The city has benefited from its position across from the island of Manhattan, and many Jersey City companies are extensions of those in New York. Further developments have included increased housing and shopping areas and a waterfront-renewal project, including the towering Goldman Sachs building (2004). Other parts of the city, however, remain run-down after years of commercial activity. Many ethnic groups throughout U.S. history have settled in Jersey City. The city has a modern medical center and is the seat of Jersey City State College and St. Peter's College. In Lincoln Park is a statue of Lincoln, built in 1929. Liberty State Park, on the waterfront, is the site of a science museum and provides an excellent view of New York harbor.
The area was acquired by Michiel Pauw c.1629. The Dutch soon set up the trading posts of Paulus Hook, Communipaw, and Horsimus. In 1674 the site fell permanently under British rule. The fort at Paulus Hook was captured by Light-Horse Harry Lee under Washington's plan, Aug. 19, 1779. Nearby Bergen was a stockaded Dutch village dating from before 1620 and had New Jersey's first municipal government, church (Dutch Reformed), and school (1662). Jersey City was consolidated with Bergen and Hudson City in 1869; the town of Greenville was added in 1873. The city's industrial growth began in the 1840s with the arrival of the railroad and the improvement of its water transport system. In 1916, Jersey City docks were the scene of the Black Tom explosion that caused widespread property damage.
Jersey City is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the population of Jersey City was 240,055, making it New Jersey's second-largest city, behind Newark. As of the Census Bureau's 2007 estimate, the population had grown to 242,389. It is the seat of Hudson County.
Jersey City lies on the west bank of the Hudson River across from Lower Manhattan in New York City, and is part of the New York metropolitan area. A commercial and industrial center, it is a port of entry and a manufacturing center. With 11 miles (17.7 km) of waterfront and significant rail connections, Jersey City is an important transportation terminus and distribution center. It has railroad shops, oil refineries, warehouses, and plants that manufacture a diverse assortment of products, including chemicals, petroleum, electronics, textiles, and cosmetics. Jersey City has benefited from its location near the island of Manhattan, as many of its companies are extensions of businesses whose headquarters are there. Recent developments have included increased housing and shopping areas; some parts of the city, however, remain run-down after years of commercial inactivity.
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. It has the smallest land area of the 100 largest cities in America. 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 Jersey City grew, several neighboring communities were annexed: Van Vorst Township (March 18, 1851), Bergen City and Hudson City (both on May 2, 1870), and Greenville Township (February 4, 1873). These annexations have resulted in the current boundaries of Jersey City.
Relations between ethnic groups in this heavily-mixed population are not always amicable, as evidenced by incidents such as the infamous Dotbusters gang attacks of 1987 against residents of South Asian descent, and, more recently, the March 2007 defacing of a local sports field with Nazi slogans and racial slurs.
Jersey City is ethnically diverse, with several distinct religious groups, prominently the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt. The large influx of Copts in New Jersey can be attributed to their persecution in Egypt, in addition to those who emigrate seeking education and financial opportunities. Currently, there are more than 30,000 Copts in Jersey City alone.
Of all households, 31.1% have children under the age of 18 living there, 36.4% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% 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 3.37.
The age distribution 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.
The median income of its households is $37,862, and the median income of its families is $41,639. Males had a median income of $35,119 versus $30,494 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,410. About 16.4% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.0% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.
The current Mayor of Jersey City is Jerramiah Healy. The current Business Administrator of Jersey City is Brian O'Reilly.
Members of the City Council are:
Jersey City Municipal Court gets a fairly heavy load of criminal cases along with some traffic violations. Mayor Healy is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Scattered communities of farmsteads characterized the Dutch settlements at Pavonia: Communipaw, Harsimus, Paulus Hook, Hoebuck, Awiehaken, and other lands "behind Kil van Kull". The first village (located inside a palisaded garrison) established on what is now Bergen Square in 1660, and is considered to be the oldest town in what would become the state of New Jersey.
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. The most significant railroad for Jersey City was the Pennsylvania Railroad Company whose eastern terminus was in the Downtown area until 1911, when the company built the first tunnel under the river to Penn Station, New York. Before that time, Pennsy rail passengers transferred in Jersey City to ferries headed to Manhattan or to trolleys that fanned out through Hudson County and beyond. The Black Tom explosion occurred on July 30, 1916 as an act of sabotage on American ammunition supplies by German agents to prevent the materials from being used by the Allies in World War I.
After Hague's retirement from politics, a series of mayors including John V. Kenny, Thomas J. Whelan, and Thomas F.X. Smith attempted to take control of Hague's organization, usually under the mantle of political reform. None was able to duplicate the level of power held by Hague.
The city developed a reputation for corruption, even after Hague left office. By the 1970s, it 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% of its workforce. The city experienced a surge of violent crime during this period. New immigrants sought refuge in Jersey City because of its low housing costs, despite the decline in many of its neighborhoods due to decay, abandonment, or neglect.
Beginning in the 1980s, development of the waterfront in an area previously occupied by rail yards and factories helped to stir the beginnings of a renaissance for Jersey City. The rapid construction of numerous high-rise buildings increased the population and led to the development of the Exchange Place Financial District, also known as 'Wall Street West', one of the largest banking centers in the United States. Large financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch occupy prominent buildings on the Jersey City waterfront. Amid this building boom, a light-rail network brought articulated streetcars to downtown Jersey City.
Wide-scale gentrification of the Downtown neighborhood coincided with the growth of Jersey City as an arts center, particularly the visual arts. Beginning in the late 1970s, many artists moved the short distance across the river from Manhattan in search of affordable studio space. One structure of note, the massive Civil War-era building located at 111 First Street, became a haven for hundreds of Artists in the area and was considered by many as the heart of the Jersey City Arts community. Nonetheless, the building was demolished in 2005 to make way for future development, including a high-rise building designed by world-famous architect Rem Koolhaas. The art scene has continued to grow with a proliferation of galleries and other organizations such as Rock Soup Studios, 58 Gallery, Arthouse Productions, Lex Leonard Gallery, and LITM, among others. The recent addition of the Jersey City Museum, a venue for contemporary art, has also raised the profiles of local artists.
Jersey City consists of Six Districts or Wards; Greenville, West Side, Journal Square, The Heights, Downtown, and Bergen/Lafayette. Each of these Districts consists of smaller neighborhoods, for example the Paulus Hook neighborhood of the Downtown District and the Western Slope neighborhood of The Heights District. 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, Paulus Hook, and Exchange Place), Hamilton Park, Grove Street, Harsimus Cove, Van Vorst Park, and Liberty State Park. Jersey City Heights (or, simply, "The Heights") includes the Western Slope and the Central Avenue Shopping area. Journal Square, site of the Jersey Journal and PATH Transportation Center, West Side features West Bergen/Lincoln Park and Hudson Mall, Bergen/Lafayette where Communipaw Avenue connects the West Side with Liberty State Park, Greenville featuring Port Liberte and residential neighborhoods.
Downtown Jersey City is the area from the Hudson River westward to the Newark Bay Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 78) and the New Jersey Palisades; it is also bounded by Hoboken to the north and Liberty State Park to the south.
Newport and Exchange Place are redeveloped waterfront areas consisting mostly of residential towers, hotels and office buildings. Newport is a planned mixed-use community, built on the old Erie Lackawanna Railway yards, made up of residential rental towers, condominiums, office buildings, a marina, schools, restaurants, hotels, Newport Centre Mall, a waterfront walkway, transportation facilities, and on-site parking for more than 15,000 vehicles. Newport had a hand in the renaissance of Jersey City although, before ground was broken, much of the downtown area had already begun a steady climb (much like Hoboken). Some critics have derided the Newport development for its isolation because it is cut off from the rest of the city by the Newport Centre Mall and other big box retail.
Exchange Place, the first part of Jersey City to redevelop, was built on the grounds of the old Jersey City Penn Station, ferry and shipping terminals. It is now a bustling business and financial district.
To the west lie three brownstone neighborhoods with "historic" protected districts — Hamilton Park, Van Vorst Park, and Harsimus Cove — separated from the waterfront by a legacy of older infrastructure, big-box development, and old warehouses still awaiting re-use.
Paulus Hook is another neighborhood with a historic designated zone. It borders Exchange Place and Liberty State Park on the waterfront, and blends older brownstone-lined streets with newer luxury developments. The Essex Street stop on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail cuts through the southern portion of the neighborhood. The area has become increasingly active with development to the east and the construction of the light rail; many of its streets are lined with shops, and restaurants with outdoor seating.
The Jersey City Medical Center operated in the 20th century on Baldwin Avenue, south of Journal Square. Now JCMC is located on Grand Street downtown, next to the Light Rail and Liberty State Park. The old medical center buildings, a cluster of Art Deco buildings on a rise in the center of the city, will be converted into residential complexes called The Beacon.
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 because of 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. The Stanley Theater, currently a Jehovah's Witness meeting hall, and Loew's Jersey Theater on Kennedy Boulevard are among the city's most noted landmarks, and are two 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. The Journal Square PATH station serves as a hub between Newark, Newark Airport, and the World Trade Center PATH Station in New York City, approximately 10 minutes ride from Journal Square. Buses from the JSTC connect Jersey City to communities throughout Hudson County, as well as to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Saint Peter's College is located about 10 blocks south of Journal Square. To the north of the square on Newark Avenue lies India Square, one of the larger and livelier Indian neighborhoods in New Jersey.
The Greenville section runs from about 10 blocks south of Communipaw Avenue to the Bayonne city line. It includes some of the most depressed areas in the city, but is slowly being revitalized, particularly along the light rail line. The crime rate is higher here than in any other part of Jersey City and many streets are lined with abandoned homes, but municipal aid over the past few years has helped in rebuilding many of them and in bringing life back to many of Greenville's neglected streets. With the gentrification of the downtown area, many of the city's working-class tenants have moved into this area.
Of all Jersey City commuters, 8.17% walk to work, and 40.26% take public transit. This is the second highest percentage of public transit riders of any city with a population of 100,000+ in the United States, behind only New York City and ahead of Washington, D.C.
Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School was the top-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 316 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2006 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools and was selected as 15th best high school in the United States in Newsweek magazine's national 2005 survey. 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 four-story Beaux-Arts structure located on a hilltop facing the Hudson River. Other public high schools in Jersey City are James J. Ferris High School, Lincoln High School, and Henry Snyder High School. The Hudson County Schools of Technology (which also has campuses in North Bergen and Secaucus) has a campus in Jersey City.
Among Jersey City's elementary and middle schools is Academy I Middle School, one of the top middle schools in the country. Many Academy I students go on to McNair Academic High School. Academy I is also part of the Academic Enrichment Program for Gifted Students.
Jersey City also has a number of charter schools which are run under a special charter granted by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. There are six charter shcools that serve elementary and middle school students. Jersey City Community Charter School, Jersey City Golden Door Charter School, Learning Community Charter School, Liberty Academy Charter School and Soaring Heights Charter School all accept students in grades K-8 while Schomburg Charter School accepts grades K-5. The two charter schools for high school students are CREATE Charter High School and University Academy Charter High School.
Private high schools in Jersey City include:
There are many choices for grade school, including the OLC School and St. Aloysius School Catholic schools serve every area of the City and a number of other charter and private schools are also available. Genesis Educational Center is a private Christian school located in downtown Jersey City for ages newborn through 8th grade, Al-Ghazaly Elementary School Islamic school http://www.alghazalyschool.org/ Established in 1984, Al-Ghazaly developed a comprehensive education program taught to the highest standards as defined by New Jersey's Core Curriculum Content Standards, with a strong focus on Islamic Studies .
Liberty Science Center is an interactive science museum and learning center located in Liberty State Park
The center, which first opened in 1993 as New Jersey's first major state science museum, has science exhibits, the world's largest IMAX Dome theater, numerous educational resources, and the original Hoberman sphere, a silver, computer-driven engineering artwork designed by Chuck Hoberman. The museum opened with another artistic exhibit that is related to the sciences, Jim Gary's Twentieth Century Dinosaurs sculpture exhibition, as the exhibit on the ground floor.