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|View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., oil
painting by Régis
François Gignoux, Honolulu Academy of Arts]]Elizabeth is a city in Union
Jersey, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total
population of 120,568, making it New Jersey's fourth
largest city (by population). The population of Elizabeth was
126,179 as of the Census Bureau's 2006 estimate. It is the county seat of Union
In 2008, Elizabeth was named one of "America's 50 Greenest Cities" by Popular Science magazine, the only city in New Jersey selected.
HistoryElizabeth was founded in 1664 by English settlers and was named for the wife of Sir George Carteret, not Queen Elizabeth I as many people assume. Originally called "Elizabethtown," and part of the Elizabethtown Tract, it was the first English speaking community formed in the new colony. It was also the first capital of New Jersey. During the American Revolutionary War, Elizabeth was constantly attacked by British forces based in Manhattan and Staten Island.
On March 13, 1855, the City of Elizabeth was created by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature, combining and replacing both Elizabeth Borough (which dated back to 1740) and Elizabeth Township (which had been formed in 1693), based on the results of a referendum held on March 27, 1855. On March 19, 1857, the city became part of the newly-created Union County. Portions of the city were taken to form Linden Township on March 4, 1861.
The first major industry, the Singer Sewing Machine Company came to Elizabeth and employed as many as 2,000 people. In 1895, it saw one of the first car companies, when Electric Carriage and Wagon Company was founded to manufacture the Electrobat, joined soon by another electric car builder, Riker. The Electric Boat Company got its start building submarines for the United States Navy in Elizabeth, New Jersey beginning with the launch of USS Holland in 1897. These pioneering naval craft [known as A-Class] were developed at Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth between the years 1896-1903. Elizabeth grew in parallel to its sister city of Newark for many years, but has been more successful in retaining a middle class presence and was spared riots in the 1960s.
GeographyElizabeth is located at (40.662152, -74.209066).
Elizabeth is bordered to the southwest by Linden, to the west by Roselle and Roselle Park, to the northwest by Union and Hillside, to the north by Newark (in Essex County) and to the east by Bayonne (in Hudson County) & Staten Island, New York.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.4 km2 (13.7 mi2). 31.6 km2 (12.2 mi2) of it is land and 3.7 km2 (1.4 mi2) of it (10.47%) is water.
Business and IndustrySince World War II, Elizabeth has seen its transportation facilities grow; Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is one of the busiest ports in the world, as is Newark Liberty International Airport, parts of which are actually in Elizabeth. Elizabeth also features the popular Jersey Gardens outlet mall, Loews Theater and the Elizabeth Center, which generate millions of dollars in revenue.
Together with Linden, Elizabeth is home to the Bayway Refinery, a ConocoPhillips refining facility that helps supply petroleum-based products to the New York/New Jersey area, producing approximately 230,000 barrels per day.
Portions of the city are covered by the Urban Enterprise Zone, which cuts the sales tax rate to 3½% (half of the 7% charged statewide) and offers other incentives to businesses within the district. The Elizabeth UEZ has the highest business participation rate in the state, with approximately 1,000 businesses participating in — and benefiting from — the program. The UEZ has helped bring in more than $1.5 billion in new economic development to the City and has brought in over $50 million in sales tax revenue that has been reinvested in funding for additional police, streetscape and other infrastructure improvements.
Celadon, a mixed-use development containing 14 glass skyscrapers, offices, retail, a hotel, boardwalk and many other amenities is proposed to border the east side of the Jersey Gardens mall, directly on the Port Newark Bay.. It is planned to break ground in the summer of 2008 on the ferry, roads and parking, and will continue construction for at least twelve more years.
DemographicsAs of the census of 2000, there were 120,568 people, 40,482 households, and 28,170 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,809.5/km2 (9,865.5/mi2). There were 42,838 housing units at an average density of 1,353.5/km2 (3,505.2/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 49.78% White, 19.98% African American, 0.48% Native American, 2.35% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 15.51% from other races, and 5.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 55.46% of the population.
The nation where the highest number of foreign-born inhabitants of Elizabeth were born was Colombia, which was the birthplace of 8,731 Elizabeth residents as of the 2000 Census. This exceeded the combined total of Mexico and Central America of 8,214. It also far exceeded the next highest single nation count of Cuba at 5,812. The largest number for a non-Spanish speaking country and third highest overall was immigrants from Portugal numbering 4,544. The next to largest groups were Salvadoran immigrants numbering 4,043, Peruvians 3,591 and Jamaican immigrants of whom there were 3,492.
There were 40,482 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.45.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,175, and the median income for a family was $38,370. Males had a median income of $30,757 versus $23,931 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,114. About 15.6% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 17.2% of those age 65 or over.
Midtown (Broad St.& Morris ave), also occasionally known as Uptown, is the main commercial district. Midtown is a historic section as well. It includes the First Presbyterian Church and St. John's Episcopal Church, and its St. John's Episcopal Churchyard. The First Presbyterian Church was a battleground for the American Revolution. Located here are also the Art Deco Hersh Tower and the Ritz Theatre which has been operating since 1926.
Bayway is located in the southern part of the City and borders the City of Linden. There are unique ethnic restaurants, bars, and stores along Bayway Avenue, and a variety of houses of worship. Housing styles are older and well maintained. There are many affordable two to four-family housing units, and multiple apartments complexes The western terminus of the Goethals Bridge, which spans the Arthur Kill to Staten Island can be found here.
Elizabethport (Elizabeth Ave. a.k.a "the ave", First, the port), the oldest and perhaps the most diverse place in the City, is a collection of old world Elizabeth, new America, and a mix of colonial-style houses and apartment houses that stretch east of Routes 1 & 9 to its shores. Although this has been an impoverished part of Elizabeth for many decades, this area has had a great deal of improvement in the last five years. Many homes have been refurbished or replaced with new, more ornate constructions. There is an area where housing projects stood for years along First Street that were demolished and replaced with attractive apartment complexes for those with low to moderate incomes. The Elizabeth Marina, which in the past was filled with trash and debris along its walkway, has also improved and many celebrations are held year round, from a Hispanic festival in the late spring to the lighting of a Christmas tree in the winter. Living conditions in this area continue to improve year after year. Historically, there was a Slavic community here, centered by a church (Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine) and a Lithuanian (Sts. Peter and Paul, R.C.) and Polish (St. Adalbert) Roman Catholic Church still stands in the neighborhood. St. Patrick Church, originally Irish, dominates the 'Port and was built in 1888.
Elmora is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the western part of Elizabeth. Home to many Colombians and Jews, a number of kosher eateries can be found here. The main thoroughfare, Elmora Avenue, boasts some of the best restaurants, shops and boutiques. A few of the City’s most luxurious high-rise building complexes- affording views of the New York skyline- dot the edge of this neighborhood and are convenient to the Midtown NJ Transit Train Station. Also found here is Morris Avenue which is home to many Colombian stores and restaurants. The northwestern part of Elmora is sometimes known as Elmora Hills. It is a strongly middle- to upper-middle class neighborhood. The area still has a large Jewish population.
Frog Hollow, A small community of homes just west of the Arthur Kill, and south of Elizabeth Avenue, Frog Hollow contains older style, affordable homes, rentals and some quality restaurants in a working-class community. The statue honoring former Mayor Mack on Elizabeth Avenue is a landmark in the community. Frog Hollow is also convenient to the Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park. Frog Hollow was largely Irish from the late 1800s until WWII and the largest church in Elizabeth is St. Patrick's Church in Elizabethport, built by the Irish in the late 1800s and still in beautiful condition today.
Keighry Head, This community is located close to Midtown, containing affordable one and two-family homes, and apartment houses, convenient to the Midtown shopping district, and transportation.
North Elizabeth, also known as "North End," is mainly a diverse working-class neighborhood home to many Portuguese as well. The North End features easy access to New York and Newark via its own NJ Transit Train Station, Routes 1&9 & the NJ Turnpike. The neighborhood also boasts Crane Square, the Historic Nugents Tavern, and Kellogg Park and its conveniently close proximity to Newark Airport. There is currently a plan in place to develop the former Interbake Foods facility into shopping and residential town houses and condominiums. This community contains many larger one and two-family homes that have been rebuilt over the past decade. North Elizabeth also features many well-kept apartment houses and condominium units on and around North Avenue that are home to professionals who work in New York or the area.
Peterstown (also known as The Burg) is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the southeast part of the city. It is heavily industrial and ethnically diverse. Peterstown was once predominantly occupied by newly immigrated Italians and their descendants, but is less so today. Peterstown has clean, quiet streets and has many affordable housing opportunities with a “village” feel. The area contains the historic Union Square, home to produce stands, meat markets, fresh fish and poultry stores. Peterstown is also home to the DeCavalcante crime family, one of the most infamous mafia family in the United States.
The Point is centrally and defined by New Point Road, located close to Midtown. This community contains many new affordable two-family homes, apartment houses and is undergoing a transformation.
Westminster is home to the City’s largest residential estates, a mix of Tudors, Victorians, ranch houses, colonial split levels and more. This neighborhood borders Hillside and contains many distinctive properties. It is also home to a new public school, considered one of the finest in the City’s system. The Elizabeth River runs through Westminster culminating in a dramatic splash of greenery and rolling hills off of North Avenue, near Liberty Hall. Residents use this area for recreation, whether it is at the newly christened Phil Rizzuto Park area, or for bird watching or for sunbathing by the river. It is one of the more affluent and historic area of Elizabeth.
Local governmentThe City of Elizabeth is governed under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government under the Faulkner Act.
The City government of Elizabeth is made up of a Mayor and a City Council. The City's Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth, is currently serving his fourth term as Mayor. The Elizabeth City Council is made up of nine members. Three Council members are elected at large and six members are elected from each of Elizabeth's six wards. Council Members-at-large are Frank Cuesta, Edward Jackus and Patricia Perkins-Auguste. Ward Council members are Manny Grova, Jr. - First Ward; Nelson Gonzalez - Second Ward; Joseph Keenan - Third Ward; Carlos Cedeño - Fourth Ward; William Gallman, Jr. (Council President) - Fifth Ward; and Frank Mazza - Sixth Ward.
Federal, state and county representationThe City of Elizabeth is split between the Tenth and Thirteenth Congressional districts and is part of New Jersey's 20th Legislative District.
Union County Freeholders meet publicly on a monthly basis. Citizens have the ability to provide feedback and comment on issues that concern them.
Medical ServicesEmergency Medical Services for the City of Elizabeth are handled by the Elizabeth Police Departments Ambulance Service Bureau (EPD-ASB). This is a civilian Bureau of the Police Department and handles approx 40,000 calls a year. The Bureau is made up of a EMS Chief, 5 Supervisors, 28 Full Time Emergency Medical Technicians, and approximately 11 Per Diem EMT's. The Bureau, at its maximum staffing, attempts to operate 4 Ambulances and a Supervisor on days (7A-7P) and 3 Ambulances and a Supervisor on nights (7P-7A).
EducationThe city's public schools are operated by Elizabeth Public Schools, serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district is one of 31 Abbott Districts statewide. Elizabeth High School is the largest high school in the state of New Jersey and one of the largest in the United States. By New Jersey Monthly the school was ranked at number 302 out of 316, making it the lowest school in Union County on the list.
Private SchoolsElizabeth is also home to several private schools. There is St. Mary of the Assumption High School, Saint Patrick High School, St. Genevieve School, and the Jewish Educational Center, which comprises the Yeshiva of Elizabeth (nursery through sixth grades), the Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy (boys, seventh through twelfth grades), and Bruriah High School (girls, seventh through twelfth grades).
Kindergarten - 8th Grade SchoolsThe Elizabeth Public Schools system has many elementary and middle schools.all
RoadsElizabeth is a hub of several major roadways including the New Jersey Turnpike / Interstate 95, Interstate 78, U.S. Route 1/9, U.S. Route 22, Route 27, Route 28, Route 82 and Route 439. Elizabeth's own street plan, in contrast to the more usual grid plan, is to a large degree circular, with circumferential and radial streets centered on the central railroad station.
Mass transitElizabeth is among the U.S. cities with the highest transit ridership.
It has two train stations on NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line and the Northeast Corridor Line. Elizabeth Station also called Broad Street Elizabeth or Midtown Station is the southern station in Midtown Elizabeth. The other train station in Elizabeth is North Elizabeth Station.
New Jersey Transit is planning a segment of the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link (NERL), designated as the Union County Light Rail (UCLR). The UCLR will connect Midtown Station with Newark Liberty International Airport and have seven or eight other stations in between within Elizabeth city limits. A possible extension of this future line to Plainfield would link the city of Elizabeth with the Raritan Valley Line.
In addition, the Colombian airline Avianca operates a private bus service from John F. Kennedy Airport to Union City and Elizabeth for passengers on Avianca flights departing from and arriving to JFK.
Local Taxi Services
Local MediaWJDM at 1530 on the AM dial is licensed to Elizabeth.
News 12 New Jersey is one of the most viewed weather and news channels in the city.
In 2008, Elizabeth was named one of "America's 50 Greenest Cities" by Popular Science magazine. Elizabeth was the only city in New Jersey selected. It ranked city number 45, under Fremont, California and above Livonia, Michigan.
Elizabeth Public Access ChannelResidents of Elizabeth can tune into the Public Access Channel at anytime to view public information such as the city bulletin board, live meetings, important health information and tips. This service is provided by Cablevision Local Programming. The service can be found on channel 18. The channel also has features such as Top 10 Ranked Television Shows, Educational Facts, Quote of The Day, Gas Price Statistics, and tips for keeping the city safe and clean.
Notable residents and natives