is a borough
in Bergen County
, New Jersey
, United States
. As of the United States 2000 Census
, the borough population was 31,637. , the Census Bureau estimated that the borough had a population of 30,783.
Fair Lawn was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 6, 1924, as "Fairlawn", from portions of Saddle River Township. The name was taken from Fairlawn, David Acker's estate home, that was built in 1865 and later became the Fair Lawn Municipal Building. In 1933, the official spelling of the borough's name was split into its present two-word form as "Fair Lawn" Borough.
Radburn, one of the first planned communities in the United States, is an unincorporated community located within Fair Lawn, and was founded in 1929 as "a town for the motor age".
Fair Lawn is located at (40.933943, -74.116711).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 5.2 square miles (13.5 km²), of which, 5.2 square miles (13.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.96%) is water.
In its earlier days Fair Lawn was known as Slooterdam
: taken from a Dutch
word used to describe a Native American weir
used to trap fish on the Passaic River
. Fair Lawn was named after the Estate of David Acker which was named "Fair Lawn" and fronted onto what is now Fair Lawn Avenue. The home became the borough's municipal building and was later torn down when a senior citizen center was built where it stood.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 31,637 people, 11,806 households, and 8,901 families residing in the borough. The population density
was 6,121.0 people per square mile (2,362.7/km²). There were 12,006 housing units at an average density of 2,322.9/sq mi (896.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.54% White
, 0.74% African American
, 0.04% Native American
, 4.92% Asian
, 1.37% from other races
, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 5.51% of the population.
As of the 2000 Census, 19.7% of Fair Lawn residents were of Italian ancestry. Fair Lawn also has a high Russian Jewish population. As of the 2000 Census, 10.1% of Fair Lawn residents identified themselves as being of Russian ancestry, the highest percentage of any municipality in New Jersey with more than 1,000 residents identifying their ancestry.
There were 11,806 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the borough the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $72,127, and the median income for a family was $81,220. Males had a median income of $56,798 versus $41,300 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,273. About 2.6% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
Fair Lawn operates under a Council-Manager
(Plan E of the Faulkner Act
) form of New Jersey municipal government by a five-member Borough Council. Members of the Borough Council serve four-year terms in office, and are elected in partisan elections in odd-numbered years on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election every other year. All policy making power is concentrated in the council. The mayor is selected at a reorganization meeting held after each election by the council from among its members, and presides over its meetings with no separate policy-making power. The manager is appointed by the council to serve as the municipal chief executive and administrative official.
Members of the Borough Council are Mayor Steven Weinstein (D, term ends December 31, 2011), Jeanne Baratta (R, 2009), Lisa Swain (D, 2011) Joseph Tedeschi (D, 2011) and Ed Trawinski (R, 2009).
In elections held on November 6, 2007, voters filled three seats for four-year terms on the borough council. Democrats swept all three posts, with incumbents Steven Weinstein (3,573 votes) and Joseph Tedeschi (3,354) winning re-election, joined by running mate Lisa Swain (3,405). Falling short were the Republicans Michael Roney (2,928), Lisa Yourman (2,818) and John Gil (2,812), as well as independent candidate Allan Caan (257). Democrats will retain their 3-2 margin on the 2008 council.
Republicans Baratta and Trawinski received approximately 54% of the vote in November 2005 (defeating Democrats David L. Ganz and Allan Caan) despite the heavy Democratic registration and the borough's landslide for Governor Jon Corzine. Moreover, Councilman Joseph Tedeschi is a former Republican and an avowed "traditional, conservative" Democrat.
Standard Borough Council meetings are televised on local cable TV when held in the Council chambers in the Fair Lawn Municipal Building. Work sessions, where laws are discussed and prepared for adoption, are not usually televised.
Fair Lawn has an all-volunteer fire department. The department has four stations, with Company 1 on George Street, Company 2 at Route 208 South (before Maple Avenue Bridge), Company 3 located at Corner Plaza Road / Rosalie Street and Company 4 on Radburn Road.
Federal, state and county representation
Fair Lawn is part of New Jersey's 38th Legislative District and is in the Ninth Congressional District.
As of April 1
, out of a 2004 Census estimated population of 31,613 in Fair Lawn, there were 19,673 registered voters (62.2% of the population, vs. 55.4% in all of Bergen County). Of registered voters, 5,206 (26.5% vs. 20.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats
, 2,773 (14.1% vs. 19.2% countywide) were registered as Republicans
and 11,685 (59.4% vs. 60.1% countywide) were registered as Undeclared
. There were nine voters registered to other parties.
On the national level, Fair Lawn voters lean toward the Democratic Party. In the 2004 Presidential Election, Democrat John Kerry received 54% of the vote here, defeating Republican George W. Bush, who received around 45%.
The Fair Lawn Public Schools
serve students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics
.) are six K-5 elementary schools —
(461 students) and
(276 students) —
two middle Schools for grades 6-8 —
Memorial Middle School
(463 students) and
Thomas Jefferson Middle School
(712 students) — and
Fair Lawn High School
for grades 9-12 (1,476 students). The high school itself is well regarded for its music department and academic skills.
Fair Lawn has several main roads crossing through it forming a semi-3x3 grid. Saddle River Road, Plaza Road, and River Road (County Route 507
) run North-South, Broadway, Morlot Avenue and Fair Lawn Avenue run East-West, and Route 208 runs Northwest-Southeast.
Broadway becomes Route 4 in Elmwood Park to the west and eventually Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in Paterson. To the East, it becomes Route 4 going into Paramus and is less than 10 miles (16 km) from the George Washington Bridge.
Fair Lawn Avenue is considered the borough's main street, containing its Borough Hall, Police Station, Public Library, and Community School. The road goes west over the Passaic River into Paterson, and east into Paramus where it becomes Century Road.
The intersection of Fair Lawn Avenue and Plaza Road form what could be considered a "town center", with several shopping plazas, and the Radburn train station all within walking distance. Other commercial areas include Broadway and River Road, but neither is particularly amenable to pedestrian traffic despite attempts by local business owners to make them so.
Route 208 has its southern terminus in Fair Lawn, and goes through the middle of the borough from the northwest to the southeast, where it eventually merges with Broadway to become Route 4 not far from Paramus. Taken the other direction, Route 208 flows northwest to Interstate 287 in Oakland.
Saddle River Road goes through the eastern side of Fair Lawn and into Saddle Brook, where it provides a link to both the Garden State Parkway and Interstate 80.
Route 20 southbound becomes Route 21 which separates Fair Lawn from Paterson and northbound Hawthorne.
Fair Lawn uses a somewhat unique street address numbering system. Instead of an address being, for example, 55 Some Street, most Fair Lawn addresses are given hyphenated numbers, such as 10-13 Some Street. This numbering system is also used in Queens, New York City. Exceptions to this numbering system generally exist on the Glen Rock and Hawthorne sides of Fair Lawn. The first numbers (before the dash) correspond to block-distances from Broadway (on streets that run east-west) and to the numbered streets in the borough (example: 2nd Street, 17th Street, etc.) on the streets that run North-South; with the highest numbers being in the low 40's, and the lowest numbers being 0-30, etc.
Fair Lawn is served by the Radburn and Broadway train stations on the New Jersey Transit Bergen County Line. The stations offer service to Hoboken Terminal, with connections at Secaucus Junction to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan and to most other New Jersey Transit train lines. New Jersey Transit buses include the 144, 148, 160, 164 and 196 routes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the, 171, 175 to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal; and the 746, 758 and 770 lines, offering local service.
Fair Lawn also has one of the original organized Street Hockey
/DekHockey programs in the state. Managed and run through its Recreation Department, this hockey program started officially in 1976. Originally played in the parking lot of the Radburn Grange Hall, it moved to an official rink in 1977 at Memorial Park. The program serves children aged 8-17, and runs during the winter months concluding early spring. Over the years the program grew to accommodate three separate rinks. The Fair Lawn Flyers competed in the first national street hockey championships in 1976 in Leominster, Massachusetts
. In subsequent years Fair Lawn sent teams to both the regional and national tournaments (as teams known as Fair Lawn Flyers and Fair Lawn Chiefs). Two of the three Fair Lawn Dekhockey rinks are named after Joe Gambucci and Bredehorst; both volunteered in multiple capacities for the league. Joe Gambucci was one of the original volunteers to start the program.
- In the 1976 film Taxi Driver, when Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is talking to a Secret Service agent, he gives his address as 154 Hopper Avenue, Fair Lawn, New Jersey. There is a Hopper Avenue in Fair Lawn, but 154 Hopper Avenue does not exist.
- In the 1996 Mel Gibson movie Ransom, Fair Lawn was seen when Gibson is told to turn from Route 4 onto Saddle River Road (Fair Lawn) and into the rock quarry (which is actually located in North Haledon, New Jersey). A few days worth of filming was also done inside a home on Saddle River Road but those scenes were cut.
- In the 2004 movie Taxi, Fair Lawn can be seen on the map that Detective Washburn (Jimmy Fallon) is reading. The map is fake, since it shows a fictional uncompleted highway off the Garden State Parkway in Oradell. The scene where the robbers jump off the uncompleted skyway was not filmed in New Jersey.
- In the movie Casino, two scenes were shot at the Fair Lawn Fire Dept. Company 3. The scenes when the news lady was talking about the mob members and the scene right after that.
- At the beginning of the critically acclaimed Pine Barrens episode of the television series The Sopranos, Mob boss Tony Soprano tells Paulie Walnuts and protege Christopher Moltisanti to visit a Russian mobster, Valery, in Fair Lawn. Although Paulie and Christopher are shown visiting Valery's Fair Lawn apartment, no scenery is shown besides the nondescript parking lot in front of the apartment and the inside of the apartment itself. A scene from the Sopranos was filmed in front of the historic Radburn Building.
Notable current and former residents of Fair Lawn include:
- Steve Bornstein (born 1952), current head of the NFL Network.
- Eugene Emond WWII B-17 Pilot of Man O War II and Officer of the New York Federal Reserve
- Jim Finn (born 1976), football player with the New York Giants.
- Boris Gulko (born 1947), International Grandmaster and former winner of the U.S. Chess Championship.
- Bobby Jones, 1960s singer.
- Jim Jones (born 1976), rapper; Known for his song We Fly High 2006.
- Steve Malzberg, conservative radio broadcaster.
- Lee Meredith (born 1947 as Judith Lee Stratford), actress who has appeared in The Producers, Hello Down There and The Sunshine Boys.
- Millie Perkins (born 1938), actress, who played the title role in her first film as the star of The Diary of Anne Frank.
- Ron Perranoski (born 1936), MLB pitcher from 1961-1973.
- Billy Price, soul singer.
- Maurice Purtill (1916-1994) drummer for the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and various other big bands.
- Steve Rothman (born 1952), Congressman representing New Jersey's 9th congressional district.
- Charlie Schlatter (born 1966), actor.
- Regina Spektor (born 1980), singer; attended Fair Lawn High School
- Rabbi Benjamin Yudin, noted scholar and lecturer at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Torah.