Bayonne (pronounced "bay-OWN") is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. Located in the Gateway Region, Bayonne is situated on a peninsula located between Newark Bay to the west, the Kill Van Kull to the south, and New York Bay to the east. As of the 2020 United States Census, the city's population was 71,686.
Bayonne was originally formed as a township on April 1, 1861, from portions of Bergen Township. Bayonne was reincorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 10, 1869, replacing Bayonne Township, subject to the results of a referendum held nine days later. At the time it was formed, Bayonne included the communities of Bergen Point, Constable Hook, Centreville, Pamrapo and Saltersville.
While somewhat diminished, traditional manufacturing, distribution, and maritime activities remain a driving force of the economy of the city. A portion of the Port of New York and New Jersey is located there, as is the Cape Liberty Cruise Port.
Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the region presently known as Bayonne was claimed by the Netherlands after Henry Hudson explored the Hudson River which is named after him. According to Royden Page Whitcomb's 1904 book, First History of Bayonne, New Jersey, the name Bayonne is speculated to have originated with Bayonne, France, from which Huguenots settled for a year before the founding of New Amsterdam. However, there is no empirical evidence for this notion, which is considered apocryphal. Whitcomb gives more credence to the idea that Erastus Randall, E.C. Bramhall and B.F. Woolsey, who bought the land owned by Jasper and William Cadmus for real estate speculation, named it Bayonne for purposes of real estate speculation, because it was located on the shores of two bays, Newark and New York.
Bayonne became one of the largest centers in the nation for refining crude oil and Standard Oil of New Jersey's facility—which had grown from its original establishment in 1877—and its 6,000 employees made it the city's largest place of employment. Significant civil unrest arose during the Bayonne refinery strikes of 1915–1916, in which mostly Polish American workers staged labor actions against Standard Oil of New Jersey and Tidewater Petroleum, seeking improved pay and working conditions. Four striking workers were killed when strikebreakers, allegedly protected by police, fired upon a violent crowd.
The Cape Liberty Cruise Port is a cruise ship terminal that is on a site that had been originally developed for industrial uses in the 1930s and then taken over by the U.S. government during World War II as the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne. Voyager of the Seas, departing from the cruise terminal in 2004, became the first passenger ship to depart from a port in New Jersey in almost 40 years.
Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 11.09 square miles (28.72 km2), including 5.82 square miles (15.08 km2) of land and 5.27 square miles (13.64 km2) of water (47.50%).
The city is located on a peninsula earlier known as Bergen Neck surrounded by Upper New York Bay to the east, Newark Bay to the west, and Kill Van Kull to the south. Bayonne is east of Newark, the state's largest city, north of Elizabeth in Union County and west of Brooklyn. It shares a land border with Jersey City to the north and is connected to Staten Island by the Bayonne Bridge.
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include: Bergen Point, Constable Hook and Port Johnson.
Bayonne has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) bordering a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa). The average monthly temperature varies from 32.3 °F in January to 77.0 °F in July. The hardiness zone is 7b and the average absolute minimum temperature is 5.2 °F.
The city has a very ethnically diverse population, home to large populations of Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Polish Americans, Indian Americans, Egyptian Americans, Dominican Americans, Mexican Americans, Salvadoran Americans, Pakistani Americans, Boricua, amongst others.
The U.S. Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $53,587 (with a margin of error of +/− $2,278) and the median family income was $66,077 (+/− $5,235). Males had a median income of $51,188 (+/− $1,888) versus $42,097 (+/− $1,820) for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,698 (+/− $1,102). About 9.9% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 61,842 people, 25,545 households, and 16,016 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,992.2 people per square mile (4,241.1/km2). There were 26,826 housing units at an average density of 4,768.2 per square mile (1,839.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.8% White, 5.50% African American, 0.2% Native American, 4.1% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.46% from other races, and 4.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.81% of the population.
As of the 2000 Census, the most common reported ancestries of Bayonne residents were Italian (20.1%), Irish (18.8%) and Polish (17.9%).
There were 25,545 households, out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city the population was spread out, with 22.1% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,566, and the median income for a family was $52,413. Males had a median income of $39,790 versus $33,747 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,553. About 8.4% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.
Portions of the city are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), one of 32 zones covering 37 municipalities statewide. Bayonne was selected in 2002 as one of a group of three zones added to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment and investment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the % rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in September 2002, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023. More than 200 businesses have registered to participate in the city's UEZ since it was first established.
The Bayonne Town Center, located within the Broadway shopping district, includes retailers, eateries, consumer and small business banking centers. The Bayonne Medical Center is a for-profit hospital that anchors the northern end of the Town Center. It is the city's largest employer, with over 1,200 employees. A 2013 study showed that the hospital charged the highest rates in the United States.
Bayonne Crossing on Route 440 in Bayonne, includes a Lowe's, New York Sports Club, and Wal-Mart.
On the site of the former Military Ocean Terminal, the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor includes new housing and businesses. One of them, Cape Liberty Cruise Port is located at the end of the long peninsula with Royal Caribbean. Also found is a memorial park for the Tear of Grief, a , monument commemorating the September 11 terrorist attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The firearms manufacturing company Henry Repeating Arms moved from Brooklyn to Bayonne in 2009.
Parks and recreation
Hackensack RiverWalk begins at Bergen Point where the Kill Van Kull meets the Newark Bay and connect to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. A plaque unveiled on May 2, 2006, for the new Richard A. Rutkowski Park, a wetlands preserve on the northwestern end of town that is part of the RiverWalk. Also known as the Waterfront Park and Environmental Walkway, it is located immediately north of the Stephen R. Gregg Hudson County Park.
Hudson River Waterfront Walkway is part of a walkway that is intended to run the more than from the Bayonne Bridge to the George Washington Bridge.
In August 2014, the Bayonne Hometown Fair, a popular tourist and community attraction that ceased in 2000, was revived by a local business owner and resident. The first revived Bayonne Hometown Fair took place from June 6–7, 2015.
The City of Bayonne has been governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government (Plan C), implemented based on the recommendations of a Charter Study Commission as of July 1, 1962, before which it was governed by a Board of Commissioners under the Walsh Act. The city is one of 71 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the five-member City Council, of which two seats are chosen at-large and three from wards, all of whom serve four-year terms of office on a concurrent basis and are chosen in balloting held as part of the May municipal election.
, the Mayor of Bayonne is James M. "Jimmy" Davis, whose term of office ends June 30, 2022; Davis was first elected as mayor in a runoff election on June 10, 2014, against incumbent Mayor Mark Smith. Members of the Bayonne City Council are Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski (At-Large), Neil Carroll III (1st Ward; appointed to serve an unexpired term), Salvatore Gullace (2nd Ward), Gary La Pelusa Sr. (3rd Ward) and Juan M. Perez (At-Large), all of whom are serving concurrent terms of office that end on June 30, 2022.
In November 2018, the City Council appointed Neil Carroll III to fill the 1st Ward seat vacated by Tommy Cotter, who resigned to take a position as the city's DPW director; at age 27, Carroll became the youngest councilmember in city history. In the November 2019 general election, Carroll was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
Federal, state and county representation
Bayonne is split between the 8th and 10th Congressional Districts and is part of New Jersey's 31st state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Bayonne had been split between the 10th Congressional District and the , 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. The split placed 33,218 residents living in the city's south and west in the 8th District, while 29,806 residents in the northeastern portion of the city were placed in the 10th District.
Hudson County is governed by a directly elected County Executive and by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, which serves as the county's legislative body. Hudson County's Freeholder District 1 includes all of Bayonne and a part of Jersey City. , the district is represented by Kenneth Kopacz The County Executive is Thomas A. DeGise, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 32,747 registered voters in Bayonne, of which 17,087 (52.2%) were registered as Democrats, 2,709 (8.3%) were registered as Republicans and 12,928 (39.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 23 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 66.4% of the vote (13,467 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 32.6% (6,605 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (197 votes), among the 20,454 ballots cast by the city's 34,424 registered voters (185 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 59.4%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 57.0% of the vote here (13,768 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 40.6% (9,796 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (283 votes), among the 24,139 ballots cast by the town's 35,823 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.4%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 56.0% of the vote here (12,402 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 42.2% (9,341 votes) and other candidates with 0.6% (184 votes), among the 22,135 ballots cast by the town's 32,129 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 68.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 49.3% of the vote (5,322 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 49.1% (5,297 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (169 votes), among the 10,987 ballots cast by the city's 34,957 registered voters (199 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 31.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 53.8% of the vote here (7,421 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 38.7% (5,333 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.8% (662 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (183 votes), among the 13,781 ballots cast by the town's 32,588 registered voters, yielding a 42.3% turnout.
Municipal Utilities Authority
The Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority (BMUA) is the second agency to use wind power in New Jersey and has built the first wind turbine in the metropolitan area. Construction of a single turbine tower was completed in January 2012. It is the first wind turbine created by Leitwind to be installed in the United States.
In December 2012, the autonomous agency entered into a water management agreement with the Bayonne Water Joint Venture (BWJV), a partnership between United Water and investment firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts. The 40-year concession agreement is a public-private partnership between the city and the BWJV in which the private partners pay off the BMUA's $130 million debt and take over the operations, maintenance, and capital improvement of Bayonne's water and wastewater utilities in exchange for a regulated share of the revenue. United Water is managing the operations for the partnership, while KKR is providing 90% of the funding. A rate schedule was included in the agreement, and it contained an immediate 8.5% utility rate increase (the first rate increase since 2006), followed by two years without increases, followed by annual increases estimated to range between 2.5%–4.5%. This partnership was sought for several reasons, including the BMUA's debt, its shortage of skilled employees, and its lagging rate revenue from years without rate increases and reduced demand. Part of this reduced demand stemmed from the closure of the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne, and the fact that the subsequent plans to redevelop the site with housing fell short. The BMUA's $130 million debt that was paid off by the BWJV represented over half of Bayonne's overall debt ($240 million) at the time, and in March 2013, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the credit rating of Bayonne from 'negative' to 'stable', citing the water deal.
The city of Bayonne has around 161 full-time professional firefighters consisting of the city of Bayonne Fire Department (BFD), which was founded on September 3, 1906, and operates out of five fire stations located throughout the city. The Bayonne Fire Dept operates a fleet of five engines, one squad (rescue-pumper), three ladder trucks, a heavy rescue truck (which is also part of the Metro USAR Collapse Rescue Strike Team), a large 4,000 gallon foam tanker truck, a haz-mat truck, a multi-service unit, a fireboat, as well as spare apparatus. Each tour is commanded by a battalion chief.
The department is part of the Metro USAR Strike Team, which consists of nine North Jersey fire departments and other emergency services divisions working to address major emergency rescue situations.
The Bayonne Board of Education serves students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2017–2018 school year, the district, comprised of 13 schools, had an enrollment of 9,907 students and 689.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.4:1. Schools in the district (with 2017–2018 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Henry E. Harris Community School No. 1 (683 students; in grades Pre-K–8),
Phillip G. Vroom Community School No. 2 (489; Pre-K–8),
Dr. Walter F. Robinson Community School No. 3 (777; Pre-K–8),
Mary J. Donohoe Community School No. 4 (471; Pre-K–8),
Lincoln Community School No. 5 (465; Pre-K–8),
Horace Mann Community School No. 6 (573; Pre-K–8),
William Shemin Midtown Community School No. 8 (1,179; Pre-K–8),
Washington Community School No. 9 (684; Pre-K–8),
Woodrow Wilson Community School No. 10 (700; Pre-K–8),
John M. Bailey Community School No. 12 (664; Pre-K–8),
Nicholas Oresko Community School No. 14 (462; Pre-K–8) an advanced school for gifted and talented students in academics, the arts, and physical education; and
Bayonne High School (2,668; 9–12). Bayonne High School is the only public school in the state to have an on-campus ice rink for its hockey team.
During the 1998–1999 school year, Midtown Community School No. 8 was recognized with the National Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education. During the 2008–2009 school year, P.S. #14 was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School award, and Washington Community School No. 9 was honored during the 2009–2010 school year.
For the 2004–2005 school year, Mary J. Donohoe No. 4 School was named a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve. It is the fourth school in Bayonne to receive this honor. The other three are Bayonne High School in 1995–1996, Midtown Community School in 1996–1997 and P.S. #14 in the 1998–1999 school year.
Private schools in Bayonne include All Saints Catholic Academy, for grades Pre-K–8, which operates under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and was one of eight private schools recognized in 2017 as an Exemplary High Performing School by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program of the United States Department of Education. Marist High School, a co-ed Catholic high school, announced in January 2020 that it would close at the end of the 2019–2020 school year due to deficits that had risen to $1 million and enrollment that had declined by 50% since 2008.
The Yeshiva Gedolah of Bayonne is a yeshiva high school / beis medrash / Kolel with 130 students.
Holy Family Academy for girls in ninth through twelfth grades was closed at the end of the 2012–2013 school year in the wake of financial difficulties and declining enrollment, having lost the support of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia in 2008.
Libraries and museums
The Bayonne Public Library, one of New Jersey's original 36 Carnegie libraries, the Bayonne Community Museum, the Bayonne Firefighters Museum, and the Joyce-Herbert VFW Post 226 Veterans Museum provide educational events and programs.
Media and culture
Bayonne is located within the New York media market, with most of its daily papers available for sale or delivery. Local, county, and regional news is covered by the daily Jersey Journal. The Bayonne Community News is part of The Hudson Reporter group of local weeklies. Other weeklies, the River View Observer and El Especialito also cover local news. Bayonne-based periodicals include the Bayonne Evening Star-Telegram (B.E.S.T.).
Bayonne's local culture is served by the Annual Outdoor Art Show, which was instituted in 2008, in which local artists display their works.
Jackie Gleason, a former headliner at the Hi-Hat Club in Bayonne, was fascinated by the city and mentioned it often in the television series The Honeymooners.
Films set in Bayonne include the 1991 film Mortal Thoughts, with Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, which was filmed near Horace Mann School and locations around Bayonne and Hoboken; the 2000 drama Men of Honor, starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr.; the 2002 drama Hysterical Blindness; and the 2005 Tom Cruise science fiction film War of the Worlds, which opens at the Bayonne home of the lead character, and depicts the destruction of the Bayonne Bridge by aliens. Films shot in Bayonne include the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, scenes of which were filmed at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, and the 2008 Mickey Rourke drama The Wrestler, which was partially filmed in the Color & Cuts Salon and the former Dolphin Gym, both of which are on Broadway in Bayonne.
The November 16, 2010, episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart parodied former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's reality television series, Sarah Palin's Alaska, in the form of a trailer for a fictional reality show called Jason Jones' Bayonne, New Jersey, whose portrayal of the city was characterized by prostitution, drugs, crime, pollution and a stereotypical Italian-American population. Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith criticized the sketch, saying, "Jon Stewart's unfortunate and inaccurate depiction of Bayonne represents a lame attempt at humor at the expense of a rock solid, all-American community."
The comic strip Piranha Club (originally "Ernie"), drawn by Bud Grace, is set in and around Bayonne.
The ABC sci-fi comedy television series The Neighbors is about a family that moves from Bayonne into a fictional gated community, Hidden Hills, that is populated by aliens from another planet posing as humans.
The Best Show with Tom Scharpling records near Bayonne, and the city is frequently mentioned due to Associate Producer Mike Lisk (a.k.a. AP Mike) being a Bayonne native, who tends bar at Massa's Tavern, a local bar.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark operates Catholic churches. Two in Bayonne, Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich Church and St. John Paul II Church, were formed from consolidations, in 2016, because the number of people attending Catholic churches declined.
Demjanovich church is a merger of St. Andrew and St. Mary Star of the Sea churches, with the merged congregation keeping the two sites for worship. Reverend Alexander Santora in the Jersey Journal wrote that due to the efforts of the pastor, the Demjanovich merger "went off, however, without a hitch."
Three other churches, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St. Michael/St. Joseph, merged into John Paul II in 2016. There were unsuccessful protests to keep Assumption open, and the archdiocese committed to closing that church.
Bayonne's Jewish community is served by Temple Beth Am (Reform), Temple Emanu-El (Conservative), Ohav Zedek (Orthodox), and Chabad (Orthodox).
Roads and highways
, the city had a total of of roadways, of which were maintained by the city, are overseen by Hudson County, by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and are the responsibility of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The Bayonne Bridge stretches , connecting south to Staten Island over the Kill Van Kull. Originally constructed in 1931, the bridge underwent a Navigation Clearance Project that was completed in 2017 at a cost of $1.7 billion, that raised the bridge deck from above the water to , allowing larger and more heavily laden ships to clear their way under the bridge. Kennedy Boulevard is a major thoroughfare along the west side of the city from the bridge north to Jersey City and North Hudson.
The Newark Bay Extension (Interstate 78) of the New Jersey Turnpike eastbound travels to Jersey City and, via the Holland Tunnel, Manhattan. Westbound, the Newark Bay Bridge provides access to Newark, Newark Liberty International Airport and the rest of the turnpike (Interstate 95).
Route 440 runs along the east side of Bayonne, and the West Side of Jersey City, partially following the path of the old Morris Canal route. Although it has traffic lights it is usually the quickest route north–south within Bayonne. It connects to the Bayonne Bridge, I-78, and to Route 185 to Liberty State Park.
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has four stops in Bayonne, all originally from the former Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ). They are located at 45th Street, 34th Street, 22nd Street, all just east of Avenue E, and 8th Street (the southern terminal of the 8th Street-Hoboken Line) at Avenue C, which opened in January 2011.
Bus transportation is provided on three main north–south streets of the city: Broadway, Kennedy Boulevard, and Avenue C, both by the state-operated NJ Transit and several private bus lines. The Broadway line runs solely inside Bayonne city limits, while bus lines on Avenue C and Kennedy Boulevard run to various end points in Jersey City. The NJ Transit 120 runs between Avenue C in Bayonne and Battery Park in Downtown Manhattan during rush hours in peak direction while the 81 provides service to Jersey City.
MTA Regional Bus Operations provides bus service between Bayonne and Staten Island on the S89 route, which connects the 34th Street light rail station and the Eltingville neighborhood on Staten Island with no other stops in Bayonne. It is the first interstate bus service operated by the New York City Transit Authority.
For 114 years, the CNJ ran frequent service through the city. Trains ran north to the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Jersey City. Trains ran west to Elizabethport, Elizabeth and Cranford for points west and south. The implementation of the Aldene Connection in 1967 bypassed CNJ trains around Bayonne so that nearly all trains would either terminate at Newark Pennsylvania Station or at Hoboken Terminal. By 1973, a lightly used shuttle between Bayonne and Cranford that operated 20 times per day was the final remnant of service on the line. Until August 6, 1978, a shuttle service between Bayonne and Cranford retained the last leg of service with the CNJ trains.
Points of interest
National Registered Historic Places and museums
See List of Registered Historic Places in Hudson County, New Jersey
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Bayonne include ((B) denotes that the person was born in the city):
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