Van Vorst Park

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Van Vorst Park Historic District
(Boundary Increase)
Van Vorst Park looking southwest to Jersey Avenue JC,NJ.jpg
Van Vorst Park is located in Hudson County, New Jersey
Van Vorst Park
Van Vorst Park is located in New Jersey
Van Vorst Park
Van Vorst Park is located in the United States
Van Vorst Park
LocationRoughly bounded by Mercer, Wayne, Montgomery, Grove, Bright, Varick and Monmouth Streets, Jersey City, New Jersey
Coordinates40°43′7″N 74°2′53″W / 40.71861°N 74.04806°W / 40.71861; -74.04806
Area7.7 acres (3.1 ha)
Architectural styleLate 19th And 20th Century Revivals
NRHP reference #84000084[1]
NJRHP #1540[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 11, 1984
Designated NJRHPAugust 2, 1978

Van Vorst Park is an upper income neighborhood[3] in the Historic Downtown of Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, United States, centered on a park sharing the same name. The neighborhood is located west of Paulus Hook and Marin Boulevard, north of Grand Street, east of the Turnpike Extension, and south of The Village and Christopher Columbus Drive. Much of it is included in the Van Vorst Park Historical District.[4]

The park was a centerpiece of Van Vorst Township, a township that existed in Hudson County from 1841 to 1851. Van Vorst was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 12, 1841, from portions of Bergen Township. On March 18, 1851, Van Vorst Township was annexed by Jersey City.[5]

The name Van Vorst comes from a prominent family in the area, the first of which arrived in the 1630s as superindentent of the patroonship Pavonia, the earliest European settlement on the west bank of the Hudson River in the province of New Netherland. His homestead at Harsimus, plus others at Communipaw, Paulus Hook, Minakwa, Pamrapo were later incorporated into Bergen. His namesake and eighth generation descendant, Cornelius Van Vorst, was the twelfth Mayor of Jersey City serving from 1860 to 1862.

Like Harsimus Cove and Hamilton Park to the north and Bergen-Lafayette to the southwest, the neighborhood contains nineteenth century rowhouses and brownstones.[6] It is home to the Jersey City Medical Center, James J. Ferris High School (named for the Jersey City citizen who laid the foundation of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse with his firm Stillman, Delehanty and Ferris),[7][8] and Old Colony Shopping Plaza. Landmarks include Barrow Mansion, Dixon Mills, the main branch of the Jersey City Public Library, Jersey City City Hall and the Heppenheimer Mansion.

The Grove Street PATH station is located nearby to the north and is the Jersey Avenue (HBLR station) to the south.


Street names in the neighborhood honor local 18th and 19th century figures such as Colden Street for Cadwallader D. Colden, Varick Street for Richard Varick, Colgate Street for William Colgate of Colgate-Palmolive, and American Revolution military figures such Montgomery for Richard Montgomery, Mercer Street for Hugh Mercer, Wayne Street for Anthony Wayne and Greene Street for Nathaniel Greene.


Gazebo in Van Vorst Park

Van Vorst Park is a two-acre city park bounded by Barrow Street on the east, Montgomery Street on the north, Jersey Avenue on the west and York Street on the south. The park was renovated in 1999 at a cost of two million dollars with money raised by the Friends of Van Vorst Park.[9] The park is bordered by 19th century brownstones and townhouses including the Heppenheimer Mansion. It contains a large gazebo at the center, two playgrounds, a splash park and a dog park. An iconic cast iron water fountain sits in the western quadrant of the park. The surface of the park primarily consists of grass and a paved walkway. Competitive sports, such as football and soccer are prohibited in the park area. Vegetation in the park is diverse and is maintained by the community. In 2015 a Citi Bike station was added on Jersey Avenue.

Water fountain in Van Vorst Park

Local Events[edit]

Venders at Crafts Fair at Van Vorst Park

The park produces several community events on regular basis. Events include:

  • Films in Van Vorst Park. Every other Wednesday from June through August, the park shows recent and classic films in the "park square" area.
  • Shakespeare in the Park presented by the Hudson Shakespeare Company takes place on the second Friday of each month of the summer as part of their touring season.
  • A Farmer's market takes place each Saturday from March to November.
Jersey City Main Library

In popular culture[edit]

One of the brownstones was filmed for a Flo Rida music video.

A character in the 1996 film Bogus, played by Whoopi Goldberg, lives in a building located at the corner of York and Barrow. The building is called Madison Standing.

An independent film, titled Van Vorst Park, was produced by Pushing Leather Productions in 2005. Some scenes are shot in and around Van Vorst Park.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Hudson County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. July 7, 2009. p. 7. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  3. ^ "US Census".
  4. ^ *Van Vorst Park Historical District
  5. ^ Snyder, John P. The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 148. Accessed June 26, 2013.
  6. ^ Hamilton Park Neighborhood and Historic District
  8. ^ The Pennsylvania Railroad Harsimus Branch Embankment, Jersey City, NJ Archived 2009-05-23 at the Wayback Machine)
  9. ^ "Jersey City, Past and Present".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′06″N 74°02′46″W / 40.7183°N 74.0462°W / 40.7183; -74.0462