Jersey City, New Jersey

From Academic Kids

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Jersey City's skyline from Hoboken, New Jersey.
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The skyline of Jersey City, as seen from Lower New York Bay. The Goldman Sachs Tower, completed in 2004 is in the center of the picture.

Jersey City is a city located in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 240,055, making it New Jersey's second-largest city. It is the county seat of Hudson CountyTemplate:GR.

Jersey City is on the Hudson River, across from New York City, and forms a part of the New York metropolitan area. The second largest city in the state and a commercial and industrial center surpassed only by Newark, it is a port of entry and a manufacturing center. With 11 mi (17.7 km) of waterfront and significant rail connections, Jersey City is an important transportation terminal point and distribution center. It has railroad shops, oil refineries, warehouses, and plants that manufacture a diverse assortment of products, such as chemicals, petroleum and electrical goods, textiles, and cosmetics. The city has benefited from its position across from the island of Manhattan, and many Jersey City companies are extensions of those originating in New York City. Further developments have included increased housing and shopping areas; other parts of the city, however, remain run-down after years of commercial inactivity.

Jersey City is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in New Jersey. It has one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the United States and one of the largest proportions of various Latino and Hispanic ethnicities of any city outside the nation's southwest. It also has a sizeable population of Asian Americans, Jews, Italians, Cubans, Indians, and Irish residents.

The current mayor of Jersey City is Jerramiah Healy.

The city is presently governed under the Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council) system of municipal government.



The land comprising what is now known as Jersey City was wilderness inhabited by the Lenni Lenape in 1609 when Henry Hudson, seeking an alternate route to East Asia and failing in that mission, anchored his small vessel in Sandy Hook. After spending nine days surveying the area and meeting its inhabitants, he returned to Holland. The Dutch organized the United New Netherlands Company to manage this new territory and named it New Netherlands. In June of 1623, New Netherlands became a Dutch province. Soon after, Michael Reyniersz Pauw, Lord of Achtienhoven, a burgermeister of Amsterdam and a director of the West India Company, received a grant as patroon on the condition that he would plant a colony in New Netherlands of not fewer than fifty persons, within four years. He chose the west bank of the Hudson River and purchased the land from the Indians. This land grant is dated November 22, 1630 and is the earliest known conveyance for what are now Hoboken and Jersey City. However, Michael Pauw neglected to settle on his lands and was obliged to sell his holdings back to the Company in 1633 [1] (

The first settlement was at Communipaw, an area adjacent to present-day Liberty State Park. A house was built here in 1633 for Jan Evertsen Bout, superintendent of the colony, which was then called Pavonia (the Latinized form of Pauw's name) [2] ( Shortly after, another house was built at Harsimus Cove (near the present-day corner of Fourth Street and Marin Boulevard). This second house became the home of Cornelius Van Vorst, who succeeded Bout as superintendent. These were the first two houses in Jersey City. Relations with the Lenni Lenape deteriorated, and war parties virtually destroyed the settlement of Pavonia in 1643 and again in 1655.

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Jersey City at night, from the Liberty Towers; Chase Bank Building at center.

Scattered communities of farmsteads characterized the Dutch settlements in what would become Jersey City: Pavonia, Communipaw, Harsimus, Paulus Hook and to the north, Bergen Township, later the town of Hudson, and incorporated into Jersey City in 1870 [3] ( The first Jersey City village settlement was Bergen Township, established on what is now Bergen Square in 1660. The oldest surviving house in Jersey City is the stone Van Vorst house of 1742.

During the American Revolution the town was in the hands of the British who controlled New York, until Paulus Hook was captured by Major Light Horse Harry Lee on August 19, 1779.

Jersey City was incorporated as The City of Jersey in 1820, and reincorporated under its present name in 1838.

Jersey City was a dock and manufacturing town for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Much like New York City, Jersey City has always been a landing pad for new immigrants to the United States. In its heyday before World War II, German, Irish, and Italian immigrants found work at Colgate, Chloro, or Dixon Ticonderoga. However, the largest employers at the time were the railroads, whose national networks dead-ended on the Hudson River. Until 1911, when the Pennsylvania Railroad Company built the first tunnel under the river, rail passengers transferred in Jersey City to ferries headed to Manhattan or to trolleys that fanned out through Hudson County and beyond. The last streetcar was decommissioned in 1949 and today, only one rail line, the former Erie Lackawanna Railroad, survives, with its terminus in Hoboken.

From 1917 to 1947, it was ruled by Mayor Frank Hague, whose name is synonymous with the early 20th century urban American blend of political favoritism and social welfare known as bossism. "Hanky-Panky," as he was known then, ruled the city with an iron fist while, at the same time, moulding governors, United States senators, and judges to his whims. He was known to be loud and vulgar, and would often dismiss his enemies as "reds" or "commies." Citizens of Jersey City dared not speak out against him for fear of being harassed by Hague's police or being ostracized or publicly embarrassed in some way. Hague also lived like a millionaire, despite having an average annual salary of $8,000. He was able to maintain a fourteen-room duplex apartment in Jersey City, a suite at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, and a palatial summer home in Deal, New Jersey, while travelling to Europe yearly in the royal suites of the best liners.

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The immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks as seen from across the Hudson River in Jersey City. Many people were evacuated by ferry to Jersey City in the wake of the attacks.

The city developed a reputation for corruption, even after Hague left office. By the 1970s, the city was caught up in a wave of urban decline that saw many of its wealthy residents fleeing to the suburbs, and led to an influx of working class citizens scarred by rising crime, civil unrest, political corruption, and economic hardship. From 1950 to 1980, Jersey City lost 75,000 residents, and from 1975 to 1982, it lost 5,000 jobs, or 9 percent of its workforce. [4] ( The city experienced a surge of violent crime during this time period. New immigrants sought refuge in Jersey City because of low housing costs, despite the fact that many of Jersey City's neighborhoods were decaying and suffering from abandonment and neglect.

However, the city is quickly undergoing a renaissance. As the Waterfront continues to grow, Jersey City's downtown neighborhoods are experiencing rapid gentrification as professionals working in Manhattan are beginning to move in. The downtown area has a significant number of Victorian brownstones, and at prices that are far lower than one would find, for a similar home, in Manhattan, or even Brooklyn.

Additionally, many financial corporations including Chase Manhattan Bank, Merrill Lynch, and the investment firm Charles Schwab have relocated to Jersey City or expanded their offices in the city since the September 11, 2001 attacks.


Jersey City is home to the New Jersey City University (NJCU) and Saint Peter's College, both which are located in the city's West Side district. It is also home to the Hudson County Community College, which is located in Journal Square.

McNair Academic High School, the most recently founded public school in Jersey City, was ranked as the top high school in New Jersey according to New Jersey Monthly magazine. In contrast, William L. Dickinson High School, located near Jersey City's downtown area, is the oldest high school in the city. It is also one of the largest schools in Hudson County, in terms of student population. Opened in 1906 as the Jersey City High School, it is one of the oldest sites in Jersey City. It is a three-story Beaux-Arts structure located on a hilltop facing the Hudson River.

St. Peter's Prep is a private high school founded in 1872 by the Society of Jesus. With an average enrollment of just under 1,000, the school claims to be an "independent college preparatory school for young men." It is associated with Saint Peter's College.


Jersey City is a city of neighborhoods, each with a different aesthetic and architectural style, to some degree. Downtown Jersey City includes the Waterfront (including Newport, Harsimus Cove, Paulus Hook, Port Liberte, and Exchange Place), Hamilton Park, Grove Street, and Van Vorst Park. Neighborhoods further out from downtown include Liberty State Park, Jersey City Heights (or, simply, "The Heights"), Western Slope, Journal Square, West Side, Bergen, Greenville, and Lafayette. These designations are unofficial and, to some degree, subjective.

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Newport Tower
Downtown Jersey City is certainly the richest part of Jersey City, in part due to the influx of commuting professionals, and is popular largely because of its proximity to Manhattan and its classic urban architecture, including a significant stock of Greek Revival and Italianate brownstones, some of which were constructed in the 18th century. There is a stark contrast in the Downtown area between the densely populated three- and four-story brownstones of Hamilton Park and Van Vorst Park, the suburban-style retail of the Newport Mall area, and commercial/residential towers of Newport and Exchange Place.

The Jersey City Heights is atop the Palisades overlooking Hoboken. Central Avenue is the primary commercial strip of the area, with residential districts flanking both sides of the street. The Heights area is comprised mostly of two and three family houses, and remains traditionally middle-class. Six blocks to the east, and parallel to Central Avenue, are Palisade and Ogden Avenues, both of which offer breathtaking views of the New York City skyline. Many stately Victorian and Edwardian homes contribute to the attractiveness of the Heights, particularly along Summit Avenue and Sherman Place. Parts of this neighborhood are experiencing gentrification, largely due to the relative affordability of housing and the variety of transportation options, including the recent installation of the "light rail elevator" at Congress Street that connects to the Ninth Street station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

Once the commercial heart of Jersey City, Journal Square has become rather derelict in recent years, but is in the process of rehabilitation, in part due to the efforts of the Journal Square Restoration Corporation (JSRC) and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC). Here, Kennedy Boulevard and Bergen Avenue, main thoroughfares in the city, are at their widest, lined on both sides by brick houses and medium-density apartment complexes. Of note is the Loew's Theatre on Kennedy Boulevard, which is one of the city's most noted landmarks. It is one of the best preserved movie palaces in the Tri-State area. Directly across Kennedy Boulevard from the Loews is the Journal Square Transportation Center (JSTC), which houses the Journal Square PATH station and the city's largest bus terminal. Buses from the JSTC connect Jersey City to communities throughout Hudson County, as well as Manhattan. Saint Peter's College is located about 5 blocks south of Journal Square.

Greenville is the catch-all name for the neighborhoods immediately south of Journal Square. These neighborhoods are dominated by detached two- and three-story houses.

Jersey City's West Side is very ethnically diverse.


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Image of Jersey City taken by NASA. (The red line demarcates the municipal boundaries of Jersey City.)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 54.7 km² (21.1 mi²). 38.6 km² (14.9 mi²) of it is land and 16.1 km² (6.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 29.37% water. Jersey City is bordered to the east by the Hudson River, to the north by Union City and Hoboken, to the west by Kearny and Newark, and to the south by Bayonne.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 240,055 people, 88,632 households, and 55,660 families residing in the city. The population density is 6,212.2/km² (16,093.7/mi²). There are 93,648 housing units at an average density of 2,423.4/km² (6,278.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 34.01% White, 28.32% African American, 0.45% Native American, 16.20% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 15.11% from other races, and 5.84% from two or more races. 28.31% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 88,632 households out of which 31.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% are married couples living together, 20.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% are non-families. 29.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.67 and the average family size is 3.37.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $37,862, and the median income for a family is $41,639. Males have a median income of $35,119 versus $30,494 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,410. 18.6% of the population and 16.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 27.0% of those under the age of 18 and 17.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Jersey City is served by a number of highways including the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 78, U.S. Highways 1 and 9, and New Jersey Routes 139 and 440.

The Holland Tunnel, which carries Interstate 78, connects Jersey City to Manhattan.

The city is also heavily served by public transportation. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which connects Bayonne to Weehawken, has 13 stations in Jersey City. The PATH system has four stations in Jersey City: Exchange Place, Pavonia-Newport, Grove Street, and Journal Square. Finally, ferry lines operate between Jersey City (Newport, Liberty Harbor, Harborside, Colgate, Port Liberte) and Manhattan (Midtown, the World Financial Center, and Pier 11). Ferries are operated by NY Waterway.


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