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Hackensack, New Jersey
City
City of Hackensack
Bergen County Court House
Bergen County Court House
Motto: A City in Motion
Location of Hackensack within Bergen County, New Jersey.
Location of Hackensack within Bergen County, New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Hackensack, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Hackensack, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Bergen
Settled 1665 (as New Barbadoes)
Incorporated October 31, 1693 (as New Barbadoes Township)
Reincorporated November 21, 1921 (as a city under current name)
Area
 • Total 4.346 sq mi (11.256 km2)
 • Land 4.180 sq mi (10.826 km2)
 • Water 0.166 sq mi (0.430 km2)  3.82%
Area rank 287th of 566 in state
16th of 70 in county
Elevation 20 ft (6 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 43,010
 • Estimate (2015) 44,834
 • Rank 46th of 566 in state
1st of 70 in county
 • Density 10,290.0/sq mi (3,973.0/km2)
 • Density rank 36th of 566 in state
10th of 70 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07601
Area code(s) 201
FIPS code 3400328680
GNIS feature ID 885236
Website www.hackensack.org

Hackensack is a city in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, and serves as its county seat. It was officially named New Barbadoes Township until 1921, but it was informally known as Hackensack. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 43,010, reflecting an increase of 333 (+0.8%) from the 42,677 counted in the 2000 Census, which had, in turn, increased by 5,628 (+15.2%) from the 37,049 counted in the 1990 Census.

An inner suburb of New York City, Hackensack is located approximately 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Midtown Manhattan and about 7 miles (11 km) from the George Washington Bridge. From a number of locations, the New York City skyline can be seen.

The Metropolitan Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University borders the Hackensack River in both Hackensack and Teaneck. Hackensack is also the home of the New Jersey Naval Museum and the World War II submarine USS Ling. Astronaut Wally Schirra is perhaps Hackensack's most famous native son.

The city is known for a great diversity of neighborhoods and land uses very close to one another. Within its borders are the prominent Hackensack University Medical Center, a trendy high-rise district about a mile long, classic suburban neighborhoods of single-family houses, stately older homes on acre-plus lots, older two-family neighborhoods, large garden apartment complexes, industrial areas, the Bergen County Jail, a tidal river, Hackensack River County Park, Borg's Woods Nature Preserve, various city parks, large office buildings, a major college campus, the Bergen County Court House, a vibrant small-city downtown district, and various small neighborhood business districts. According to a 2016 study, the city ranked as the 5th-best place in New Jersey for entrepreneurs.

History

Hackensack 1896
Hackensack, NJ 1896 map

The first inhabitants of the area were the Lenni Lenape, an Algonquian people (later known as the Delaware Indians) who lived along the valley of what they called the Achinigeu-hach, or "Ackingsah-sack", meaning stony ground (today the Hackensack River). A representation of Chief Oratam of the Achkinhenhcky appears on the Hackensack municipal seal. The most common explanation is that the city was named for the Native American tribe, though other sources attribute it to a Native American word variously translated as meaning "hook mouth", "stream that unites with another on low ground", "on low ground" or "land of the big snake", while another version described as "more colorful than probable" attributes the name to an inn called the "Hock and Sack".

Settlement by the Dutch West India Company in New Netherland on west banks of the North River (Hudson River) across from New Amsterdam (present-day lower Manhattan) began in the 1630s at Pavonia, eventually leading to the establishment of Bergen (at today's Bergen Square in Jersey City) in 1660.

Oratam, sachem of the Lenni Lenape, deeded the land along mid-Hackensack River to the Dutch in 1665. The area was soon taken by the English in 1667, but kept its Dutch name. Philip Cartaret, governor of what became the proprietary colony of East Jersey granted land to Captain John Berry in the area of Achter Kol and soon after took up residence and called it "New Barbadoes," after having resided on the island of Barbadoes. In 1666, a deed was confirmed for the 2,260-acre (9.1 km2) tract that had been given earlier by Oratem to Sarah Kiersted in gratitude for her work as emissary and interpreter. Other grants were given at the English Neighborhood.

In 1675, the East Jersey Legislature established the administrative districts: (Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, and Monmouth). In 1683, Bergen (along with the three other counties) was officially recognized as an independent county by the Provincial Assembly. The seal of Bergen County bearing this date includes an image of an agreement between the settlers and the natives.

New Barbadoes Township, together with Acquackanonk Township, were formed by Royal charter on October 31, 1693.

In 1700, the village of Hackensack was little more than the area around Main Street from the Courthouse to around Anderson Street. New Barbadoes Township included what is now Maywood, Rochelle Park, Paramus and River Edge, along with those portions of Oradell that are west of the Hackensack River. These areas were all very sparsely populated and consisted of farm fields, woods and swamplands. The few roads that existed then included the streets now known as Kinderkamack Road, Paramus Road/Passaic Street and Essex Street. The southernmost portions of what is now Hackensack were not part of New Barbadoes Township at that time.

The neighborhood that came to be known as the village of Hackensack (today the area encompassing Bergen County's municipal buildings in Hackensack) was a part of Essex County until 1710, when Bergen County, by royal decree of Queen Anne of Great Britain, was enlarged and the Township of New Barbadoes was removed from Essex County and added to Bergen County.

In 1710, the village of Hackensack in the newly formed Township of New Barbadoes was designated as being more centrally located and more easily reached by the majority of the Bergen County's inhabitants, and hence was chosen as the county seat of Bergen County, as it remains today. The earliest records of the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders date back to 1715, at which time agreement was made to build a courthouse and jail complex, which was completed in 1716.

During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington headquartered in the village of Hackensack in November 1776 during the retreat from Fort Lee via New Bridge Landing and camped on 'The Green' across from the First Dutch Reformed Church on November 20, 1776. A raid by British forces against Hackensack on March 23, 1780, resulted in the destruction by fire of the original courthouse structure.

The Hackensack Improvement Commission was incorporated by an Act of the state legislature approved on April 1, 1868, within New Barbadoes township and including the village of Hackensack, with authority to develop sewers and other improvements in Hackensack.

The New Jersey Legislature passed the Township School Act in 1894, under which each village, borough, town, or city in New Jersey was delegated responsibility for its own public schools through the office of the county superintendent. Hackensack established a local board of education in 1894, as required by the new law, which took over operation of schools located in the township and established Hackensack High School. The 1894 act allowed local residents, by petition, to change municipal boundaries at will, setting off fearsome political battles statewide.

Portions of the township had been taken to form Harrington Township (June 22, 1775), Lodi Township (March 1, 1826), Midland Township (March 7, 1871) and Little Ferry (September 20, 1894). After these departures, secessions, and de-annexations, all that was left of New Barbadoes Township was the village of Hackensack and its surrounding neighborhoods of Fairmount, Red Hill and Cherry Hill. In 1896, New Barbadoes acquired a portion of Lodi Township covering an area south of Essex Street from the bend of Essex Street to the Maywood border. That same year the Hackensack Improvement commission was abolished and the City of Hackensack and New Barbadoes Township became coterminous.

The final parcel lost by New Barbadoes Township was the northeastern corner of what is now Little Ferry, which was incorporated in September 1894.

An act of the State Legislature incorporated the Fairmount section of New Barbadoes with the Hackensack Improvement Commission, and eliminated New Barbadoes Township as a political entity. On November 21, 1921, based on the results of a referendum held on November 8, 1921, New Barbadoes Township received its charter to incorporate as a city and officially took on its name "Hackensack," a name derived from its original inhabitants, the Lenni Lenape, who named it "Ackingsah-sack".

In 1933, Hackensack adopted the Manager form of government under the terms of the 1923 Municipal Manager Law, with five Council persons all elected at-large and a mayor selected by the council from among its members.

Geography

2014-05-07 16 21 13 View of Hackensack, New Jersey from an airplane heading for Newark Airport-cropped
View of Hackensack from a plane

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 4.346 square miles (11.256 km2), including 4.180 square miles (10.826 km2) of land and 0.166 square miles (0.430 km2) of water (3.82%).

The city is bordered by Paramus, River Edge, Teaneck, Bogota, Ridgefield Park, Little Ferry, South Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Lodi, Teterboro, and Maywood.

There are many houses of historic value, and some of these were identified in the 1990 Master Plan. The city does not have any registered historic districts, or any restrictions on preserving the historic facade in any portions of the city. Areas considered suburban single-family residential neighborhoods account for about one third of the city's area, mostly along its western side.

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Fairmount and North Hackensack.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 2,835
1820 2,592 −8.6%
1830 1,693 * −34.7%
1840 2,104 24.3%
1850 2,265 7.7%
1860 3,558 57.1%
1870 4,929 38.5%
1880 4,248 * −13.8%
1890 6,004 41.3%
1900 9,443 * 57.3%
1910 14,050 48.8%
1920 17,667 25.7%
1930 24,568 39.1%
1940 26,279 7.0%
1950 29,219 11.2%
1960 30,521 4.5%
1970 36,008 18.0%
1980 36,039 0.1%
1990 37,049 2.8%
2000 42,677 15.2%
2010 43,010 0.8%
Est. 2015 44,834 4.2%
Population sources: 1850–1920
1850–1870 1850 1870
1880–1890 1890–1910 1880–1930
1900–2010 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.

Ethnic diversity

As the initial destination for many immigrants to Bergen County from around the globe, Hackensack's ethnic composition has become exceptionally diverse. As of 2013, approximately 38.9% of the population was foreign-born. In addition, 2.5% were born in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico or abroad to American parents. 51.7% of the population over the age of five speak only English in their household, while 32.5% of the population speaks Spanish at home. The South Asian and East Asian populations have increased most rapidly in Hackensack since 2000, with nearly 2,000 Indian Americans, over 1,000 Filipino Americans, and over 600 Korean Americans represented in the 2010 United States Census. Hackensack's Hispanic population has also risen rapidly, to over 15,000 in 2010; Ecuadoreans, Dominicans, and Colombians have become the top Hispanic groups in northern Hackensack. The Black population dropped as a percentage although minimally in absolute numbers between 2000 and 2010. The city lost approximately 10% of its Caucasian population between 2000 and 2010, which has stabilized and resumed growth since 2010 and has remained substantial, at over 20,000 in 2010. The city has also witnessed greatly increasing diversity in its non-Hispanic white segment, with large numbers of Eastern Europeans, Eurasians, Central Asians, and Arabic immigrants offsetting the loss in Hackensack's earlier established Italian American, Irish American, and German American populations.

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 43,010 people, 18,142 households, and 9,706 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,290.0 per square mile (3,973.0/km2). There were 19,375 housing units at an average density of 4,635.4 per square mile (1,789.7/km2)*. The racial makeup of the city was 46.67% (20,072) White, 24.44% (10,511) Black or African American, 0.56% (241) Native American, 10.30% (4,432) Asian, 0.02% (10) Pacific Islander, 13.59% (5,844) from other races, and 4.42% (1,900) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.31% (15,186) of the population.

There were 18,142 households out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city, the population was spread out with 18.7% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 34.6% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.5 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 96.4 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $57,676 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,577) and the median family income was $66,911 (+/- $5,433). Males had a median income of $45,880 (+/- $4,012) versus $42,059 (+/- $1,681) for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,036 (+/- $1,809). About 8.9% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.

Same-sex couples headed 145 households in 2010, an increase from the 112 counted in 2000.

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 42,677 people, 18,113 households, and 9,545 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,358.3 people per square mile (3,999.4/km2). There were 18,945 housing units at an average density of 4,598.2 per square mile (1,775.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 52.61% White, 24.65% African American, 0.45% Native American, 7.45% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 9.71% from other races, and 5.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.92% of the population.

There were 18,113 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.8% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.3% were non-families. 39.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.2% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 38.4% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,316, and the median income for a family was $56,953. Males had a median income of $39,636 versus $32,911 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,856. About 6.8% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 79.69 miles (128.25 km) of roadways, of which 62.10 miles (99.94 km) were maintained by the municipality, 15.10 miles (24.30 km) by Bergen County and 2.49 miles (4.01 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Interstate 80, Route 17, Route 4, and County Route 503 cross Hackensack, while there are many other main roads in Hackensack. Several bridges, including the Court Street Bridge, the Midtown Bridge and the Anderson Street Bridge span the Hackensack River.

Public transportation

The city is served by three train stations on NJ Transit's Pascack Valley Line, two of them in Hackensack, providing service to Hoboken Terminal, with connecting service to Penn Station New York and other NJ Transit service at Secaucus Junction. Anderson Street station serves central Hackensack while Essex Street station serves southern portions of the city. The New Bridge Landing station, located adjacent to the city line in River Edge also serves the northernmost parts of Hackensack, including The Shops at Riverside.

NJ Transit buses include lines 144, 157, 162, 163, 164, 165 and 168 serving the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the 175, 178 and 182 to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station; the 76 to Newark; the 83 route to Jersey City; and local service on the 709, 712, 751, 752, 753, 755, 756, 762, 770, 772 and 780 lines. Many of the bus routes stop, originate and terminate at the Hackensack Bus Terminal, a regional transit hub. Route 1X jitney of Fordham Transit originates/terminates at the bus terminal with service Inwood, Manhattan via Fort Lee Road. Spanish Transportation and several other operators provide frequent jitney service along Route 4 between Paterson, New Jersey and the George Washington Bridge Bus Station.

The Passaic-Bergen Rail Line planned to have two stops in Hackensack, but the proposal went dormant.

Points of interest

HackensackChurchOnTheGreen
Hackensack's Church On The Green (First Reformed Dutch Church, Hackensack)

The city historian is Albert Dib. Walking tours are conducted of historic markers in downtown Hackensack, in and around The Green and lower Main Street, and a virtual historic walking tour is available as far north as the Pascack Valley Line crossing at Main Street.

The First Dutch Reformed Church ("Church on The Green") was built in 1696. In 1696 Major Berry donated land for the First Dutch Reformed Church, erected in that same year, which still stands in Hackensack today as the oldest church in Bergen County and the second oldest church in New Jersey. The following is list of notable people buried in the Church's adjoining cemetery:

  • Enoch Poor, one of George Washington's officers.
  • Richard Varick, former mayor of the city of New York and former New York Attorney General.

Bergen County's largest newspaper, The Record, a publication of the North Jersey Media Group, had called Hackensack its home until moving to Woodland Park. Its 19.7-acre (8.0 ha) campus is largely abandoned and has been sold to be redeveloped for a mixed-use commercial project that would include 500 residential apartments and a hotel, in association with the river walkway project.

The New Jersey Naval Museum is home to the World War II submarine USS Ling, a Balao class submarine, and several smaller water vessels and artifacts. The museum is open select weekdays for group tours.

The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, located at 39 Broadway, is the city's leading theater arts institution and houses many local arts groups such as the Teaneck Theater Company and the Hackensack Theater Company. The facility also serves as the summer indoor location for the Hudson Shakespeare Company in case of rain. Otherwise, the group performs outdoors at Staib Park, with two "Shakespeare Wednesdays" per month for each month of the summer.

The Shops at Riverside (formerly known as Riverside Square Mall), is an upscale shopping center located at the intersection of Route 4 and Hackensack Avenue at the northern edge of the city along the Hackensack River near its border with River Edge to the north and with Teaneck across the river. The mall, which has undergone a significant expansion, is anchored by a number of high-end department stores and restaurants, including Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Pottery Barn and Barnes & Noble, offering a gross leasable area of 674,416 square feet (62,655.3 m2). The mall is known for its marble floors, and attracts a great many upper income shoppers from Manhattan and Northern Bergen County.

Hackensack's Main Street is devoted to shopping and includes some of the city's iconic landmarks, including the United Jersey Bank headquarters building and the former Woolworth site that is now a housewares store. The only remaining major store on Hackensack's Main Street is Sears Roebuck and Co. The historic Sears building is located on the corner of Main and Anderson Streets and is still in operation today. The site is close to the Anderson Street train station, and has been open since the 1930s.

Bergen County Jail is a detention center for both sentenced and unsentenced prisoners. It is located on South River Street. The County is in the process of moving the County Police from the northern end of the city to a new site across from the Jail. The former site will be redeveloped as a "transit village" complex associated with the New Bridge Landing rail station in adjoining River Edge.

The city's Johnson Public Library at 274 Main Street is a member of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System. The library opened in 1901 with a gift from State Senator William M. Johnson.

Ice House is a complex with four full-sized skating rinks that opened in 1996. It is home to the New Jersey Avalanche mainstreamed and special needs hockey teams and several high school hockey teams, in addition to being the home rink of gold medalists Sarah Hughes, Elena Bereznaia and Anton Sikharulidze.

Other points of interest within the city include the Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack River County Park, Bowler City Bowling Lanes, Borg's Woods Nature Preserve, the Bergen County Court House and the Bergen Museum of Art & Science.

In popular culture

Hackensack has been mentioned in the lyrics of songs by several musical artists, many of whom have lived in New Jersey or New York City. The town was home to the original Van Gelder recording studio at 25 Prospect Avenue where the jazz musicians Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk recorded some of their landmark work. Monk recorded a tribute to Rudy Van Gelder entitled "Hackensack". Other notable examples of Hackensack in songs include:

  • I Happen to Like New York by Cole Porter, written in 1930 for the musical The New Yorkers.
  • "Back In Hackensack, New Jersey" which was written in 1924.
  • "Roller Derby Queen" by Jim Croce, describes the tough titular character in the song as "She's my big blonde bomber, my heavy handed Hackensack mama."
  • "Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More" by Steely Dan from their 1975 album Katy Lied includes the rhyme "Driving like a fool out to Hackensack/Drinking his dinner from a paper sack".
  • Fountains of Wayne, "Hackensack" (Welcome Interstate Managers, 2003) was remade by Katy Perry, 2009.
  • Johnny Cash, "I've Been Everywhere" (Unchained) a 1996 cover of a number 1 hit in Country Music in November 1962 in the United States by Hank Snow.
  • Peter Schickele (under the pseudonym P.D.Q. Bach), "O Little Town of Hackensack", a parody of the traditional carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem".
  • "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" by Billy Joel includes the lines "Who needs a house out in Hackensack? Is that all you get for your money?"
  • "Lost In Hollywood" by System of a Down includes the lyrics, "The lines in the letter said, 'We have gone to Hackensack'".

Hackensack also appears in movies, books and television.

  • In the 2001 film Zoolander someone threatens Mugatu by saying "Perhaps you'd like to go back to turning out novelty neck ties in Hackensack."
  • In the 1978 film Superman: The Movie, Hackensack was to have been ground zero for a nuclear missile launched by Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), as Superman (Christopher Reeve) is slowly dying from exposure to kryptonite.
  • The 1985 film Brewster's Millions starred Richard Pryor, who played a pitcher for the Hackensack Bulls, a fictional minor-league baseball team that plays in a stadium where a railroad track runs across the outfield.
  • In the 1998 film Bride of Chucky, Chucky's human body is said to be buried in a fictional Hackensack cemetery.

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