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
Location Roughly bounded by Mercer, Wayne, Montgomery , Grove, Bright, Varick and Monmouth Streets, Jersey City, New Jersey
Coordinates 40°43′7″N 74°2′53″W / 40.71861°N 74.04806°W / 40.71861; -74.04806
Area 77 acres (31 ha)
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
NRHP Reference # 84000084[1]
NJRHP # 1540[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 11, 1984
Designated NJRHP August 2, 1978

Van Vorst Park is an neighborhood 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.[3]

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.[4]

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 the Harsimus and Hamilton Park to the north and Bergen-Lafayette to the southwest, the neighborhood contains by nineteenth century rowhouses and brownstones.[5] 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),[6][7] Old Colony Shopping Plaza. Landmarks include Jersey City Museum, Barrow Mansion, Dixon Mills, 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 18th and 19th local 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 and Wayne Street for Anthony Wayne and Greene Greene. York Street for New York City and Jersey Street for New Jersey.


Gazebo in Van Vorst Park

Van Vorst Park is a 2 acre city park bounded by Barrow Street on the east, Montgomery Street on the north, Jersey Avenue to on west and York Street on the south. at its center is a large gazebo around which local events take place. It has two children's playgrounds, a splash park and a dog park. Surface of the park is either paved or grassed. Dogs are not permitted in two sections of grassed areas. Also competitive sports, such as football or soccer are prohibited. Vegetation in the park is maintained solely by volunteers. As iconic as the aforementioned gazebo is a cast iron water fountain located western end of the park. In 2015 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.
  • Farmer's market that takes place each Saturday (March-November).
  • Not Yo Mama's Craft Fair comes to Van Vorst Park annually usually in May.
Jersey City Main Library

In popular culture[edit]

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

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

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]



External links[edit]

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