Cliffside Park lies at the crest of the Palisades in southeast Bergen County, situated between the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel, and close to the ferry to midtown Manhattan. With 20,800 residents within a square mile, it makes Cliffside Park the most densely populated communities in the county.
Cliffside Park was once a heavily blue collar community that drew Italian, Polish, and Irish Immigrants, Cliffside Park in recent decades has evolved into a bedroom community for an upscale - white collar population attracted to the Hudson River high-rises and short commute to New York City. The town is known today for its scenic views, clean and safe streets, quality municipal services, and a variety of restaurants.
Cliffside Park's main street is Anderson Avenue, a commercial strip with strong ethnic flavor. Off Anderson Avenue stretch neat blocks of one - two family homes. Heading east toward the cliffs are the large homes and high rises with a view of the Manhattan skyline.
Edgewater was first settled by the Lenape Indians who traded up and down the Hudson River. They referred to it as KIN-NAS-NA-KI-KING which in English means LONG PASTURE. In 1894 it was incorporated as the Borough of Edgewater by which it is now known. Originally Edgewater was a summer resort for wealthy New York families who came by boat and stayed at the luxurious Octagon House built high on the Palisades.
Fairview is a close knit, blue collar town that takes pride in its ethnic diversity and vast variety of programs for residents of all ages. Fairview is a place where people of all backgrounds and persuasions come together to help out in times of need or tragedy. In recent years, the town's predominantly first and second generation Italian immigrants have been joined by an influx of new-comers from El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, former Yugoslavia, and Middle East.
Once a hub of the textile and embroidery industries, Fairview is struggling to revitalize its business district, upgrade its schools and stabilize property taxes. Modest homes crowd the narrow streets that run between Bergen Boulevard, Anderson Avenue, and Palisades Avenue, the town's main thoroughfare.
Fort Lee (otherwise known as "Hollywood on the Hudson" for its history of filmmaking), is bordered on the north by Englewood Cliffs, on the west by Englewood and Palisades Park and on the east by the Hudson River with panoramic views of New York City. Despite its rapid commercial and population growth, it still retains the charm one expects to find in a small town. The town has a combination of attractive features: small houses with gardens, along with its mid and high-rise apartment buildings as well as historical landmarks, such as the Revolutionary War Fort - Fort Lee Historic Park named for General Charles Lee. Moreover, Fort Lee's ethnic and cultural heritage have been greatly diversified and arrivals from all nations are settling in the borough.
Artemus Ward would be pleased by the Leonia of today. In 1899, his Leonia Heights Land Company set out to create a community that would be unique - an idea sparked by a trip to Leonia on the Edgewater Ferry that year. Ward, head of a New York advertising concern, envisioned a white-collar community whose residents would enjoy open space and upper-class residential environment with an emphasis on education and culture. today, while most towns in the northeast New Jersey are being urbanized rapidly, the tiny borough embraces Ward's ideal, shunning high-rises buildings, fighting to keep its open spaces and true "bedroom community" style.
Palisades Park originated as farmland to feed the growing metropolis. The town remained a quiet farming community until the turn of the coming of the railroad after the Civil War.
For decades, this working class town prided itself on its small town atmosphere and civic-mindedness. Industries provided many jobs and the town had faith in its school board and Police and Fire Departments.
There are ongoing tensions between long time residents and newly arrived Korean-Americans, who now make up 20% of the town's population and have transformed the large downtown with many new businesses.
If New Jersey could be telescoped into a single representative town, that town might look like Ridgefield. Once an untamed expanse of woodland and marsh, the area that is now Ridgefield - bordered by Ridgefield Park and Palisades Park to the north, Cliffside Park to the east, Fairview to the south, and the Meadowlands to the west - has gradually been transformed by the force of immigration, transportation, and commerce into a compact mix of industry and suburban living.
Though it sounds like a contradiction, Ridgefield is properly named. Near Broad Avenue, the town's main north-south thoroughfare, the steep eastern hills of the Palisades flatten into the western lowlands of the Hackensack River.
Ridgefield Park, founded more than 300 years ago, still clings to its small-town roots in the late 1990s. The village has the oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration in the nation. For 103 years, neither war, economic turmoil, nor social upheaval have interrupted the annual day-long event. The tiny village compromises 1 square mile in southeast Bergen County, and many of its families have been in the town for generations.
Local politics are non-partisan; the Board of Commissioners has never had republican or democrats, just citizens. The town is located in the middle of everything; routes 46, 80, 95 all run through it, which makes an easy trip to NYC to the east and Passaic and Morris to the west.
A significant number of Ridgefield Park's home were built more than 100 years ago, most are charming and very well maintained. The village is also home to a handful of apartments and condominiums. The eastern edge is filled with numerous recreation areas - pool, numerous fields, and 6 baseball diamonds.