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Closter, New Jersey
Borough of Closter
The former station depot of the Erie Railroad's Northern Branch as seen from the crossing of County Route 502 (High Street) in Closter
The former station depot of the Erie Railroad's Northern Branch as seen from the crossing of County Route 502 (High Street) in Closter
"Hub of the Northern Valley"
Map highlighting Closter's location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey
Map highlighting Closter's location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Closter, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Closter, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Flag of Bergen County, New Jersey.gif Bergen
Incorporated January 1, 1904
 • Type Borough
 • Body Borough Council
 • Total 3.30 sq mi (8.55 km2)
 • Land 3.16 sq mi (8.18 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.37 km2)  4.30%
Area rank 325th of 565 in state
24th of 70 in county
39 ft (12 m)
 • Total 8,373
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 273rd of 566 in state
45th of 70 in county
 • Density 2,646.0/sq mi (1,021.6/km2)
 • Density rank 235th of 566 in state
45th of 70 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 201 exchanges: 750, 767, 768, 784
FIPS code 3400313810
GNIS feature ID 0885190

Closter is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 8,373, reflecting a decline of 10 (-0.1%) from the 8,383 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 289 (+3.6%) from the 8,094 counted in the 1990 Census.


The Lenni Lenape Native Americans tilled the soil, hunted in the woods, and fished in the rivers and streams before the Dutch arrived in the early 18th Century. The Dutch settlers, though, left an indelible mark on the area. Early records show that after the English takeover of New Netherland, English Governor Philip Carteret in 1669 granted a real estate speculator named Balthaser De Hart a strip of property which extended east and west from the Hudson River to the Tiena Kill, and north and south from today's Cresskill into Palisades, New York. It is within these geographical boundaries that lies what is now known as Closter. The northern half of this tract of land consisting of 1,030 acres (420 ha) (extending from what is Closter Dock Road northward) was purchased by Barent and Resolvert Nagel on April 25, 1710, who along with the Vervalen family first settled what is now Closter.

The name Closter is of Dutch origin and first appears in 1745, when Arie Arieaense purchased "A certain tract of land lying on Tappan in Orange County and in the province of New York at a certain place called Klooster" (At that time, Closter was considered part of New York State). In the Dutch language, Klooster means "a quiet place, a monastery or cloister." This location was a quiet place in 1710 when the Nagel brothers first settled it, with very few people in the immediate area. The topography gave a sense of isolation and protection, tucked behind the highest point of the Palisades and protected by limited access. Alternatively, sources indicate that the name derives from an early settler named Frederick Closter. The name was originally pronounced with an "ow" sound, phonetically, "Klowster."

Later, just before the American Revolution, these isolated settlers began to feel the imposing hand of the British Crown in their lives – not only in governmental affairs but also by the influx of English culture upon their own language and culture. And as a result the "K" in Klooster was dropped and was replaced with a "C" so the now growing village became known as Clooster.

By 1795, with the emerging new American culture, the second "o" in Clooster was dropped, and the American English "long o" sound was adopted which led to today's pronunciation of Closter.

Reminders of Closter's early Dutch history abound - with local streets named after some of the early families (Bogert, Demarest, Durie, Naugle, Parsells, Vervalen, Auryansen, Haring, and Westervelt), and a rich collection of unique Jersey Dutch houses.

The arrival of the Northern Branch in 1859, followed by additional train service from what became the West Shore Railroad, brought residents to the community who could commute to Manhattan via the ferry across the Hudson River at the railroad's Weehawken depot. Closter's central location earned it the nickname "Hub of the Northern Valley".

Closter was formed as an incorporated municipality by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on January 1, 1904, from portions of Harrington Township. On March 29, 1904, Harrington Park was created from portions of Closter, Harrington Township and Washington Township.

After the turn of the 20th century, Closter changed from being sprawling estates and farms into an upper middle class suburban town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 3.295 square miles (8.535 km2), including 3.164 square miles (8.196 km2) of land and 0.131 square miles (0.339 km2) of water (3.98%).

Closter borders the Bergen County municipalities of Alpine, Demarest, Emerson, Harrington Park, Haworth and Norwood.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 513
1900 1,057 106.0%
1910 1,483 40.3%
1920 1,840 24.1%
1930 2,502 36.0%
1940 2,603 4.0%
1950 3,376 29.7%
1960 7,767 130.1%
1970 8,604 10.8%
1980 8,164 −5.1%
1990 8,094 −0.9%
2000 8,383 3.6%
2010 8,373 −0.1%
2019 (est.) 8,511 1.6%
Population sources:
1910-1920 1910
1910-1930 1900-2010
2000 2010

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,373 people, 2,747 households, and 2,327 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,646.0 per square mile (1,021.6/km2). There were 2,860 housing units at an average density of 903.8 per square mile (349.0/km2)*. The racial makeup of the borough was 64.17% (5,373) White, 1.31% (110) Black or African American, 0.05% (4) Native American, 31.65% (2,650) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 1.54% (129) from other races, and 1.27% (106) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.98% (501) of the population.

There were 2,747 households out of which 43.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.2% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.3% were non-families. 12.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the borough, the population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 20.5% from 25 to 44, 33.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.2 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 91.4 males.

Korean Americans accounted for 21.2% of the population.

Same-sex couples headed 15 households in 2010, an increase from the 10 counted in 2000.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $117,147 (with a margin of error of +/- $14,096) and the median family income was $128,656 (+/- $13,704). Males had a median income of $93,578 (+/- $13,709) versus $64,167 (+/- $13,864) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $50,501 (+/- $4,636). About 3.2% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.2% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.


2018-07-20 15 40 37 View east along Bergen County Route 502 (Closter Dock Road) at Bergen County Route 501 (Piermont Road) in Closter, Bergen County, New Jersey
County Route 502 in Closter

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 43.34 miles (69.75 km) of roadways, of which 33.48 miles (53.88 km) were maintained by the municipality and 9.86 miles (15.87 km) by Bergen County.

County Route 501, County Route 502 and County Route 505 travel through Closter.

Closter can also be reached via the Palisades Interstate Parkway and U.S. Route 9W, which pass through adjacent municipalities.

Public transportation

The NJ Transit 167 and 177 bus routes provide service along Schraalenburgh Road to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.

Coach USA's Red and Tan Lines provides service from Closter to the Port Authority Bus Terminal via the 20 and 14E bus routes. Saddle River Tours / Ameribus offers service on the 20 / 84 route to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station.


The Closter Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of two schools, had an enrollment of 1,203 students and 94.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.7:1. Schools in the district (with 2018-19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Hillside Elementary School with 682 students in grades PreK-4 and Tenakill Middle School with 511 students in grades 5–8.

Students in ninth through twelfth grades attend Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in Demarest, together with students from Demarest and Haworth. The high school is part of the Northern Valley Regional High School District, which also serves students from Harrington Park, Northvale, Norwood and Old Tappan. During the 1994-96 school years, Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education. As of the 2017–18 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 1,018 students and 91.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.1:1. Local students had attended Closter High School until Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest opened in 1955, whereupon the Closter school was closed.

Public school students from the borough, and all of Bergen County, are eligible to attend the secondary education programs offered by the Bergen County Technical Schools, which include the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and the Bergen Tech campus in Teterboro or Paramus. The district offers programs on a shared-time or full-time basis, with admission based on a selective application process and tuition covered by the student's home school district.

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Closter, New Jersey

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Closter include:

  • Coe Finch Austin (1831–1880), botanist and founding member of the Torrey Botanical Club.
  • Abram Belskie (1907–1988), British-born sculptor.
  • Benjamin Blackledge (1743–1815), first English teacher in Closter and "the most prominent man in the northern part of Bergen County".
  • George Dayton (1827–1938), represented Bergen County in the New Jersey Senate from 1875 to 1877.
  • Emme (born 1963), plus-size model.
  • Bill Evans (1929-1980), jazz pianist and composer who mostly worked in a trio setting.
  • Brian Gorman (born 1959), umpire in Major League Baseball.
  • Tom Gorman (1919–1986), Major League Baseball umpire.
  • Bruce Harper (born 1955), former NFL running back and kick returner who played for the New York Jets.
  • Israel Horowitz (1916–2008), record producer who became an editor and columnist on classical music at Billboard magazine.
  • Richard Hunt (1951–1992), puppeteer best known for his association with The Muppets.
  • Helen Jepson (1904–1997), lyric soprano who was lead soprano at the Metropolitan Opera from 1935 to 1941.
  • Marcel Jovine (1921–2003), sculptor and creator of The Visible Man, The Visible Woman and The Closter Seal.
  • Philip Kwon, deputy counsel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
  • Tommy La Stella (born 1989), second baseman for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.
  • London Lee (born 1935), comedian billed as "The Rich Kid."
  • Robert Lipsyte (born 1938), sports journalist and author.
  • Sam Lipsyte (born 1968), author.
  • Rich Luzzi (born 1978), frontman for Rev Theory.
  • Joseph Muller (1883-1939), collector, sailor and employee of the New York Public Library.
  • J. Massey Rhind (1860–1936), sculptor.
  • Mike Stanton (born 1967), former MLB relief pitcher who played for the New York Yankees.
  • Tom Waddell (born 1958), former Major League Baseball pitcher.
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