Glen Ridge is a borough in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 7,527, reflecting an increase of 256 (+3.5%) from the 7,271 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 195 (+2.8%) from the 7,076 counted in the 1990 Census.
Glen Ridge was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 13, 1895, from portions of Bloomfield Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. In 1982, the borough's official name was changed to "Township of Glen Ridge Borough". Glen Ridge was one of more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid on a per capita basis. Effective May 1993, the borough's original name of "Glen Ridge Borough" was restored. The borough's name comes from the ridge formed by Toney's Brook.
Of the many legacies left to the town by its founders, the one that has become its trademark is the gas lamps. With only 3,000 gaslights remaining in operation in the entire United States, Glen Ridge has 665 such lamps lighting its streets. In 1924, Glen Ridge became the first municipality in New Jersey to establish a zoning ordinance.
In 2010, Glen Ridge was ranked as the 38th Best Place to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine.
Glen Ridge traces its beginning to 1666 when 64 Connecticut families led by Robert Treat bought land from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans and named it New Ark to reflect a covenant to worship freely without persecution. The territory included the future towns of Bloomfield, Montclair, Belleville and Nutley. When Bloomfield was established in 1812, Glen Ridge was a section "on the hill" composed mostly of farms and woodlands with the exception of a thriving industrial area along Toney's Brook in the glen. For most of the nineteenth century, three water-powered mills produced lumber, calico, pasteboard boxes and brass fittings. A copper mine and a sandstone quarry were located on the north side of the brook.
With the arrival of the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad in 1856 and the construction of the Glen Ridge station and the New York and Greenwood Lake Railway station at today's Benson Street in 1872, Glen Ridge began its transition to a suburban residential community. Stately homes slowly replaced orchards and wooded fields.
Mountainside Hospital, a local hospital with more than 300 beds now known as HackensackUMC Mountainside, was founded in 1891. The Glen Ridge Country Club was founded in 1894, making it one of the state's oldest clubs.
Residents "on the hill" became unhappy with their representation on the Bloomfield Council. In spite of repeated requests to Bloomfield officials, roads remained unpaved, water and sewer systems were nonexistent, and schools were miles away. Area residents marked out the boundaries of a 1.45-square-mile (3.8 km2) area to secede from the adjoining town. At the election held on February 12, 1895, the decision to secede passed by only 23 votes. Robert Rudd was elected the first mayor of Glen Ridge.
In 1989, athletes from the high school were involved in the sexual assault of a mentally handicapped student. Three teenagers were found guilty of first-degree aggravated sexual assault; a fourth was convicted of third-degree conspiracy. Author Bernard Lefkowitz wrote about the incident in the 1997 book Our Guys: The Glen Ridge Rape and the Secret Life of the Perfect Suburb. Lefkowitz's book was adapted into the 1999 TV movie Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge.
Glen Ridge is a frequent location for film, television, and commercial shoots. Notable works include Winter Solstice and Mona Lisa Smile.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.287 square miles (3.332 km2), including 1.282 square miles (3.320 km2) of land and 0.005 square miles (0.012 km2) of water (0.36%). It is bounded by Bloomfield, Montclair and East Orange.
Glen Ridge stretches 2 miles (3.2 km) from north to south and a maximum of six blocks wide from east to west, and it is only three or two blocks wide in "the Panhandle" north of Bay Avenue.
Glen Ridge borders the Essex County municipalities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Montclair and Orange.
Glen Ridge has a temperate climate, with warm / hot humid summers and cool / cold winters, according to the Köppen climate classification humid subtropical climate. The town gets an average of 49 inches (1,200 mm) of rain per year and 20 inches (510 mm) of snowfall, compared to the US averages of 37 inches (940 mm) and 25 inches (640 mm) inches. Glen Ridge has 124 days of measurable precipitation a year. During the winter, it is highly recommended to wear warm clothing because it can get very cold, while the summers can get extremely hot and humid. The majority of February and a bit of March is when there are the most snowfall.
There are typically about 205 sunny days per year in Glen Ridge. The temperature ranges from a high around 86 degrees in July and a low around 21 degrees in January. The comfort index for the town is 47 out of 100, compared to a national average of 44 (with higher numbers being more comfortable).
The 2010 United States Census counted 7,527 people, 2,476 households, and 2,032.796 families in the borough. The population density was 5,872.8 per square mile (2,267.5/km2). There were 2,541 housing units at an average density of 1,982.6 per square mile (765.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 86.21% (6,489) White, 5.04% (379) Black or African American, 0.04% (3) Native American, 4.65% (350) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 1.37% (103) from other races, and 2.70% (203) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.01% (377) of the population.
The 2,476 households accounted 49.9% with children under the age of 18 living with them; 70.9% were married couples living together; 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.9% were non-families. 14.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.39.
In the borough, the population age was spread out with 32.2% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females, the population had 95.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 89.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $160,511 (with a margin of error of ±$11,073) and the median family income was $173,466 (±$25,554). Males had a median income of $111,968 (±$11,975) versus $85,938 (±$24,626) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $64,222 (±$8,487). About 1.1% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 7,271 people, 2,458 households, and 1,978 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,695.0 people per square mile (2,193.2/km2). There were 2,490 housing units at an average density of 1,950.3 per square mile (751.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 89.18% White, 4.98% African American, 0.15% Native American, 3.34% Asian, 0.99% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.45% of the population.
There were 2,458 households out of which 46.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.9% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.5% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $105,638, and the median income for a family was $120,650. Males had a median income of $91,161 versus $51,444 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $48,456. About 1.9% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
Glen Ridge is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Glen Ridge, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2020, the mayor of Glen Ridge is Independent Stuart K. Patrick, whose term of office ends December 31, 2023. Members of the borough council are Council President Daniel T. Murphy (I, 2020), Peter A. Hughes (I, 2022), Richard P. Law (I, 2022), Paul A. Lisovicz (I, 2021), Deborah Mans (I, 2020) and Ann Marie Morrow (I, 2021).
In January 2016, the Borough Council chose former mayor Peter Hughes to fill the council seat expiring in December 2016 that was vacated by Stuart K. Patrick, who resigned from the council to take his seat as mayor.
Murphy was selected by the borough council in November 2013 to serve the unexpired term of Elizabeth K. Baker. Ann Marie Morrow was elected in November 2014 to fill a one-year unexpired term.
The Glen Ridge Civic Conference Committee, established in 1913, is made up of delegates from the community and from local civic organizations, provides a non-partisan method of candidate selection for Borough elections. The CCC endorsement is very significant; in most elections, the CCC's candidates are unopposed. The eight organizations currently sending delegates to the CCC are: The Democratic Club, Freeman Gardens Association, Friends of the Glen Ridge Library, The Glen Ridge Historical Society, The Northside Association, The Republican Club, The Golden Circle, The South End Association and the Women's Club of Glen Ridge.
In recent years, the CCC has been weakened both by changing attitudes in the borough, the actions of a number of community residents, and internal conflicts within the CCC itself. Mayor Carl Bergmanson was the first mayor since the establishment of the CCC to be elected without seeking (or receiving) the Committee's endorsement. A member of the council for three terms, he ran for mayor in 1999, losing to the CCC candidate Steven Plate. When Plate was selected as the CCC candidate again in 2003 (contradicting the committee's precedent of one term per mayor), Bergmanson ran again, and won, gaining the majority in all but one of the town's districts. However, the CCC is still firmly in control of the town's political structure – all 16 of the elected officials currently serving Glen Ridge were nominated by the CCC. Generally, when non-CCC candidates run, they run as independents. The Democratic and Republican parties are not forces in local elections.
Glen Ridge is located in the 10th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 28th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Glen Ridge had been in the 34th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Glen Ridge 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.
For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne Jr. (D, Newark). 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 5,169 registered voters in Glen Ridge, of which 2,135 (41.3%) were registered as Democrats, 993 (19.2%) were registered as Republicans and 2,037 (39.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 62.6% of the vote (2,415 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 36.2% (1,396 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (44 votes), among the 3,871 ballots cast by the borough's 5,380 registered voters (16 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 72.0%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 62.9% of the vote (2,583 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 35.2% (1,444 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (33 votes), among the 4,104 ballots cast by the borough's 5,185 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.2%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 59.1% of the vote (2,381 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 39.9% (1,608 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (35 votes), among the 4,031 ballots cast by the borough's 4,967 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 81.2.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 53.2% of the vote (1,450 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 45.5% (1,240 votes), and other candidates with 1.2% (34 votes), among the 2,772 ballots cast by the borough's 5,429 registered voters (48 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 51.1%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 51.0% of the vote (1,388 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 39.3% (1,071 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 8.5% (231 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (19 votes), among the 2,722 ballots cast by the borough's 5,144 registered voters, yielding a 52.9% turnout.
The Glen Ridge Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district and its four schools had an enrollment of 1,922 students and 146.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.2:1. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Forest Avenue School (241 students in grades PreK-2), Linden Avenue School (229; PreK-2), Ridgewood Avenue School (594; 3-6) and Glen Ridge High School (834; 7-12). The class sizes are fairly small allowing for more one on one help. This is very beneficial to the student because the teaching becomes more personal. Additionally, teachers are typically always available for extra help after school hours.
The high school was the 12th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 328 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2012 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after being ranked 4th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The students attending the public schools at Glen Ridge High School are academically very competitive. Their work ethic is extremely strong, providing them with high test scores such as standardized tests.
The median price for a house in Glen Ridge in 2014 was $580,000, which is double the national average. Out of the 2,549 houses in the borough, 84.7% of them were single units (detached) and had a median of 7.7 rooms. Glen Ridge is known for its old town charm, with 72.8% of its houses having been built before 1939. In 1895, when the town was chartered, Glen Ridge became one of the first communities to hire a town planner which resulted in many late Victorian and Edwardian elements. The condition of the town has been maintained due to the building codes that were established, the creation of the Building Department which included a Building Inspector, and a zoning ordinance (the first in the state of New Jersey). Although the majority of Glen Ridge consists of houses, many residents live in apartment complexes. One apartment complex is behind the Glen Ridge Community Pool, while the other apartment complex is not far from that.
The architecture of the borough includes houses representing every major style from the mid-nineteenth century onward. Some of the architecture styles include the Carpenter Gothic, the Medieval, the High Victorian Period, the Queen Anne Cottage, American Georgian, Shingle Style, and the Prairie Home Style. Notable architects that have left their legacy in the town include Frank Lloyd Wright, Stanford White, and John Russell Pope. To maintain the historical feel of the town and protect the architectural features, the town has created a Historic Preservation Commission which reviews construction on houses in the historic district. Many homes are included in the Glen Ridge Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1982 and later expanded in two boundary increases. It includes the Glen Ridge and the Benson Street train stations.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 23.29 miles (37.48 km) of roadways, of which 18.19 miles (29.27 km) were maintained by the municipality and 5.10 miles (8.21 km) by Essex County.
The primary roads directly serving Glen Ridge include County Route 506 (Bloomfield Avenue) and County Route 509. Major highways near the borough include the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 80, Interstate 280, the Garden State Parkway, U.S. Route 46, Route 3 and Route 21.
Glen Ridge is a little over a mile long, making it accessible for residents by walking or biking.
NJ Transit provides bus service to Newark on the 11, 28 and 29 via Bloomfield Avenue. Buses from DeCamp Bus Lines run to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
Commuters can also take trains from the Glen Ridge station (formerly named Ridgewood Avenue), where NJ Transit provides service to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan and to Hoboken Terminal via the Montclair-Boonton Line. There are many other train stations near Glen Ridge.
The town has a jitney service which provides transportation to and from the Glen Ridge Station for commuters. This service has a fee and is only available between certain hours in the day. The Freeman Parkway Bridge, constructed in 1926, is a deck arch bridge that crosses over Toney's Brook and the Montclair-Boonton Line.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Glen Ridge include:
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