Weehawken, New Jersey facts for kids

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Weehawken, New Jersey
Township of Weehawken
Weehawken on the Hudson River, as viewed from Midtown Manhattan in foreground
Weehawken on the Hudson River, as viewed from Midtown Manhattan in foreground
Weehawken highlighted in Hudson County. Inset: Location of Hudson County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Weehawken highlighted in Hudson County. Inset: Location of Hudson County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Weehawken, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Weehawken, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Hudson
Incorporated March 15, 1859
 • Total 1.477 sq mi (3.826 km2)
 • Land 0.796 sq mi (2.063 km2)
 • Water 0.681 sq mi (1.764 km2)  46.10%
Area rank 453rd of 566 in state
7th of 12 in county
Elevation 3 ft (0.9 m)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 12,554
 • Estimate (2015) 14,040
 • Rank 194th of 566 in state
10th of 12 in county
 • Density 15,764.6/sq mi (6,086.7/km2)
 • Density rank 13th of 566 in state
7th of 12 in county
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 07086-07087
Area code(s) 201/551
FIPS code 3401777930
GNIS feature ID 0882224
Website www.weehawken-nj.us

Weehawken is a township in Hudson County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 12,554, reflecting a decline of 947 (-7.0%) from the 13,501 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,116 (+9.0%) from the 12,385 counted in the 1990 Census.


The name Weehawken is generally considered to have evolved from the Algonquian language Lenape spoken by the Hackensack and Tappan. It has variously been interpreted as "maize land", "place of gulls", "rocks that look like trees", which would refer to the Palisades, atop which most of the town sits, or "at the end", among other suggested translations.

Three U.S. Navy ships have been named for the city. The USS Weehawken, launched on November 5, 1862, was a Passaic-class monitor, or ironclad ship, which sailed for the Union Navy during the American Civil War, encountered battles at the Charleston, South Carolina coast, and sank in a moderate gale on December 6, 1863. The Weehawken was the last ferry to The West Shore Terminal on March 25, 1959, at 1:10 am, ending 259 years of continuous ferry service. Weehawken Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village was the site of a colonial Hudson River ferry landing.

The name and the place have inspired mention in multiple works of popular culture.


Weehawken was formed as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature, on March 15, 1859, from portions of Hoboken and North Bergen. A portion of the township was ceded to Hoboken in 1874. Additional territory was annexed in 1879 from West Hoboken.

The township's written history began in 1609, when Henry Hudson, on his third voyage to the New World, sailed down what was later named the North River on the Half Moon and weighed anchor in Weehawken Cove. At the time it was the territory of the Hackensack and Tappan, of the Turtle Clan, or Unami, a branch of the Lenni Lenape. They were displaced by immigrants to the province of New Netherland, who had begun to settle the west bank of the Hudson at Pavonia in 1630. On May 11, 1647, Maryn Adriansen received a patent for a plantation (of 169 acres) at Awiehaken. In 1658, Director-General of New Netherland Peter Stuyvesant negotiated a deal with the Lenape to purchase all the land from "the great rock above Wiehacken", west to Sikakes (Secaucus) and south to Konstapels Hoeck (Constable Hook). In 1661, Weehawken became part of Bergen when it (and most of northeastern New Jersey) came under the jurisdiction of the court at Bergen Square.

Alexander Hamilton fights his fatal duel with Aaron Burr

In 1674, New Netherland was ceded to the British, and the town became part of the Province of East Jersey. John Luby, in 1677, acquired several parcels comprising 35 acres (140,000 m2) along the Hudson. Most habitation was along the top of the cliffs since the low-lying areas were mostly marshland. Descriptions from the period speak of the dense foliage and forests and excellent land for growing vegetables and orchard fruits. As early as 1700 there was regular, if sporadic ferry service from Weehawken. In 1752, King George II made the first official grant for ferry service, the ferry house north of Hoboken primarily used for farm produce, and likely was sold at the Greenwich Village landing that became Weehawken Street.

Map (1841) showing Dea's Point, the original Hamilton Monument, and Highwood, the estate of James Gore King

During the American Revolutionary War, Weehawken was used as a lookout for the patriots to check on the British, who were situated in New York and controlled the surrounding waterways. In fact, in July 1778, Lord Stirling asked Aaron Burr, in a letter written on behalf of General George Washington, to employ several persons to "go to Bergen Heights, Weehawk, Hoebuck, or any other heights thereabout to observe the motions of the enemy's shipping" and to gather any other possible intelligence. Early documented inhabitants included a Captain James Deas, whose stately residence at Deas' Point was located atop a knoll along the river. Lafayette had used the mansion as his headquarters and later Washington Irving came to gaze at Manhattan.

Not far from Deas' was a ledge 11 paces wide and 20 paces long, situated 20 feet (6.1 m) above the Hudson on the Palisades. This ledge, long gone, was the site of 18 documented duels and probably many unrecorded ones in the years 1798–1845. The most famous is the duel between General Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury, and Colonel Aaron Burr, sitting third Vice President of the United States, which took place on July 11, 1804. It was re-enacted on July 11, 2004, the 200th anniversary of the fatal duel, by descendants of Hamilton and Burr. Three years earlier, a duel was held at this spot between Philip Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton's son) and George Eacker; Phillip Hamilton, who had been defending his father's honor, suffered a fatal wound in his hip and his right arm and died two days later on November 24, 1801. In the mid-19th century, James G. King built his estate Highwood on the bluff that now bears his name, and entertained many political and artistic figures of the era, including Daniel Webster.

Ferries departing the West Shore Railroad's Weehawken Terminal, pre-1900

With the ferry, the Hackensack Plank Road (a toll road that was a main artery from Weehawken to Hackensack), and later, the West Shore Railroad, built during the early 1870s, the waterfront became a transportation hub. The wealthy built homes along the top of the New Jersey Palisades, where they might flee from the sweltering heat of New York, and breathe the fresh air of the heights. Weehawken became the playground of the rich during the middle to late 19th century. A series of wagon lifts, stairs, and even a passenger elevator designed by the same engineer as those at the Eiffel Tower (which at the time was the world's largest) were put in place to accommodate the tourists and summer dwellers. The Eldorado Amusement Park, a pleasure garden which opened in 1891, drew massive crowds.


Weehawken is part of the New York metropolitan area. Situated on the western shore of the Hudson River, along the southern end of the New Jersey Palisades across from Midtown Manhattan, it is the location of the western terminus of the Lincoln Tunnel. Weehawken is one of the towns that comprise North Hudson, sometimes called NoHu in the artistic community.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 1.477 square miles (3.826 km2), including 0.796 square miles (2.063 km2) of land and 0.681 square miles (1.764 km2) of water (46.10%).

As the emergent Palisades define Weehawken's natural topography, so too the Lincoln Tunnel (which cuts the town in half) looms as an inescapable man-made feature. Geographically, Weehawken has distinct neighborhoods: Downtown, The Heights, Uptown (which includes Kingswood Bluff known as "The bluffs"), and The Waterfront, which since the 1990s has been developed for transportation, commercial, recreational and residential uses. Though some are long abandoned (e.g., Grauert Causeway), there are still several outdoor public staircases (e.g., Shippen Steps) throughout the town, and more than 15 "dead-end" streets. At its southeastern corner is Weehawken Cove which, along with the rail tracks farther inland, defines Weehawken's border with Hoboken. Its northern boundary is shared with West New York. Traversing Weehawken is Boulevard East, a scenic thoroughfare offering a sweeping vista of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. Local zoning laws prohibit the construction of high-rise buildings that would obstruct sight-lines from higher points in town. In a 1999 decision that blocked the development of a pair of waterfront towers that would have stood 160 feet (49 m), a judge cited the panoramic vistas from Weehawken as "a world-class amenity that encourages people to live, work and locate businesses in the area".

The turn of the 20th century saw the end of the large estates, casinos, hotels, and theaters as tourism gave way to subdivisions (such as Highwood Park and Clifton Park) and the construction of many of the private homes still seen in town. This coincided with the influx of the Germans, Austrians, and Swiss, who built them and the breweries and embroidery factories in nearby Union City and West New York. While remaining essentially residential, Weehawken continued to grow as Hudson County became more industrial and more populated. Shortly after the First World War, a significant contingent of Syrian immigrants from Homs (a major textile center in its own right) moved into Weehawken to take advantage of the burgeoning textile industry.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 280
1870 597 113.2%
1880 1,102 84.6%
1890 1,943 76.3%
1900 5,325 174.1%
1910 11,228 110.9%
1920 14,485 29.0%
1930 14,807 2.2%
1940 14,363 −3.0%
1950 14,830 3.3%
1960 13,504 −8.9%
1970 13,383 −0.9%
1980 13,168 −1.6%
1990 12,385 −5.9%
2000 13,501 9.0%
2010 12,554 −7.0%
Est. 2015 14,040 11.8%
Population sources:
1860–1920 1860–1870 1870
1880–1890 1890–1910
1890–1900 1910–1930
1930–1990 2000 2010

2010 Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 12,554 people, 5,712 households, and 2,913 families residing in the township. The population density was 15,764.6 per square mile (6,086.7/km2). There were 6,213 housing units at an average density of 7,801.9 per square mile (3,012.3/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 71.85% (9,020) White, 4.83% (606) Black or African American, 0.49% (61) Native American, 8.16% (1,024) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 10.76% (1,351) from other races, and 3.91% (491) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40.27% (5,055) of the population.

There were 5,712 households out of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.0% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the township, the population was spread out with 16.3% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 39.1% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 93.0 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $62,435 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,887) and the median family income was $90,903 (+/- $17,797). Males had a median income of $53,912 (+/- $7,426) versus $50,129 (+/- $3,238) for females. The per capita income for the township was $45,206 (+/- $5,011). About 10.1% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 20.4% of those age 65 or over.

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 13,501 people, 5,975 households, and 3,059 families residing in the township. The population density was 15,891.3 people per square mile (6,132.7/km²). There were 6,159 housing units at an average density of 7,249.4 per square mile (2,797.7/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 73.05% White, 3.58% African American, 0.20% Native American, 4.67% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 13.94% from other races, and 4.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40.64% of the population.

There were 5,975 households, out of which 20.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.8% were non-families. 35.6% 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 2.26 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the township the population was spread out with 16.6% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 42.4% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $50,196, and the median income for a family was $52,613. Males had a median income of $41,307 versus $36,063 for females. The per capita income for the township was $29,269. About 9.3% of families and 11.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.

Weehawken, with a population density about equal to that of Jersey City, is among the most densely populated municipalities in the United States.

Points of interest

Though the panoramic view (from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to George Washington Bridge) may be its most famous attraction, Weehawken is also home to other sites of historic, aesthetic, and engineering importance:

  • The city's main commercial thoroughfare is Park Avenue, which is populated mostly by locally owned stores, eateries and bars.
  • Hamilton Park, on Boulevard East is located at the site of the former Eldorado Amusement Resort.
  • King's Bluff, a historic district at "the end of the Palisades", includes many of Weehawken's most expensive homes, in an eclectic array of architectural styles
  • The Weehawken Water Tower on Park Avenue was built in 1883 as part of the Hackensack Water Company Complex, and inspired by Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The Tower is cited on the Federal Maritime Chart as the "Red Tower" and serves as a warning to ships traveling south along the Hudson that they are approaching New York Bay.
  • The former North Hudson Hospital is located on Park Avenue.
  • Hackensack Plank Road, an early colonial thoroughfare, climbs from Downtown to The Heights and further north.
  • The "Horseshoe" on Shippen Street is a cobbled double hairpin street leading to Hackensack Plank Road and Shippen Street Steps, at the bottom of which is located Weehawken's original town hall, and is the home of VFW Post 1923 and the Weehawken Historical Commission.
  • Hackensack Number Two, a reservoir previously part of Hudson County's water system along with #1 (demolished), in the Gregory/Highpoint Historic District, is named for the river from which water was pumped into them.
  • The Lincoln Tunnel Approach and Helix is the eight-lane circular viaduct that leads into the Art Deco style Lincoln Tunnel Toll Plaza. Nearby are the Ventilation Towers at Lincoln Harbor.
  • The Weehawken Public Library, which built in 1904 as the home the son of William Peter Sr., wealthy brewer/beer baron of the William Peter Brewing Company, is located at 49 Hauxhurst Avenue. It opened as a library in 1942, and underwent renovations from 1997 to 1999.
  • The Atrium, which is home to Hudson River Performing Arts Center-sponsored events.
  • NY Waterway's Weehawken Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, a state-of-the-art facility opened in 2006, is located at the site of the United Fruit Company, which was the largest banana import facility in the nation from the time of its opening in 1952.
  • Reservoir Park, located at 20th to 22nd Sttreet on Palisade Avenue, opened on September 25, 2015, The passive park at the border of Union City and Weehawken, was created on the 14.4-acre (5.8 ha) site of a reservoir that had been owned by United Water but hadn't been used since 1996.
  • The West Shore Railroad Tunnel, carved through the cliffs, is now used for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
  • 9/11 Memorial on the Hudson River Walk at Ferry Boulevard near the end of Pershing Road. It consists of two trident-shaped beams that served as supports for the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Hamilton Memorial

1935 bust of Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton-Burr duel sign in Weehawken, NJ IMG 6350
Historical marker of the Burr-Hamilton duel in Weehawken
Weehawken dueling grounds sign IMG 6353
Weehawken dueling grounds historical marker (2004)

The Alexander Hamilton Monument on Hamilton Avenue, adjacent to Hamilton Park, is the site of the second memorial to the Burr-Hamilton duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The first, on the original duel site, was constructed in 1806 by the Saint Andrew Society, of which Hamilton had been a member. A 14-foot (4.3-m) marble cenotaph, consisting of an obelisk, topped by a flaming urn and a plaque with a quote from Horace, surrounded by an iron fence, was constructed approximately where Hamilton was believed to have fallen. Duels continued to be fought at the site, and the marble was slowly vandalized and removed for souvenirs, leaving nothing remaining by 1820. The tablet itself did survive, turning up in a junk store and finding its way to the New York Historical Society in Manhattan, where it still resides.

From 1820 to 1857, the site was marked by two stones, with the names Hamilton and Burr, placed where they were thought to have stood during the duel. When a road from Hoboken to Fort Lee was built through the site in 1858, an inscription on a boulder where a mortally wounded Hamilton was thought to have rested—one of the many pieces of graffiti left by visitors—was all that remained. No primary accounts of the duel confirm the boulder anecdote. In 1870, railroad tracks were built directly through the site, and the boulder was hauled to the top of the Palisades, where it remains today, located just off the Boulevard East. In 1894, an iron fence was built around the boulder, supplemented by a bust of Hamilton and a plaque. The bust was thrown over the cliff on October 14, 1934, by vandals, and the head was never recovered; a new bust was unveiled on July 12, 1935.

The plaque was stolen by vandals in the 1980s, and an abbreviated version of the text was inscribed on the indentation left in the boulder, which remained until the early 1990s, when a granite pedestal was added in front of the boulder, and the bust was moved to the top of the pedestal. New historical markers were added on July 11, 2004, the 200th anniversary of the duel.


Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 16.08 miles (25.88 km) of roadways, of which 13.35 miles (21.48 km) were maintained by the municipality, 1.30 miles (2.09 km) by Hudson County and 1.43 miles (2.30 km) by the Port Authority of NY & NJ.

Route 495 travels east-west between the Lincoln Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) with interchanges for Route 3 and U.S. Route 1/9.

Public transportation

The Port Imperial stop on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

Public transportation in Weehawken is provided by bus, ferry, and light rail.

Bus service is provided along busy north-south corridors on Park Avenue, Boulevard East and Port Imperial Boulevard by NJ Transit and privately operated jitneys within Hudson County, and to Manhattan and Bergen County.

NJT 123, 126, 128, 156, 158, 159, 165, 166, 168 originate/terminate at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. NJT 23 and 89 travel between Nungessers and Hoboken Terminal, where transfer is possible to PATH and NJT commuter rail. NJ Transit buses 84 and 86 travel between Nungessers and Journal Square or Pavonia/Newport in Jersey City. Routes 68 and 67 provide minimal peak service from Lincoln Harbor to the Jersey Shore.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) service is available westbound to Bergenline and Tonnelle Avenue and southbound to Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne at the Lincoln Harbor station and Port Imperial station, where transfer to NY Waterway ferries to Midtown and Lower Manhattan is possible.

NY Waterway headquarters are located at Weehawken Port Imperial.

In 2013, a planned regional bike share system was announced by the Mayors of Weehawken and two cities to its south.

Media and culture

Weehawken Museum
Original town hall at foot of Shippen Street steps undergoing renovation and transformation to local history museum

Weehawken 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 covering news in the county.

Local weeklies include the free bilingual paper, Hudson Dispatch Weekly, (named for the former daily Hudson Dispatch), The Hudson Reporter, the Weehawken Reporter, the Spanish language El Especialito. and the River View Observer.

The Weehawken Sequence, an early 20th-century series of approximately 100 oil sketches by local artist John Marin, who worked in the city, is considered among, if not the first, abstract paintings done by an American artist. The sketches, which blend aspects of Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism, have been compared to the work of Jackson Pollock.

The Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build a world-class performing arts center on the waterfront. Since 2004, it has presented both indoor and outdoor events at Lincoln Harbor.

In popular culture

The name and the place have inspired mention in multiple works of popular culture. For example:

On the Fox Channel animated television series, Futurama, Weehawken is the home of the former DOOP headquarters.

In visual art, Weehawken is the subject of the American painter Edward Hopper's East Wind Over Weehawken.

Images for kids

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