Plainfield, New Jersey
Plainfield, New Jersey
|City of Plainfield|
Aerial photograph of Plainfield
The Queen City
Map of Plainfield in Union County. Inset: Location of Union County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Plainfield, New Jersey
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||April 21, 1869|
|• Type||Special Charter|
|• Body||City Council|
|• Mayor||Adrian O. Mapp (D, term ends December 31, 2021)|
|• Administrator||Abubakar Jalloh (acting)|
|• Municipal clerk||Abubakar Jalloh|
|• Total||6.034 sq mi (15.626 km2)|
|• Land||6.023 sq mi (15.599 km2)|
|• Water||0.011 sq mi (0.027 km2) 0.18%|
|Area rank||256th of 566 in state|
8th of 21 in county
|Elevation||95 ft (29 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||35th of 566 in state|
3rd of 21 in county
|• Density||8,270.1/sq mi (3,193.1/km2)|
|• Density rank||45th of 566 in state|
4th of 21 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|Area code(s)||732 and 908|
|GNIS feature ID||0885355|
Plainfield is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States, known by its nickname as "The Queen City." As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population increased to 49,808, its highest ever recorded population in any decennial census, with the population having increased by 1,979 (+4.1%) from the 47,829 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,262 (+2.7%) from the 46,567 counted in the 1990 Census.
The area of present-day Plainfield was originally formed as Plainfield Township, a township that was created on April 5, 1847, from portions of Westfield Township, while the area was still part of Essex County. On March 19, 1857, Plainfield Township became part of the newly created Union County.
Plainfield was incorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 21, 1869, from portions of Plainfield Township, based on the results of a referendum held that same day. The city and township coexisted until March 6, 1878, when Plainfield Township was dissolved and parts were absorbed by Plainfield city, with the remainder becoming Fanwood Township (now known as Scotch Plains).
Plainfield was settled in 1684 by Quakers, and incorporated as a city in 1869. Formerly a bedroom suburb in the New York metropolitan area, it has become the urban center of 10 closely allied municipalities, with diversified industries, including printing and the manufacture of chemicals, clothing, electronic equipment, and vehicular parts. Among the several 18th-century buildings remaining are a Friends' meetinghouse (1788), the Martine house (1717), and the Nathaniel Drake House (1746), known as George Washington's headquarters during the Battle of Short Hills in June 1777. Nearby Washington Rock is a prominent point of the Watchung Mountains and is reputed to be the vantage point from which Washington watched British troop movements.
The "Queen City" moniker arose in the second half of the 19th century. Plainfield had been developing a reputation during this period as featuring a climate that was beneficial for respiratory ailments. In 1886, in an effort to publicize the climate, local newspaper publisher Thomas W. Morrison began to use the slogan "Colorado of the East" to promote Plainfield. As Denver, Colorado, was known as the "Queen City of the Plains," the slogan for Plainfield eventually became abbreviated to "The Queen City."
In 1902, the New Jersey Legislature approved measures that would have allowed the borough of North Plainfield to become part of Union County (a measure repealed in 1903) and to allow for a merger of North Plainfield with the City of Plainfield subject to the approval of a referendum by voters in both municipalities.
Plainfield is the birthplace of P-Funk. George Clinton founded The Parliaments while working in a Plainfield barber shop. Parliament-Funkadelic was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Plainfield has been home to former New Jersey governor James McGreevey.
In sports history, Plainfield is the birthplace and/or home of several current and former athletes, including professionals and well-known amateurs. Included in their number are Milt Campbell, the 1956 Olympic Decathlon gold medalist (the first African-American to earn this title), Joe Black, the first African-American pitcher to win a World Series game, Jeff Torborg, former MLB player, coach and manager, former Duke University and Chicago Bull basketball player Jay Williams, and Vic Washington, NFL player.
Plainfield's history as a place to call home for the 19th and 20th century wealthy has led to a significant and preserved suburban architectural legacy. An influx of Wall Street money led to the creation of what was called Millionaires' Row after the opening of the railway in the 19th century.
There are numerous sites, including homes, parks, and districts in the city that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While not listed, the Plainfield Armory, a prominent landmark completed in 1932, was sold by the state in 2013 as surplus property.
Plainfield's wealthy northeast corner, known as the "Sleepy Hollow" section of the city, was and still is characterized by its array of finely landscaped streets and neighborhoods with homes defined by a broad array of architectural styles, most built during the first half of the twentieth century. From the tree-lines neighborhoods, it can be seen that the lot sizes vary, but the stateliness and distinction of each house is evident, whether a stately Queen Anne mansion or gingerbread cottage. Most lots are nicely landscaped and semi or fully private.
Plainfield was affected by the Plainfield Rebellion in July 1967. This civil disturbance occurred in the wake of the larger Newark riots. A Plainfield police officer was killed, about fifty people were injured, and several hundred thousand dollars of property was damaged by looting and arson. The New Jersey National Guard restored order after three days of unrest. This civil unrest caused a massive white flight, characterized by the percentage of black residents rising from 40% in 1970 to 60% a decade later.
Author and Plainfield native Isaiah Tremaine published Insurrection in 2017 as a mournful accounting of the Plainfield riots—and subsequent racial tensions at Plainfield High School—from his perspective as a black teenager living in the city with both white and black friends at the time. Prior to the rebellion, Plainfield was a regional shopping and entertainment center. Residents of nearby Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties would drive to shop and explore the business districts of Plainfield. Other than during the holidays, peak shopping times Plainfield were Thursday nights and Saturday, when Front Street and the areas around it bustled.
Plainfield had several entertainment venues at that time. At the peak, there were four operating movie theaters: the Strand, the Liberty, the Paramount and the Oxford theaters.
Manufacturers of heavy goods included Chelsea Fan Corp., Mack Truck and National Starch and Chemical Corp. Plainfield Iron and Metal maintained a large scrapyard in the West End.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 6.034 square miles (15.626 km2), including 6.023 square miles (15.599 km2) of land and 0.011 square miles (0.027 km2) of water (0.18%).
The city is located in Central Jersey on the southwestern edge of Union County and is bordered by nine municipalities. In Union County are Scotch Plains to the north and east and Fanwood to the northeast. In Middlesex County, are South Plainfield and Piscataway to the south; Dunellen to the southwest and Edison to the southeast. In Somerset County, Green Brook Township lies to the northwest, North Plainfield lies to the north and Watchung borders to the northwest.
Plainfield is in the Raritan Valley, a line of cities in central New Jersey, and lies on the east side of the Raritan Valley along with Edison.
Plainfield has a humid continental climate, characterized by brisk to cold winters and hot, muggy summers. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −17 °F (−27 °C) on February 9, 1934, and the highest temperature ever recorded was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 10, 1936, and August 11, 1949. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Plainfield has a humid subtropical climate, which is abbreviated as "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for Plainfield, New Jersey (1981–2010 normals)|
|Average high °F (°C)||39.3
|Average low °F (°C)||23.3
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.70
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||8.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.7||8.3||9.5||10.9||10.3||10.0||9.4||8.8||8.3||8.3||9.1||9.7||112.3|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||2.9||2.0||1.4||.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.2||1.4||8.1|
|Population sources: 1870–1920|
1860–1870 1870 1880–1890
1930–1990 2000 2010
The 2010 United States Census counted 49,808 people, 15,180 households, and 10,884.060 families in the city. The population density was 8,270.1 per square mile (3,193.1/km2). There were 16,621 housing units at an average density of 2,759.8 per square mile (1,065.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 23.54% (11,724) White, 50.20% (25,006) Black or African American, 0.91% (455) Native American, 0.95% (474) Asian, 0.05% (26) Pacific Islander, 20.13% (10,024) from other races, and 4.21% (2,099) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40.37% (20,105) of the population.
The 15,180 households accounted 35.2% with children under the age of 18 living with them; 37.9% were married couples living together; 24.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.23 and the average family size was 3.60.
In the city, the population age was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.3 years. For every 100 females, the population had 101.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 100.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $52,056 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,048) and the median family income was $58,942 (+/- $4,261). Males had a median income of $33,306 (+/- $4,132) versus $37,265 (+/- $3,034) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,767 (+/- $1,013). About 12.2% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 16.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census of 2000, there were 47,829 people, 15,137 households, and 10,898 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,921.7 people per square mile (3,057.4/km2). There were 16,180 housing units at an average density of 2,679.8 per square mile (1,034.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 21.45% White, 61.78% African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 10.78% from other races, and 4.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.16% of the population.
There were 15,137 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 24.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.10 and the average family size was 3.49.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,683, and the median income for a family was $50,774. Males had a median income of $33,460 versus $30,408 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,052. About 12.2% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 12.6% of those age 65 or over.
Portions of Plainfield are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. The city was selected in 1983 as one of the initial group of 10 zones chosen to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the 6 5⁄8% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in January 1986, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023.
The UEZ program in Plainfield and four other original UEZ cities had been allowed to lapse as of January 1, 2017, after Governor Chris Christie, who called the program an "abject failure", vetoed a compromise bill that would have extended the status for two years. In May 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that reinstated the program in these five cities and extended the expiration date in other zones.
- The North Avenue Historic District features the Downtown train station, post office, and Plainfield National Bank (now PNC Bank). The architecture of the district reflects original exterior 19th and early 20th century facade architecture.
- The Civic Historic District features architecture reflective of the turn-of-the-century City Beautiful Movement, including the City Hall building, YMCA, City Hall Annex, and World War I monument on Watchung Avenue.
Events such as the Christmas Tree Lighting, the Queen City 5k, Fire Safety Fair, and Mayor's Wellness Walk take place in the Downtown each year.
Downtown Plainfield Alliance (DPA) is a "nonpolitical, nonprofit grassroots group that supports the improvement of Downtown Plainfield through beautification, volunteerism, economic development, marketing, community development, and activism."
The restoration of large 19th century-era Plainfield estates to their original glory, such as the Craig Marsh home, has been featured in various home design magazine coverage. Residential Districts include:
- Van Wyck Brooks Historic District. The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District was listed in This Old House magazine's 2012 list of "Best Old House Neighborhoods." Roughly bounded by Plainfield Ave., W. Eighth St., Park Ave., W. Ninth St. and Madison Ave., and Randolph Rd, it was named for literary critic and native son Van Wyck Brooks. In addition to the above-mentioned Craig Marsh home, it also contains the largest residence in Plainfield (The Coriell Mansion) and a wide variety of other historically and architecturally notable homes. The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District is the largest of the six residential Historic Districts in Plainfield, its oldest structure the Manning Stelle Farmhouse, parts of which date back to 1803. It has been a designated historic district by the City of Plainfield since 1982, and the District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
- Netherwood Heights Historic District is named for the Netherwood Hotel which stood at what is now the blocks bordered by Denmark Road, Park Terrace, Belvidere Avenue, Berkeley Avenue. This district is located near the Netherwood Train Station
- Crescent Area Historic District
- Hillside Avenue Historic District
- Sleepy Hollow is, as of 2018, a section of stately homes on winding roads on the northeast side of the city. Some have pushed to formalize its boundaries.
The West End
While the more affluent eastern part of the city has been relatively integrated over the decades, with both black and white upper-middle-class-to-wealthy families, the West End of Plainfield is the historically middle-class and working-class black district in the city and features a close-knit African-American community.
Mount Olive Baptist Church has been serving the West End as a community of faith since 1870. It is considered Plainfield's first black church. As the black community grew, other congregations branched off from Mount Olive.
Nearby, Shiloh Baptist Church was founded in 1908, also by Mount Olive congregants, and offers many faith-based events to the community, including its Jazz for Jesus program.
The West End has grown more Latin in recent years. As of the 2010 census, 40% of all people living in Plainfield were of Hispanic origin. This was up from 25% ten years earlier.
In his book Insurrection, Isaiah Tremaine, an Afro-American Plainfield native, credits the influx of Latinos for breathing new life and energy into a city hurting from racism and racial strife in the 1970s.
The West End was once home to the Silk Palace, a barbershop at 216 Plainfield Avenue owned in part by funk music legend George Clinton, staffed by various members of Parliament-Funkadelic, and known as the "hangout for all the local singers and musicians" in Plainfield's 1950s and 1960s doo-wop, soul, rock and proto-funk music scene.
A sizable and diverse LGBTQ community contributes to the long-time perception of Plainfield as a stronghold of gay life and gay community in the suburbs of New Jersey.
Plainfield has one of the highest percentage of same-sex householders in the state of New Jersey. The First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, the oldest such congregation in the United States, is certified as LGBTQ welcoming.
In 1986, The New York Times reported on what was termed at the time as the "growing homosexual population in Plainfield" drawn to the stock of aging Victorian, Tudor and colonial homes, and featured interviews with various gay men who lived in Plainfield and worked in Manhattan.
One of the Queen City's elected leaders, former Councilwoman Rebecca Williams (who now represents all of Union County as a freeholder), is openly lesbian. In 2017, as Council President, Williams organized and hosted the city's first-ever Pride flag-raising to honor its LGBTQ community and to commemorate the victims of the Pulse Orlando massacre during Pride Month.
In 2015, an openly gay Plainfielder ran for state Assemblyman.
Plainfield is also at the center of gay life in Union County, which hosts LGBTQ family events and opened the state's first county-wide office of LGBTQ services in 2018.
Arts and culture
- The recently inaugurated Queen City Film Festival is held in the city every fall to honor independently produced film.
- Plainfield is the birthplace of Bill Evans, the famous jazz piano artist.
- Plainfield is the birthplace of P-Funk. George Clinton founded The Parliaments while working in a barber shop in Plainfield. Parliament-Funkadelic was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
- Acclaimed soul singer Lee Fields resides with his family in Plainfield and moved to the city as a teen in the 1960s.
- The Plainfield Symphony performs concerts at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church. The orchestra was founded in 1919, making it one of the oldest continuously operating orchestras in the United States.
- 1990s R&B girl group Total, of Bad Boy Records fame, is from Plainfield.
- In October 2010, former Plainfield music teacher and American Idol alum Anwar Robinson and performer Yolanda Adams joined with community residents to try to be recognized by Guinness World Records for assembling the world's largest gospel chorus.
- The duCret School of Art was founded in 1926, making it the oldest art school in New Jersey. Founded by Marjorie Van Emburgh Chargois as the Van Emburgh School of Art, it was purchased in the 1960s by Dudley duCret. A 1933 exhibition of nudes by the school's artists once led to a controversy, according to The New York Times. Plainfield native Onyx Keesha, prior to her relocation to Atlanta, and members of the arts collective and production team M. PoWeR Arts have offered classes in filmmaking, acting, dance, writing and theater to Plainfield citizens at the duCret School of Art.
- The Swain Galleries were founded in 1868. The entity is the oldest privately owned art gallery in the state. The galleries are located in a Victorian structure in the Crescent Historic District of Plainfield
- Music in the Park is an annual summertime community concert event featuring the Plainfield Idol competition.
- The Parish Hall Theater at the Plainfield Cultural Center is a proscenium theater that seats approximately 125 people. Available for theatrical productions and musical performances, it features theatrical lighting, a spot light, separate lighting booth, an upright piano and a sound system.
- The historic Sanctuary at the Plainfield Cultural Center offers prime acoustics for recordings by bands and vocalists. The Sanctuary seats approximately 140 people. It is available for rehearsals, concerts, recording sessions, spoken word events, recitals and meetings.
- The Plainfield Music Store was founded in 1951 and offers a vast archive of sheet music.
- The French School of Music offers music lessons and was founded in 1927 by Yvonne Comme, a pupil of Gabriel Fauré who performed for Debussy.
- Begun in 1980, the annual Crescent Concerts series at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church brings high-end vocal, instrumental, choral and orchestral music performances to the residents of the City of Plainfield and surrounding areas.
- The Queen City October Music Festival is an annual music festival that is spearheaded by the Plainfield Arts Council.
- The Shiloh Baptist Church, which has been worshiping together as a Plainfield community of faith since 1908, hosts Jazz In The Sanctuary as part of the Queen City October Music Festival as well as its Jazz for Jesus program.
- DreamHouse Theater Company is a theater company operated in partnership with the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP). DreamHouse performs one-act and original plays, readings, spoken word and musical offerings.
- In the teaser trailer for the film, A Good Day to Die Hard, John McClane remarks "the 007 of Plainfield, New Jersey" thus confirming this as his fictional birthplace.
- J.M. Benjamin is a Plainfield author and filmmaker whose short film, Moves We Make, was filmed in Plainfield and won the Paul Robeson Award at the Newark Black Film Festival.
Plainfield media includes:
- TAPinto Plainfield is an online news site devoted to Plainfield.
- And My Point Is: A Progressive Vision for Union County is a countywide civic blog written by elected Union County Freeholder Rebecca Williams, Plainfield resident and English professor at Essex County College.
- C L I P S is a daily online news round-up dedicated to local Plainfield news by Dan Damon, former City of Plainfield information officer. "Begun in 2003 as an email newsletter to Plainfield city council members. it was later offered to the general public by email and has been available as a blog since 2007."
- Cory Storch for Good Government is a local civic blog focused on good government, written by Ward 2 Councilman Cory Storch, CEO of Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, a not-for-profit mental health service organization.
- PCTV. Plainfield also has its own channel, Plainfield Community Television (PCTV), which is available to Comcast and Verizon FiOS television subscribers on Comcast Cable Channel 96/Verizon FIOS Channel 34.
- Plainfield Today is a city opinion blog also published by Damon.
- Plainfield View is another hyperlocal blog, published by David Marcus Rutherford.
- Plainfield Vision is a blog dedicated to improving Plainfield, written by Plainfield Democratic City Committee member Sean McKenna.
- Queen City Pride is a local news and events blog.
- Remaining multi-community newspapers include the Courier News, a daily newspaper based in Bridgewater Township, and The Star-Ledger based in Newark.
- The Courier News is a consolidation of The Evening News (founded in 1884), the Plainfield Daily Press (founded in 1887) and the Plainfield Courier (founded in 1891). The paper was based in the city and called the Plainfield Courier News until 1972, when it moved westward to Bridgewater.
- Union News Daily. A news outlet covering Union County news, it has a dedicated Plainfield section. It is part of LocalSource and published by Worrall Community Newspapers of Union.
As of 2017, local media in New Jersey has undergone dramatic shrinkage.
Plainfield Plaintalker (2005–2010) and Plaintalker II (2010–2017) were two local blogs published by longtime local reporter Bernice Paglia.
From 1961 to 1997, Plainfield was home to WERA at 1590 on the AM dial with studios at 120 West 7th Street.
Places of worship
Houses of worship include:
- Saint Mary's Catholic Church Jeremiah O'Rourke it is now a heavily Spanish-speaking parish.
- Grace Church Gothic Revival Architecture. A very active parish, with a large community outreach program (After-School care, Community Garden, E.S.L., Soup Kitchen, 12-Step Programs, a Robust Music Program, Zumba, etc).
- First Park Baptist.
- Albaseerah Islamic Center is a mosque in the Sleepy Hollow district.
- First Unitarian Society of Plainfield was founded in the 1880s. It is the oldest Unitarian congregation in the country. All Souls Church, which hosts First Unitarian was completed in the early 1890s. Magician and architect Oscar Teale designed the church in 1892. With a history of involvement in the LGBTQ community and support for Black Lives Matter, it is certified as a Unitarian Universalist LGBTQ Welcoming Congregation.
- Crescent Avenue Presbyterian. A magnificent Gilbert F. Adams organ undergirds the church's musical programming.
- The Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
- Plainfield Friends Quaker Meeting House.
- Seventh Day Baptist Church.
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux & St. Stanislaus Kostka.
- Shiloh Baptist Church, established 1908.
- The United Presbyterian Church 1825.
- New Covenant Church, Pentecostal.
- Cross of Life Lutheran Church (ELCA)
Parks and recreation
- Cedar Brook Park lies on the east side of the city.
- Green Brook Park offers hiking, sports, and picnicking in the West End.
- The Plainfield Garden Club was founded in 1915. It has maintained the Shakespeare Garden in Cedar Brook Park since the garden's inception in 1927. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm, it is one of only 23 Shakespeare Gardens in the US. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a part of the state's Women's Heritage trail.
- The hiking trails of the Watchung Reservation are located close to the city boundaries.
- Plainfield Skatepark at Madison Park offers skateboarding and other wheeled activity. In 2017, this state-of-the-art public skateboarding area opened inside Madison Park. It is the first public skatepark in the city. Its modern California-style design was deemed by some skateboarders as a first in New Jersey.
- Milt Campbell Field in the East End, named for Plainfield legend and Olympic gold medalist Milt Campbell offers sports and nature walks.
- Hannah Atkins Center Pool, Rushmore Playground Pool, and Seidler Field Pool offer swimming, sports and other recreation.
Plainfield is governed under a Special Charter granted by the New Jersey Legislature. The city is one of 11 of 565 municipalities statewide governed under a special charter. The governing body is comprised of a mayor and a seven-member City Council, all of whom serve four-year terms in office. The city is divided into four wards, with one ward seat up for election each year. There are three at-large seats: one from the First and Fourth Wards; one from the Second and Third Wards; and one from the city as a whole. The three at-large seats and mayoral seat operate in a four-year cycle, with one seat up for election each year.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor of the City of Plainfield is Democrat Adrian O. Mapp, whose term of office ends December 31, 2021. Members of the Plainfield City Council are Council President Steve G. Hockaday (Ward 4; D, 2021), Council Vice President Elton Armady (At Large All Wards; D, 2020 - elected to serve an unexpired term), Ashley Davis (Ward 1; D, 2022), Barry N. Goode (At Large Wards 1 and 4; D, 2023), Sean McKenna (Ward 2; D, 2023), Charles McRae (Ward 3; D, 2020) and Joylette Mills-Ransome (At Large Wards 2 and 3; D, 2022).
In June 2018, the City Council appointed Elton Armady to fill the at-large seat expiring in December 2020 that became vacant after Rebecca Williams resigned to take a seat on the Union County Board of chosen freeholders. Armady served on an interim basis until the November 2018 general election, when he was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
Federal, state and county representation
Plainfield is located in the 12th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 22nd state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Plainfield had been part of the 6th 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.
For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, Ewing Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, term ends 2025).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 22nd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nicholas Scutari (D, Linden) and in the General Assembly by Linda Carter (politician) (D, Plainfield) and James J. Kennedy (D, Rahway). Carter was appointed in May 2018 to fill the vacant seat left following the death of Jerry Green the previous month after 26 years of service.
Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members. As of 2019[update], Union County's Freeholders are Chair Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, term ends December 31, 2019), Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2021) Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2020), Angela R. Garretson (D, Hillside Township, 2020), Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2019), Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term ends December 31, 2020), Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded (D, Westfield, 2021), Andrea Staten (D, Roselle, 2021), and Rebecca Williams (D, Plainfield, 2019). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2020), Sheriff Peter Corvelli (D, Kenilworth, 2020) and Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2019). The County Manager is Edward Oatman.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 20,722 registered voters in Plainfield, of which 12,078 (58.3% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 947 (4.6% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 7,693 (37.1% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties. Among the city's 2010 Census population, 41.6% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 56.1% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 14,640 votes (93.3% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 909 votes (5.8% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 46 votes (0.3% vs. 0.8%), among the 15,683 ballots cast by the city's 22,555 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.5% (vs. 68.8% in Union County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 15,280 votes (92.3% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,110 votes (6.7% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 56 votes (0.3% vs. 0.9%), among the 16,548 ballots cast by the city's 22,516 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.5% (vs. 74.7% in Union County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 11,508 votes (85.4% vs. 58.3% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,773 votes (13.2% vs. 40.3%) and other candidates with 88 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 13,480 ballots cast by the city's 20,445 registered voters, for a turnout of 65.9% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 75.9% of the vote (5,757 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 22.7% (1,723 votes), and other candidates with 1.4% (104 votes), among the 8,174 ballots cast by the city's 21,996 registered voters (590 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 37.2%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 7,140 ballots cast (81.3% vs. 50.6% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 1,057 votes (12.0% vs. 41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 355 votes (4.0% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 84 votes (1.0% vs. 0.8%), among the 8,786 ballots cast by the city's 21,738 registered voters, yielding a 40.4% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).
The Plainfield Public School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of 13 schools, had an enrollment of 9,363 students and 615.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 15.2:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are DeWitt D. Barlow Elementary School (373 students; in grades K-5), Cedarbrook Elementary School (699; K-8), Clinton Elementary School (380; K-5), Frederic W. Cook Elementary School (367; K-5), Emerson Elementary School (459; K-5), Evergreen Elementary School (531; K-5), Jefferson Elementary School (419; K-5), Charles H. Stillman Elementary School (311; K-5), Washington Community School (576; K-5), Hubbard Middle School (715; 6-8), Maxson Middle School (726; 6-8), Plainfield Academy for the Arts and Advanced Studies (396; 7-12) and Plainfield High School (741; 9-12).
The district's main high school was the 318th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology. The school had been ranked 280th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 307th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The school was removed in 2009 from the list of persistently dangerous schools in New Jersey.
Established in 1984, Koinonia Academy moved to Plainfield in 1997, where it serves students in PreK through twelfth grades and operates under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the city had a total of 101.79 miles (163.82 km) of roadways, of which 87.58 miles (140.95 km) were maintained by the municipality, 14.21 miles (22.87 km) by Union County.
Plainfield is one of the few large suburban cities in central New Jersey to have no federal highway within it. The only major thoroughfare through Plainfield is New Jersey Route 28, connecting Somerville with Elizabeth and New Jersey Route 27. U.S. Route 22, a mecca for highway shopping and dining, is accessible from Plainfield through North Plainfield, Dunellen and Fanwood. In the early 1960s, Interstate highways were completed near, but not through Plainfield. Interstate 287 is accessible through South Plainfield and Piscataway, while Interstate 78 is accessible through Watchung / Warren Township and neighboring communities. The busiest connecting thoroughfares are Park Avenue (north-south), traversing from U.S. 22 to and into South Plainfield and Edison; Front Street (east-west), connecting Scotch Plains with Dunellen; South Avenue and 7th Street, both of which parallel Front Street, connecting Scotch Plains/Fanwood with Piscataway, South Plainfield and the Middlesex County border.
Plainfield has two NJ Transit rail stations on the Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The main Plainfield station is in the downtown and a second, smaller Netherwood station is in the Netherwood section, east of downtown and within a mile of the Fanwood border. A third station, located in the west end of town, was closed long ago. The New Brunswick train station is approximately 15 minutes away.
The Central Railroad of New Jersey first offered service to Plainfield in 1839. At the height of popularity, the Plainfield "Jersey Central" train station, with its main station building constructed in 1902, was a hub for commuting to Newark and New York. (The Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal was in Jersey City, where ferries would take the rail passengers to New York City.) The station was located near the main post office and downtown stores. The station was serviced by the now defunct Railway Express postal carrier company.
NJ Transit provides bus service on the 113 and 114 to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the 59, 65 and 66 (Limited) to Newark; and local service on the 819 and 822 routes.
In years past, Plainfield was serviced by the Somerset Bus Company with service from Union County to Essex and New York City, the Public Service Bus Company with similar service and Plainfield Transit, providing local service.
Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 30 minutes away. A proposed PATH train extension to Plainfield in the 1970s, with stops at the airport and at Elizabeth, was canceled in 1976.
Solaris Health System, the nonprofit company that owns Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, asked for permission to close the hospital. This request has been opposed by People's Organization for Progress, an advocacy group based in Newark, New Jersey. The closing has been attributed to the large number of uninsured patients served by the hospital.
At the height of popularity in the 1950s through the 1970s, Plainfield was a hub for medical practices. Park Avenue was lined with doctors and medical offices and was nicknamed "Doctors Row".
Plainfield Teacher's College hoax
Plainfield Teacher's College was a mythical institution created as a hoax by a duo of college football fans in 1941. The phony college's equally nonexistent football team had its scores carried by major newspapers including The New York Times before the hoax was discovered.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Plainfield include:
- Ernest R. Ackerman (1863–1931), represented New Jersey's 5th congressional district from 1919–1931.
- John Adams (1772–1863), educator who taught at the Plainfield Academy.
- Katherine Langhorne Adams (1885–1977), painter and printmaker.
- Erika Amato (born 1969), actress, singer and founder of Velvet Chain.
- Donald C. Backer (1943–2010), radio astronomer and professor at University of California, Berkeley who was discoverer of millisecond pulsars and pioneer in pulsar-based searches for gravitational waves.
- Rich Bagger (born 1960), former mayor of Westfield, New Jersey.
- John Drayton Baker (1915–1942), American Naval aviator who was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during World War II.
- Jeff Barry (born 1938), pop music songwriter, singer and record producer.
- James Bell (born 1992), basketball player for Israeli team Hapoel Holon.
- Charlie Bicknell (1928–2013), MLB pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948 and 1949.
- Joe Black (1924–2002), professional baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds.
- Judy Blume (born 1938), author.
- Jon Bramnick (born 1953), member of the New Jersey General Assembly since 2003 who served on the Plainfield City Council from 1984 to 1991.
- Anthony Branker (born 1958), jazz musician and educator.
- Jack E. Bronston (born 1922). lawyer and politician who served in the New York Senate from 1959 to 1978.
- Van Wyck Brooks (1886–1963), author.
- Brock Brower (1931–2014), novelist, magazine journalist and TV writer.
- Glenwood Brown (born 1967), former professional boxer in the welterweight (147lb) division.
- Milt Campbell (1933–2012), 1956 Olympic decathlon gold medalist.
- Pete Carmichael (born 1941), former football coach.
- Leonte Carroo (born 1994), wide receiver who played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins.
- Linda Carter, politician who has represented the 22nd Legislative District since 2018.
- Jeremiah E. Cary (1803–1888), member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 21st congressional district.
- James Herbert Case Jr. (1906–1965), 8th president of Washington & Jefferson College.
- Diane Chamberlain, author of adult fiction.
- DJ Cheese, first world champion of the DMC World DJ Championships, in 1986.
- John Chironna (1928–2010), head coach of the Rhode Island Rams football team in 1961 and 1962.
- Earl Clark (born 1988), basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, formerly for the University of Louisville Cardinals.
- George Clinton (born 1941), founder of Parliament-Funkadelic, childhood home.
- Manny Collins (born 1984) American football cornerback.
- Richard Guy Condon (1952–1995), anthropologist who specialized in the study of Inuit.
- Archibald Cox (1912–2004), Watergate special prosecutor.
- Kathy Cox (born 1964), former superintendent of public schools for the U.S. state of Georgia.
- Dan Davis (born 1986), defensive lineman who played for the New York Sentinels of the United Football League.
- Pat DiNizio (1955–2017), lead singer, songwriter, and founding member of the band The Smithereens.
- William Archibald Dunning (1857–1922), historian best known for his work on the Reconstruction Era.
- Bill Evans (1929–1980), jazz pianist.
- Dionne Farris (born 1969), singer, songwriter, producer and actress.
- Negley Farson (1890–1960), adventurer, journalist and author.
- J. Michael Fay (born 1956), conservationist.
- Rashan Gary (born 1997), defensive tackle for the Michigan Wolverines football team.
- Glenn Goins (1954–1978), singer and guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic.
- Jan Groover (born 1943) photographer noted for her use of emerging color technologies.
- Mark Haines (1946–2011), former host of the CNBC shows Squawk Box and Squawk on the Street.
- Bret Harte (1836–1902), author and poet.
- Eddie Hazel (1950–1992), lead guitarist and founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic.
- William Hazell (1908–1995), president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
- Richard X. Heyman, singer-songwriter and musician, who was a founding member of The Doughboys.
- Byron Hurt (born 1969), documentary filmmaker.
- Marion Lee Johnson, African-American mathematician who was crucial to the landing of the Apollo 11 mission.
- Tyrone Johnson (born 1992), professional basketball player.
- Betty Jones (born 1930), operatic spinto soprano, who did not begin her career until the age of 41.
- Donald Jones (born 1987), former professional wide receiver who played in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.
- Robyn Kenney (born 1979), field hockey player.
- Phyllis Kirk (1927–2006), actress.
- Florence LaRue (born 1944), singer and actress best known as an original member of the 5th Dimension.
- Geoffrey Lewis (1935–2015), character actorwho appeared in more than 100 films and television shows, and was principally known for his film roles alongside Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford.
- Peter Liske (born 1942), former professional football player.
- Robert Lowry (1826–1899), Christian preacher and prolific hymn-writer/musician, whose works include "Shall We Gather At The River?"
- Randolph Manning (1804–1864), Michigan Supreme Court justice.
- Queena Mario (1896–1951), soprano opera singer, newspaper columnist, voice teacher and fiction writer.
- Burke Marshall (1922–2003), head of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Civil Rights Era.
- John Marshall (born 1963), former middle-distance track athlete who specialized in the 800 meters and competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
- Jack Martin (1887–1980), slick-fielding, weak-hitting infielder in Major League Baseball, playing mainly at shortstop for three different teams between the 1912 and 1914 seasons.
- James Edgar Martine (1850–1925), United States Senator from New Jersey.
- Don Martino (1931–2005), Pulitzer Prize-winning composer.
- Robert Mason (born 1942), author of Chickenhawk.
- Mary McCormack (born 1969), actress.
- Peter McDonough (1925–1998), politician who served in both the New Jersey General Assembly and New Jersey Senate.
- Jim McGreevey (born 1957), former Governor of New Jersey.
- Eugene Monroe (born 1987), professional football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Dudley Moore (1935–2002), actor who resided there at the time of his death.
- Nonnie Moore (1922–2009), fashion editor at Mademoiselle, Harper's Bazaar and GQ. "
- Cordell Mosson (1952–2013), vocalist and bassist for Parliament-Funkadelic.
- James S. Negley (1826–1901), Civil War General, farmer, railroader, and U.S. Representative from the state of Pennsylvania.
- Billy Bass Nelson (born 1951), bassist, founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic.
- Gail R. O'Day (1954–2018), biblical scholar.
- Andrew P. O'Rourke (1933–2013), former Westchester County Executive.
- Montell Owens (born 1984), professional football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Irving Penn (1917–2009), photographer.
- Elizabeth Price (born 1996), gymnast.
- Kasim Reed (born 1969), birthplace, former Mayor of Atlanta.
- Edward Regan (1930–2014), politician who served for 15 years as New York State Comptroller.
- Erik Rosenmeier (born 1965), former NFL center who played for the Buffalo Bills in 1987.
- Jane Rule (1931–2007), author of lesbian-themed novels and non-fiction.
- William Nelson Runyon (1871–1931), Acting Governor of New Jersey from 1919 to 1920.
- Justin Sears (born 1994), basketball player for the Gießen 46ers in Germany.
- Robert Shapiro (born 1942), lawyer.
- Garry Shider (1953–2010), musical director of P-Funk.
- Henry Soles Jr. (1935–2018), minister who served as the senior chaplain for the Chicago Bulls for more than 30 years.
- Percy Hamilton Stewart (1867–1951), mayor of Plainfield in 1912 and 1913, represented New Jersey's 5th congressional district from 1931 to 1933.
- Bertram D. Tallamy (1901–1989), transportation official who served as Federal Highway Administrator and as superintendent of the New York State Department of Public Works.
- Edward Herbert Thompson (1856–1935), archaeologist and diplomat.
- Jeff Torborg (born 1941), former professional baseball player and manager.
- Janeen Uzzell, Global Technology Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation.
- Daniel Tompkins Van Buren (1826–1890), Union Army officer who attained the rank of brigadier general by brevet in the American Civil War
- Nancy Van de Vate (born 1930), composer.
- Fred Van Eps (1878–1960), banjoist and early recording artist.
- George Van Eps (1913–1998), swing and mainstream jazz guitarist.
- Rich Vos (born 1957), comedian.
- Helen Walulik (1929–2012), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player.
- David S. Ware (born 1949), jazz saxophonist.
- Vic Washington (born 1946), former professional football player.
- James Edward Maceo West (born 1941), co-inventor of the foil electret microphone and member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
- Kevin White (born 1992), NFL wide receiver for the Chicago Bears.
- Harrison A. Williams (1919–2001), U.S. Senator who resigned following the Abscam scandal.
- Jay Williams (born 1981), former professional basketball player with the Chicago Bulls.
- Malinda Williams (born 1975), actress who played hair stylist Tracy "Bird" Van Adams on the Showtime television drama Soul Food.
- Bernie Worrell (born 1944), keyboardist, founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic, childhood home.
- Albert Capwell Wyckoff (1903–1953), ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and author of juvenile fiction, most notably the Mercer Boys series and Mystery Hunter series.
- James A. Yorke (born 1941), chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of Maryland, College Park.
- Rich History, City of Plainfield. Accessed May 13, 2020.
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- Dudley, William L. "Friendly Families: The Shotwells", in The Story of the Friends in Plainfield Including A History of Early Quaker Families, Rahway & Plainfield Friends (Quaker) Meeting, March 29, 1929. Accessed May 21, 2013.
- Nutt, Bill. "Plainfield places", Courier-News, September 3, 2003. Accessed July 11, 2013. "The Society of Friends Meeting House, an apparently unassuming structure on Watchung Avenue in the North Avenue Commercial Historic District, is the oldest continuously used house of worship in the city."
- Nathaniel Drake House, Connolly & Hickey Historical Architects. Accessed July 11, 2013. "The Nathaniel Drake House was constructed for Nathaniel Drake and his new wife circa 1746, and remained in the Drake family until c. 1860 when Daniel Drake sold the property to John S. Harberger of New York City.... The Nathaniel Drake House is significant for its architecture and how the evolution of the building reflects the changes within Plainfield from an early colonial settlement to a modern suburb, its association with the Drake family, who were prominent early settlers in the region, as well as its association with General George Washington during the Battle of Short Hills."
- Home Page, Drake House Museum. Accessed July 11, 2013. "It was at the Drake House that George Washington consulted with his officers during and after the Battle of Short Hills fought over the entire Plainfield area on June 25–27, 1777."
- Washington Rock State Park, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Accessed July 11, 2013.
- Washington Rock Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Drake House Museum. Accessed July 11, 2013.
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- Staff. loindex.ssf/2012/04/1940_census_release_causes_cra.html "1940 census release causes a craze among geneaologists, offers a peek into the past", The Star-Ledger, April 3, 2012. Accessed August 26, 2018. "In the 19th century Plainfield was called the 'Colorado of the East,' and as the sister city of Denver, which was known as the 'Queen City of the Plains,' was known simply as 'Queen City.'"
- Honeyman, Abraham Van Doren. Index-analysis of the Statutes of New Jersey, 1896-1909: Together with References to All Acts, and Parts of Acts, in the 'General Statutes' and Pamphlet Laws Expressly Repealed : and the Statutory Crimes of New Jersey During the Same Period, p. 208. New Jersey Law Journal Publishing Company, 1910. Accessed September 20, 2015.
- Staff. "North Plainfield Annexation Bills.", The New York Times, April 15, 1902. Accessed August 26, 2018.
- Kocieniewski, David. "Ex-Governor Is Back in Public, This Time as an Author", The New York Times, September 20, 2006. Accessed April 26, 2019. "While his resignation forced Mr. McGreevey to move out of Drumthwacket, the governor's mansion in Princeton, his new home in Plainfield has gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a circular driveway and a housecleaner who arrived on Tuesday driving a white Mercedes-Benz."
- "Field Day in Plainfield", Time, July 13, 1953, accessed April 26, 2007. "In Helsinki last summer, a big (6 ft. 3 in., 210 lbs.) Negro high-school boy from Plainfield, NJ trudged wearily into a locker room in the Olympic stadium. Worn down by the two-day competition in the Olympics' most demanding test, Decathlon Man Milton Campbell gave World Champion Bob Mathias a congratulatory backslap, then flopped on a cot."
- Joe Black, baseball pioneer and retired Greyhound Corp. executive, dies - Census - Obituary Archived March 31, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Jet (magazine), June 3, 2002, accessed April 26, 2007. "A native of Plainfield, NJ, Black graduated from Morgan State in Baltimore."
- Payne, Lauren. "History Lesson: Preserving An Achitectural Treasure in Plainfield A Plainfield couple prove that preserving an architectural treasure—while challenging, time-consuming and, yes, costly—is well worth the effort.", New Jersey Monthly, October 16, 2012. Accessed March 3, 2020.
- The Plainfield Armory Archived November 19, 2002, at the Wayback Machine, The New Jersey Naval Militia Foundation. Accessed July 11, 2013. "The armory at Plainfield was constructed between 1931 and 1932 to house the Headquarters Company of the 44th Division."
- Cheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking of Living in: Plainfield", The New York Times, May 9, 1993. Accessed July 29, 2016. "Although some neighborhoods, such as the Sleepy Hollow area on the east side of town, with its winding, tree-lined streets and large, custom houses, remain well-manicured, many formerly gracious streets near the center of town, like West Fourth, are blighted, with boarded-up buildings and shards of auto glass on the streets."
- "Plainfield Burning: Black Rebellion in the Suburban North", Thomas J. Sugrue and Andrew M. Goodman, Journal of Urban History, vol. 33 (May 2007), pp. 368–401.
- Dreier, Peter. "Riot and Reunion: Forty Years Later", The Nation, July 30, 2007. Accessed April 10, 2012. "In 1971, after more protests and litigation, the school district initiated a desegregation plan. But because white flight had dramatically accelerated, real school integration between blacks and whites was difficult to achieve. Between 1970 and 1980, blacks' share of Plainfield's population grew from 40 percent to 60 percent."
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- Urban Enterprise Zone Tax Questions and Answers, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, May 2009. Accessed October 28, 2019. "The Urban Enterprise Zone Program (UEZ) was enacted in 1983. It authorized the designation of ten zones by the New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zone Authority: Camden, Newark, Bridgeton, Trenton, Plainfield, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Kearny, Orange and Millville/Vineland (joint zone)."
- Urban Enterprise Zone Program, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Accessed October 27, 2019. "Businesses participating in the UEZ Program can charge half the standard sales tax rate on certain purchases, currently 3.3125% effective 1/1/2018"
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- Racioppi, Dustin. "Christie vetoes urban enterprise zone extension", The Record (North Jersey), February 10, 2017. Accessed November 19, 2019. "Gov. Chris Christie on Friday conditionally vetoed the Legislature's attempt to extend the Urban Enterprise Zone status for its five charter communities, calling the economic revitalization program an 'abject failure' with a 'devastating impact' on state revenue.... The Legislature returned with what it called a compromise bill, A-4189, to extend the designation for two years instead of 10 for the first five UEZs -- Bridgeton, Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Trenton -- which expired on Jan. 1."
- "Notice: Law Reinstates Five Urban Enterprise Zones And Also Extends The Expiration Date Of 12 Other UEZs", New Jersey Department of the Treasury Division of Taxation, May 30, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2019. "On May 30, 2018, Governor Murphy signed Senate Bill 846 (A3549). The law reinstated five expired Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZs). If your business is located in one of these zones, you may file an application to establish qualified business status. (Past certifications are no longer valid in these five zones). The five UEZs are in: *Bridgeton *Camden *Newark *Plainfield *Trenton. The UEZs in the five locations listed above expire on December 31, 2023."
- Historic Districts, Downtown Plainfield Alliance. Accessed June 10, 2018.
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- Coleman, Brian D. "Rich Rewards for a Labor of Love; Hard to believe this house had been cut up into four shabby apartments, or the woodwork painted industrial green and the verandah enclosed with aluminum siding and jalousie windows. Then there were the structural problems.", The Old-House Journal, July 2, 2015. Accessed June 10, 2018.
- Payne, Lauren. "History Lesson: Preserving An Architectural Treasure in Plainfield; A Plainfield couple prove that preserving an architectural treasure—while challenging, time-consuming and, yes, costly—is well worth the effort.", New Jersey Monthly, October 16, 2012. Accessed June 10, 2018.
- Jackson, Kimberly L. "This old house: Restoring homes and building community in Plainfield's Van Wyck Brooks Historic District", The Star-Ledger, September 21, 2012. Accessed June 10, 2018.
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- Goldblatt, Jennifer. "Blume's Day", The New York Times, November 14, 2004. Accessed February 5, 2008. "It wasn't until after Ms. Blume had gotten her bachelor's degree in education from New York University in 1961, was married and raising her son, Larry, and her daughter, Randy, and living in Plainfield and later Scotch Plains, that she started to commit her stories and characters to paper, cramming writing sessions in while the children were at preschool and at play."
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- Lyons, Leonard S. "The Great Jazz Pianists: Speaking of Their Lives and Music", accessed May 13, 2007. "Bill Evans Grew up in Plainfield, NJ."
- Scott, Rose. "Breaking Away, Dionne Farris Talks Time Off From Music", WABE-FM, June 21, 2013. Accessed July 23, 2019. "The Plainfield, NJ native came to Atlanta in 1990 and was the strong vocal nucleus of the 'socially-conscious' hip hop group Arrested Development."
- Negley Farson (1890–1960), Royal Academy of Arts. Accessed April 12, 2020. "Born in Plainfield, NJ, Farson was raised by his eccentric grandfather, the Civil War General James Negley (1826-1901)."
- J. Michael Fay, United States Department of State. Accessed December 10, 2007.
- Stanmyre, Matthew. "Rashan Gary, nation's top recruit, was recruited to Paramus Catholic, old school indicates" Archived November 19, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, The Star-Ledger, August 25, 2014. Accessed November 6, 2017. "Gary's mother, Jennifer Coney, said today her son 'absolutely was not recruited.' She said Gary had been living with his father and grandparents in Scotch Plains, but the house is now for sale, so she moved her son into her home in Plainfield."
- Makin, Bob. "Parliament-Funkadelic: From doo-wop to hip-hop", Courier News, March 27, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Plainfield guitarist-vocalist Glenn Goins, who earlier joined the collective, now known as Parliament-Funkadelic or P-Funk, helped end each show by calling on the Mothership, a prop from the classic 1951 sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still."
- Artist Biographies Archived December 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, The Cleveland Museum of Art. Accessed December 13, 2007.
- Strauss, Robert. "New Jersey & Co.; All Eyes Are on Fort Lee", The New York Times, April 23, 2000. Accessed April 10, 2012. "Alerted by a viewer, Mr. Haines -- a Plainfield native who now lives in Monmouth County -- researched tapes and noted that when Mr. Greenspan, the head of the Federal Reserve, carried a fat briefcase to the meetings, interest rates rose; a thin briefcase indicated lower rates."
- Nissen, Axel. Bret Harte: Prince and Pauper, p. 244. University Press of Mississippi, 2000. ISBN 1578062535. Accessed August 6, 2012. "By April 1884, both the Knauffts and the Hartes had removed to Plainfield, NJ..."
- Sullivan, James. "Twisted Tales: P-Funk's Eddie Hazel Is the New Hendrix, for Better or Worse", Spinner (website), July 11, 2008. Accessed October 26, 2011. "Born in Brooklyn but raised in Plainfield, NJ -- where his mother, sadly, thought she could keep her son from the ravages of big-city temptation – the young Hazel taught himself to play guitar alongside a school-age buddy, Billy 'Bass' Nelson."
- Staff. "Union County Tech Gives 29 Diplomas", Courier News, June 14, 1963. Accessed July 23, 2019. "'Challenge of Change' was the subject of an address last night by William Hazell of Plainfield before the 29-student graduating class of the Union County Technical Institute."
- Skelly, Richard. "Richard X. Heyman and the Owls playing the Record Collector", Asbury Park Press, December 11, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2019. "In 2002, Heyman self-published a book documenting his life and musical times growing up in and around Plainfield, and his time with the Doughboys, who became one of the Garden State’s most popular rock ’n’ roll bands when the musical genre was still emerging."
- Staff. "Kenya Crumel and Byron Hurt", The New York Times, October 1, 2006. Accessed May 21, 2013. "Kenya Felice Crumel and Byron Patrick Hurt were married last evening at their home in Plainfield, NJ"
- Segedy, Andria. "Savannah’s own ‘Hidden Figure’: Marion Lee Johnson worked on Apollo 11 program", Bluffton Today, February 13, 2018. Accessed October 9, 2019 "Her Savannah classmates are not surprised. While Johnson now lives in Plainfield, NJ, she maintains strong ties to Savannah with friends and family, including a daughter who works at Savannah State University."
- Tyrone Johnson, South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball. Accessed August 5, 2019. "Hometown: Plainfield, NJ"
- Sanders, Sally. "Memories of a musical life" Archived July 24, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Shelton Herald, April 2, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Betty was born into a nurturing middle class African American family in Plainfield, NJ"
- Staff. "Former NFL wide receiver Donald Jones works out with Somerset Patriots", The Messenger-Gazette, April 18, 2014. Accessed October 18, 2015. "Former NFL wide receiver and Plainfield native Donald Jones will be working out with the Somerset Patriots during Spring Training.... Now Jones is looking to make a return to the baseball diamond, where he last played for Plainfield High School."
- Robyn Kenney, USA Field Hockey. Accessed December 20, 2007.
- via Associated Press. "Phyllis Kirk, 79, Who Starred in House of Wax and Thin Man, Dies", The New York Times, October 23, 2006. Accessed April 10, 2012. "Phyllis Kirkegaard was born in Plainfield, NJ, but moved to New York City in her late teens to study acting and shortened her last name to Kirk."
- Scott, Don. "A Place In History: Florence LaRue, The Fifth Dimension created music of joy", Montgomery News, September 10, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Born Feb. 4, 1942, in Plainfield, NJ, as World War II raged, LaRue and her family “moved to Glenside, Pa., where she began studying dance and violin,” according to www.thehistorymakers.com, as well as attended Abington Senior High School, where she was inducted in 1988 to the school’s Hall of Fame, likely indicative of her keen intelligence, social sensibilities and immense spirituality passed down by her African-American elders."
- Slotnik, Daniel E. "Geoffrey Lewis, Actor in Clint Eastwood Films, Dies at 79", The New York Times, April 9, 2015. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Geoffrey Bond Lewis was born in Plainfield, NJ, on July 31, 1935."
- Laurie, Artiss. "Liske Recalls Vivid Hoax", The Leader-Post, September 22, 1967. Accessed April 10, 2012. "They should be indebted then, as I am, to The Globe and Mail's Dick Beddoes for revealing the hoax surrounding Peter Liske. That is, if you consider his hometown - Plainfield, NJ - as sufficient evidence for guilt by association."
- From Special Collections/University Archives: Robert Lowry, Bucknell University. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Lowry retired to Plainfield, NJ to continue to read and write, giving sermons and returning to do work with his alma mater when he had the time."
- Randolph Manning, Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society. Accessed May 21, 2013. "Randolph Manning was born in Plainfield, NJ, on May 19, 1804."
- Staff. "Queena Mario Sings to Students", The New York Times, May 26, 1927. Accessed August 26, 2018. "Queena Mario of the Metropolitan Opera Company, formerly of this city, was a guest of the Plainfield High School today where she sang a group of four numbers to the student body.... The opera star whose family name was Tillotson is a graduate of the local high school and has been a guest of Mr. and Mrs. Albert L. Coddington of Sheridan Avenue."
- Barnes, Bart. "Burke Marshall, 80, Dies; JFK's Civil Rights Enforcer", The Washington Post, June 3, 2003. Accessed November 21, 2008. "Mr. Marshall, a native of Plainfield, NJ, graduated from Yale University."
- "Plainfield honors seven outstanding black citizens", Courier News, February 21, 1985. Accessed November 9, 2017. "A 1981 Plainfield High School graduate, Marshall broke the 800-meter collegiate record in 1982 and was named to the U.S. Junior National Team."
- Faber, Charles F. "Jack Martin", Society for American Baseball Research. Accessed November 9, 2017. "John Christopher Martin was born in Plainfield, NJ, in the central part of the state, on April 19, 1887. The son of Adeline and James B. Martin, a trolley conductor, Jack played baseball at Plainfield High School and for the town's amateur clubs."
- James Edgar Martine, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed April 16, 2008.
- Tommasini, Anthony. "Donald Martino, 74, Creator of Atonal Musical Works, Dies", The New York Times, December 12, 2005. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Born on May 16, 1931, in Plainfield, NJ, he began studying music at 9, first learning the clarinet, saxophone and oboe."
- Prendergast, MArk. "His Long Flight Home For Robert Mason, War Was Hell And Peace Hard To Find. Now He Thinks He Knows Where To Look. And Where Not To Look.", Orlando Sentinel, September 1, 1985. Accessed April 10, 2012. "Robert Mason was born 43 years ago in Plainfield, NJ. When he was 8, his family moved to a chicken farm west of Delray Beach."
- Mary McCormack cast member profile, The West Wing. Accessed September 30, 2007. "Born in Plainfield, NJ, McCormack is a graduate of Trinity College and resides in Los Angeles."
- via Associated Press. "Peter McDonough, 73, Retired Legislator", The New York Times, September 1, 1998. Accessed November 9, 2017. "Mr. McDonough was a lifelong resident of Plainfield and was a champion high school swimmer."
- van Esselstyn, Drew. "Plainfield's Eugene Monroe selected No. 8 overall by Jacksonville Jaguars", The Star-Ledger, April 25, 2009. Accessed October 26, 2011.
- Brush, Pete. "Actor Dudley Moore Dies", CBS News, February 11, 2009. Accessed May 21, 2013.
- Hevesi, Dennis. "Nonnie Moore, Fashion Editor at Magazines, Dies at 87", The New York Times, February 24, 2009. Accessed June 15, 2014. "Born Marjorie Eilers on Jan. 21, 1922, in Plainfield, NJ, Ms. Moore was one of two daughters of Henry and Lovinia Burton Eilers."
- McCall, Tris. "Cordell 'Boogie' Mosson, P-Funk bassist, dies at 60", The Star-Ledger, April 21, 2013. Accessed May 21, 2013. "Cordell 'Boogie' Mosson (born Cardell Mosson), a Plainfield musician whose rubbery bass guitar gave the classic albums by Parliament and Funkadelic much of their buoyant, elastic, bouncing-off-of-the-walls character, died on Thursday at 60."
- Staff. "$50,000 In Bonds In A Bag; Stolen From Gen. James S. Negley In Plainfield. Found in a House in Madison Avenue -- With Them an Insurance Policy for $1,000 and Gen. Negley's Commission, Signed by President Lincoln -- Coachman Was the Thief -- He Was Dismissed from Gen. Negley's Service Last Month.", The New York Times, April 20, 1894. Accessed August 26, 2018. "Gen. Negley was the manager of the Home for Decrepit Veteran Soldiers at Pittsburgh, PA. He has an office at 136 Liberty Street, this city, and lives in Plainfield, NJ"
- Britannica Educational Publishing. The 100 Most Influential Musicians of All Time, p. 273. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009. ISBN 1615300562. "Billy Bass Nelson (b. Jan. 28, 1951, Plainfield, N.J., U.S.)"
- Remembering Gail O'Day, Wake Forest University. Accessed September 1, 2019. "Gail Radcliffe O’Day was born on December 2, 1954, in Muhlenberg, New Jersey, where her mother, Sally Wilcox O’Day, was living while her father, Arthur F. O’Day, was serving in the Korean War."
- Berger, Joseph. 'Andrew P. O'Rourke, Longtime Westchester County Leader, Dies at 79", The New York Times, January 4, 2013. Accessed May 24, 2016. "Andrew Patrick O'Rourke was born in Plainfield, NJ, on October 26, 1933, the youngest of five children."
- Montell Owens, NFL.com. Accessed May 21, 2013.
- Via Associated Press. "Fashion, celebrity photographer Irving Penn dies", USA Today, October 7, 2009. Accessed October 26, 2011. "Born in Plainfield, NJ, in 1917, Penn studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art from 1934 to 1938, and worked as an assistant at Harper's Bazaar in 1939."
- "The Official Website of Elizabeth 'Ebee' Price" - About Elizabeth Archived August 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed August 5, 2012. "Elizabeth Nicole Price was born on May 28, 1996 in Planfield, NJ to Diane and David Price."
- Stevens, Andrew. "Kasim Reed; Mayor of Atlanta", City Mayors Foundation, March 29, 2010. Accessed October 26, 2011. "Though born in the New Jersey suburb of Plainfield, Reed was raised in Fulton County, Georgia and schooled at the Westlake High School locally."
- McFadden, Robert D. "Edward V. Regan, Longtime New York State Comptroller, Dies at 84", The New York Times, October 18, 2014. Accessed October 19, 2014. "Edward Van Buren Regan was born in Plainfield, NJ, on May 14, 1930, the oldest of five children of William and Caroline Van Buren Regan."
- Erik Rosenmeier, Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed September 6, 2017.
- Fox, Margalit. "Jane Rule, Canadian Novelist, Dies at 76", The New York Times, December 29, 2007. Accessed October 26, 2011. "Jane Vance Rule was born on March 28, 1931, in Plainfield, NJ, and raised in the Midwest and California."
- New Jersey Governor William Nelson Runyon, National Governors Association. Accessed August 3, 2007.
- Justin Sears Archived March 21, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Yale Bulldogs men's basketball. Accessed March 20, 2017. "Hometown: Plainfield, NJ"
- Staff. "Stars shine to 'ultimate deal maker'", Boston Herald, June 30, 1994. Accessed January 12, 2011. "Born into a working-class family in Plainfield, NJ. Shapiro came to Los Angeles as a boy and later attended UCLA as a finance major."
- McCall, Tris. "Garry Shider of P-Funk fame dies at 56", The Star-Ledger, June 16, 2010. Accessed January 12, 2011. "The Plainfield native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, best known as the musical director of George Clinton's Parliament and Funkadelic bands, died today at the age of 56, from complications arising from brain and lung cancer."
- "Rev. Henry Soles Jr., Longtime Chicago Bulls Chaplain, Dies at 82" Archived February 4, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Earned Media, January 29, 2018. Accessed February 4, 2018. "Reverend Henry Soles, Jr. (photo) was born on August 17, 1935 in Anniston, AL. He grew up in Plainfield, NJ and attended Plainfield High School, Manhattan Bible Institute, and Rutgers University."
- Percy Hamilton Stewart, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed July 10, 2007.
- Narvaez, Alfonso A. "Bertram D. Tallamy, 87, Official For U.S. and New York Highways", The New York Times, September 19, 1989. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Mr. Tallamy was born in Plainfield, NJ on Dec. 1, 1901."
- Staff. "Maya Ruins Described.; Explorer in Yucatan Speaks Before New Jersey Archaeologists.", The New York Times, March 11, 1932. Accessed January 12, 2011. "The seventy-five persons present heard talks by Dr. Edward Herbert Thompson of Plainfield, lecturer on archaeology and former United States Consul at Merida."
- Spivey, Mark. "Hillsborough man pens sports book on notable New Jersey athletes", Home News Tribune, November 28, 2008. Accessed January 12, 2011. "Milt Campbell and MLB catcher and manager Jeff Torborg, who caught a perfect game from Sandy Koufax, both called Plainfield home."
- "Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Janeen Uzzell, Former Head of Women in Technology at GE, from the Amazon Alexa VOICE Summit at NJIT, to talk about the importance of diversity within the tech community.", One on One with Steve Adubato, September 28, 2018. Accessed February 2, 2020. "Janeen Uzzell, she is a former head of Women in Technology at GE, and currently emerging market and tech consultant.... Born and raised at the Beth? Beth Israel?... So, I grew up in Plainfield... It's a good town."
- Association of Graduates of United States Military Academy (1890). Twenty-First Annual Reunion Proceedings. Saginaw, MI: Evening News printing and Binding House.
- "Hamlet Prince of Denmark premieres in Prague", The Prague Post. Accessed July 23, 2019. "Nancy Van de Vate was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, studied piano at Eastman School of Music as well as composition at both the University of Mississippi and Florida State University."
- Gracyk, Tim. Fred Van Eps -- Banjoist, Tims Phonographs & Old Records. Accessed 'July 23, 2019. "Van Eps moved with his family to nearby Plainfield in 1892 and in 1893, as he reported later in life, heard his first Vess L. Ossman cylinder, 'The White Star Line March."
- Voce, Steve. "Obituary: George Van Eps", The Independent, December 8, 1998. Accessed July 23, 2019. "George Abel Van Eps, guitarist: born Plainfield, NJ, 7 August 1913; married (one daughter); died Newport Beach, CA, 29 November 1998."
- Staff. "Comics wait to see who'll be standing ", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 5, 2003. Accessed November 21, 2008. "Two grizzled veteran comics with minimal name recognition until a few weeks ago -- Dave Mordal of Elk River, MN, and Rich Vos of Plainfield, NJ -- have found a higher level of fame thanks to NBC's moderately successful reality show 'Last Comic Standing'."
- "Helen Kiely (Walulik) AAGPBL Player/Profile".
- Freeman, Phil. "Free at LastAvant-jazz titans the David S. Ware Quartet triumphantly disband—sort of", The Village Voice, May 29, 2007. Accessed October 26, 2011. "'I didn't disband the group,' says saxophonist David S. Ware by phone from his home in Plainfield, N.J."
- Six Individuals, One Team Inducted into the 13th Hall of Fame Class Archived January 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, University of Wyoming, February 19, 2005. Accessed July 10, 2007. "Vic Washington. Hometown: Plainfield, NJ"
- The National Medal of Technology and Innovation Recipients: 2006 Laureates, United States Patent and Trademark Office. Accessed January 12, 2011.
- Housenick, Tom. "Emmaus grad Kevin White making better life for himself at West Virginia", The Morning Call, October 23, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2018. "It was about a decade ago when parents Tammy and Kevin White moved Kevin and his siblings out of their Plainfield, NJ's violent, drug-infested neighborhood."
- Harrison Arlington Williams Jr., Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed July 10, 2008.
- D'Allesandro, Dave. "Plainfield's Jay Williams thinks he's almost ready to let go of NBA dreams", The Star-Ledger, September 20, 2008. Accessed January 12, 2011.
- Daniels, Karu F. "A windfall indeed for Malinda Williams; BET celeb gift bags up for grabs; Hip Hop Wives on TV; Danyel Smith's new Vibe", AOL Black Voices, July 6, 2006. Accessed January 12, 2011.
- Deggan, Eric. "The best keyboardist you've never heard of", St. Petersburg Times, June 28, 2002. Accessed January 12, 2011.
- "Rev. Albert C. Wyckoff", The New York Times, January 13, 1953. Accessed October 29, 2019. "Elizabeth, NJ, Jan. 12--The Rev. Albert Capwell Wyckoff, formerly of this city who served the Presbyterian Church in the South for more than two decades as missionary and pastor died Saturday at Columbia, KY, after a brief illness... Born in near-by Plainfield, he was ordained in 1928."
- Curriculum Vitae: James A. Yorke, University of Maryland, College Park. Accessed July 11, 2013. "Born 1941 in Plainfield, NJ, U.S.A., U.S. Citizen"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Plainfield, New Jersey.|
- Plainfield, New Jersey's Homepage
- Plainfield Public School District
- Plainfield Public School District's 2015–16 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- School Data for the Plainfield Public School District, National Center for Education Statistics
- Plainfield Symphony
- Plainfield Area YMCA
- Cedarbrook Park & Shakespeare Garden
- Plainfield High School - NJ's 2nd oldest
- The Alternative Press in Plainfield