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North Bergen, New Jersey
Township of North Bergen
Eastward from Hackensack River in the Meadowlands to Hudson River
Eastward from Hackensack River in the Meadowlands to Hudson River
Official seal of North Bergen, New Jersey
Map highlighting North Bergen within Hudson County. Inset: Location of Hudson County in New Jersey.
Map highlighting North Bergen within Hudson County. Inset: Location of Hudson County in New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of North Bergen, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of North Bergen, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Hudson
Incorporated April 10, 1843
 • Type Walsh Act
 • Body Board of Commissioners
 • Total 5.575 sq mi (14.438 km2)
 • Land 5.134 sq mi (13.296 km2)
 • Water 0.441 sq mi (1.142 km2)  7.91%
Area rank 267th of 566 in state
5th of 12 in county
112 ft (34 m)
 • Total 60,773
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 23rd of 566 in state
4th of 12 in county
 • Density 11,838.0/sq mi (4,570.7/km2)
 • Density rank 21st of 566 in state
8th of 12 in county
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP code
Area code(s) 201
FIPS code 3401752470
GNIS feature ID 0882223

North Bergen is a township in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a total population of 60,773, reflecting an increase of 2,681 (+4.6%) from the 58,092 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 9,678 (+20.0%) from the 48,414 counted in the 1990 Census. The town was founded in 1843. It was much diminished in territory by a series of secessions. Situated on the Hudson Palisades, it is one of the "hilliest" municipalities in the United States. Like neighboring North Hudson communities, North Bergen is among those places in the nation with the highest population density and a majority Hispanic population.


Colonial era

At the time of European colonization. the area was the territory of Hackensack tribe of the Lenape Native Americans, who maintained a settlement, Espatingh, on the west side of the hills. and where a Dutch trading post was established after the Peach Tree War. In 1658, Peter Stuyvesant, then Director-General of New Netherland, repurchased from them the area now encompassed by the municipalities of Hudson County east of the Hackensack River. In 1660 he granted permission to establish the semi-autonomous colony of Bergen, with the main village located at today's Bergen Square, considered to be the first chartered municipality in what would become the state of New Jersey. At the time, the area of North Bergen was heavily forested, traversed by paths used by the indigenous and colonizing population and became known as Bergen Woods, a name recalled in today's neighborhood. After the 1664 surrender of Fort Amsterdam the entire New Netherland colony came into the possession of the British, who established the Province of New Jersey. In 1682, the East Jersey legislature formed the state's first four counties, including Bergen County, which consisted of all the land in the peninsula between the Hackensack and Hudson Rivers; that is, the eastern portions of what today is Bergen and Hudson Counties. In 1693, Bergen County was divided into two townships: Hackensack Township in the north, and Bergen Township, encompassing the Bergen Neck peninsula, in the south. The border between the two townships is the current Hudson-Bergen county line. While settlement was sparse, communities developed along the Bergen Turnpike at the Three Pigeons and Maisland, later New Durham. French botanist André Michaux developed his gardens nearby. On the Hudson River, Bulls Ferry became an important landing for crossings to Manhattan. While ostensibly under British control during the American Revolutionary War, the area was patrolled by the Americans on foraging, espionage, and raiding expeditions; most notably the Battle of Bull's Ferry.

Toponymy, secession, and urbanization

On February 22, 1838, Jersey City was incorporated as a separate municipality, and in 1840 Hudson County, comprising the city and Bergen Township, was created from the southern portion of Bergen County.

20th century

North Hudson Park and the Stonehenge

The development of Hudson County Boulevard, now known by its two sections which meet in North Hudson Park, Kennedy Boulevard and Boulevard East, was completed in the early 20th century, and by 1913 it was considered to be fine for "motoring". Residential districts along and between the boulevards were developed. Bergenline Avenue, a broad street which accommodated the North Hudson County Railway streetcars to Nungesser's became (and remains) an important commercial and transit corridor.

In 1935, in one of the most stunning upsets in boxing history, local hero James J. Braddock won the world heavyweight championship. A resident of the town until his death, the county park in North Bergen is now named for him.

Soon after the opening of the Lincoln Tunnel Approach, the Susquehanna Transfer was opened in August 1939 to accommodate passengers who wished to transfer to buses through the tunnel. At the time of its construction in 1949 the 760-foot (230 m) WOR TV Tower, in the midst the residential Woodcliff Section, was the tenth-tallest man-made structure in the world.

In the early 1960s two notable paleontological finds of fossils from the Newark Basin were made near the foot of the cliffs at one of several former quarries, the Granton, of which today's avenue is a namesake. The former quarry remained an archeological site until at least 1980.

In contrast to other Hudson County communities during the latter half of the century, North Bergen grew significantly in population. Many residents are part of the wave of Spanish language speakers which had begun in the 1960s with Cuban émigrés.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 5.575 square miles (14.438 km2), including 5.134 square miles (13.296 km2) of land and 0.441 square miles (1.142 km2) of water (7.91%).

The township is roughly shaped like an inverted "L". Its northern section stretches east-west and is south of the Bergen County communities Cliffside Park, Edgewater, Fairview and Ridgefield. It shares a border with of Carlstadt in the Hackensack River. Its north-south section lies between Secaucus to the west and Guttenberg, West New York, and Union City, which with it meets Jersey City at a single point at its southern end. The Hudson River creates shared border with the borough of Manhattan in New York City.

North Bergen has diverse geological features. Partially situated on the Hudson River, the Hudson Palisades rise from the waterfront, while the northern part of the town sits atop the plateau. The cuesta, or slope, on its west side makes North Bergen the city with the second-most hills per square mile in the United States after San Francisco, some of which are extremely steep. A rock formation along the slope (located at 40°48′27″N 74°01′05″W / 40.80750°N 74.01806°W / 40.80750; -74.01806) is composed of unusual serpentinite rock and made up of small rock cliffs. Because of this, it is one of the few undeveloped parts of North Bergen. Low-lying areas along the west side are part of the New Jersey Meadowlands. The unusual shape and diverse topography of North Bergen have created diverse historical and contemporary neighborhoods.

North Bergen steep street jeh
On the western slope overlooking the Meadowlands
Woodcliff Treatment Plant No Bergen jeh
Woodcliff Treatment Plant at the foot of the Palisades
  • Bergenline Avenue runs to Nungessers at the Fairview border near North Hudson Park. It has been described as the longest commercial avenue in the state, with over 300 retail stores and restaurants.
  • The Racetrack section, between Bergenline and Kennedy Boulevard on the plateau
  • Bergenwood, on the steep slopes of the west side of the Palisades
  • New Durham site of colonial American Three Pigeons near the Bergen Turnpike and Tonnelle Avenue
  • Meadowview, behind the Municipal Building between the many cemeteries:
  • Bulls Ferry, on the Hudson waterfront, site of Roc Harbor, Palisades Medical Center and the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
  • Babbitt, in the Meadowlands district, a part of which is a wetlands preserve known as the Eastern Brackish Marsh.
  • Woodcliff on The Palisades around the North Hudson Park.
  • Transfer Station near the single point border of Union City and Jersey City near Paterson Plank Road, Kennedy Boulevard, and Secaucus Road in Secaucus

Other historical unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Homestead, Granton, Hudson Heights, New Durham, Shadyside, Three Pigeons and Tyler Park.

The town has seven cemeteries, more than any other town in the county, including some, such as Weehawken Cemetery and Hoboken Cemetery, that were at one time designated for other towns. This may be due to the layout of the county in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with North Bergen having more land than its more densely populated neighbors, which had to bury their dead outside of town. It may also date back to the Civil War era. Among these cemeteries are Flower Hill Cemetery and Grove Church Cemetery.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 3,578
1860 6,335 77.1%
1870 3,032 −52.1%
1880 4,268 40.8%
1890 5,715 33.9%
1900 9,213 61.2%
1910 15,662 70.0%
1920 23,344 49.0%
1930 40,714 74.4%
1940 39,714 −2.5%
1950 41,560 4.6%
1960 42,387 2.0%
1970 47,751 12.7%
1980 47,019 −1.5%
1990 48,414 3.0%
2000 58,092 20.0%
2010 60,773 4.6%
2015 (est.) 62,993 3.7%
Population sources: 1850-1920
1850-1870 1850 1870
1880-1890 1890-1910
1910–1930 1930–1990
2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.

2010 U.S. Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 60,773 people, 22,062 households, and 14,539 families residing in the township. The population density was 11,838.0 per square mile (4,570.7/km2). There were 23,912 housing units at an average density of 4,657.8 per square mile (1,798.4/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 66.98% (40,705) White, 4.04% (2,456) Black or African American, 0.88% (535) Native American, 6.55% (3,979) Asian, 0.08% (49) Pacific Islander, 16.63% (10,107) from other races, and 4.84% (2,942) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 68.40% (41,569) of the population.

There were 22,062 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the township, the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.1 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 91.3 males.

2000 U.S. Census

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 58,092 people, 21,236 households, and 14,249 families residing in the township. The population density was 11,179.6 people per square mile (4,313.4/km²). There were 22,009 housing units at an average density of 1, 634.2/km² (4,235.5/sq mi). The racial makeup of the township was 67.36% White, 2.72% African American, 0.40% Native American, 6.47% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 15.53% from other races, and 7.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 57.25% of the population.

There were 21,236 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.33.

In the township the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

Males had a median income of $35,626 versus $29,067 for females. The per capita income for the township was $20,058. About 9.6% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.0% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.


Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 64.74 miles (104.19 km) of roadways, of which 50.00 miles (80.47 km) were maintained by the municipality, 7.85 miles (12.63 km) by Hudson County, 5.49 miles (8.84 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.40 miles (2.25 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Route 495 travels between the Lincoln Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike with interchanges for Route 3 and U.S. Route 1/9, which runs north-south on the western edge side of town.

Public transportation

The Tonnelle Avenue Light Rail station

Public transportation in North Bergen is provided by bus and light rail service. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) service is available at the Tonnelle Avenue station and Bergenline Avenue station (in Union City) to points in Weehawken, Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne.

Bus service is provided along busy north-south corridors on Kennedy Boulevard, Bergenline Avenue, and Boulevard East by NJ Transit and privately operated dollar vans within Hudson County, and to Bergen and Manhattan, New York City. Nungessers is a major origination and transfer point. Lines terminating at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan are the 121, 125, 127, 128, 154, 156, 158, 159, 165, 166, 168, 320 routes. The 181 and 188 lines terminate at George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in Upper Manhattan. Lines 22, 23, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88 and 89 terminate either at Journal Square or Hoboken Terminal. The 751 travels to Edgewater and Hackensack.

Jitney commuter buses operate along Bergenline Avenue, providing service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, the Newport Centre and other local destinations. The county's most frequent route for dollar buses, jitneys operate along Bergenline Avenue as frequently as one bus every minute, some operated by Spanish Transportation.

Media and culture

North Bergen is located within the New York media market, with most of its daily papers available for sale or delivery. The Jersey Journal is a local daily paper based in Jersey City. Local weeklies include the free bilingual paper, Hudson Dispatch Weekly, (named for the former daily Hudson Dispatch), North Bergen Reporter (part of the The Hudson Reporter group of local weeklies), and the Spanish language El Especialito. River View Observer is a monthly newspaper that covers the Hudson Waterfront market. Online news,, and the all cover local North Bergen news.

In the late 2000s, North Bergen, Weehawken, Union City, Guttenberg, and West New York came to be dubbed collectively as "NoHu", a North Hudson haven for local performing and fine artists, many of whom are immigrants from Latin America and other countries, in part due to lower housing costs compared to those in nearby art havens such as Hoboken, Jersey City and Manhattan.

In popular culture

  • Oak Hill, a low-budget film starring Sally Kirkland, and directed by former Guttenberg mayor Peter Lavilla, about three former entertainers whose depression and addiction has led them to a homeless shelter, was filmed in both Union City's PERC homeless shelter, and a synagogue in North Bergen. In 2008, it was entered into the Sundance, Tribeca, and Hoboken Film Festivals.
  • Cinderella Man, a film starring Russell Crowe as boxer James J. Braddock, depicted North Bergen during the Great Depression. A city park bears his name.
  • North Bergen is the production base for the NBC drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with scenes set in the police station and courtroom filmed on a stage at NBC's Central Archives building on West Side Avenue.
  • Meat Men is a Food Network reality show about Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, a North Bergen-based family-owned and -operated meat supplier.

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