Linden, New Jersey
Linden is a city in southeastern Union County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area, located about southwest of Manhattan and bordering Staten Island, a borough of New York City, across the Arthur Kill. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 40,499, reflecting an increase of 1,105 from the 39,394 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,693 from the 36,701 counted in the 1990 Census.
Linden was originally formed as a township on March 4, 1861 from portions of Elizabeth, Rahway and Union Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Cranford, Linden Borough and Roselle. Linden was incorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on January 1, 1925, replacing both Linden Township and Linden Borough, based on the results of a referendum held on November 8, 1923. The city's name derives from linden trees brought from Germany.
GeographyAccording to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 11.407 square miles, including 10.675 square miles of land and 0.732 square miles of water.
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Bayway, Grasselli, Morris Mills, Tremley, Vreeland Hills, Warners and Wheatshead.
The city borders the municipalities of Clark Township, Cranford Township, Elizabeth, Rahway, Roselle and Winfield Township in Union County; Carteret and Woodbridge Township in Middlesex County; and Staten Island in New York City across the Arthur Kill tidal strait.
Polish and Polish-American communityLinden is a regional hub of Polish immigration and features a significant number of establishments featuring the food and culture of Poland. 13.1% of residents are of Polish origin and 15.6% of its residents five years old and above in the center of the city of Linden primarily speak the Polish language at home. The Skulski Art Gallery of the Polish Cultural Foundation of neighboring Clark has exhibited Linden-based artists. Polish-American grocery specialty shop Pulaski Meats takes up nearly a city block. Polish language services are held at two Roman Catholic churches, including at the heavily Polish parish St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church, established in the 1920s. The U.S. Congressman for neighboring Clark, Tom Malinowski, is a Polish immigrant.
In October 2019, Linden held its first annual Polish Heritage Day Festival to showcase local Polish cuisine, pottery, dance, traditional fashion and other Polish arts for visitors.
Census 2010The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey shows that median household income was $55,859 and the median family income was $64,439. Males had a median income of $45,890 versus $39,288 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $27,011. About 5.9% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.
Census 2000As of the 2000 United States Census there were 39,394 people, 15,052 households, and 10,084 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,645.5 people per square mile. There were 15,567 housing units at an average density of 1,440.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 66.08% White, 22.80% African American, 0.14% Native American, 2.35% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.88% from other races, and 3.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.40% of the population.
There were 15,052 households, out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the city the population was spread out, with 22.5% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,345, and the median income for a family was $54,903. Males had a median income of $39,457 versus $30,395 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,314. About 5.0% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
EconomyThe east side of Linden is located along the Arthur Kill, a navigable strait which plays an important role in bulk cargo transportation in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Together with Elizabeth, Linden is home to the Bayway Refinery, a Phillips 66 refining facility that helps supply petroleum-based products to the New York/New Jersey area, producing approximately, making it the second-largest on the East Coast of the United States and one of the country's 25 largest facilities.
From 1937 to 2005, Linden was home to Linden Assembly, a General Motors manufacturing plant that produced Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick and other GM automobiles, but also produced planes during World War II. By early 2008 most of the plant has been torn down for redevelopment by Duke Realty Corporation, which purchased the site for $76.5 million.
Linden, together with Rahway, is home to Merck & Co., one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. In 2003, the pharmaceutical company celebrated 100 years in Rahway and Linden.
Arts and cultureRaymond Wood Bauer Promenade is the home of outdoor concerts and other performing arts in Linden. Live bands play R&B, funk and jazz at several live performance venues, and late R&B and jazz vocalist Linda Hayes, who played with the well-known Platters was from Linden.
Catholic-born artist Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt grew up in poverty in 1950s and 60s Linden. Openly gay, he recently had a career retrospective on his exploration of "gay sexuality, class struggle, and religion" in his art at MoMA PS1, and is also known for being photographed as a youth at the Stonewall Riots. Lanigan-Schmidt worked as a 1960s Linden youth doing "odd jobs to help support his family and was bullied by high school thugs," moving to New York City as a young man. As a child in 1950s Linden, after Lanigan-Schmidt was assigned to decorate the school bulletin board in his Catholic elementary school, he built a detailed model of a church altar. The impressive model was featured in a local paper while Lanigan-Schmidt was a student at St. Elizabeth School at 170 Hussa Street. The school closed in 2014; it is a part of the campus of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church in Linden.
One of the artists from New Jersey hardcore punk hip-hop group Ho99o9, theOGM, has Linden roots.
1910 Fruitgum Company, a bubblegum pop band from 1960s, was formed by five Linden residents.
De Luxe Records was a record company and label formed in 1944 in Linden, New Jersey, and is known for its famed R&B and early rock recordings.
In the mid-20th century, Linden was the headquarters for the Regal Records, as well as the budget record label Springboard International Records later in the century. Transco, before acquisition by Apollo, made sound recording industry acetate discs out of Linden.
The Linden Cultural and Heritage Committee exists to bring entertainment events to area residents such as craft bazaars, street fairs, concerts, and plays, and the Linden Society for Historic Preservation works to preserve the history of the city.
The City is also famed for having one of the limited Chevy's restaurants remaining in the tri-state area which draws in patrons from all over the greater New Jersey area.
Linden was chosen as the primary filming location for Volume 2 of the streetball video series, AND1 Mixtapes. One of the original five streetballers to sign with AND1, Waliyy Dixon, a Linden native who also goes by the nickname "Main Event," helped host a night of basketball at 4th Ward Park that claimed attendance by 2,000 spectators.
Several scenes from the 2008 Mickey Rourke film The Wrestler, later nominated for several Academy Awards, were filmed in Linden.
Hal Linden, the stage and screen actor, television director and musician best known as the star of the TV series Barney Miller, based his stage name on the city's name, after seeing the word "Linden" on a water tower while heading from Philadelphia to perform in New York City.
Parks and recreation
- Hawk Rise Sanctuary is a bird sanctuary created by the City of Linden and the New Jersey Audubon Society on the banks of the Rahway River at the lower reaches of the Rahway River Parkway.
- John Russell Wheeler Park is home to the Linden Skatepark for skateboarders at Winans Avenue and West Edgar Road near where Morses Creek winds through the park. Residents have complained of pollution fears further down Morses Creek where it enters the Refinery and becomes polluted. Rosehill Cemetery in Linden was drenched during Hurricane Sandy by an oil-soaked tidal surge from Bayway Refinery.
- Peach Orchard Park sits at Dill Ave, Hussa St., and Cranford Ave behind School #4. It is home to Peach Orchard Brook, a tributary of Morses Creek.
- Capt. James J. Dunn Memorial Park - Rose Parkway near Seymour Avenue
- Sgt. Alexander Wales Memorial Park - West Curtis near Ainsworth Street
- Clifford Lawson Memorial Park - Between Washington Ave. & Walnut Street
- Cpl. Ronald Knosky Memorial Park - No. Stiles Street & Elm Street
- Lexington Avenue Park at West Blanke Street
- Blanke Street Park at Price Street
- Miltonia Street Park at Stiles Street
- James Dobson Park - East Blanke Street at Maple Avenue
- Cleveland Avenue Park - Between Bower and McCandless
- George T. Farewell Memorial Park - Ziegler Avenue and Bergen Avenue
- Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Memorial Park - McCandless at Dill
- Hattie Johnson Playground - Lincoln at Union
- Charles Street Park at Middlesex Street
- James Iozzi Memorial Park - Dill Avenue
- Fifth Ward Park -Dill and Adams
- Hagel Avenue Park – Alberta & Fay Avenue
- Eddy Avenue Park- 12th Street – Mopsick & Winans
- L/Cpl. Melnyk Memorial Park - at Clinton Street
- Clinton Street Play Area at 15th Street
- Buchanan Street Park at Lower Road & Parkway Avenue
- Memorial Park - Between Wood Avenue & Lower Road
- Seventeenth Street Park - E. 17th and 18th Streets
- Seventh Ward Park - So. Stiles, between 17th & 18th streets
- Tremley Park – Main Street at Wood Avenue
- Wanda Anita Green Memorial Park - Grier Avenue & Mack Place
- United Airlines Flight 93 Memorial
- Bachellor Avenue Park – at Urbanowitz Avenue
- Milkosky Park – Bedle Place & Park Avenue
- St. Marks Park - Between Hussa Street & Essex Avenue
- McGillvray Place Park – between Klem & Bedle
- Newton Street Park - At Pallant Avenue
- Sunnyside Park - Summit Terrace at Melrose
- Thomas J. Weiser Park - At Wood Avenue & Raritan Road
- Woodrow Wilson Memorial Park - Academy between Orchard & Summit
- Al Kalla Park - Between Wickersham & Highland Avenue
- Windsor Road at Stiles Street
Local governmentLinden is governed under the City form of government. The city is one of 15 of 565 municipalities statewide that use this traditional form of municipal government. The governing body consists of the mayor and the 11-member City Council. The mayor and council president are elected at-large to four-year terms of office, while the other 10 members are elected from wards to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or four seats up for election each year in a three-year cycle.
, the Mayor of Linden is Democrat Derek Armstead, whose term of office ends December 31, 2022. Members of the City Council are:
- Council President – Michele Yamakaitis
- First Ward – Lisa A. Ormon
- Second Ward – Barry E. Javick
- Third Ward – Monique Caldwell
- Fourth Ward – Alfred Mohammed
- Fifth Ward – Rhashonna C. Cosby
- Sixth Ward – John Francis Roman
- Seventh Ward – Ralph Strano
- Eighth Ward – Garnett Blaine
- Ninth Ward – Armando Medina
- Tenth Ward – Gretchen M. Hickey
In November 2015, the City Council selected Ralph Strano from a list of three candidates nominated by the Democratic municipal committee to fill the Seventh Ward seat expiring in December 2016 that had been held by Mike Minarchenko until his resignation from office the previous month; Strano served on an interim basis until the November 2016 general election, when he was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.
John T. Gregorio, served as mayor of Linden for 30, non-consecutive years until December 31, 2006, and was repeatedly tagged with scandal during his mayoral career, including one felony conviction, later pardoned, which forced him from office for two terms. Gregorio returned as mayor following his conviction.
Rhashonna Cosby-Hurling, who represents the Fifth Ward, became the first African American female elected to the City Council when she took office in 2011.
Federal, state and county representationLinden is located in the 10th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 22nd state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Linden had been split between the, 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.
PoliticsAs of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 21,494 registered voters in Linden, of which 11,831 were registered as Democrats, 1,319 were registered as Republicans and 8,339 were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5 voters registered to other parties. Among the city's 2010 Census population, 53.1% were registered to vote, including 67.9% of those ages 18 and over.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 11,213 votes, ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 3,814 votes and other candidates with 135 votes, among the 15,303 ballots cast by the city's 22,753 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.3%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 10,728 votes, ahead of Republican John McCain with 5,037 votes and other candidates with 162 votes, among the 16,142 ballots cast by the city's 22,266 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.5%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 9,222 votes, ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 4,966 votes and other candidates with 116 votes, among the 14,419 ballots cast by the city's 20,596 registered voters, for a turnout of 70.0%.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 54.6% of the vote, ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 43.9%, and other candidates with 1.6%, among the 8,158 ballots cast by the city's 22,416 registered voters, for a turnout of 36.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 5,429 ballots cast, ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 3,272 votes, Independent Chris Daggett with 452 votes and other candidates with 98 votes, among the 9,390 ballots cast by the city's 21,742 registered voters, yielding a 43.2% turnout.
Public schoolsThe Linden Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprising 11 schools, had an enrollment of 6,342 students and 561.4 classroom teachers, for a student–teacher ratio of 11.3:1. Schools in the district are
School No. 1,
School No. 2,
School No. 4,
School No. 5,
School No. 6,
School No. 8,
School No. 9,
School No. 10,
Myles J. McManus Middle School,
Joseph E. Soehl Middle School and
Linden High School.
Private schoolsSinai Christian Academy serves grades Pre-K through 12th grade
Saints Mary and Elizabeth Academy was a Catholic school serving students in Pre-K through 8th grade that operated under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark until its closure at the end of the 2013–14 school year due to declining enrollment.
Roads and highways, the city had a total of of roadways, of which were maintained by the municipality, by Union County, by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The New Jersey Turnpike passes through the eastern portion of the city, with a few ramps that lead to the nearest exit which is right on the city limits with nearby Elizabeth. The city is also the western terminus of Interstate 278, which travels through all five boroughs of New York City. Linden is also served by U.S. Route 1/9 and Route 27. The Garden State Parkway passes about 500 feet west of the city limits.
Public transportationLocal public transportation is provided by NJ Transit with bus service to Elizabeth, Perth Amboy and Newark. New Jersey Transit routes 112 and 115 provide local service and interstate service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, on the 48 to Elizabeth and 94 routes to Newark, and local service on the 56 and 57 routes.
The Linden train station offers service on NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line and the Northeast Corridor Line, northbound to Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction and New York Penn Station, and southbound towards the Trenton Transit Center, with connections available at those locations
Airportis a small general aviation facility and reliever airport located on the eastern side of the city along U.S. Route 1/9. The airport was constructed for the United States Navy in 1942 for use in development and testing of the Grumman F4F Wildcat and was taken over by the City of Linden after World War II. Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 15 minutes away. The airport also served as a temporary road racing course in 1954 when Al Keller won a race in the then-NASCAR Grand National Division.
Notable peoplePeople who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Linden include:
- Tiffany Andrade, Miss New Jersey USA 2008 & 2nd runner-up to Miss USA 2008.
- Kevin Carolan, actor and comedian.
- John Charles, former cornerback and safety who played eight seasons in the National Football League.
- Nick Christiani, former baseball pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds.
- George Thomas Coker, United States Navy navigator who spent over six years as a POW after being shot down over North Vietnam in 1966.
- Danny Dias, activist and reality television personality who starred on season 13 on MTV's Road Rules, , in 2004.
- Tamecka Dixon, professional basketball player who played for 13 seasons in the WNBA.
- Waliyy Dixon, aka "Main Event" on the AND1 Mixtape Tour; one of the original players on the famous AND1-sponsored streetball tours.
- Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, professional bowler and TV bowling analyst, USBC Hall of Famer.
- Cathy Dorin-Lizzi, professional bowler and TV bowling analyst, sister of Carolyn.
- Calvin Duncan, pastor and former professional basketball player who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of 1985 NBA Draft.
- John T. Gregorio, politician who served as mayor of Linden, in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1976 to 1978 and in the New Jersey Senate from 1978 to 1983.
- Linda Hayes, jazz and R&B singer.
- George Hudak, politician who represented the 20th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1986 to 1994 and was mayor of Linden from 1983 to 1987.
- Eddie Kasko, former infielder, manager, scout and front office executive in Major League Baseball.
- Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, artist and veteran of the Stonewall riots.
- Mike Nardi, basketball player who has played for Scavolini Spar Pesaro in the Italian League – Serie A.
- Vincent Obsitnik, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Slovak Republic.
- Mike Pringley, former American football defensive end who played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers.
- Giovanni Riggi, mobster and member of the DeCavalcante crime family since the 1940s.
- Jon Rua, actor, singer and choreographer who appeared in the Broadway hit Hamilton.
- Nicholas Scutari, politician, who has been serving in the New Jersey Senate since 2004, where he represents the 22nd Legislative District.
- Danny Stiles, radio personality at WNYC, WNSW, WJDM and WPAT in the New York City market.
- Troy Stradford, former running back who played for six seasons in the NFL.
- Joseph Suliga, former member of the New Jersey Senate who was the youngest person ever elected to the Linden Public Schools Board of Education, at the age of 19.
- Craig Taylor, former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Chester A. Weidenburner, lawyer and judge who served as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and as a Judge of the New Jersey Superior Court.
- Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive end who has played for the New York Jets.
- Robert Zarinsky, convicted murderer and suspected serial killer.
- 1910 Fruitgum Company's original members Frank Jeckell, Mark Gutkowski, Floyd Marcus, Pat Karwan and Steve Mortkowitz.