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South Amboy, New Jersey facts for kids

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South Amboy, New Jersey
City of South Amboy
Downtown South Amboy along Broadway
Downtown South Amboy along Broadway
"The Gateway to the Shore"
South Amboy highlighted in Middlesex County. Inset: Location of Middlesex County in New Jersey
South Amboy highlighted in Middlesex County. Inset: Location of Middlesex County in New Jersey
Census Bureau map of South Amboy, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of South Amboy, New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey
Location in Middlesex County, New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey is located in the United States
South Amboy, New Jersey
South Amboy, New Jersey
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Middlesex
Incorporated February 21, 1798
 • Type Faulkner Act (mayor–council)
 • Body City Council
 • Total 2.68 sq mi (6.95 km2)
 • Land 1.54 sq mi (3.98 km2)
 • Water 1.15 sq mi (2.97 km2)  42.76%
Area rank 365th of 565 in state
19th of 25 in county
10 ft (3 m)
 • Total 9,411
 • Rank 265th of 566 in state
19th of 25 in county
 • Density 3,512/sq mi (1,354.1/km2)
 • Density rank 94th of 566 in state
7th of 25 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 732 and 848
FIPS code 3402368550
GNIS feature ID 0885399

South Amboy is a suburban city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, on the Raritan Bay. As of the 2020 United States Census, the city's population was 9,411.

South Amboy and Perth Amboy, across the Raritan River, are collectively referred to as The Amboys. Signage for exit 11 on the New Jersey Turnpike refers to "The Amboys" as a destination.


The area around Perth Amboy was called "Ompoge" (meaning "level ground") by Lenape Native Americans and became a key port for commerce between Lower New York Bay and Philadelphia, connected first by stagecoach and eventually by railroad. When settled in 1684, the city was named New Perth in honor of James Drummond, Earl of Perth, one of the associates of a company of Scottish proprietaries. The Algonquian language name was corrupted to Ambo, or Point Amboy, and eventually a combination of the native and colonial names was used.

South Amboy has passed through three of the five types of New Jersey municipalities. It was first mentioned on May 28, 1782, in minutes of the Board of chosen freeholders as having been formed from Perth Amboy Township. It was formally incorporated as a township by the Township Act of 1798 on February 21, 1798. Over the next 90 years, portions split off to form Monroe Township (April 9, 1838), Madison Township (March 2, 1869; later renamed Old Bridge Township) and Sayreville Township (April 6, 1876; later Borough of Sayreville). As of February 25, 1888, South Amboy borough was formed, replacing South Amboy Township. On April 11, 1908, South Amboy was incorporated as a city, replacing South Amboy borough, confirmed by a referendum held on July 21, 1908.

Ammunition explosions

South Amboy's strategic location as a transportation hub acted to its detriment in 1918 and 1950, when the town was heavily damaged by military explosives. The 1918 explosions occurred during World War I at the Gillespie Shell Loading Plant, just south of the town. The 1950 explosions struck as Healing Lighterage Company dockworkers were transferring ammunition from a freight train onto barges. Both disasters killed dozens and injured hundreds of local victims, damaged hundreds of South Amboy buildings, required emergency declarations of martial law, and scattered wide areas of ammunition remnants that continue to surface occasionally.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 2.694 square miles (6.976 km2), including 1.548 square miles (4.008 km2) of land and 1.146 square miles (2.967 km2) of water (42.54%). South Amboy is bordered by land with Sayreville to the south and west, by Perth Amboy to the north (across the Raritan River), and Staten Island to the east (across the Raritan Bay in New York City).

Area codes 732 and 848 are used in South Amboy. The city had been in Area code 908, until January 1, 1997, when 908 was split forming Area code 732. South Amboy has an enclave of apartments near Kohl's in Sayreville, whose residents use a South Amboy mailing address.

Mechanicsville and Thomas J. Dohany Homes are unincorporated communities located within South Amboy.


As The New York Times said of South Amboy in 2000: "The population mix has not changed much since the beginning of the 20th century, when Irish and Polish immigrants came to work on the three railroads that crisscrossed the city." South Amboy remains a strong enclave of Polish ethnicity, including 21% of its population in the 2000 census, and the historic Sacred Heart Church and School.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,626
1810 3,071
1820 3,406 10.9%
1830 3,782 11.0%
1840 1,825 −51.7%
1850 2,266 24.2%
1860 3,652 61.2%
1870 4,525 23.9%
1880 3,648 −19.4%
1890 4,330 18.7%
1900 6,349 46.6%
1910 7,007 10.4%
1920 7,897 12.7%
1930 8,476 7.3%
1940 7,802 −8.0%
1950 8,422 7.9%
1960 8,422 0.0%
1970 9,338 10.9%
1980 8,322 −10.9%
1990 7,863 −5.5%
2000 7,913 0.6%
2010 8,631 9.1%
2020 9,411 9.0%
Population sources: 1790-1920
1840 1850-1870 1850
1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010 2020
* = Lost territory in previous decade.

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,631 people, 3,372 households, and 2,256 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,577.1 per square mile (2,153.3/km2). There were 3,576 housing units at an average density of 2,310.7 per square mile (892.2/km2)*. The racial makeup of the city was 86.42% (7,459) White, 4.43% (382) Black or African American, 0.10% (9) Native American, 4.03% (348) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 2.99% (258) from other races, and 2.03% (175) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.42% (1,158) of the population.

There were 3,372 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 29.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 93.2 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $61,566 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,388) and the median family income was $80,815 (+/- $4,285). Males had a median income of $54,000 (+/- $5,767) versus $49,303 (+/- $4,574) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $31,590 (+/- $2,232). About 10.2% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.


Roads and highways

2020-08-22 13 09 45 View north along U.S. Route 9 at the exit for Main Street (South Amboy) in South Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey
View north along US 9 at Route 35 in South Amboy

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 23.65 miles (38.06 km) of roadways, of which 18.73 miles (30.14 km) were maintained by the municipality, 3.50 miles (5.63 km) by Middlesex County, and 1.42 miles (2.29 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Several major roads and highways traverse the city. These include portions of U.S. Route 9, Route 35 and CR 615, 621, 670, 684, 686, 688. Three Garden State Parkway exits (123–125) are just beyond the city's western border.

Public transportation

The South Amboy station provides frequent service on NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line, with most northbound trains heading to Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction and Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan and some heading to Hoboken Terminal.

NJ Transit local bus service is available on the 815 and 817 routes.

Plans for ferry service to Lower and Midtown Manhattan were announced in November 2018. In June 2020, the project received $5.3 million in federal funding for construction of a terminal near the train station.

The Raritan River Railroad provided passenger service to the city from 1888 to 1938. The railroad is now defunct along this part of the line. Proposals have been made to use the line as a light rail route.


The South Amboy Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprised of two schools, had an enrollment of 1,077 students and 90.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.0:1. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are South Amboy Elementary School with 507 students in grades PreK-5 and South Amboy Middle High School with 509 students in grades 6-12.

Eighth grade students from all of Middlesex County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, a county-wide vocational school district that offers full-time career and technical education at Middlesex County Academy in Edison, the Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge Township and at its East Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Piscataway technical high schools, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.

Raritan Bay Catholic Preparatory - Sacred Heart School was a parochial elementary school opened in 1895 and serving PreK-3 to eighth grade that operated under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen, until it was closed in June 2016 due to insufficient enrollment. Cardinal McCarrick High School closed at the end of the 2014–15 school year, in the wake of an increasing financial deficit.

Notable people

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

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

  • Don Campbell (1916–1991), tackle who played for two NFL seasons.
  • Allie Clark (1923–2012), former New York Yankee.
  • Richard Field Conover (1858–1930), tennis player, lawyer and real estate manager.
  • Craig Coughlin (born 1958), New Jersey General Assembly member who has represented the 19th Legislative District since 2010.
  • Greg Evigan (born 1953), actor best known for appearing on the TV series B. J. and the Bear and My Two Dads.
  • John H. Froude (born 1930), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1972 to 1980.
  • Monroe Green (c. 1904–1996), businessman and long-time advertising director of The New York Times.
  • Harold G. Hoffman (1896–1954), mayor, congressman, and governor, for whom South Amboy Elementary School is named.
  • Benjamin Franklin Howell (1844–1933), banker and congressman, buried in Christ Church Cemetery.
  • Jack McKeon (born 1930), manager of the 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins.
  • Johnny O'Brien (born 1930) and Eddie O'Brien (1930–2014), twin baseball players for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Charles Pettit (1736–1806), lawyer, merchant, and delegate to the Congress of the Confederation.
  • Thomas J. Scully (1864–1921), mayor and congressman.
  • Elmer Stout (1929–2013), football player.
  • Marques Townes (born 1995), basketball player for the Loyola Ramblers men's basketball team, who transferred out of Cardinal McCarrick after his sophomore year.
  • Ted Weiss (1927–1992), politician who served in the United States House of Representatives for New York from 1977 until his death in 1992.

See also

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