34,213 counted in the 1990 Census.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Government
- 5 Education
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Places of interest
- 8 Notable people
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Originally known as "Second River" or "Washington", the inhabitants renamed the settlement "Belleville" in 1797. Belleville was originally incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1839, from portions of Bloomfield. Portions of the township were taken to create Woodside Township (March 24, 1869, now defunct) and Franklin Township (February 18, 1874, now known as Nutley). The independent municipality of Belleville city was created within the township on March 27, 1874, and was dissolved on February 22, 1876. On November 16, 1910, Belleville was reincorporated as a town, based on the results of a referendum held eight days earlier.
In 1870, Belleville became the first Chinatown on the East Coast of the United States. While the country experienced strong anti-Chinese sentiment, the town welcomed a group of Chinese workers from the West Coast who had been involved in construction of the Central Pacific Railroad. This group of people eventually formed the basis for Chinatowns in Newark and New York City.
In 1981, the town was one of seven Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining four municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships in order take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 3.399 square miles (8.805 km2), including 3.340 square miles (8.651 km2) of land and 0.059 square miles (0.154 km2) of water (1.74%).
Silver Lake (2010 total population of 4,243) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) defined by the United States Census Bureau as of the 2010 Census that is split between Belleville (with 3,769 of the CDP's residents) and Bloomfield (474 of the total).
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Belwood, Big Tree and Soho.
The township of Belleville has given itself the nickname the Cherry Blossom Capital of America, with an annual display that is larger than the famed Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., site of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
1840-1920 1840 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 35,926 people, 13,395 households, and 9,001 families residing in the township. The population density was 10,755.7 per square mile (4,152.8/km2). There were 14,327 housing units at an average density of 4,289.3 per square mile (1,656.1/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 60.55% (21,753) White, 9.12% (3,277) Black or African American, 0.35% (126) Native American, 12.00% (4,312) Asian, 0.05% (18) Pacific Islander, 13.97% (5,018) from other races, and 3.96% (1,422) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39.34% (14,133) of the population.
There were 13,395 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the township, the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.2 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 89.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $60,127 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,658) and the median family income was $69,181 (+/- $4,525). Males had a median income of $46,656 (+/- $2,959) versus $42,237 (+/- $2,818) for females. The per capita income for the township was $27,668 (+/- $1,357). About 3.7% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 35,928 people, 13,731 households, and 9,089 families residing in the township. The population density was 10,744.3 people per square mile (4,153.3/km2). There were 14,144 housing units at an average density of 4,229.8 per square mile (1,635.0/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 69.44% White, 5.36% African American, 0.17% Native American, 11.31% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 9.83% from other races, and 3.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.68% of the population.
There were 13,731 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the township the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $48,576, and the median income for a family was $55,212. Males had a median income of $38,074 versus $31,729 for females. The per capita income for the township was $22,093. About 6.3% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
Belleville is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Council-Manager form of New Jersey municipal government by a seven-member Township Council. Two members of the council are elected at-large, one is elected at-large as a mayor, and one each from four wards, with elections held on a non-partisan basis as part of the May municipal election. Members are elected to serve four-year terms of office on a staggered basis. The four ward seats are up for vote together and the two at-large and mayoral seats are up for vote two years later.
As of 2016[update], the mayor of Belleville is Raymond Kimble, whose term of office ends June 30, 2018. Members of the Belleville Township Council are Deputy Mayor Vincent Cozzarelli (Ward 3; 2020), Kevin G. Kennedy (at-large; 2018), Joseph V. Longo (at-large; 2018), John J. Notari (Ward 4; 2020), Steven Rovell (Ward 2; 2020) and Marie Strumolo-Burke (Ward 1; 2020).
The Interim Township Manager is Kevin M. Esposito.
Federal, state and county representation
Belleville is located in the 8th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 29th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Belleville had been in the 28th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 29th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Teresa Ruiz (D, Newark) and in the General Assembly by Eliana Pintor Marin (D, Newark) and Blonnie R. Watson (D, Newark). Watson was sworn into office on July 21, 2016, to fill the seat of L. Grace Spencer, who had resigned from office on June 30, 2016, to become a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court. The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Essex County is governed by a directly-elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders. As of 2016[update], the County Executive is Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. The county's Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, four elected on an at-large basis and one from each of five wards, who serve three-year terms of office on a concurrent basis, all of which end December 31, 2018. Essex County's Freeholders are Freeholder President Britnee N. Timberlake (District 3 - East Orange, Newark's West and Central Wards, Orange and South Orange; East Orange) Freeholder Vice President Brendan W. Gill (at large; Montclair), Rufus I. Johnson (at large; Newark), Lebby C. Jones (at large; Irvington), Patricia Sebold (at large; Livingston), Rolando Bobadilla (District 1 - Newark's North and East Wards, parts of Central and West Wards; Newark), Wayne L. Richardson (District 2 - Irvington, Maplewood and Newark's South Ward and parts of West Ward; Newark), Leonard M. Luciano (District 4 - Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange; West Caldwell), and Cynthia D. Toro (District 5 - Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair and Nutley; Bloomfield). Constitutional elected countywide are County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin (West Caldwell, 2020), Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura (Fairfield, 2018) and Surrogate Theodore N. Stephens II (2016).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 19,684 registered voters in Belleville, of which 7,241 (36.8%) were registered as Democrats, 2,708 (13.8%) were registered as Republicans and 9,729 (49.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 6 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 65.8% of the vote (8,031 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 33.3% (4,071 votes), and other candidates with 0.9% (109 votes), among the 12,956 ballots cast by the township's 20,621 registered voters (745 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 62.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 56.9% of the vote here (7,475 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 41.4% (5,444 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (110 votes), among the 13,135 ballots cast by the township's 19,378 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.8%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50.6% of the vote here (6,046 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 48.0% (5,728 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (130 votes), among the 11,940 ballots cast by the township's 17,411 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 68.6.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 53.1% of the vote (3,170 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 45.8% (2,734 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (67 votes), among the 6,050 ballots cast by the township's 20,904 registered voters (79 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 28.9%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 50.7% of the vote here (3,626 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 42.6% (3,041 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.6% (329 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (72 votes), among the 7,146 ballots cast by the Township's 19,313 registered voters, yielding a 37.0% turnout.
The Belleville School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its nine schools had an enrollment of 4,584 students and 314.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.6:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are School 3 (grades K-5; 359 students), School 4 (PreK-5; 363), School 5 (K-5; 365), School 7 (PreK-5; 371), School 8 (K-5; 490), School 9 (K-5; 141), School 10 (K-5; 186), Belleville Middle School (6-8; 1,041) and Belleville High School (9-12; 1,154).
The Belleville Public Library and Information Center had a collection of 105,452 volumes and is a member of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, a consortium of municipal libraries in the northeastern New Jersey counties of Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Essex.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 67.17 miles (108.10 km) of roadways, of which 57.22 miles (92.09 km) were maintained by the municipality, 6.21 miles (9.99 km) by Essex County and 3.74 miles (6.02 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Route 7 and New Jersey Route 21 as well as County Route 506 all pass through Belleville. The Belleville Turnpike Bridge (also known as the Rutgers Street Bridge) crosses the Passaic River, connecting Belleville to North Arlington. The bridge was formally renamed on July 4, 2013, as the "Lance Corporal Osbrany Montes de Oca Memorial Bridge" in memory of a United States Marine Corps soldier killed in February 2012 while serving in Afghanistan.
Until 1966, the Newark Branch of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad (EL) provided stations at Belleville and Cleveland Street. The New York and Greenwood Lake Railway, later the Boonton Line, also served the township.
Places of interest
- Clara Maass Medical Center is a 469-bed teaching hospital that is part of the Barnabas Health system, founded in 1868 as Newark German Hospital, and named for Clara Maass, a nurse who died after volunteering for medical experiments to study yellow fever
- Reformed Dutch Church of Second River - The church's original building was constructed in 1697 and replaced in 1725. A new structure was erected in 1807 after a tornado destroyed the previous church building, and the current church dates to 1853. More than 60 Continental Army soldiers are buried in the cemetery that adjoins the church.
Belleville locations in The Sopranos
- Episode 3 ("Denial, Anger, Acceptance"): Christopher Moltisanti's "mock execution" is on the pier in the Passaic River used by Belleville High School's crew team.
- Episode 28 ("Proshai, Livushka"): Livia Soprano's funeral is held at the Irvine-Cozzarelli Memorial Home, across the street from Belleville Middle School on Washington Avenue.
- Season 4- Even though Furio Giunta's house was stated to be in Nutley, its actual location was Belleville on Essex Street.
- Episode 54 ("Rat Pack"): Junior gets lost and tells the policemen who find him that he lives in Belleville.
- Episode 76 ("Cold Stones"): Rosalie Aprile briefly dates a much younger French motorcyclist named Michel, who hails from Belleville, Paris. Ro expresses a particular sense of kinship with Michel given his connection to a town with the same name as the New Jersey town where members of her inner circle live (e.g., Corrado Soprano) and do business (e.g., the Irvine-Cozzarelli Memorial Home).
1996 Torch Relay
On June 18, 1996, the Olympic Torch Relay came through the township of Belleville. The relay entered Belleville from Rutgers, made a left onto Washington Avenue, passing the Belleville Town Hall, a right onto Belleville Avenue and stayed on Belleville into the township of Bloomfield. The torch relay ended at Atlanta, Georgia for the 1996 Summer Olympics.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Belleville include:
- Platt Adams (1885–1961), winner of gold and silver Olympic medals.
- Russell Baker (born 1925), Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Growing Up.
- Moe Berg (1902–1972), Major League Baseball catcher who also served as a spy for the United States.
- Chico Borja (born 1959), former professional soccer player.
- Ralph R. Caputo (born 1940), member of the New Jersey General Assembly who has represented the 28th Legislative District.
- Kacy Catanzaro (born 1990) is a gymnast noted for being the first woman to qualify for the finals of the television sports challenge American Ninja Warrior.
- Samuel Cornish (1795–1858), abolitionist and publisher of the first newspaper in the United States owned by African Americans.
- Bob Crewe (1930–2014), songwriter, dancer, singer, manager, record producer and fine artist best known for producing, and co-writing together with Bob Gaudio, a string of Top 10 singles for The Four Seasons.
- Robert Curvin (1934–2015), researcher and theorist on issues related to urban poverty.
- The Delicates, the late 50s / early 60s girl group made up of Denise Ferri, Arleen Lanzotti and Peggy Santiglia Davison.
- Michael Devaney (1891–1967), track and field athlete who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics and in the 1924 Summer Olympics, and was part of the team that won the gold medal in 1920 in the 3000 metre steeplechase competition.
- Tommy DeVito (born 1936), musician and singer.
- Dennis Diken (born 1957), former drummer with The Smithereens.
- Connie Francis (born 1938), singer.
- Bob Gaudio (born 1942), singer, songwriter and producer.
- Kay Gardella (1923–2005), reporter, critic and columnist for almost 60 years at the New York Daily News.
- Frances Goodrich (1890–1984) was an American dramatist and screenwriter, best known for her collaborations with her partner and husband Albert Hackett.
- Scott Graham (born 1965), Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster.
- David Grant (born 1965), former NFL player.
- Creighton Gubanich (born 1972), catcher who played professionally in 15 games for the Boston Red Sox in 1999 and had a grand slam as his first career hit and only career home run.
- Llewellyn F. Haskell (1842–1929), United States Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War.
- Frank Iero (born 1981), musician best known as the rhythm guitarist for the band My Chemical Romance, lead vocalist for the band Leathermouth and lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Pencey Prep.
- Nick Massi (1935–2000), early member of the Four Seasons.
- Tony Meola (born 1969), soccer goalie.
- Paul Mirabella (born 1954), MLB player for the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and the Milwaukee Brewers.
- Joe Pesci (born 1943), actor.
- Diane Ruggiero, That's Life series creator and Veronica Mars writer.
- Junior Sanchez, DJ, record producer and remixer.
- Reza Saberi, Iranian-American journalist arrested in Iran in February 2009.
- Peggy Santiglia Davison (born 1944), singer, songwriter; lead singer The Angels.
- Ray Toro (born 1977), musician best known as the lead guitarist of My Chemical Romance.
- Frankie Valli (born 1934), lead singer of The Four Seasons.
- Gerard Way (born 1977), musician, singer-songwriter, and comic book writer best known as the lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance and writer of the comic series The Umbrella Academy.
- Mikey Way (born 1980), musician best known as the bassist for the band My Chemical Romance.
- Bob Yudin (born 1939), former chairman of the Bergen County, New Jersey Republican Party.
Belleville characters in The Sopranos
- Furio Giunta
- Junior Soprano, in the episode "Where's Johnny?", Junior gets lost and tells the policeman he lives in Belleville
- Vito Spatafore
- 2010 Census Gazetteer Files: New Jersey Places, United States Census Bureau. Accessed May 21, 2015.
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- Xu, April. "The First Chinatown on the East Coast; Several Chinese workers who helped build the Central Pacific Railroad found refuge in Belleville, NJ.", Asian American Writers' Workshop, April 7, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2017. "About 100 people watched as Perrone, the president of the Belleville Historical Society, led the ceremonial digging of the monument’s foundation one rainy October morning in Belleville, New Jersey. The monument was meant to honor a group of Chinese who died around 150 years ago. They were Chinese workers who were among those who built the Central Pacific Railroad and came to live and work Belleville in 1870.... This Chinese community across the Hudson River was actually responsible for giving rise to the Newark (NJ) Chinatown and eventually, the Manhattan Chinatown — which later, successively, became the largest Chinese communities in the eastern United States."
- "Chapter VI: Municipal Names and Municipal Classification"[permanent dead link], p. 73. New Jersey State Commission on County and Municipal Government, 1992. Accessed September 24, 2015.
- "Removing Tiering From The Revenue Sharing Formula Would Eliminate Payment Inequities To Local Governments", Government Accountability Office, April 15, 1982. Accessed September 24, 2015. "In 1978, South Orange Village was the first municipality to change its name to the 'township' of South Orange Village effective beginning in entitlement period 10 (October 1978 to September 1979). The Borough of Fairfield in 1978 changed its designation by a majority vote of the electorate and became the 'Township of Fairfield' effective beginning entitlement period 11 (October 1979 to September 1980).... However, the Revenue Sharing Act was not changed and the actions taken by South Orange and Fairfield prompted the Town of Montclair and West Orange to change their designation by referendum in the November 4, 1980, election. The municipalities of Belleville, Verona, Bloomfield, Nutley, Essex Fells, Caldwell, and West Caldwell have since changed their classification from municipality to a township."
- Narvaez, Alfonso A. "New Jersey Journal", The New York Times, December 27, 1981. Accessed September 24, 2015. "Under the Federal system, New Jersey's portion of the revenue sharing funds is disbursed among the 21 counties to create three 'money pools.' One is for county governments, one for 'places' and a third for townships. By making the change, a community can use the 'township advantage' to get away from the category containing areas with low per capita incomes."
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- Rotella, Mark. "Straight Out of Newark", The New York Times, October 2, 2005. Accessed March 3, 2012. "You remember the Four Seasons, right? Their sound, the wail of Frankie Valli - "She-e-e-e-e-e-ry baby" - layered over solid three-part harmonies, was the music of the streets of urban New Jersey and New York. It was the sound of the projects of Newark and the poor Italian neighborhoods of Belleville... Sitting in the Waldorf-Astoria in a polo shirt and leather loafers, he was describing his neighborhood in Belleville in the 1950's when he, his brother Nick, and a friend named Nick Massi first formed the Variety Trio, then the Varietones."
- DP-1 - Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data for Silver Lake - Essex CDP, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed November 4, 2012.
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- A HISTORY OF BRANCH BROOK'S CHERRY BLOSSOMS - Belleville: The Cherry Blossom Capital of America, Belleville Public Library and Information Center. Accessed November 8, 2011.
- Staff. "Editorial: Give Belleville tourists reason to stay", Belleville Times, April 21, 2011. Accessed April 21, 2011. Accessed November 8, 2011. "Each spring, people flock to Essex County's Cherry Blossom Festival in Branch Brook Park. The county park system has the largest variety of blossoms in the world.... Belleville already promotes itself as a cherry blossom capital, but perhaps more could be done, especially this time of year, when so many people descend on Branch Brook Park. It's one of the few major events attracting people outside the area to Belleville."
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- Clemente, John. Girl Groups: Fabulous Females that Rocked the world, p. 13. Krause Publications, 2000. Accessed November 4, 2012. " The belles from Belleville, The Delicates, 1959, (L-R) Arlene Lanzotti, Peggy Santiglia, Denise Ferri."
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- "You Say It's Your Birthday: The Smithereens' Dennis Diken", MTV News, February 25, 1997. Accessed April 14, 2013. "Today is the birthday of Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, who was born in 1957 in Belleville, New Jersey."
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- Bruder, Jessica. "Loud, Proud and Important", The New York Times , May 29, 2005. Accessed March 28, 2008. "Among some of the station's most ardent fans are the bands that WSOU has boosted. That's all I listen to when I go home, said Frank Iero, a guitarist in My Chemical Romance and a Belleville native."
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Born April 26, 1977 in Belleville, New Jersey to a Japanese mother and Iranian father. When she was 6 months old, the family moved to Fargo, North Dakota.
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- LaGorce, Tammy. "Bellowing Like Iron Maiden, but Very, Very Sensitive", The New York Times, November 7, 2004. Accessed May 15, 2011. "Wait too long, and the cartoonish geek punk who leads My Chemical Romance -- the guy dipped in the requisite all black, with thick mascara and smudges of orange shadow beneath both eyes before a recent show at Irving Plaza in Manhattan -- overtakes the boyish 27-year-old from Belleville given to explaining the band's progression through stories about his grandma and his Dungeons and Dragons addiction."
- Michel, Sia. "Fresh From the Garden State, in Black Leather and Eyeliner", The New York Times, October 22, 2006. Accessed July 11, 2012. "Perhaps the key to understanding the band's macabre nature is a dim basement apartment with low ceilings. It was there that Gerard and Mikey Way, the band's singer and bassist, grew up, in the belly of a two-family home in Belleville, N.J., a blue-collar town about 10 miles from Manhattan."
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