Bloomfield is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 47,315, reflecting a decline of 368 (-0.8%) from the 47,683 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,622 (+5.8%) from the 45,061 counted in the 1990 Census. It surrounds the Bloomfield Green Historic District.
The initial patent for the land that would become Bloomfield Township was granted to the English Puritan colonists of Newark, and the area assigned to Essex County in 1675, and Newark Township in 1693. From the 1690s to about the 1720s, much of the northern and eastern land was sold to descendants of New Netherland colonists who had settled Acquackanonk, and the remainder mostly to English families. Speertown (now Upper Montclair), Stone House Plains (now Brookdale), and Second River (now Belleville) were essentially Dutch, while Cranetown, Watsessing, and the Morris Neighborhood (now North Center) were predominantly English. Starting in the mid-18th century, the English and Dutch neighborhoods gradually integrated, with Thomas Cadmus being among the first Dutchmen to settle in an English neighborhood.
Numerous residents served in the Revolutionary War. No significant engagements occurred in Bloomfield, although the locale was on the Continental Army's retreat route after the Battle of Long Island; British and American troops conducted foraging operations; and General George Washington is believed to have visited at least two residences. The Green was set aside to commemorate the use of that space for drilling of militia.
The Presbyterian Society of Bloomfield (now the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green) was formed in 1794 in honor of then-brigadier Joseph Bloomfield, commander of New Jersey troops in the Whiskey Rebellion. About the same time, the Dutch Reformed Church of Stone House Plains (now Brookdale Reformed Church) was established. The two churches became integral institutions of southern and northern Bloomfield, respectively.
Bloomfield was incorporated as a township from portions of Newark Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 23, 1812. At the time, the Presbyterian parish's namesake was governor of New Jersey and had recently been appointed brigadier general for service in the looming War of 1812.
At the time it was incorporated, the township covered 20.52 square miles (53.1 km2) (almost four times its current area of 5.3 square miles (14 km2)) and included several municipalities which were formed from portions of Bloomfield during the course of the nineteenth century, including Belleville (created on April 8, 1839), Montclair (April 15, 1868), Woodside Township (March 24, 1869) and Glen Ridge (February 13, 1895). The Stone House Plains neighborhood was renamed as Brookdale in 1873.
In the township's first century, Brookdale farms thrived while southern Bloomfield industrialized, and the township's infrastructure, civil framework and social institutions developed. Several miles of the Morris Canal passed through Bloomfield. The Oakes woollen mill thrived as a major supplier to the Union Army.
Bloomfield was incorporated as a town on February 26, 1900. In 1904, The city of Newark failed in its attempts to reannex Bloomfield as part of the "Greater Newark" movement. In 1981, the town was one of seven Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining four municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships in order to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis.
In the 20th century, GE, Westinghouse and Schering built major facilities, and among others, the Charms Candy Company was started and grew. After World War I, Brookdale's farms were developed into residential neighborhoods and supporting services. Substantial population growth continued into the 1950s. During World War II, while many Bloomfield men served in the armed forces, Bloomfield's farms and factories, largely staffed by women, supported the war effort. In the decades after the war, the township's industrial base steadily shut down with stricter environmental regulations, rising labor costs, and growing competition. These influences, as well as construction of the Garden State Parkway, further drove urban decay and related population turnover and stagnation through the latter part of the 20th century.
In the early 21st century, redevelopment of blighted and underutilized properties has further shifted Bloomfield towards being a primarily residential municipality.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 5.328 square miles (13.801 km2), including 5.304 square miles (13.738 km2) of land and 0.024 square miles (0.063 km2) of water (0.46%).
Silver Lake (2010 total population of 4,243) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) defined by the United States Census Bureau as of the 2010 Census that is split between Belleville (with 3,769 of the CDP's residents) and Bloomfield (474 of the total). Brookdale (2010 population of 9,239) is a CDP located entirely within Bloomfield.
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Halycon and Watsessing. Bloomfield is in the New York metropolitan area.
The township borders the municipalities of Belleville, East Orange, Glen Ridge, Montclair, Newark and Nutley in Essex County; and Clifton in Passaic County.
In comparison to the other municipalities in the U.S., the cost of living in Bloomfield was an average 20% higher than the U.S. average.
According to a 2007 report from CNNMoney.com, the quality of life in Bloomfield in terms of crime are 3 incidents per 1,000 people as compared to the "best places to live average" of 1.3 incidents per 1,000. There were 35 property crime incidents per 1,000 people in Bloomfield as compared to the "best places to live average" of 20.6.
The 2010 United States Census counted 47,315 people, 18,387 households, and 11,767.680 families in the township. The population density was 8,920.5 per square mile (3,444.2/km2). There were 19,470 housing units at an average density of 3,670.7 per square mile (1,417.3/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 59.61% (28,205) White, 18.51% (8,757) Black or African American, 0.41% (193) Native American, 8.22% (3,891) Asian, 0.04% (21) Pacific Islander, 9.35% (4,423) from other races, and 3.86% (1,825) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.53% (11,606) of the population.
The 18,387 households accounted 28.3% with children under the age of 18 living with them; 44.2% were married couples living together; 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the township, the population age was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.7 years. For every 100 females, the population had 89.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 86.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $62,831 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,641) and the median family income was $77,936 (+/- $4,120). Males had a median income of $51,498 (+/- $1,805) versus $44,735 (+/- $2,867) for females. The per capita income for the township was $30,421 (+/- $1,122). About 5.8% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 47,683 people, 19,017 households, and 12,075 families residing in the township. The population density was 8,961.5 people per square mile (3,460.6/km2). There were 19,508 housing units at an average density of 3,666.3 per square mile (1,415.8/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 70.09% White, 11.69% Black, 0.19% Native American, 8.38% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.42% from other races, and 3.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.47% of the population.
There were 19,017 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the township the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $53,289, and the median income for a family was $64,945. Males had a median income of $43,498 versus $36,104 for females. The per capita income for the township was $26,049. About 4.4% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
Brookdale Park, established in 1928, covers over 121 acres (49 ha) in Bloomfield and Montclair, making it the third-largest park in Essex County, of which 77 acres (31 ha) are in Bloomfield. Watsessing Park, which is the county's fourth-largest park, covers 69.67 acres (28.19 ha) split between Bloomfield and East Orange (60 acres (24 ha) in Bloomfield), and features sections of the Second River and Toney's Brook flowing through the park. Both parks are administered by the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs.
The Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Department administers eight parks covering 55.23 acres (22.35 ha).
Bloomfield operates under a Special Charter granted under an Act of the New Jersey Legislature. The township is governed by a mayor and a six-member Township Council. The mayor and three councilmembers are elected at-large, and one member is elected from each of three wards, with all positions chosen on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. Councilmembers are elected to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with the three at-large seats (and the mayoral seat) up for election together and the three ward seats coming up for election two years later and no election in the middle year of the three-year cycle. Bloomfield's charter retains most of the characteristics of the Town form, with additional powers delegated to an administrator.
As of 2020, the Mayor of Bloomfield is Democrat Michael J. Venezia, whose term of office ends December 31, 2023. Members of the Bloomfield Township Council are Sarah Cruz (D, 2020; Third Ward), Wartyna "Nina" Davis (D, 2022; at-large), Ted Gamble (D, 2022; at-large), Nicholas Joanow (D, 2020; Second Ward), Jenny Mundell (D, 2020; First Ward) and Richard Rockwell (D, 2022; at-large).
In January 2018, the Township Council selected Richard Rockwell from a list of three candidates nominated by the Democratic municipal committee to fill the at-large seat expiring in December 2019 that had been vacated the previous month by Carlos Pomares who resigned from office to serve on the Essex County Board of chosen freeholders. Rockwell served on an interim basis until the November 2018 general election, when he was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
The Township Council selected Jenny Mundell to fill the vacant First Ward seat expiring in December 2017 that had been held by Elias N. Chalet until he resigned from office after being charged with accepting $15,000 in bribes in exchange for making sure that the township would proceed with the acquisition of a commercial property. After pleading guilty, Chalet was forced to resign from office and could be sentenced to five years in prison.
The township maintains its own police department.
The town is protected by a fire department consisting of 78 active professional firefighters who operate out of four stations, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is also a squad of volunteers. In 2009, the department received international accreditation. The Fire Prevention Bureau established in 1953 and described as the first of its kind in the state, is operated by the department and consists of two inspectors and two civilians. The department apparatus consist of four engines, one Truck/Ladder, a rescue and three reserve apparatus. Engine 1 located at the fire headquarters frequently closes due to lack of manpower.
In 2018, the Insurance Services Office once again listed the fire department as a class 2 agency, recognizing it in the top five percent of the nation's fire departments, a ranking it has held for the past ten years.
Newark's former Police Director, Samuel DeMaio, is Bloomfield's Public Safety Director who currently oversees fire department operations.
Bloomfield is split between the 10th and 11th Congressional districts and is part of New Jersey's 28th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Bloomfield had been part of the 8th 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. In the redistricting that went into effect in 2013, 24,480 residents in the northern portion of the township were placed in the 10th District, while 22,835 in the southern section were placed in the 11th District.
For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne Jr. (D, Newark). For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Mikie Sherrill (D, Montclair). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, term ends 2025).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 28th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Ronald Rice (D, Newark) and in the General Assembly by Ralph R. Caputo (D, Nutley) and Cleopatra Tucker (D, Newark).
Essex County is governed by a directly-elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders. As of 2018, the County Executive is Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. (D, Roseland). The county's Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, four elected on an at-large basis and one from each of five wards, who serve three-year terms of office on a concurrent basis, all of which end December 31, 2018. Essex County's Freeholders are Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill (D, at-large; Montclair), Freeholder Vice President Wayne L. Richardson (D, District 2 – Irvington, Maplewood and Newark's South Ward and parts of West Ward; Newark), Janine G. Bauer (D, District 3 - East Orange, Newark's West and Central Wards, Orange and South Orange; South Orange, appointed to serve on an interim basis), Rufus I. Johnson (D, at large; Newark), Lebby C. Jones (D, at large; Irvington), Leonard M. Luciano (D, District 4 – Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange; West Caldwell), Robert Mercado (D, District 1 – Newark's North and East Wards, parts of Central and West Wards; Newark), Carlos M. Pomares (D, District 5 – Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair and Nutley; Bloomfield) and Patricia Sebold (D, at large; Livingston). Constitutional officers elected countywide are County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin (West Caldwell; D, 2020), Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura (Fairfield; D, 2018) and Surrogate Theodore N. Stephens II (D, 2021).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 28,398 registered voters in Bloomfield, of which 11,925 (42.0%) were registered as Democrats, 4,393 (15.5%) were registered as Republicans and 12,061 (42.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 19 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 69.9% of the vote (13,361 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 28.8% (5,501 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (245 votes), among the 19,242 ballots cast by the township's 29,923 registered voters (135 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 64.3%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 62.9% of the vote here (12,735 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 35.3% (7,154 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (186 votes), among the 20,251 ballots cast by the township's 27,981 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.4%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 57.0% of the vote here (10,829 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 41.5% (7,891 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (208 votes), among the 19,012 ballots cast by the township's 27,995 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 67.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 53.1% of the vote (5,808 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 45.6% (4,984 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (141 votes), among the 11,118 ballots cast by the township's 30,606 registered voters (185 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 36.3%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 53.8% of the vote here (6,241 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 37.6% (4,359 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.6% (761 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (147 votes), among the 11,599 ballots cast by the township's 27,929 registered voters, yielding a 41.5% turnout.
The Bloomfield Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district's 11 schools had an enrollment of 6,487 students and 544.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.9:1. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Early Childhood Center at Forest Glen (151 students; in grades PreK-2), Berkeley Elementary School (451; K-6), Brookdale Elementary School (338; K-6), Carteret Elementary School (415; K-6), Demarest Elementary School (518; K-6), Fairview Elementary School (550; K-6), Franklin Elementary School (361; K-6), Oak View Elementary School (384; K-6) and Watsessing Elementary School (323; K-6), Bloomfield Middle School (940; 7-8) and Bloomfield High School / Bridges Academy (1,979; 9-12).
As of the 2012–13 school year, the Bloomfield Public Schools had an actual Budgetary Per Pupil Cost of $11,848 (which is 16.4% below the statewide group average was $14,173), while Total Spending Per Pupil for the district was $15,848 (which is 16.0% below the $18,867 statewide).
Bloomfield Tech High School is a regional, countywide magnet public high school that offers occupational and academic instruction for students in Essex County, as part of the Essex County Vocational Technical Schools.
Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish School, which serves grades K-8, is operated under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
Bloomfield College, a liberal arts college founded in 1868, is in downtown Bloomfield near the town green. The college has approximately 2,000 students and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 95.39 miles (153.52 km) of roadways, of which 77.39 miles (124.55 km) were maintained by the municipality, 13.77 miles (22.16 km) by Essex County and 4.23 miles (6.81 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The major New Jersey highway artery that serves Bloomfield is the Garden State Parkway, the longest road in the state. It has four interchanges in the township. Interchanges 148 in the south of Bloomfield and 151 in the north are complete interchanges, while 149 and 150 are partials. The Parkway's Essex toll plaza is southbound just south of interchange 150 in the township. There are two service areas on the Parkway in Bloomfield, one for northbound and one southbound. Troop D of the New Jersey State Police, which patrols the full length of the Garden State Parkway, has a station in Bloomfield at northbound milepost 153.
County Road 506, 506 Spur and 509 also serve Bloomfield.
South Bloomfield is served by two stations of the NJ Transit Montclair-Boonton Line to Hoboken Terminal or to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan via the Secaucus Junction. About 55% of the weekday trains terminate in Penn Station via Midtown Direct. On weekends the line terminates in Hoboken. The Bloomfield train station is located off of Bloomfield Avenue in the downtown area. The Watsessing Avenue station is at the corner of Watsessing Avenue and Orange Street, and is located below ground.
Bloomfield used to be served by other passenger rail lines. The Rowe Street station was served by the Boonton Line until September 2002, when it was closed as part of the addition of Midtown Direct service to the township. The Walnut Street station, on the same line, was closed in 1953 when the Garden State Parkway was built through it.
The Grove Street station on the Newark City Subway line of the Newark Light Rail at the south end of Bloomfield provides service to Newark Penn Station, created as part of an extension to Belleville and Bloomfield that opened in 2002. This station was part of the Orange Branch of the New York & Greenwood Lake Line of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad with service to Jersey City which last saw passenger service in 1965. Freight service was discontinued in 2010 by Norfolk Southern with the loss of the last remaining shipper Hartz Mountain.
NJ Transit bus service is available to and from Newark on the 11, 27, 28, 29, 34, 72, 90, 92, 93 and 94 routes, with local service on the 709 bus line. In October 2009, the Go Bus 28 route was introduced, offering service nearly all day from Bloomfield Train Station to Newark Liberty International Airport.
Bloomfield is 7.5 miles (12.1 km) from Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark / Elizabeth, and 28.8 miles (46.3 km) from LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, Queens.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Bloomfield include:
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