Newark, New Jersey

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: North American Geography

City of Newark
Official flag of City of Newark
Official seal of City of Newark
Flag Seal
Nickname: "The Brick City"
Map of Newark in Essex County
Map of Newark in Essex County
Coordinates: °′40.7352 °′74.1849
County Essex
Founded/Incorporated 1666/1836
Mayor Cory Booker, term of office 2006–2010
 - City 67.3 km²  (26.0  sq mi)
 - Land 61.6 km²  (23.8 sq mi)
 - Water 5.7 km² (2.2 sq mi)
 - City (2000) 280,451
 - Metro 2,152,895
Time zone Eastern Standard Time ( UTC-5)

Newark, nicknamed The Brick City, is the largest city in New Jersey, United States, and the county seat of urban Essex County. As of the United States 2000 Census, the city had a total population of 273,546, making it the largest municipality in New Jersey. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2004 population estimate is 280,451, an increase of 2.5% from 2000.

It is located approximately five miles (8 km) west of Manhattan and two miles north of Staten Island (both parts of New York City). Its location near the Atlantic Ocean on Newark Bay has helped make its port facility, Port Newark, the major container shipping port for New York Harbour. Together with Elizabeth, it is the home of Newark Liberty International Airport, which was the first major airport to serve the New York metropolitan area.


The landing of the Puritans in 1666, from the Settlers' Monument, Fairmount Cemetery.
The landing of the Puritans in 1666, from the Settlers' Monument, Fairmount Cemetery.

Newark was founded in 1666 by Connecticut Puritans led by Robert Treat, making it the third-oldest major city in the United States, after Boston and New York, though it is not the third-oldest settlement. Newark is the city's second name; previously, it was called Milford, named for Milford, Connecticut, from which many settlers had migrated. The name comes from Newark-on-Trent, a town in England from where some of the original settlers arrived.

Colonial era

Newark was a relatively large town in the colonial era, known for its good beer, ciders, and tanned leather goods. In religion, it stayed loyal to old Puritan ways longer than the communities of New England, and was very receptive to the Great Awakening. When the seminaries at Yale and Harvard showed disdain for Great Awakening evangelicalism, several Newark ministers led by Aaron Burr (father of Vice President Aaron Burr) founded the College of New Jersey, later to be known as Princeton, in neighboring Elizabeth.

Industrial era to World War II

A part of Newark Skyline
A part of Newark Skyline

Newark's rapid growth began in the early 1800s, much of it due to a Massachusetts transplant named Seth Boyden. Boyden came to Newark in 1815, and immediately began a torrent of improvements to leather manufacture, culminating in the process for making patent leather. Boyden's genius would eventually allow Newark to manufacture almost 90% of the nation's leather by 1870, bringing in $8.6 million to the city in that year alone. In 1824, Boyden, bored with leather, found a way to produce malleable iron. Newark also prospered by the construction of the Morris Canal in 1831. The canal connected Newark with the New Jersey hinterland, at that time a major iron and farm area. Railroads also arrived in 1834 and 1835. A flourishing shipping business resulted, and Newark became the area's industrial centre. By 1826, Newark's population stood at 8,017, ten times the 1776 number.

The middle 19th century saw continued growth and diversification of Newark's industrial base. The first commercially successful plastic — Celluloid — was produced in a factory on Mechanic Street by John Wesley Hyatt. Hyatt's Celluloid found its way into Newark-made carriages, billiard balls, and dentures. Edward Weston perfected in Newark a process for zinc electroplating, as well as a superior arc lamp. Newark's Military Park had the first public electric lamps anywhere in the United States. Before moving to Menlo Park, Thomas Edison himself made Newark home in the early 1870s. He invented the stock ticker in the Brick City. In the late 19th century, its industry was further developed, especially through the efforts of such men as Seth Boyden and J. W. Hyatt. Irish and German migrants moved to the city; the Germans established their own newspapers, which other ethnic groups have emulated. However, tensions existed between the "native stock" and the newer groups.

Newark Smelting and Refining Works, Ed. Balbach and Sons, c. 1870.
Newark Smelting and Refining Works, Ed. Balbach and Sons, c. 1870.

In the middle 19th century, Newark added insurance to its repertoire of businesses; Mutual Benefit was founded in the city in 1845 and Prudential in 1873. Prudential, or "the Pru" as generations of Newarkers knew it, was founded by another transplanted New Englander, John Fairfield Dryden, who found a niche catering to the middle and lower classes. Today, Newark sells more insurance than any city except Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1880, Newark's population stood at 136,508; in 1890 at 181,830; in 1900 at 246,070; and in 1910 at 347,000, a jump of 200,000 in three decades. As Newark's population approached a half million in the 1920s, the city's potential seemed limitless. It was said in 1927: "Great is Newark's vitality. It is the red blood in its veins – this basic strength that is going to carry it over whatever hurdles it may encounter, enable it to recover from whatever losses it may suffer and battle its way to still higher achievement industrially and financially, making it eventually perhaps the greatest industrial centre in the world".

Newark was bustling in the early to mid-20th century. Market and Broad Streets served as a centre of retail commerce for the region anchored by four flourishing department stores like Hahne & Company, L. Bamberger and Company, L.S. Plaut and Company, and Kresge's (later known as Kmart). "Broad Street today is the Mecca of visitors as it has been through all its long history," Newark merchants boasted, "they come in hundreds of thousands now when once they came in hundreds."

Headquarters of the Prudential in late 19th century.
Headquarters of the Prudential in late 19th century.

In 1922, Newark had 63 live theaters, 46 movie theaters, and an active nightlife. Dutch Schultz was killed in 1935 at the local Palace Bar. Billie Holiday frequently stayed at the Coleman Hotel. By some measures, the intersection of Market and Broad Streets — known as the "Four Corners" — was the busiest intersection in the United States, in terms of cars using it. In 1915, Public Service counted over 280,000 pedestrian crossings in one thirteen-hour period. Eleven years later, on October 26, 1926, a State Motor Vehicle Department check at the Four Corners counted 2,644 trolleys, 4,098 buses, 2657 taxis, 3474 commercial vehicles, and 23,571 automobiles. Traffic in Newark was so heavy that the city converted the old bed of the Morris Canal into the Newark City Subway, making Newark one of the few cities in the country to have an underground system. New skyscrapers were being built every year, the two tallest being the 40-story Art Deco National Newark Building and the Lefcourt-Newark Building. In 1948, just after World War II, Newark hit its peak population of just under 450,000. The population also grew as immigrants from South and Eastern Europe settled here. Newark witnessed distinctive neighborhoods including a large Jewish community concentrated along Prince Street.

According to legend, the Texas-born artist Robert Rauschenberg accidentally left his bus in Newark and spent a week there before he realized it wasn't New York City.

Post-World War II era

Problems existed underneath the industrial hum. In 1930, a city commissioner had told a local booster club, the Optimists:

Newark is not like the city of old. The old, quiet residential community is a thing of the past, and in its place has come a city teeming with activity. With the change has come something unfortunate—the large number of outstanding citizens who used to live within the community's boundaries has dwindled. Many of them have moved to the suburbs and their home interests are there.

Most New Jerseyans attributed Newark's demise to post-World War II phenomena—the 1967 riots; the construction of the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 280 and Interstate 78; decentralization of manufacturing; the G.I. Bill; and the general pro-suburban fiscal order—but Newark's relative decline actually began long before that. The city budget fell from $58 million in 1938 to only $45 million in 1944, despite the wartime boom and an increase in the tax rate from $4.61 to $5.30. Even in 1944, before anyone predicted the rise of the Sun Belt or the G.I. Bill, planners saw problems on Newark's horizon.

Some attribute Newark's downfall to its propensity for building large housing projects. However, Newark's housing was always a matter of concern. The 1944 city-commissioned study showed that 31% of all Newark dwelling units were below standards of health, and only 17% of Newark's units were owner-occupied. Vast sections of Newark consisted of wooden tenements, and at least 5,000 units failed to meet any thresholds of being a decent place to live. Bad housing predated government intervention in the housing market.

One theory postulated by Kenneth T. Jackson and others is that Newark, having a situation where a poor center was surrounded by middle-class outlying areas, only did well when it was able to annex middle-class suburbs. When municipal annexation broke down, urban problems developed since the middle-class edge was now divorced from the poor centre. In 1900, Newark's mayor had confidently thought out loud, " East Orange, Vailsburg, Harrison, Kearny, and Belleville would be desirable acquisitions. By an exercise of discretion we can enlarge the city from decade to decade without unnecessarily taxing the property within our limits, which has already paid the cost of public improvements." Only Vailsburg would ever be added.

Although numerous problems predated World War II, Newark was hamstrung by a number of trends in the post-WWII era. The Federal Housing Administration redlined virtually all of Newark, preferring to back up mortgages in the white suburbs. Manufacturers set up in lower wage environments and could receive larger tax deductions for building an entirely new factory in outlying areas than for rehabilitating an old factory in a city. Billed as transportation improvements, Interstate 280, the New Jersey Turnpike, and Interstate 78 harmed Newark as well. They directly hurt the city by tearing the fabric of the neighborhoods they went though, and indirectly hurt the city because the new infrastructure allowed middle-class workers to live in the suburbs and commute into the city.

Despite its problems, Newark did try to remain vital in the postwar era. Prudential and Mutual Benefit were successfully enticed to stay and build new offices. Rutgers University-Newark and Seton Hall University expanded their Newark presences, with the former building a brand-new campus on a 23 acre (9 hectare) urban renewal site. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey made Port Newark the first container port in the nation and turned swamps in the south of the city into Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the ten busiest airports in the United States.

Even though it was not the sole cause of Newark's tragedy, the city made some serious mistakes with public housing and urban renewal. Across several administrations, the city leaders of Newark saw the federal government's offer to pay for 100% of the costs of housing projects as a blessing. While other cities were skeptical about putting so many poor and socially dysfunctional individuals together and thus were cautious in building housing projects, Newark avidly pursued federal dollars. Eventually, Newark would have a higher percentage of its residents in public housing than any other American city.

The largely Italian American First Ward was one of the hardest hit by urban renewal. A 46-acre (19 hectare) housing tract, labeled a slum because it was so dense, was torn down for multi-story Le Corbusier-style high rises, to be known as the Christopher Columbus Homes. The tract had contained 8th Avenue, the commercial heart of the neighborhood. Fifteen small-scale blocks were reduced to three "superblocks." The Columbus Homes, never in harmony with the rest of the neighbourhood, were abandoned in the 1970s, and were eventually torn down in 1994.

As pesticides and mechanization reduced the need for cheap labor in the South, five million blacks migrated to northern cities between 1940 and the 1970s. From 1950 to 1960, while Newark saw its overall population drop from 438,000 to 408,000, it gained 65,000 non-whites. By 1966, Newark had a black majority, a faster turnover than most other northern cities had experienced. Evaluating the riots of 1967, Newark educator Nathan Wright, Jr. said, "No typical American city has as yet experienced such a precipitous change from a white to a black majority." The misfortune of the Great Migration and Puerto Rican immigration was that Southern blacks and Puerto Ricans were moving to Newark to be industrial workers just as the industrial jobs were drying up. Newark blacks left poverty in the South to find poverty in the North.

During the 1950s alone, Newark's white population decreased from 363,000 to 266,000. From 1960 to 1967, its white population fell a further 46,000. Though white flight changed the racial composition of Newark residents, it did not change the racial composition of political and economic power in the city. In 1967, out of a police force of 1,400, only 150 members were black, mostly in subordinate positions. The predominantly white nature of the police force, coupled with its penchant for brutality, led it to be seen as an occupying force rather than a protective entity. Since Newark's blacks lived in neighborhoods that had been white only two decades earlier, nearly all of their apartments and stores were white-owned as well. Mayor Addonizio offered, without consulting any residents of the neighbourhood to be affected, to condemn and raze for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) 150 acres (61 hectares) of a densely populated black neighbourhood in the central ward. UMDNJ had wanted to settle in suburban Madison.

1967 riots

The poverty and lack of political power contributed to a growing radicalization of Newark's black population. On July 12, 1967, a black taxi driver named John Smith was arrested and brutally beaten by police for illegally passing a double-parked police car and then resisting arrest. A crowd gathered outside the police station where he was detained. Due to miscommunication, the crowd believed Smith had died in custody while in reality he had been transported to hospital via a back entrance to the station. This sparked scuffles between blacks and police in the Fourth Ward, although the damage toll was only $2,500. Subsequent to television news broadcasts on July 13 however, new and larger riots took place. Twenty-six people were killed, 1,500 wounded, 1,600 arrested, and $10 million in property was destroyed. More than a thousand businesses were torched or looted, including 167 groceries (most of which would never reopen). Newark's reputation suffered dramatically. Tens of thousands of whites and middle class blacks moved out to the growing suburbs of New Jersey. Middle class areas like Weequahic went from middle class white to poor black seemingly overnight. It was said, "wherever American cities are going, Newark will get there first."


Semi-abandoned buildings in the riot area, mid 1990s
Semi-abandoned buildings in the riot area, mid 1990s

Newark saw a continued decline in the 1970s and 1980s. Whites continued to move out of the city. Middle class blacks followed suit, and certain pockets of the city developed as domains of poverty and social isolation. Whenever the media of New York needed to find some example of urban despair, they traveled to Newark.

In American Pastoral, a novel by Newark-born author Philip Roth, the protagonist Swede Levov says:

[Newark] used to be the city where they manufactured everything, now it's the car theft capital of the world ... there was a factory where somebody was making something on every side street. Now there's a liquor store on every street — a liquor store, a pizza stand, and a seedy storefront church. Everything else is in ruins or boarded up.

In January 1975, an article in Harper's Magazine ranked the fifty largest American cities in twenty-four categories, ranging from park space to crime. Newark was one of the five worst in nineteen out of twenty-four categories, and the very worst in nine. According to the article, only 70% of Newarkers owned a telephone. The city ranked second worst, St. Louis, was much farther from Newark than the cities in the top five were from each other. The article concluded:

The city of Newark stands without serious challenge as the worst [city] of all. It ranked among the worst cities in no fewer than nineteen of twenty-four categories, and it was dead last in nine of them... Newark is a city that desperately needs help.. In the 2006 survey, Newark was ranked as the 22nd most dangerous city in the United States overall, out of 371 cities included nationwide in the 13th annual Morgan Quitno survey.

Newark did have several achievements in the two and a half decades after the riots. In 1968, the New Community Corporation was founded and was one of the most successful community building organizations in the nation. In 1987, the NCC would own and manage 2,265 low-income housing units.

Broad Street from the Prudential Financial Building.
Broad Street from the Prudential Financial Building.

Newark's downtown also saw growth in the post-riot decades. Less than two weeks after the riots, Prudential announced plans to underwrite a $24 million office complex near Penn Station, dubbed "Gateway." Today, Gateway houses thousands of white-collar workers, though few live in Newark. The buildings themselves were not designed with consideration for pedestrians. In the mid-1980s, plans were developed to build the 121-story Grant USA Tower, with 100 stories of offices topped by a 21-story hotel and atrium, which would have been the world's tallest structure, but the developer went bankrupt before it could be built.

Before the riots, there had been an issue over whether the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey would be built in the suburbs or Newark. The riots and Newark's undeniable desperation made definite that the medical school would be in Newark. However, instead of being built on 167 acres (676,000 m²), the medical school would be built on just 60, part of which was already city owned.

In politics, Kenneth A. Gibson was elected as one of the first African-American mayors in the nation in 1970. The 1970s were a time of battles between Gibson and the shrinking white population.

Gibson admitted that "Newark may be the most decayed and financially crippled city in the nation." The higher taxes may have been necessary to pay for services like schools and sanitation, but they did nothing for Newark's economic base; the CEO of Ballantine's Brewery even asserted that Newark's $1 million annual tax bill was the cause of the company's bankruptcy.

Newark's "Renaissance"


The New Jersey Performing Arts Center
The New Jersey Performing Arts Centre

The New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, which opened in the downtown area in 1997 at a cost of $180 million, is seen by many as the first step in the city's road to revival. It has brought some 1.6 million people to Newark who might never have visited. NJPAC is known for its acoustics and has seen, on its stages, a diverse group of artists including Itzhak Perlman, Sarah Brightman, Sting, 'N Sync, Lauryn Hill, the Vienna Boys' Choir, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Since then, the city has built a baseball stadium for The Newark Bears, the city's minor league team (the Riverfront Stadium), a rail connection to its airport ( AirTrain Newark), and numerous commercial developments in the downtown area. The city is currently constructing Newark Arena for the New Jersey Devils, which is expected to be completed by August 2007. The Passaic Waterfront downtown is also being fixed up to provide citizens with access to the river. The Newark Public Library is also in the planning stage of a major renovation and expansion.

Much of the city's revitalization efforts have been focused in the downtown area, however adjoining neighborhoods have, in recent years, begun to see some signs of development. Nevertheless, the "Renaissance" has been unevenly felt across the city and some districts continue to have below-average household incomes and higher-than-average rates of poverty.

Since 2000, Newark has actually gained population, its first increase since the 1940s. In 2004, its crime rate decreased 56%, though murders remain high for a city of its size.

Lincoln Park/The Coast

The Lincoln Park/Coast neighbourhood is the second district of Newark that is seeing large-scale development efforts. The area once referred to as The Coast and referred to as Lincoln Park today, was deemed the Lincoln Park/Coast Cultural District by the city and future additions include the development of a Museum of African American Music, an Arts Park, new housing, stores, a restaurant, a nightclub, a music studio and a dance studio. This area is already home to the Theatre Cafe and the City Without Walls gallery and Symphony Hall, as well as other important cultural sites. Symphony Hall is likely to see renovations in the near future. After much of the development in the Downtown/Arts district and the ongoing need for a link between Newark Penn Station and Broad Street Station, the first link of the light rail was built. With the development anchored around the museum in the Coast and the need for a second link to Newark Airport, this neighbourhood has already become a candidate area for a future light rail system with a stop for Lincoln Park/Symphony Hall. .

Geography and climate


Map of the Newark metropolitan area, including adjacent suburbs
Map of the Newark metropolitan area, including adjacent suburbs

Located at 40° 44' 14" north and 74° 10' 55" west, Newark is 24.14 square miles (63 km²) in area. It has the second smallest land area among 100 most populous cities in the U.S, after neighboring Jersey City. The city's altitude ranges from 0 to 273.4 feet (83 m) above sea level, with the average being 55 feet (17 m). Newark is essentially a large basin sloping towards the Passaic River, with a few valleys formed by meandering streams. Historically, Newark's high places have been its wealthier neighborhoods. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the wealthy congregated on the ridges of Forest Hill, High Street, and Weequahic.

Until the 20th century, the marshes on Newark Bay were difficult to develop. The marshes were essentially wilderness, with a few dumps, warehouses, and cemeteries on their edges. In the 19th century, Newarkers mourned that a fifth of their city could not be used for development. However, in the 20th century, the Port Authority was able to reclaim much of the marshland for the further expansion of Newark Airport, as well as the growth of the port lands.

Newark is surrounded by residential suburbs to the west (on the slope of the Watchung Mountains), the Passaic River and Newark Bay to the east, dense urban areas to the south and southwest, and middle-class residential suburbs and industrial areas to the north.


Map of Downtown Newark and environs
Map of Downtown Newark and environs

Newark is New Jersey's largest and second-most diverse city, after neighboring Jersey City. Its neighborhoods are populated with people from various backgrounds, including African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Italians, Spaniards, Jews, Haitians, West Africans, and various Latinos such as Brazilians and Ecuadorians, and Newark also has a sizable Portuguese population.

The city is divided into five political wards, which are often used by residents to identify their place of habitation. In recent years, residents have begun to identify with specific neighbourhood names instead of the larger ward appellations. Nevertheless, the wards remain relatively homogeneous. Industrial uses, coupled with the airport and seaport lands, are concentrated in the East and South Wards, while residential neighborhoods exist primarily in the North, Central, and West Wards.

Newark neighborhoods
Clinton Hill
Forest Hill
The Ironbound
Mount Pleasant
Seventh Avenue
University Heights
West Side

The geography of the city is such that only the predominantly poor Central Ward shares an unbroken border with the downtown area (the North Ward is separated from the downtown by Interstate 280 and the East Ward is separated by railroad tracks; the South and West Wards do not share a border with the downtown area).

Newark's North Ward is the ridge to the east of Branch Brook Park. The still-affluent Forest Hill is in the North Ward, as are heavily Latino areas west of Mount Prospect Avenue. The Central Ward is a poor, mostly black, area. In the 19th century it was inhabited by Germans. The German inhabitants were later replaced by Jews, who were then replaced by blacks. Newark built many public housing projects on superblocks in the Central Ward in the 19th century; hence, the streets in this ward are no longer arranged in a grid. The West Ward comprises the neighborhoods of Roseville and Vailsburg. Vailsburg is largely black, while Roseville is mainly Latino and Italian American. The South Ward comprises poor areas and the middle-class Weequahic district. It was the last part of Newark to be developed. At the southern end of the ward is Weequahic Park. Finally, the East Ward consists of Newark's downtown commercial district, as well as the heavily Portuguese Ironbound neighbourhood, where much of Newark's industry was located in the 19th century; the area was then poorer than the rest of the city. Today, due to the enterprise of its immigrant population, the Ironbound is the most commercially successful part of Newark.


Flowers in Branch Brook Park
Flowers in Branch Brook Park

Newark has a humid continental climate, although its proximity to the ocean has a moderating effect. Temperatures below 0 °F (-18 °C) are rare, but temperatures between 10 °F and 20 °F are not uncommon during the winter months. The average temperature during the winter ranges from 36 °F in December to 33 °F in February. Springs in Newark are quite mild, with average temperatures ranging from the 40s °F in March to the 70s-80s °F in June. Summers are particularly hot and humid, with temperatures remaining in the 80s °F and exceeding 90 °F on some days. Heat advisories are not uncommon during the summer months, particularly July and August, the hottest months of the year. The city cools off during autumn, with temperatures ranging in the 50s °F and 60s °F.

The city receives precipitation ranging from 3" to 4.5" monthly. Snow is not uncommon during the winter.


City of Newark
Population (1666-2003)
1666 200 (est.)
1776 1,000 (est.)
1800 6,000 (est.)
1830 10,953
1850 38,894
1890 181,390
1900 246,070
1910 347,469
1920 414,524
1930 442,337
1940 429,760
1950 438,776
1960 405,220
1980 329,248
1985 314,000
1990 275,221
2000 273,546
2004 280,451 (est.)

As of the census GR2 of 2000, there are 273,546 people, recent census projections show that the population has increased to around 280,000. The population density was 11,400/mile² (4,400/km²), or 21,000/mile² (8,100 km²) once airport, railroad, and seaport lands are excluded, the second-highest in the nation of any city with over 250,000 residents (after New York City).

The racial makeup of the city was 26.52% White or Euro-American, 53.46% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 1.19% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 14.05% from other races, and 4.36% from two or more races. 29.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There is a significant Portuguese-speaking community, made up by Brazilian and Portuguese ethnicities, concentrated mainly at the Ironbound district.

There were 91,382 households out of which 35.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.0% were married couples living together, 29.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.43.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.

Poverty and disinvestment

Poverty remains a serious problem in Newark, despite its revitalization in recent years. The 1967 riots resulted in a significant population loss — attributed to white flight — which continued from the 1970s through to the 1990s. The city lost over 100,000 residents between 1960 and 1990.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,913, and the median income for a family was $30,781. Males had a median income of $29,748 versus $25,734 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,009. 28.4% of the population and 25.5% of families were below the poverty line. 36.6% of those under the age of 18 and 24.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. In 2003, the city's unemployment rate was 12%.


Local government

Effective as of July 1, 1954, the voters of the city of Newark, by a referendum held on November 3, 1953 and acting pursuant to the Optional Municipal Charter Law (commonly known as the Faulkner Act), adopted the Faulkner Act (Mayor-Council) Plan C as the form of local government.

Pursuant to this Plan, nine council members are elected on a nonpartisan basis at the regular municipal election or at the general election for terms of four years: one council member from each of five wards and four council members on an at-large basis. The mayor is also elected for a term of four years.

On March 27, 2006, long-time mayor Sharpe James announced that he would not seek a sixth term, preferring to focus on his seat in the New Jersey Senate. . On Election Day, May 9, 2006, Newark's nonpartisan election took place. Cory Booker, who had lost to James in the 2002 mayoral race, won with 72% of the vote, soundly defeating Ronald Rice, the former Deputy Mayor. Ronald Rice, receiving 23% of the ballots cast, was his closest challenger.

The Municipal Council exercises the legislative power of city government. It enacts by ordinance, resolution or motion the local laws which govern the people of the city, and is responsible for approval of the municipal budget, establishment of financial controls, and setting of salaries of elected officials and top appointed administrators. It may reduce or increase appropriations requested by the Mayor. By these methods the Council decides "what" the city will do about any particular matter, and then the Mayor and cabinet members decide "how" to do it.

The Municipal Council also renders advice and consent on the Mayor's appointments and policy programs, and may investigate, when necessary, any branch of municipal government. The Council also authorizes a continuing audit by an outside firm, of all city financial transactions.

As established by ordinance, regular public meetings of the Municipal Council are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m., and the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Municipal Council Chamber in City Hall. Exceptions are made for national or religious holidays. During July and August only one meeting is held each month. A special meeting of the Municipal Council may be called by the President or a majority of its members or by the Mayor whenever an emergency requires immediate action.

Members of Newark's Municipal Council are:

  • Oscar S. James II - Council Member, South Ward
  • Augusto Amador - Council Member, East Ward
  • Dana Rone - Council Member, Central Ward
  • Ronald C. Rice - Council Member, West Ward
  • Anibal Ramos Jr. - Council Member, North Ward
  • Donald M. Payne - Council Member-At-Large
  • Carlos M. Gonzales - Council Member-At-Large
  • Luis Quintana - Council Member-At-Large
  • Mildred C. Crump - Council Member-At-Large

Federal, state and county representation

Newark is in both the Tenth and Thirteenth Congressional Districts and is part of New Jersey's 27th, 28th and 29th Legislative Districts.

New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District, covering portions of Essex County, Hudson County, and Union County, is represented by Donald M. Payne ( D, Newark). New Jersey's Thirteenth Congressional District, covering portions of Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, and Union Counties, is now Vacant. The seat had been represented by Robert Menendez ( D), who was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the seat vacated by Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine. New Jersey is represented in the Senate by Frank Lautenberg ( D, Cliffside Park) and Robert Menendez ( D, Hoboken).

The 27th legislative district of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Richard Codey ( D, West Orange) and in the Assembly by Mims Hackett ( D, Orange) and John F. McKeon ( D, West Orange). The 28th legislative district of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Ronald Rice ( D, Newark) and in the Assembly by Craig A. Stanley ( D, Irvington) and Oadline Truitt ( D, Newark). The 29th legislative district of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Sharpe James ( D, Newark) and in the Assembly by Wilfredo Caraballo ( D, Newark) and William D. Payne ( D, Newark). The Governor of New Jersey is Jon Corzine ( D, Hoboken).

Essex County's County Executive is Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. The executive, along with the Board of Chosen Freeholders administer all county business. Essex County's Freeholders are Freeholder President Johnny Jones, Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold, Freeholder-At-Large Blonnie R. Watson, Freeholder-At-Large Donald M. Payne, Jr., Freeholder District 1 Samuel Gonzalez, Freeholder District 2 D. Bilal Beasley, Freeholder District 3 Carol Y. Clark, Freeholder District 4 Linda Lordi Cavanaugh and Freeholder District 5 Ralph R. Caputo.


On the national level, Newark leans strongly toward the Democratic Party. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry received 86 percent of the vote here, defeating Republican George W. Bush, who received around 13 percent.

Political turmoil

Newark has been marred with episodes of political corruption throughout the years. The former mayor, Sharpe James, has been accused of wrongdoing during his administration, but his predecessors, Hugh Addonizio and Kenneth Gibson, have both had their share of scandals during their terms in office.

Addonizio was mayor of Newark from 1962 to 1970. A son of Italian American immigrants, he ran on a reform platform, defeating the incumbent, Leo Carlin, who he, ironically, characterized as corrupt and a part of the political machine of the era. During the 1967 riots, it was found that Addonizio and other city officials were taking kickbacks from city contractors. He was convicted of extortion and conspiracy in 1970, and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison.

His successor was Kenneth Gibson, the city's first African American mayor, elected in 1970. He, too, was indicted on charges of conspiracy and misconduct, but was later acquitted.

Sister cities

Newark has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):


Panorama of Newark from Harrison
Panorama of Newark from Harrison

Newark has over 300 types of businesses. These include 1,800 retail, 540 wholesale establishments, eight major bank headquarters (including those of New Jersey's three largest banks), and twelve savings and loan association headquarters. Deposits in Newark-based banks are over $20 billion.

Newark is the third-largest insurance centre in United States, after New York City and Hartford. Prudential Insurance and Mutual Benefit Companies originated in Newark. The former, the largest insurance company in the world, is still headquartered in Newark. Many other companies are headquartered in the city, including International Discount Telecommunications, New Jersey Transit, Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), Verizon, and Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Transportation is a growing business in Newark, accounting for 24,000 jobs in 1996. The service industry is also growing rapidly, as many such jobs are replacing those in the manufacturing industry, once Newark's primary economy.

Though Newark is not the industrial colossus of the past, the city does have a considerable amount of industry. The southern portion of the Ironbound, also known as the Industrial Meadowlands, has seen many factories built since World War II, including a large Anheuser Busch brewery.


Colleges and Universities

Newark is the home of Rutgers University - Newark, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Seton Hall University School of Law, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark Campus), and Essex County College. Most of Newark's academic institutions are located in the city's University Heights district. Rutgers-Newark and NJIT are in the midst of major expansion programs, including plans to purchase, and sometimes raze, surrounding buildings, as well as revitalize current campuses. With more students' requesting to live on campus, the universities have plans to build and expand several dormitories. Such overcrowding is contributing to the revitalization of nearby apartments. Nearby restaurants primarily serve college students. Well lit, frequently policed walks have been organized by the colleges to encourage students to venture downtown.

Public schools

The Newark Public Schools, a state-operated Abbott school district, enrolls approximately 45,000 students, making it the largest school system in New Jersey. The city's public schools are among the lowest-performing in the state, even after the state government decided to take over management of the city's schools in 1995, which was done under the presumption that improvement would follow. The school district continues to struggle with low high school graduation rates and low standardized test scores.

The total school enrollment in Newark city was 75,000 in 2003. Pre-primary school enrollment was 12,000 and elementary or high school enrollment was 46,000 children. College enrollment was 16,000.

As of 2003, 64 percent of people 25 years and over had at least graduated from high school and 11 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher. Among people 16 to 19 years old, 10 percent were dropouts; they were not enrolled in school and had not graduated from high school.

Private schools

Link Community School is a non-denominational coeducational day school located serving approximately 128 students in seventh and eighth grades. Saint Benedict's Preparatory School is an all boys Roman Catholic high school founded in 1868 and conducted by the Benedictine monks of Newark Abbey. Its campus has grown to encompass both sides of MLK Jr. Blvd. near Market Street and includes a dormitory for boarding students.


Newark's Penn Station is a busy commuter and Amtrak hub. The station was designed by McKim, Mead, and White
Newark's Penn Station is a busy commuter and Amtrak hub. The station was designed by McKim, Mead, and White

Architecture and Sculptures

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Downtown Newark is not laid out on a grid, giving the downtown area character. There are several notable Beaux-Arts buildings, such as the Veterans' Administration building, the Newark Museum, the Newark Public Library, and the Cass Gilbert-designed Essex County Courthouse. Notable Art Deco buildings include several 1920s era skyscrapers, such as 1180 Raymond Boulevard, the intact Newark Penn Station, and Arts High School. Gothic architecture can be found at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart by Branch Brook Park, which is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the United States. It is rumored to have as much stained glass as the Cathedral of Chartres. Newark also has two public sculpture works by Gutzon Borglum — Wars of America in Military Park and Seated Lincoln in front of the Essex County Courthouse.

Museums and Galleries

The Newark Museum has a first class American art collection, and its Tibetan collection is considered one of the best in the world. Through January 2006 the Newark Museum is displaying Dominican baseball art and African clothing. The city is also home to the New Jersey Historical Society, which has rotating exhibits on New Jersey and Newark. The Newark Public Library also produces a series of historical exhibits. Also through January 2006, the Newark Public Library is exhibiting the New Jersey photography of Harry Dorer.

Ferry Street, just east of downtown is the Ironbound, Newark's vibrant Brazilian/Portuguese neighborhood.
Ferry Street, just east of downtown is the Ironbound, Newark's vibrant Brazilian/Portuguese neighbourhood.

In February 2004, plans were announced for a new Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of African American Music to be built in the city's Coast/Lincoln Park neighbourhood. The museum will be dedicated to black musical styles, from gospel to rap. The new museum will incorporate the facade of the old South Park Presbyterian Church, where Abraham Lincoln once spoke. Groundbreaking is planned for winter 2006 with the grand opening scheduled for 2007.

Plans were formalized in November 2004 for a New Jersey Jewish Museum at Temple Ahavas Shalom in the Broadway neighbourhood, the last synagogue in Newark. The museum will memorialize the Jewish community of Newark, which once numbered 60,000 and had fifty shuls.

Newark is also home to numerous art galleries including City Without Walls (cWOW) and Aljira. Aljira is a gallery showing "emerging or under-represented artists" located near military park and has recently included Khalid Kodi's self-titled work on Darfur. cWOW is another important contemporary art gallery in Newark that has been in operation since 1975. cWOW is located in The Coast district of Newark, which will be home to the new Museum of African-American Music (MOAAM)

Professional sports

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Red Bull New York Soccer 1995 Harrison: 2008 MLS: Eastern Conference Red Bull Park
New Jersey Devils Hockey 1974 Newark: 2007 NHL: Eastern Conference Newark Arena
Newark Express Basketball 2005 ABA: Blue Conference Essex County College
Newark Bears Baseball 1998 Atlantic League Riverfront Stadium

There have been many sports teams in Newark, but the city has spent much of its history without a NBA, NHL, MLB, or NFL team. In fact, New Jersey is the state with the largest population, without these four professional league teams. Newark has a rich history in baseball as it was one of the first cities with professional baseball teams. Newark had eight National Association of Baseball Players (NABBP) teams, including the Newark Eurekas and the Newark Adriatics. Newark was then home to the Newark Indians of the International league and then to the Newark Peppers of the Federal League, sometimes nicknamed the Newfeds. Newark was also home to the Negro League team the Newark Dodgers and the Newark Eagles for which the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium is partially named. Although Newark has had a rich history in baseball and currently has a minor league team currently, it has never had an MLB team. The current Newark minor league team, the revived Newark Bears, play at the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium, a stop on the Newark Elizabeth Rail Link. The Bears are part of the independent Atlantic League, which also has teams in Atlantic City, Bridgewater Township and Camden. Newark had a short-lived NFL franchise named the Newark Tornadoes, which folded in 1930. Newark never had a National Hockey League, but in August of 2007, when Newark Arena is complete, the New Jersey Devils will move to the city. An expansion team for the Major Indoor Soccer League will also play in Newark Arena. Although the New Jersey Nets have decided against moving to Newark, a professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association, the Newark Express were introduced to the city in 2005. The team currently plays their home games at Essex County College and hope to move to a larger venue in the future. In Harrison, across from the Ironbound neighbourhood, Red Bull Park is being built for Red Bull New York soccer team (formerly the MetroStars). The stadium should be completed by June 2008, around the same time as the new Devils arena. In the next couple of months, Newark will begin planning a Pedestrian bridge that will link the two cities at Minish Park.

Newark Express Game
Newark Express Game



Newark is a hub of air, road, rail, and ship traffic, making it a significant gateway into the New York metropolitan area and the Northeastern United States. Newark Liberty International Airport, the second-busiest airport in the New York region and the fourteenth-busiest in the United States (in terms of passenger traffic), saw nearly 32 million travelers in 2004 and processed nearly 1,000,000 metric tons of freight and mail. Just east of the airport and across the New Jersey Turnpike's fifteen lanes of traffic lies Port Newark, the fifteenth-busiest port in the world and the largest container port on the eastern seaboard. In 2003, the port moved over $100 billion in goods.

The city is served by numerous highways including the New Jersey Turnpike ( Interstate 95), Interstate 280, Interstate 78, the Garden State Parkway, U.S. Routes 1& 9, U.S. Route 22, and Route 21. Newark is connected to the Holland Tunnel and Lower Manhattan by the Pulaski Skyway, spanning both the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers.

Local streets in Newark conform to a quasi-grid form, with major streets radiating outward (like spokes on a wheel) from the downtown area. Some major roads in the city are named after the towns to which they lead, including South Orange Avenue, Springfield Avenue, and Bloomfield Avenue. These are some of the oldest roads in the city.

Newark Penn Station, situated just east of downtown, is a major train station for the city and the region, connecting the interurban PATH system (which links Newark to Manhattan) with three New Jersey Transit commuter rail lines and Amtrak service to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Only one mile north, the Newark Broad Street Station is served by two commuter rail lines. The two train stations are linked by the Newark Light Rail system, which also provides services from Newark Penn Station to the city's northern communities and into the neighboring towns of Belleville and Bloomfield. Built in the bed of the Morris Canal, the light rail cars runs underground in Newark's downtown area. The city's third train station, Newark Liberty International Airport, connects the Northeast Corridor to the airport via AirTrain Newark. Bus service in Newark is provided by New Jersey Transit, though it is notoriously slow and unreliable.

The Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link is a proposed light rail project that will link downtown Newark with neighboring Elizabeth and Newark Liberty International Airport. The first section of the light rail link, connecting Newark Penn Station with Broad Street Station one mile away, began service on July 17, 2006.

Hospitals and health services

Newark is home to seven hospitals, a remarkable number for a city of its size. University Hospital is the principal teaching hospital of the New Jersey Medical School and is the busiest Level I trauma centre in the state. Newark Beth Israel Medical Centre is the largest hospital in the city and is a part of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, the state's largest system of hospital and health care facilities. Beth Israel is also one of the oldest hospitals in the city, dating back to 1901. This 669-bed regional facility is also home to the Children's Hospital of New Jersey. Other hospitals in Newark include the St. James Hospital, St. Michael's Medical Centre, Columbus Hospital, Mount Carmel Guild Hospital, and United Hospitals Medical Centre.

Noted Newarkers

  • AJ Calloway - Former host of BET's 106 & Park
  • Avalanche - Freestyle Friday Hall of Famer
  • Jason Alexander - Actor
  • Amiri Baraka - Poet
  • Bill Bellamy - Actor/former MTV VJ
  • William J. Brennan - Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Aaron Burr - Politician and Vice President of the United States
  • Betty Carter - Jazz singer
  • Martin Coleman (football) - College Football Player
  • Rah Digga - Rapper
  • Stephen Crane - Author
  • Max Weinberg - Drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and The Max Weinberg 7 (On Late Night with Conan O'Brien)
  • Brian De Palma - Film director
  • Allen Garfield - Actor
  • David Donohue - Professional Race Car Driver
  • Faith Evans - Singer
  • Randy Foye - Professional Basketball Player
  • Connie Francis - Singer
  • Fugees - Rap Group
  • Gloria Gaynor - Singer
  • Allen Ginsberg - Poet
  • Savion Glover - Tap Master/Actor
  • Bradford Hayes - Jazz composer/Musician/Educator
  • Whitney Houston - Singer
  • Ice T - Actor/Rapper
  • Young Zee - Rapper
  • Charles Jacobs – Political activist
  • Edward Koch - Former New York City Mayor
  • Andre de Krayewski - Painter
  • Jerry Lewis - Actor
  • Ray Liotta - Actor
  • Richard Matuszewski - Former Professional Tennis Player
  • Miss Nana - Rapper
  • Shaquille O'Neal - Professional Basketball Player
  • Joe Pesci - Actor
  • Keshia Knight Pulliam - Actor
  • Queen Latifah - Actor/Rapper
  • Redman - Rapper
  • Marc Ribot - Musician
  • Joe Rogan - Stand-up Comedian/Television Host ( Fear Factor)
  • Philip Roth - Author
  • Eva Marie Saint - Actor
  • Outsidaz - Rap group
  • Paul Simon - Singer/Songwriter
  • Wayne Shorter - Jazz Composer/Musician
  • Frankie Valli - Singer/Actor
  • Sarah Vaughan - Jazz singer
  • Jack Warden - Actor
  • Gerard and Mikey Way - Musicians, from the Band My Chemical Romance
  • Richard Wesley – Playwright and Screenwriter
  • J.D. Williams - Actor
  • Ian Ziering - Actor ( Beverly Hills 90210)

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