Elizabeth, New Jersey

Elizabeth, New Jersey
City of Elizabeth

Elizabeth skyline


Map of Elizabeth in Union County
(Click image to enlarge. See also: state map)

Census Bureau map of Elizabeth, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°39′59″N 74°11′37″W / 40.666261°N 74.19353°W / 40.666261; -74.19353Coordinates: 40°39′59″N 74°11′37″W / 40.666261°N 74.19353°W / 40.666261; -74.19353[1][2]
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Union
Founded 1664
Incorporated March 13, 1855
Named for Elizabeth, wife of Sir George Carteret
  Type Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
  Body City Council
  Mayor J. Christian "Chris" Bollwage (D, term ends December 31, 2016)[4][5]
  Administrator Bridget Anderson[6]
  Clerk Yolanda Roberts[6]
  Total 13.464 sq mi (34.873 km2)
  Land 12.319 sq mi (31.907 km2)
  Water 1.145 sq mi (2.966 km2)  9.51%
Area rank 180th of 566 in state
1st of 21 in county[1]
Elevation[7] 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010 Census)[8][9][10][11]
  Total 124,969
  Estimate (2015)[12] 129,007
  Rank 4th of 566 in state
1st of 21 in county[13]
  Density 10,144.1/sq mi (3,916.7/km2)
  Density rank 37th of 566 in state
2nd of 21 in county[13]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 07201 – Union Square station
07202 – Bayway station
07206 – Elizabethport station
07207 – P.O. Boxes
07208 – Elmora station[14][15]
Area code(s) 908[16]
FIPS code 3403921000[1][17][18]
GNIS feature ID 0885205[1][19]
Website www.elizabethnj.org
View Near Elizabethtown, N. J., oil painting by Régis François Gignoux, Honolulu Museum of Art

Elizabeth is both the largest city and the county seat of Union County, in New Jersey, United States.[20][21] As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 124,969,[8][9][10] retaining its ranking as New Jersey's fourth largest city (by population).[22] The population increased by 4,401 (3.7%) from the 120,568 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 10,566 (+9.6%) from the 110,002 counted in the 1990 Census.[23] For 2015, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated a population of 129,007, an increase of 3.2% from the 2010 enumeration,[12] ranking the city the 210th largest in the nation.[24]

In 2008, Elizabeth was named one of "America's 50 Greenest Cities" by Popular Science magazine, the only city in New Jersey selected.[25]


Elizabeth, originally called "Elizabethtown" and part of the Elizabethtown Tract, was founded in 1664 by English settlers. The town was not named for Queen Elizabeth I as many people may assume, but rather for Elizabeth, wife of Sir George Carteret, one of the two original Proprietors of the colony of New Jersey.[26][27][28] She was the daughter of Philippe de Carteret II, 3rd Seigneur de Sark and Anne Dowse. The town served as the first capital of New Jersey.[29] During the American Revolutionary War, Elizabethtown was continually attacked by British forces based on Manhattan and Staten Island, culminating in the Battle of Springfield which decisively defeated British attempts to gain New Jersey. After independence, it was from Elizabethtown that George Washington embarked by boat to Manhattan for his 1789 inauguration.[30] There are numerous memorials and monuments of the American Revolution in Elizabeth.[31]

On March 13, 1855, the City of Elizabeth was created by an act of the New Jersey Legislature, combining and replacing both Elizabeth Borough (which dated back to 1740) and Elizabeth Township (which had been formed in 1693), subject to the results of a referendum held on March 27, 1855. On March 19, 1857, the city became part of the newly created Union County. Portions of the city were taken to form Linden Township on March 4, 1861.[32]

The first major industry, the Singer Sewing Machine Company came to Elizabeth and employed as many as 2,000 people. In 1895, it saw one of the first car companies, when Electric Carriage and Wagon Company was founded to manufacture the Electrobat, joined soon by another electric car builder, Andrew L. Riker. The Electric Boat Company got its start building submarines for the United States Navy in Elizabeth, New Jersey, beginning with the launch of USS Holland (SS-1) in 1897. These pioneering naval craft [known as A-Class] were developed at Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth between the years 1896–1903.[33] Elizabeth grew in parallel to its sister city of Newark for many years, but has been more successful in retaining a middle-class presence and was mostly spared riots in the 1960s.[34]

On September 18, 2016, a backpack holding five bombs was discovered outside NJ Transit's Elizabeth train station. One bomb detonated accidentally when a bomb squad robot failed to disarm the contents of the backpack; no one was hurt. Police were initially unsure if this event was related to bombs in Seaside Park, New Jersey and Manhattan that had exploded the previous day.[35] On September 19, police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old Afghan-born naturalized U.S. citizen, for questioning in connection with all three incidents; the FBI considered Rahami, whose last known address was within 0.5 miles (0.8 km) of the train station, to be armed and dangerous.[36][37]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 13.464 square miles (34.873 km2), including 12.319 square miles (31.907 km2) of land and 1.145 square miles (2.966 km2) of water (8.51%).[1][2]

Elizabeth is bordered to the southwest by Linden, to the west by Roselle and Roselle Park, to the northwest by Union and Hillside, to the north by Newark (in Essex County). To the east the city is across the Newark Bay from Bayonne in Hudson County and the Arthur Kill from Staten Island, New York.[38]

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Elizabethport and Great Island.[39]

The borders of Elizabeth, Bayonne, and Staten Island meet at one point on Shooters Island, of which 7.5 acres (3.0 ha) of the island is owned by Elizabeth, though the island is managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.[40]

Districts and neighborhoods

The city of Elizabeth has several distinct districts and neighborhoods.

Midtown / Uptown

Midtown also occasionally known as Uptown, is the main commercial district and a historic section as well. It includes the First Presbyterian Church and St. John's Episcopal Church, and its St. John's Episcopal Churchyard. The First Presbyterian Church was a battleground for the American Revolution. Located here are also the 1931 Art Deco Hersh Tower,[41] the Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, and the Ritz Theatre which has been operating since 1926. Midtown/Uptown includes the area once known as "Brittanville" which contained many English type gardens.


Bayway is located in the southern part of the city and borders the City of Linden. From US 1&9 and Allen Street, between the Elizabeth River and the Arthur Kill, it has maintained a strong Polish community for years. Developed at the turn of the 20th century, many of the area residents once worked at the refinery which straddles both Elizabeth and Linden. There are unique ethnic restaurants, bars, and stores along Bayway Avenue, and a variety of houses of worship. Housing styles are older and well maintained. There are many affordable two to four-family housing units, and multiple apartment complexes. The western terminus of the Goethals Bridge, which spans the Arthur Kill to Staten Island can be found here. A small section of the neighborhood was isolated with both the completion of the Goethals Bridge in 1928 and the construction of the New Jersey Turnpike in the 1950s. This section known as "Relocated Bayway" will soon be a memory and piece of history as many of the residents have been relocated themselves to make way for the expansion of the Goethals Bridge.

DownTown / Elizabethport

Downtown / E-Port (a.k.a. The Port and Elizabethport) is the oldest neighborhood in Elizabeth and perhaps the most diverse place in the city. It is a collection of old world Elizabeth, new America, and a mix of colonial-style houses and apartment buildings that stretch east of 7th Street to its shores. The name derived from its dependency of businesses catering to seagoing ventures. It was a thriving center of business between approximately the 1660s through the middle of the 20th century. This area has had a great deal of improvement in the last fifteen years. Many homes have been refurbished or replaced with new, more ornate constructions. Housing projects that stood for years along First Street were demolished and replaced with attractive apartment complexes for those with low to moderate incomes. New townhomes on the waterfront have been developed, and new two-family homes are currently under construction. The area formerly had three neighborhoods called Buckeye, New Mexico and Diamondville.

It is the former home of the Singer Manufacturing Company, makers of Singer sewing machines, which constructed a 1,400,000-square-foot (130,000 m2) facility on a 32-acre (13 ha) site in 1873. Shortly after it opened, the factory manufactured the majority of all sewing machines. With 6,000 employees working there in the 1870s, it was the largest number of workers at a single facility at the time of its construction. The company moved out in 1982.[42]

The Elizabeth Marina, which in the past was filled with trash and debris along its walkway, was also beautified and many celebrations are held year round, from a Hispanic festival in the late spring to the lighting of a Christmas tree in the winter. Living conditions in this area continue to improve year after year. Historically, there was a Slavic community here, centered by a church (Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine) and a Lithuanian (Sts. Peter and Paul, R.C.) and Polish (St. Adalbert) Roman Catholic Church still stands in the neighborhood. St. Patrick Church, originally Irish, dominates the 'Port and had its cornerstone laid in 1887.[43]

Elmora and The West End

Warinanco Park, Elmora

Elmora is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the western part of Elizabeth. The main thoroughfare, Elmora Avenue, boasts some of the best restaurants, shops and boutiques. A few of the city's most luxurious high-rise building complexes, affording views of the New York skyline, dot the edge of this neighborhood and are convenient to the Midtown NJ Transit Train Station. The neighborhood area forms a "V" from its approximate borders of the Central RR tracks to Rahway Avenue.

Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Patrick's Church, Elizabethport

Elmora Hills

The northwestern part of Elmora is known as Elmora Hills. It is a strongly middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood. Originally called Shearerville, the name Elmora came from the developers of the area, the El Mora Land Company. This area was annexed from Union, returning to Elizabeth in the early part of the 20th century. This was done to increase the city's tax base as major improvements to infrastructure were necessary at the time.

Frog Hollow

Frog Hollow is a small community of homes east of Atlantic Street, west of the Arthur Kill, and south of Elizabeth Avenue. Its name is derived from the excellent frog catching in its marshes as well as the excellent oyster and fishing of the past. The area expanded east and includes the area formerly known as Helltown. Helltown included many of the docks and shipyards, as well as several drydocks. The area's developer was Edward N. Kellogg, who also laid out the neighborhood in Keighry Head. Frog Hollow contains older-style, affordable homes, rentals, and some quality restaurants in a working-class community. The statue honoring former Mayor Mack on Elizabeth Avenue is a landmark in the community. Frog Hollow is also convenient to the Veteran's Memorial Waterfront Park.

Keighry Head

Its name is attributed to James Keighry of the Isle of Kerry, Ireland. He was a notable resident who owned a business facing the square formed at the junction of Jackson, Madison, Chestnut and Magnolia Avenues. The approximate borders of this neighborhood extended north from East Grand Street to Flora Street and from Walnut to Division Street. Developed by Edward N. Kellogg, many of the streets were named after family and friends. Keighry Head is located close to Midtown, containing affordable one and two-family homes, and apartment houses, convenient to the Midtown shopping district, and transportation.

War monument; north Elizabeth

North End / North Elizabeth

The North End, also known as "North Elizabeth", is a diverse working-class neighborhood. The borders are approximately the Arch north to the city line between North Broad Street and US 1&9. It was developed mostly in the 1920s for workers in the Dusenburg automobile plant (later Durant Auto, Burry Biscuits and Interbake Foods). The area was heavily settled by the Irish and then Portuguese. The North End has easy access to New York and Newark via its own NJ Transit train station, Routes 1&9 and the NJ Turnpike. The neighborhood also has Crane Square, the Historic Nugents Tavern, and Kellogg Park and its proximity to Newark Airport. There is currently a plan in place to develop the former Interbake Foods facility into shopping and residential townhouses and condominiums. This community contains many larger one and two-family homes that have been rebuilt over the past decade. North Elizabeth also features many well-kept apartment houses and condominium units on and around North Avenue that are home to professionals who work in New York or the area. The only Benedictine women's community in New Jersey is located at Saint Walburga Monastery on North Broad Street.


Peterstown (also known as "The Burg") is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the southeastern part of the city. Its borders run west of Atlantic Street to South Spring Street from 1st Avenue to the Elizabeth River. Its name is derived from John Peters, who owned most of the land with George Peters. They divided the land and developed it during the end of the 19th century. The area of Peterstown was once predominantly occupied by its earliest settlers, who were German, and during the 1920s was gentrified by newly immigrated Italians. Peterstown has clean, quiet streets and has many affordable housing opportunities with a "village" feel. The area contains the historic Union Square, which is home to produce stands, meat markets, fresh fish and poultry stores. Peterstown is also home of the DeCavalcante crime family, one of the most infamous Mafia families in the United States.

The Point / the Crossroads

The Point, formally known as the Crossroads, is centrally located and defined by New Point Road and Division Street. It is close to Midtown and contains many new affordable two-family homes, apartment houses and is undergoing a transformation. The former Elizabeth General Hospital site is currently being demolished and awaiting a new development.

Quality Hill

Home to St. Mary's and the "Hilltoppers", this area once was lined with mansions. Its approximate borders were South Broad Street to Grier Avenue and Pearl Street to what is now US 1&9. During its development in the 1860s it was the most fashionable area of the city to live. It is now a quiet middle class community experiencing a re-development with many new condominiums.


Developed by Edward J. Grassman, Westminster got its name from the city's largest residential estates of the Tudor style and was inhabited by many residents who traced their ancestry to England. This neighborhood borders Hillside with the Elizabeth River running its border creating a dramatic splash of greenery and rolling hills off of North Avenue, near Liberty Hall. Residents use this area for recreation, whether it is at the newly christened Phil Rizzuto Park area, or for bird watching or for sunbathing by the river. It is one of the more affluent areas of Elizabeth.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Elizabeth has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[44]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015129,007[12][45]3.2%
Population sources: 1810–1970[46]
1810–1920[47] 1810[48] 1820[49]
1830[50] 1840[51] 1850–1870[52]
1850[53] 1870[54] 1880–1890[55]
1890–1910[56] 1860–1930[57]
1930–1990[58] 2000[59][60] 2010[8][9][10][61]
* = Lost territory in previous decade.[32]

2010 Census

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 124,969 people, 41,596 households, and 29,325 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,144.1 per square mile (3,916.7/km2). There were 45,516 housing units at an average density of 3,694.7 per square mile (1,426.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 54.65% (68,292) White, 21.08% (26,343) Black or African American, 0.83% (1,036) Native American, 2.08% (2,604) Asian, 0.04% (52) Pacific Islander, 16.72% (20,901) from other races, and 4.59% (5,741) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 59.50% (74,353) of the population.[8] The city's Hispanic population was the tenth-highest percentage among municipalities in New Jersey as of the 2010 Census.[62]

There were 41,596 households, of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 22.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.43.[8]

In the city, 25.6% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.2 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.[8]

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $43,770 (with a margin of error of +/- $1,488) and the median family income was $46,891 (+/- $1,873). Males had a median income of $32,268 (+/- $1,205) versus $27,228 (+/- $1,427) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,196 (+/- $604). About 14.7% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 18.5% of those age 65 or over.[63]

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census[17] there were 120,568 people, 40,482 households, and 28,175 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,865.5 inhabitants per square mile (3,809.5/km2). There were 42,838 housing units at an average density of 3,505.2 per square mile (1,353.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.78% White, 19.98% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 2.35% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 15.51% from other races, and 5.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49.46% of the population.[59][60]

The nation where the highest number of foreign-born inhabitants of Elizabeth were born was Colombia, which was the birthplace of 8,731 Elizabeth residents as of the 2000 Census. This exceeded the combined total of Mexico and Central America of 8,214. It also far exceeded the next highest single nation count of Cuba at 5,812. The largest number for a non-Spanish speaking country and third highest overall was immigrants from Portugal numbering 4,544. The next largest groups were Salvadoran immigrants numbering 4,043, Peruvians 3,591 and Dominican immigrants,once was lined with m of whom there were 3,492.[64]

There were 40,482 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.45.[59][60]

In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.[59][60]

The median income for a household in the city was $35,175, and the median income for a family was $38,370. Males had a median income of $30,757 versus $23,931 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,114. About 15.6% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 17.2% of those age 65 or over.[59][60]


Industrial "backyard" east of Elizabeth, New Jersey

Since World War II, Elizabeth has seen its transportation facilities grow; the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is one of the busiest ports in the world, as is Newark Liberty International Airport, parts of which are actually in Elizabeth. Elizabeth also features Little Jimmy's Italian Ices (since 1932), the popular Jersey Gardens outlet mall, Loews Theater, and the Elizabeth Center, which generate millions of dollars in revenue. Companies based in Elizabeth include New England Motor Freight.

Together with Linden, Elizabeth is home to the Bayway Refinery, a Phillips 66 refining facility that supplies petroleum-based products to the New York/New Jersey area, producing approximately 230,000 barrels (37,000 m3) per day.

Celadon, a mixed-use development containing 14 glass skyscrapers, offices, retail, a hotel, boardwalk and many other amenities is proposed to border the east side of the Jersey Gardens mall, directly on the Port Newark Bay. Groundbreaking was scheduled for the summer of 2008 on the ferry, roads and parking, and construction will continue for at least twelve years.[65]

Portions of the city are covered by the Urban Enterprise Zone, which cuts the sales tax rate to 3½% (half of the 7% charged statewide) and offers other incentives to businesses within the district.[66] The Elizabeth UEZ has the highest business participation rate in the state, with approximately 1,000 businesses participating in — and benefiting from — the program. The UEZ has helped bring in more than $1.5 billion in new economic development to the city and has brought in over $50 million in sales tax revenue that has been reinvested in funding for additional police, streetscape and other infrastructure improvements.[67]


City Hall, Eggers & Higgins, architects, 1940.[68]

Local government

The City of Elizabeth is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government. The city government of Elizabeth is made up of a Mayor and a City Council. The Elizabeth City Council is made up of nine members, who are elected to serve four-year terms of office on a staggered basis with elections held in even years. The three Council members elected at-large and mayor come up for election together in leap years and two years later the six members who are elected from each of Elizabeth's six wards are all up for election.[3]

As of 2016, the city's Mayor is Democrat Chris Bollwage, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth who is serving his sixth term as Mayor, serving a term of office that ends December 31, 2016.[4] City Council members are Council President Nelson Gonzalez (Second Ward; D, 2018), Carlos Cedeño (Fourth Ward; D, 2018), Frank Cuesta (at-large; D, 2016), William Gallman Jr. (Fifth Ward; D, 2018), Manny Grova Jr. (at-large; D, 2016), Kevin Kiniery (Third Ward; D, 2018), Frank O. Mazza (Sixth Ward; D, 2018), Patricia Perkins-Auguste (at-large; D, 2016) and Carlos L. Torres (First Ward; D, 2018).[69][70][71][72][73]

Federal, state and county representation

Elizabeth is located in the 8th Congressional District[74] and is part of New Jersey's 20th state legislative district.[9][75][76] Prior to the 2010 Census, Elizabeth had been split between the 10th Congressional District and the 13th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.[77]

New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York).[78] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021)[79] and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).[80][81]

For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 20th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Raymond Lesniak (D, Elizabeth) and in the General Assembly by Jamel Holley (D, Roselle) and Annette Quijano (D, Elizabeth).[82] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[83] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[84]

Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members.[85] As of 2014, Union County's Freeholders are Chairman Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term ends December 31, 2014),[86] Vice Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh (D, Roselle, 2015),[87] Bruce Bergen (D, Springfield Township, 2015),[88] Linda Carter (D, Plainfield, 2016),[89] Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2014),[90] Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2016)[91] Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2016),[92] Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2015)[93] and Vernell Wright (D, Union, 2014).[94][95] Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2015),[96] Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (D, Union, 2016)[97] and Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2014).[98][99] The County Manager is Alfred Faella.[100]


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 44,415 registered voters in Elizabeth, of which 24,988 (56.3% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 2,430 (5.5% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 16,985 (38.2% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 12 voters registered to other parties.[101] Among the city's 2010 Census population, 35.5% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 47.8% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).[101][102]

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 24,751 votes (80.8% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 5,213 votes (17.0% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 166 votes (0.5% vs. 0.8%), among the 30,640 ballots cast by the city's 50,715 registered voters, for a turnout of 60.4% (vs. 68.8% in Union County).[103][104] In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 23,524 votes (74.3% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 7,559 votes (23.9% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 202 votes (0.6% vs. 0.9%), among the 31,677 ballots cast by the city's 48,294 registered voters, for a turnout of 65.6% (vs. 74.7% in Union County).[105] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 18,363 votes (67.2% vs. 58.3% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 8,486 votes (31.0% vs. 40.3%) and other candidates with 144 votes (0.5% vs. 0.7%), among the 27,334 ballots cast by the city's 45,882 registered voters, for a turnout of 59.6% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).[106]

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 63.2% of the vote (7,804 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 35.5% (4,379 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (163 votes), among the 13,592 ballots cast by the city's 49,515 registered voters (1,246 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 27.5%.[107][108] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 10,258 ballots cast (66.8% vs. 50.6% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 4,386 votes (28.6% vs. 41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 376 votes (2.4% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 131 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 15,355 ballots cast by the city's 46,219 registered voters, yielding a 33.2% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).[109]

Police department

The Elizabeth Police Department was established in May 1858.[110]

Fire department

Elizabeth Fire Department (EFD)
Operational area
Country United States
State New Jersey
City Elizabeth
Agency overview
Established January 1, 1902
Commissioner Onofrio Vitullo (Director)
EMS level BLS
Facilities and equipment
Battalions 1
Stations 7
Engines 7
Ladders 3
Rescues 2
Ambulances 6
Fireboats 1

The Elizabeth Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services to the city of Elizabeth.[111] The Elizabeth Fire Department was established as a volunteer organization in 1837 when Engine Company # 1 was organized. In 1901, the volunteer department was no longer adequate and the department reorganized into a paid department on January 1, 1902.[112]

The department is part of the Metro USAR Strike Team, which consists of nine North Jersey fire departments and other emergency services divisions working to address major emergency rescue situations.[113]

Fire station locations and apparatus

Engine company Ladder company Special unit Command unit Address
Engine 1 Tower Ladder 3 24 S. Broad Street
Engine 2 651 S. Broad Street
Engine 3 Ladder 2 (Tiller) Haz-Mat. 1, Air Cascade Unit1, Decon. Trailer 442 Trumbull Street
Engine 5 QRV 1 (Quick Attack Response Vehicle), Foam Unit1, Fire Boat 1 147 Elizabeth Avenue
Engine 6 472 Catherine Street
Engine 7 Ladder 1 Rescue 1, Rescue 2 – Metro USAR Collapse Rescue Strike Team Unit, Special Operations Vehicle 1 Car 42 (Deputy Chief), Car 43 (Battalion Chief) 411 Irvington Avenue
Engine 8 Tactical Support Unit 1 524 W. Grand Street

Emergency medical services

Emergency medical services are provided by the Elizabeth Fire Department's Division of Emergency Medical Services. This is a civilian division of the fire department and handles approx 20,000 calls a year. The division is made up of an EMS chief, 5 supervisors, 28 full-time emergency medical technicians, and approximately 12 per-diem EMTs. The division, at its maximum staffing, aims to operate five ambulances and a supervisor on days (7am-7pm) and three ambulances and a supervisor on nights (7pm-7am).


The John E. Dwyer Technology Academy and Dunn Sports Center

The city's public schools are operated by Elizabeth Public Schools, serving students in pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide,[114] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[115][116]

As of the 2011–12 school year, the district's 34 schools had an enrollment of 23,386 students and 1,846.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.67:1.[117]

With 5,300 students, Elizabeth High School was the largest high school in the state of New Jersey and one of the largest in the United States, and underwent a split that created five new academies and a smaller Elizabeth High School under a transformation program that began in the 2009–10 school year.[118] The school was the 294th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 322 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2010 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after being ranked 302nd in 2008 out of 316 schools.[119] Before the 2008–09 school year, all of the district's schools (except high schools) became K–8 schools, replacing the middle schools and elementary schools. SchoolDigger.com ranked Elizabeth 449th of 558 districts evaluated in New Jersey.[120]

These and other indicators reveal a seriously declining performance standard in the city's schools. Data reported by the state Department of Education showed that a majority of students in a majority of the Elizabeth public schools failed basic skills tests.[121]

In the 2008–09 school year, Victor Mravlag Elementary School No. 21 was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education,[122] the highest award an American school can receive.[123][124] For the 2006–07 school year, William F. Halloran Alternative School #22 was one of four schools in New Jersey recognized with the Blue Ribbon Award.[125] William F. Halloran Alternative School #22 earned a second award when it was one of 11 in the state to be recognized in 2014 by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.[126][127][128]

Private schools

Elizabeth is also home to several private schools. The coeducational St. Mary of the Assumption High School, which was established 1930,[129] and the all-girls Benedictine Academy, which is run by the Benedictine Sisters of Saint Walburga Monastery,[130] both operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.[131] The Newark Archdiocese also operates the K–8 schools Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy and St. Genevieve School.[132]

Following the closure of Saint Patrick High School by the Newark Archdiocese in June 2012 in the face of increasing costs and declining enrollment, administrators and parents affiliated with the defunct school opened an independent non-denominational school located on Morris Avenue in Elizabeth called "The Patrick School" in September 2012.[133][134][135]

The Benedictine Preschool, operated by the Benedictine Sisters, is housed at Saint Walburga Monastery.[136]

The Jewish Educational Center comprises the Yeshiva of Elizabeth (nursery through sixth grades), the Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy (boys, sixth through twelfth grades), and Bruriah High School (girls, seventh through twelfth grades).[137]

Princeton University was founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey.[138]


The Elizabeth Public Library, the free public library with a main library, originally a Carnegie library, and three branches[139] had a collection of 384,000 volumes and annual circulation of about 115,000 in 2016.[139][140]


Roads and highways

Elizabeth is a hub of several major roadways including the New Jersey Turnpike / Interstate 95, Interstate 278 (including the Goethals Bridge, which carries Interstate 278 over the Arthur Kill between Elizabeth and Howland Hook, Staten Island), U.S. Route 1/9, Route 27, Route 28, and Route 439. Elizabeth's own street plan, in contrast to the more usual grid plan, is to a large degree circular, with circumferential and radial streets centered on the central railroad station.

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 153.78 miles (247.48 km) of roadways, of which 123.75 miles (199.16 km) were maintained by the municipality, 12.27 miles (19.75 km) by Union County and 11.80 miles (18.99 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 5.96 miles (9.59 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.[141]

Elizabeth was once home to several smaller bascule bridges. The South First Street Bridge over the Elizabeth River, originally built in 1908, was replaced by a fixed span. The South Front Street Bridge (also over the Elizabeth River), built in 1922, has been left in the open position since March 2011.[142] A study is underway to determine if the bridge can be rehabilitated.[143] The bridge is notable in that it is the only remaining movable road bridge in Union County (movable railroad bridges still exist).

Public transportation

CNJ's former Elizabeth Broad Street train station, completed in 1893 or 1894, with the current NJT station in the background

Elizabeth is among the U.S. cities with the highest train ridership. It is serviced by NJ Transit on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor Line. There are two active stations in Elizabeth. Elizabeth station, also called Broad Street Elizabeth or Midtown Station, is the southern station in Midtown Elizabeth.[144] The other train station in Elizabeth is North Elizabeth station.[145]

NJ Transit has planned a segment of the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link (NERL), designated as the Union County Light Rail (UCLR). The UCLR was planned to connect Midtown Station with Newark Liberty International Airport and have seven or eight other stations in between within Elizabeth city limits.[146][147] A possible extension of this future line to Plainfield would link the city of Elizabeth with the Raritan Valley Line.

NJ Transit provides bus service on the 111, 112, 113 and 115 routes to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, on the 24, 40, 48, 59 and 62 routes to Newark, New Jersey, with local service available on the 26, 52, 56, 57 and 58 routes.[148]

The Colombian airline Avianca operates a private bus service from John F. Kennedy Airport to Union City and Elizabeth for passengers on Avianca flights departing from and arriving to JFK.[149]

Local media

WJDM at 1530 on the AM dial is licensed to Elizabeth. It features Spanish Christian programming.[150]

News 12 New Jersey offers weather and news channels with coverage of the city.

Elizabeth public-access channel

Residents of Elizabeth can tune into the public-access television cable-TV channel at any time to view public information such as the city bulletin board, live meetings, important health information and tips. This service is provided by Cablevision Local Programming. The service can be found on channel 18. The channel also has features such as the top ten ranked television shows, educational facts, quote of the day, gas price statistics, and tips for keeping the city safe and clean.

The city is the focal point of Elizabeth native Judy Blume's 2015 novel In The Unlikely Event, the backdrop for which was the crash of three commercial airliners in Elizabeth within a period of two months in 1951–52.[151]

In the opening credits of The Sopranos, part of the city is shown.[152]

Elizabeth is the hometown of Mary Dawn Dwyer Levov, the principal female character in Philip Roth's 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral.[153]

Notable people

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

Sister cities


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  159. Devine, James. "City Mourns Former Mayor & Judge; Steve Bercik Meant Business For Elizabeth", News Record, June 25, 2003. Accessed May 4, 2015. "As mayor of Elizabeth from 1956 through 1964, Judge Bercik established the Elizabeth Human Relations Commission and led an unprecedented initiative to attract business to the city."
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  161. Goldblatt, Jennifer. "Blume's Day", The New York Times, November 14, 2004. Accessed December 21, 2011. "And looking back at a childhood spent in the Elmora section of Elizabeth, Ms. Blume sees many signs that point toward a literary career: all her neighborhood streets were named for writers like Byron and Browning, her house on Shelley Avenue was stuffed with books, and she constantly conjured stories inside her head."
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  164. Inventory of the David Brody Papers D-163, Online Archive of California. Accessed May 4, 2015. "Dr. David Brody is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of California, Davis and a renowned scholar in American labor history and industrial relations. Dr. Brody was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to Ira and Barnet Brody on June 5th, 1930."
  165. "KNICKS' NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND THEIR COACH", The New York Times, May 21, 1982. Accessed December 21, 2011. "When Hubie Brown, the new coach of the Knicks, was growing up in Elizabeth, N.J., he learned about poverty."
  166. "Blackwell, Antoinette Louisa Brown (20 May 1825-5 Nov. 1921)", American National Biography. Accessed May 4, 2015. "After she resettled in New Jersey, she worked with Unitarians in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and made a grant of land for a house of worship. In 1908 the Elizabeth Society recognized her as minister emeritus of All Souls Church."
  167. Fox, Margalit. "Robert N. Buck Dies at 93. Was Record-Setting Aviator.", The New York Times, May 20, 2007. Accessed November 28, 2007. "Robert Nietzel Buck was born on Jan. 29, 1914, in Elizabethport, N.J., and reared in Westfield, N.J."
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  171. Nelson, Valerie J. "James Butler, 84; Groundbreaking Lawyer, Activist, Art Collector", Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2005. Accessed May 4, 2015. "James Girard Butler was born Sept. 26, 1920, in Elizabeth, N.J."
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  173. Perry, James R. The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800: pt. 1. Appointments and proceedings, p. 163. Columbia University Press, 1985. ISBN 9780231088671. "Born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, on April 3, 1776, Elias Boudinot Caldwell was the son of the Reverend James and Hannah (Ogden) Caldwell."
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  177. Staff. "MICHIGAN DOWNS MICH. STATE, 10–0; Chapman Caps Scoring With 58-Yard Touchdown Run", The New York Times, October 15, 1972. Accessed January 28, 2011.
  178. Profile: Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, ABC News, February 15, 2005. Accessed June 23, 2007. "Chertoff, who was born in Elizabeth, N.J., on Nov. 28, 1953, received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1975 and his law degree from Harvard University in 1978."
  179. Hasan, Khalid. "Bush nominee a rabbi's son", Daily Times (Pakistan), January 13, 2005. Accessed June 23, 2007. "According to JTA, a Jewish news service, 'Chertoff has strong ties to the Jewish community. Born and raised in Elizabeth, N.J., Chertoff is the son of a rabbi, his two children have attended Jewish day schools and his wife, Meryl, was a co-chairwoman of the regional Anti-Defamation League's civil rights committee when he was the U.S. attorney in New Jersey in the mid 1990s.'"
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  182. Staff. "Freddie (Red) Cochrane, Boxer, 77", The New York Times, January 19, 1993. Accessed August 15, 2013. "He was born in Elizabeth and won a New Jersey Golden Gloves lightweight title before winning the world welterweight championship in July 1941 with a 15-round decision over Fritzie Zivic in Newark."
  183. Jim Colbert PGA Tour. Accessed August 15, 2013.
  184. DeHaven, Judy. "Under pressure, Conn. casinos go big", The Star-Ledger, May 19, 2008. Accessed June 1, 2008. "...Elizabeth native Tom Colicchio is opening a Craftsteak, and the landmark Junior's Cheesecake also will open an outlet..."
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  189. Staff. "SAM THE PLUMBER SHOWS OTHER SIDE; Sicilian Town Knows Him as Orphans' Benefactor", The New York Times, June 29, 1969. Accessed January 28, 2011. "Many of the Riberese who emigrated to the United States settled in Elizabeth, where DeCavalcante had his base of operations before he moved to Princeton."
  190. Halbfinger, David M. "How a Fan of Comic Books Transformed Himself Into a Hollywood Player", The New York Times, June 30, 2007. Accessed July 14, 2012. "Mr. DeSanto, 38, has come a long way from Elizabeth, N.J., where his father was a police officer."
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  194. Haley, John. "South Plainfield's Muse rushes, but wins gold medal", Home News Tribune, June 2, 2007. Accessed July 24, 2007. "As for Freeman, the son of former U.S. Olympian Ron Freeman out of Elizabeth, he thought he should have won."
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  197. Staff. "Fleet Admiral Halsey Dies; Leader in Defeat of Japan; Third Fleet Commander Fought a 'Hit Hard, Hit Fast, Hit Often' War Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, World War II Naval Leader in Pacific, Dies HEAD OF 3D FLEET FOUGHT DARINGLY Commander of First Major Attack on Japanese Aided in Battle of Leyte Gulf", The New York Times, August 17, 1959. Accessed July 9, 2012. "The son of the late Capt. Brewster Halsey, he was born in Elizabeth, NJ, on Oct. 30, 1882."
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  199. Davis, Seth. "Postcard: Stacked Blue Devils boast burgeoning star in freshman Irving", Sports Illustrated, November 2, 2010. Accessed March 17, 2012. "It's not often that a team boasts two returning seniors from a championship team – one of whom is a leading candidate for national player of the year – and neither is the most talented player on his team. By my lights, that is Kyrie Irving, a 6-foot-2 freshman point guard from Elizabeth, N.J., who was named a Parade and McDonald's All-American last year."
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  219. Staff. "Falcons Notes: Changes up front top secret", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 28, 2000. Accessed January 28, 2011. "Defensive end Patrick Kerney grew up chiefly in Trenton, NJ, and running back Ron Rivers is from Elizabeth City, NJ – both near Philadelphia."
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  227. "Dick Vosburgh: Comedy writer, lyricist, broadcaster and film buff with clients ranging from Bob Hope to Ronnie Corbett", The Independent, April 20, 2007. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Born Richard Kennedy Vosburgh in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1929, he moved to Washington when his father, Frederick, a reporter for Reuters news agency, was offered a job with the National Geographic Magazine."
  228. Newsletter, Transportation Communications Newsletter September 1, 2006. "1956 **50th anniversary** – Transportation Communications Newsletter editor Bernie Wagenblast is born in Elizabeth, New Jersey.",
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