Paterson, New Jersey

Paterson, New Jersey
City of Paterson
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The Silk City
Map of Paterson in Passaic County. Inset: Passaic County's location in New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Paterson, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°54′56″N 74°09′47″W / 40.91556°N 74.16306°W / 40.91556; -74.16306Coordinates: 40°54′56″N 74°09′47″W / 40.91556°N 74.16306°W / 40.91556; -74.16306
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Passaic
Established 1792
Incorporated April 11, 1831
 – Type Faulkner Act Mayor-Council
 – Mayor Jeff Jones (term ends 2014)[1]
 – Total 8.73 sq mi (22.6 km2)
 – Land 8.44 sq mi (21.9 km2)
 – Water 0.29 sq mi (0.8 km2)  3.32%
Elevation[3] 105 ft (32 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 – Total 146,199
 – Density 16,746.7/sq mi (6,469/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 07501-07505, 07508-07514, 07522, 07524, 07533, 07538, 07543, 07544[5]
Area code(s) 862/973
FIPS code 34-57000[6][7]
GNIS feature ID 0879164[8]
View of Paterson circa 1880.
The Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, which are the second-highest large-volume falls on the East Coast of the United States.
The skyline of Paterson, New Jersey, showing the canyon of the Passaic River in the foreground. The area along the river was formerly the site of most of the mills that flourished throughout the city's history.

Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey,[9] United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199,[4] rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023 residents (2.0%) from its 2000 Census population of 149,222.[10] Paterson is known as the "Silk City" for its dominant role in silk production during the latter half of the 19th century.[11]



Paterson as seen from an airplane, looking south

In 1791, Alexander Hamilton helped found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures (SUM), which helped encourage the harnessing of energy from the Great Falls of the Passaic River, to secure economic independence from British manufacturers. Paterson, which was founded by the society, became the cradle of the industrial revolution in America.[12] Paterson was named for William Paterson, statesman, signer of the Constitution and Governor of New Jersey who signed the 1792 charter that established the Town of Paterson.[13]

Architect, engineer, and city planner Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant, who had earlier developed the initial plans for Washington, D.C., was the first planner for the SUM project.[14] His plan proposed to harness the power of the Great Falls through a channel in the rock and an aqueduct. However, the society's directors felt he was taking too long and was over budget. He was replaced by Peter Colt, who used a less-complicated reservoir system to get the water flowing to factories in 1794. Eventually, Colt's system developed some problems and a scheme resembling L'Enfant's original plan was used after 1846.[15]

Paterson was originally formed as a township from portions of Acquackanonk Township on April 11, 1831, while the area was still part of Essex County. Paterson became part of the newly created Passaic County on February 7, 1837. Paterson was incorporated as a city on April 14, 1851, based on the results of a referendum held that day. The city was reincorporated on March 14, 1861.[16]

The industries developed in Paterson were powered by the 77-foot high Great Falls, and a system of water raceways that harnessed the power of the falls. The city began growing around the falls and until 1914 the mills were powered by the waterfalls. The district originally included dozens of mill buildings and other manufacturing structures associated with the textile industry and later, the firearms, silk, and railroad locomotive manufacturing industries. In the latter half of the 19th century, silk production became the dominant industry and formed the basis of Paterson's most prosperous period, earning it the nickname "Silk City." In 1835, Samuel Colt began producing firearms in Paterson, although within a few years he moved his business to Hartford, Connecticut. Later in the 19th century, Paterson was the site of early experiments with submarines by Irish-American inventor John Phillip Holland. Two of Holland's early models — one found at the bottom of the Passaic River — are on display in the Paterson Museum, housed in the former Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works near the Passaic Falls.

The city was a mecca for immigrant laborers who worked in its factories as well. Paterson was also the site of historic labor unrest that focused on anti-child labor legislation, and the six-month long Paterson silk strike of 1913 that demanded the eight-hour day and better working conditions, but was defeated by the employers with workers forced to return under pre-strike conditions. Factory workers labored long hours for low wages under dangerous conditions, and lived in crowded tenement buildings around the mills. The factories then moved south where there were no labor unions, and later moved overseas.

In 1932, Paterson opened Hinchliffe Stadium, a 10,000-seat stadium named in honor of John V. Hinchliffe, the Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey at the time. Hinchliffe originally served as the site for high school and professional athletic events. From 1933–1937, 1939–1945, Hinchliffe was the home of the New York Black Yankees and from 1935 to 1936 the home of the New York Cubans of the Negro National League. The historic ballpark was also a venue for many professional football games, track and field events, boxing matches and auto and motorcycle racing. Abbott and Costello performed at Hinchliffe prior to boxing matches. Hinchliffe is one of only three Negro League stadiums left standing in the United States, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1963, the Paterson Public Schools acquired the stadium and used it for public school events until 1997, but it is currently in a state of disrepair, while the schools have been taken over by the state.[17]

During World War II Paterson played an important part in the aircraft engine industry. By the end of WWII, however, there was a decline in urban areas and Paterson was no exception, and since the 1970s the city has suffered high unemployment rates (white flight).

Once a premier shopping and leisure destination of northern New Jersey, competition from the malls in upscale neighboring towns like Wayne and Paramus have forced the big-chain stores out of Paterson’s downtown. The biggest industries are now small businesses because the factories have moved overseas. However, the city still, as always, attracts many immigrants, who have revived the city's economy, especially through small businesses.

The downtown area was struck by massive fires several times, most recently January 17, 1991. In this fire, a near full city block (bordered on the north and south by Main and Washington Street and on the east and west by Ellison Street and College Boulevard, a stretch of Van Houten Street that is dominated by Passaic County Community College) was engulfed in flames due to an electrical fire in the basement of a bar at 161 Main Street and spread to other buildings.[18] Firefighter John A. Nicosia, 28, of Engine 4, went missing in the fire, having gotten lost in the basement. His body was located two days later.[19] A plaque honoring his memory was later placed on a wall near the area. The area was so badly damaged that most of the burned buildings were demolished, with an outdoor mall standing in their place. The most notable of the destroyed buildings was the Meyer Brothers department store, which closed in 1987 and since had been parceled out.

Paterson boasts numerous locations on the National Register of Historic Places, including museums, civic buildings such as City Hall, Hinchliffe Stadium, Public School Number Two and the Danforth Memorial Library, churches (Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church,) individual residences and districts of the city, such as the Paterson Downtown Commercial Historic District, the Great Falls/Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures Historic District and the Eastside Park Historic District.

In 2011, Paterson was severely affected in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, particularly by flooding of the Passaic which led to the displacement of thousands and the closure of bridges over the river.[20] Touring the area on August 31 with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared, "This is as bad as I’ve seen, and I’ve been in eight states that have been impacted by Irene." The president the same day declared New Jersey a disaster area,[21] and announced that he would visit the city.[22][23][24]


Paterson is located at 40°54′56″N 74°09′47″W / 40.915498°N 74.162927°W / 40.915498; -74.162927 (40.915498, -74.162927)[25] in the Piedmont region between the Appalachian foothills and the Coastal Plain.

the city has a total area of 8.73 square miles (22.6 km2), of which, 8.44 square miles (21.9 km2) of it is land and 0.29 square miles (0.75 km2) of it (2.74%) is water.[2]


City Hall
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-Totowa Section
-Great Falls Historic District
-Stoney Road
-South Paterson
-Near Eastside
-Manor Section
-Eastside Park Historic District
-Sandy Hill
-People's Park
--The Central Business District
--The Old Dublin District
--Little Italy
-Wrigley Park

The Great Falls Historic District is the most famous neighborhood in Paterson, because of the landmark Great Falls of the Passaic River. The city has attempted to revitalize the area in recent years, including the installation of period lamp posts and the conversion of old industrial buildings into apartments and retail. Many artists live in this section of Paterson. A major redevelopment project is planned for this district in the coming years. The Paterson Museum of industrial history at Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works is situated in the Historic District.

Downtown Paterson is the main commercial district of the city and was once a shopping destination for northern New Jersey. After a devastating fire in 1902, the city rebuilt the downtown with massive Beaux-Arts-style buildings, many of which remain to this day. These buildings are usually four to seven stories tall. Downtown Paterson is home to Paterson City Hall and the Passaic County Courthouse Annex, two of the city's architectural landmarks. City Hall was designed by the New York firm Carrere and Hastings in 1894, and was modeled after the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) in Lyon, France, capital of the silk industry in Europe.

The former Orpheum Theatre located on Van Houten street, has been converted to a Mosque by The Islamic Foundation of New Jersey. The massive structure now known as Masjid Jalalabad, can accommodate 1,500 worshippers.

As with many other old downtown districts in the United States, Downtown Paterson suffered as shoppers and retailers moved to the suburban shopping malls of the region. Many historic buildings are in disrepair or are abandoned after years of neglect. In addition, Downtown Paterson is an Urban Enterprise Zone. The city has, in recent years, begun initiatives in hopes of reviving the downtown area. A project called the Center City project will convert a downtown parking lot into a commercial and entertainment center with office space. Downtown Paterson is located in the city's 1st Ward.

Eastside Park Historic District consists of about 1,000 homes in a variety of architectural styles, including Tudors, Georgian colonials, Victorians, Italianate villas and Dutch colonials. It is located east of downtown. Once the home of the city's industrial and political leaders, the neighborhood experienced a significant downturn as industry fled Paterson. In recent years, gentrification has begun to occur in the neighborhood and some of the area's historic houses have been restored. The Eastside Park Historic District is a state and nationally registered historic place. The jewel of the neighborhood is Eastside Park and the mansions that surround it. This section of Paterson once had a large Jewish population that reached 40,000 at its peak, and there is still a synagogue left.[26] Eastside Park and what is commonly known as the Upper Eastside are located in Paterson's 3rd Ward.

Manor Section is a residential neighborhood in Paterson. It is located east of East 33rd Street, north of Broadway and south-west of Route 20 and the Passaic River. The Manor section of Paterson is located in the city's 3rd Ward.

South Paterson is a diverse neighborhood in the city's 6th Ward with a significant Arab as well as Turkish, and Hispanic community located east of Main Street and west of West Railway Avenue. A majority of the city's Arabs live in this section of Paterson. Many of the retail shops and restaurants cater to this community. The neighborhood is also characterized by Halal meat markets which offer goat and lamb, and shop signs in Arabic. South Paterson's Arab community is mostly made up of Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese people.[27]

Lakeview is situated in the southern part of the city, the Lakeview Section is a middle class neighborhood. Interstate 80 runs north of this district. Lakeview is home to the Paterson Farmers Market, where people from all across North Jersey come to buy fresh produce. The neighborhood consists primarily of Hispanics and African Americans, although this neighborhood also has a sizable European descent, Middle-Eastern and Asian population, including a significant Filipino presence. Lakeview also shares some of the same characteristics as neighboring Clifton as they both share the neighborhood bearing the same name. The Lakeview section of Paterson is located in the city's 6th Ward.

Hillcrest is a large mostly residential, middle class enclave, to the west of the downtown area. Its borders' limits are Preakness Avenue to the east, Cumberland Avenue to the west and Totowa Avenue along with West Side Park and the Passaic River to the south. Hillcrest is one of Paterson's most desirable neighborhoods. The Hillcrest section of Paterson is located in the city's 2nd Ward.

People's Park is a vibrant neighborhood located north of 23rd Avenue and South of Market Street. Twenty-First Avenue or "La Ventiuno" as it's known by most of Paterson's Spanish-speaking community, is located in the People's Park section of Paterson. It is an active and vibrant retail strip featuring a variety of shops and services catering to a diverse clientele. Twenty First Avenue, home to SLD, used to have a large Italian population. Although there is still a significant Italian presence left in the neighborhood, it also has a large first-generation Hispanic population, particularly Colombian.

Wrigley Park is a neighborhood that has suffered from years of poverty, crime, and neglect. It is mostly African-American. Poverty, crime, open-air drug markets, prostitution, vacant lots, and boarded-up windows are common in this area. However, there are new houses being built and crime has dropped in recent years. This neighborhood is located north of Broadway.

Sandy Hill is a neighborhood in Paterson located roughly west of Madison Avenue, north of 21st Avenue, south of Park Avenue and east of Straight Street. Due to Paterson's significant population turn-over, this neighborhood is now home to a large Hispanic community, mostly first-generation Dominicans. The Sandy Hill section of Paterson is located in the city's 5th Ward. Roberto Clemente Park, which was originally known as Sandy Hill Park is located in this neighborhood.

Northside, located north of Downtown, suffers from some of the social problems currently facing the Wrigley Park neighborhood but to a lesser extent. This neighborhood borders the boroughs of Haledon and Prospect Park and it is known for its hills and having sweeping views of New York City. The Northside section of Paterson is located in the city's 1st Ward.

Totowa Section is a large neighborhood located west of the Passaic River, south-west of West Broadway and north-east of Preakness Avenue. It is mostly Hispanic with a rising South Asian community, mainly Bangladeshi. Many Bengali grocery stores and clothing stores are located on Union Ave and the surrounding streets. Masjid Al-Ferdous is located on Union Ave, which accommodates the daily Bangladeshi pedestrian population.

A large Italian presence remains in this neighborhood. Many Peruvian and other Latin American restaurants and businesses are located on Union Avenue. Colonial Village and Brooks Sloate Terraces are located in this neighborhood. The Totowa Section is located in parts of the 1st and 2nd Wards of Paterson.

Stoney Road is Paterson's most south-west neighborhood, bordering Woodland Park to the south and Totowa across the Passaic River to the west. This neighborhood is home to Pennington Park, Hayden Heights, Lou Costello Pool, the Levine reservoir, Murray Avenue, Mc Bride Avenue and Garret Heights. A strong Italian presence remains in this neighborhood. The Stoney Road section of Paterson is located in the city's 2nd Ward.

Riverside is a larger neighborhood in Paterson and, as its name states, this neighborhood is bound by the Passaic River to the north and east, separating the city from Hawthorne and Fair Lawn. Riverside is a working-class neighborhood. The neighborhood is mostly residential with some industrial uses. Madison Avenue cuts through the heart of this district. Route 20 runs through the eastern border of Riverside providing an easy commute to Route 80 East and New York City. This section is ethnically diverse with a growing Hispanic community concentrating mostly north and along River Street. Many Albanians make their home in the East 18th Street and River Street areas. River View Terrace is located in this neighborhood. Riverside is located in parts of the 3rd and 4th Wards of Paterson.

Bunker Hill is a mostly industrial area west of River Street and east of the Passaic River.

Westside Park located off Totowa Avenue and probably best known to young boys of days past for storing the Holland Submarine. Built in 1897 for the U.S. Navy, it became the target of graffiti artists because the fence surrounding it was too low and too close to the submarine itself. The sub is now located in the Great Falls State Park Paterson Great Falls National Park, Paterson, NJ.


Since its early beginnings, Paterson has been a melting pot. Irish, Germans, Dutch and Jews settled in the City in the 19th century. Italian and Eastern European immigrants soon followed. As early as 1890, many Syrian and Lebanese immigrants also arrived in Paterson.

Many 2nd and 3rd generation Puerto Ricans have been calling Paterson home since the 1950s but most recently first generation Dominican, Peruvian, Colombian, Mexican, Central American, and various South American immigrants have arrived. Western Market Street, sometimes called Little Lima by tourists, is home to many Peruvian and other Latin-American businesses. In contrast if one travels east on Market Street, a heavy concentration of Dominican-owned restaurants, beauty salons, barber shops and other businesses can be seen. The Great Falls Historic District, Cianci Street, Union Avenue and 21st Avenue have several Italian businesses. To the north of the Great Falls is a fast-growing Bangladeshi population. Park Avenue and Market Street between Straight Street and Madison Avenue is heavily Dominican and Puerto Rican. Main Street, just south of downtown, is heavily Mexican with a declining Puerto-Rican community. Costa Ricans and other Central American immigrant communities are growing in the Riverside and Peoples Park neighborhoods. Broadway or Martin Luther King Jr. Way is predominantly black, as is the Fourth Ward and parts of Eastside and Northside. Paterson's black community is made up of a declining population of African Americans of Southern heritage and more recent Caribbean and African immigrants. Main Street between the Clifton border and Madison Avenue is heavily Turkish and Arab. 21st Avenue in the People's Park section is characterized by Colombian and other Latin-American restaurants and shops.

Every summer, Patersonians have enjoyed an African-American Day Parade, a Dominican Day Parade, a Puerto Rican Day Parade, a Peruvian Day Parade, and a Turkish-American Day Parade, though budget cuts in 2011 have meant that parade organizers have been asked to contribute to cover the costs of police and other municipal services.[28]

Paterson is considered by many the capital of the Peruvian Diaspora in the U.S. Paterson's Peruvian community celebrates what is known as Señor de los Milagros or "Our Lord of Miracles" in English on October 18 through 28th of every year. In the 2000 Census, 4.72% of residents listed themselves as being of Peruvian American ancestry, the third-highest percentage of the population of any municipality in New Jersey and the United States, behind East Newark with 10.1% and Harrison with 7.01%.[29]

Paterson is home to the third-largest Dominican-American Community in the United States, after New York City and Lawrence, Massachusetts. In the 2000 Census, 10.27% of residents listed themselves as being of Dominican American ancestry, the eighth highest percentage of the population of any municipality in the United States and the third highest percentage in New Jersey, behind Perth Amboy's 18.81% and Union City's 11.46%.[30]

Paterson is home to the largest Turkish-American immigrant community in the United States (Little Istanbul) and the second largest Arab-American community after Dearborn, Michigan.[31] The Greater Paterson area which includes the cities of Clifton and Wayne and the boroughs of Haledon, Prospect Park, North Haledon, Totowa, Woodland Park, and Little Falls, is home to the nation's largest North Caucasian population, mostly Circassians, Karachays, and a small Chechen community. Reflective of these communities, Paterson and Prospect Park public schools observe Muslim holidays.

Paterson has incorporated a rapidly growing Bangladeshi American community, the largest in the United States outside New York City. A branch of the Sonali Exchange Company Inc. has opened on Union Avenue in the Totowa Section; the Sonali Exchange Company is a subsidiary of Sonali Bank, the largest state-owned commercial bank in Bangladesh.

The greater Paterson area

The following municipalities border Paterson and are considered to be its suburbs: The boroughs of Prospect Park, Haledon, Totowa, Woodland Park (formerly West Paterson), and Hawthorne, the township of Wayne, and the City of Clifton, all in Passaic County; and the boroughs of Elmwood Park (formerly East Paterson) and Fair Lawn in Bergen County.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 7,596
1850 11,334 49.2%
1860 19,586 72.8%
1870 33,579 71.4%
1880 51,031 52.0%
1890 78,347 53.5%
1900 105,171 34.2%
1910 125,600 19.4%
1920 135,875 8.2%
1930 138,513 1.9%
1940 139,656 0.8%
1950 139,336 −0.2%
1960 143,663 3.1%
1970 144,824 0.8%
1980 137,970 −4.7%
1990 140,891 2.1%
2000 149,222 5.9%
2010 146,199 −2.0%
Population sources:
1840-1990[32][33] 2000[34] 2010[4][10][35]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 149,222 people, 44,710 households, and 33,353 families residing in the city, for a population density of 17,675.4 per square mile (6,826.4/km2).[34] Among cities with a population higher than 100,000, Paterson is the second most densely populated large city in the United States, only after New York City.[36]

There were 47,169 housing units at an average density of 5,587.2 per square mile (2,157.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 32.90% African American, 13.20% White, 0.60% Native American, 1.90% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 27.60% from other races which many Latinos identify with, and 6.17% from two or more races. Latino of any race were 50.1% of the population.[34] The majority of Latinos are Puerto Rican 14%, Dominican 10%, Peruvian 5% and Colombian 3%. Paterson's rapidly growing Bangladeshi American, Turkish American, Arab American,[31] and Peruvian American communities are among the largest and most prominent in the United States, the latter owing partially to the presence of the Consulate of Peru. Paterson's Muslim population has been estimated at 25,000 to 30,000.[11]

There were 44,710 households out of which 40.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.4% were married couples living together, 26.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.25 and the average family size was 3.71.[34]

In the city the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.[34]

The median income for a household in the city was $30,127, and the median income for a family was $32,983. Males had a median income of $27,911 versus $21,733 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,257. About 19.2% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.0% of those under age 18 and 19.4% of those age 65 or over.[34]


Local government

The City of Paterson Municipal Council was created as a result of a 1974 decision to change its form of government from a 1907 statute-based form, to a Faulkner Act Plan-D Mayor-Council form.[37]

The 1907 statute-based form consisted of various boards. A Board of Aldermen, Board of Finance, Board of Health, Board of Public Works, Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

The Mayor-Council plan consisted of the Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey and nine Council members. Six of the Council members represent the city's six wards while the other three are elected as at-large members by the entire city. The Municipal Council has the responsibility of reviewing and approving Municipal legislation.

Under the Mayor-Council plan, the Mayor is the chief executive and is responsible for administering the City's activities. The Mayor is elected for a four-year term by the citizens and is responsible for them. His/Her function includes enforcing the charter and the ordinances and laws passed by the City Council. The Mayor appoints all department heads including the business administrator, with the advise and consent of the Council s/he may also remove and or all department heads after giving them notice and an opportunity to be heard.

With the assistance of the business administrator, the Mayor is responsible for preparation of the municipal budget. The Mayor submits the budget to the Council along with a detailed analysis of expenditures and revenues. The Council may reduce any item or items in the budget by a majority vote, but can only increase an item by a two-thirds vote.

As of 2011, the Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey is Jeffrey Jones, who defeated two-term incumbent Jose "Joey" Torres in the May 2010 Paterson elections and was sworn into office on July 1, 2010.[38] City Council Members are Council President Aslon Goow, Sr. (Second Ward), Vice President Anthony Davis (First Ward), Vera Ames (Fourth Ward), William C. McKoy (Third Ward), Ken Morris, Jr. (At-Large), Rigo Rodriguez (At-Large), Andre Sayegh (Sixth Ward), Julio Tavarez (Fifth Ward) and Benjie E. Wimberly (At-Large).[39]

In the May 2010 Paterson city elections, City Council President Jeff Jones defeated the incumbent mayor Joey Torres in a three-way election with sixth ward councilman Andre Sayegh.[40] Incumbent Councilman At-Large Kenneth Morris was returned to office and Paterson recreation director and former Paterson Catholic football coach Benjie Wimberly was elected to one of the other At-Large seats.[41]

The third Council At-Large position has been in dispute since the results of the May 2010 election, where newcomer Kenneth McDaniel and incumbent councilman Rigo Rodriguez have engaged in various court battles over the results of the election.[41] When the initial count was completed McDaniel was ahead of Rodriguez by 25 votes. An automatic recount was conducted and Rodriguez gained nineteen votes, with 49 mail-in ballots in dispute. A New Jersey court ruled that 47 of the ballots had to be counted, and Rodriguez's name was on all 47. This gave the councilman a 41-vote victory and he was sworn in with the rest of the council in July 2010.[42] McDaniel has continued to insist the ballots were tampered with and filed a motion in state court to overturn the results of the election, but the same judge that ordered the recount dismissed his motion.[43] However, McDaniel appealed to New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow to investigate, and the resulting findings caused several Rodriguez aides to be arrested on November 30 and December 1, 2010 and eventually the councilman himself on December 2, 2010 on charges of witness tampering in the court case where McDaniel's claim was dismissed.[44]

The status of the Fourth Ward seat currently held by Vera Ames-Garnes is in question as well. Councilwoman Ames-Garnes is standing trial in a Hawthorne, New Jersey court on a disorderly persons charge. The councilwoman was arrested by a Prospect Park, New Jersey police officer after she allegedly interfered with a traffic stop the officer made in Paterson after the suspect in the incident crossed over from Prospect Park into Paterson. Ames-Garnes contends that the officer had no right to issue a summons to the suspect, a Paterson resident, while the officer maintains the infraction occurred in Prospect Park and Ames-Garnes' interference was unwarranted. In December 2010 the trial concluded with the councilwoman being convicted, but she was only required to pay a fine and was not forced to forfeit her office. As of January 3, 2011, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office has not decided whether it will appeal the decision to allow Ames-Garnes to keep her office.

Federal, state and county representation

Paterson is in the 8th Congressional district and is part of New Jersey's 35th state legislative district.[45] The legislative district was kept unchanged by the New Jersey Apportionment Commission based on the results of the 2010 Census.[4]

New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Bill Pascrell (D, Paterson). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

35th District of the New Jersey Legislature, which is represented in the New Jersey Senate by John Girgenti (D, Hawthorne) and in the New Jersey General Assembly by Elease Evans (D, Paterson) and Nellie Pou (D, North Haledon).[46] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham).[47] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[48]

Passaic County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected to staggered three-year terms office on an at-large basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year.[49] As of 2011, Passaic County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Bruce James (D, term ends December 31, 2011; Clifton), Freeholder Deputy Director Pat Lepore (D, 2013; Woodland Park), Deborah E. Ciambrone (R, 2012; Wayne), Terry Duffy (D, 2013; West Milford), Greyson P. Hannigan (D, 2011; Paterson), Michael Marrotta (R, 2012; Wayne) and Edward O'Connell (R, 2012; Wanaque).[50]

Emergency services

The City of Paterson is served by a professional police department[51] and fire department.[52] The Paterson Fire Department is also responsible for the city's Emergency Medical Services division and ambulance units.

In addition to local services, Paterson is home to the Passaic County Sheriff's Office Courts Division in the Passaic County Courthouse and Correctional Division in the Passaic County Jail.

In April 2011, Paterson was forced to layoff 125 police officers, nearly 25% of the total force in the city, due to severe budget constraints caused by a $70 million deficit.[53] At the same time, the Guardian Angels, a New York City-based volunteer citizen safety patrol organization, began operating in Paterson at the invitation of the Mayor.[54]

St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center is a large institution providing comprehensive emergency services as well as non-emergent medical care to Paterson and the surrounding community.[55]


Portions of Paterson are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).[56]


The city is served by the New Jersey Transit Main Line commuter rail service, with the station located in Downtown Paterson. Plans are being developed for Paterson to receive new commuter rail service on the existing NYS&W line, which is currently single-tracked. This rail line would be called the Passaic-Bergen Rail Line and would have five stops in Paterson.[57]

Bus service to locations in Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties is provided by New Jersey Transit, making the city a regional transit hub. The Broadway Bus Terminal, also downtown, is the terminus for many NJ Transit bus lines

Service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan is offered on the 161 and the 190, by the 171 to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in Washington Heights, Manhattan, on the 72 to Newark, with local service provided on the 74, 702, 703, 704, 707, 712, 722, 742 (Saturday only), 744, 746, 748, 770, 970 and 971 routes.[58] City Hall has many buses that stop at or near it, going to various points in the area, including New York and the neighboring communities. Service to Manhattan and shopping centers in Bergen County is also provided by independent bus carriers.

By road, Paterson is served directly by Interstate Route 80, as well as State Routes 4, 19 and 20. United States Route 46, the Garden State Parkway, and State Routes 3, 17, 21 and 208 are also nearby and serve as feeder roads to the community.

Paterson also served as the terminus for numerous major secondary roads in northern New Jersey. The Paterson Plank Road linked the city to Jersey City and eventually the Hudson River waterfront in Hoboken, while the Paterson-Hamburg Turnpike connected the city with Sussex County along what is now parts of State Route 23.


The Paterson Public Schools serve students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and also includes the Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology. The district is one of 31 Abbott Districts statewide.[59] The school system has over 30,000 students who speak 25 different languages. The school system currently has 52 schools with over 6,000 employees, with a per pupil expenditure of nearly $16,000, of which $8,148 goes towards classroom instruction.

In 2011, all of Paterson's high schools were changed to theme schools, as part of a goal to give students a better choice in areas they wanted to pursue.[60]

However the school system in the city has a very poor record in terms of education. A recent statement made by the school broad had declared that out of the city's 30,000 students K-12 only 15,000 ever graduate from the districts high schools. Despite many attempts to improve the over all education outlook, many of the programs have yet to make any real changes. With the city's test scores lacking in many areas, control by the State of NJ was almost certain. In 1988, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to authorize its State Department of Education to take over local school districts that were failing according to an established monitoring process. In 1991, the city of Paterson became the second of the three troubled districts forced to cede control of its public schools to the state.[61] The presumption was that improvement would follow. To date, Paterson Public schools are still controlled by the State of New Jersey Department of Education. As such, Paterson public schools are managed by a state-appointed Superintendent and a School Advisory Board that serves in an advisory capacity only.

The city is host to the state's annual robotics competition that is held at Passaic County Community College. The competition called the North Jersey Robotics Competition or NJRC began with the idea to place high educational merit on the students of Paterson. The competition brings schools from around NJ, to take part in the event. Three events make up the meet which takes place on two different days. As of 2011 the competition has gone on for 10 years. With the 2011 winner being Panther high school of Paterson, New Jersey.

Paterson Catholic High School, formerly the city's only remaining Catholic high school, was closed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson at the end of the 2009-10 academic year, which cited declining enrollment and financial difficulties as reasons for the closure.[62]

Arts and recreation

Paterson boasts a significant parks and recreation system, including larger areas such as Eastside, Westside and Pennington Parks, as well as neighborhood parks such as Wrigley, Robert Clemente, and People's. The Great Falls of the Passaic are part of the state, and unofficially the national, park system.

The Paterson Museum, located in the Great Falls Historic District, was founded in 1925 and is owned and operated by the city of Paterson. Its mission is to preserve and display the industrial history of the city. Since 1982 the museum has been housed in the Thomas Rogers Building on Market Street, the former erecting shop of Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works, a major 19th-century manufacturer of railroad steam locomotives.[63]

Belle Vista, locally known as Lambert Castle, was built in 1892 as the home of Catholina Lambert, the self-made owner of a prominent silk mill in Paterson. After Lambert's death in 1923, his family sold the building to the city, which in turn sold it to the County of Passaic a few years later. The county used the building for administrative offices, and in 1936, provided one room to the fledgling Passaic County Historical Society to serve as its historical museum. As time went by the museum grew, room by room, until the entire first floor became the historical museum.

In the late 1990s, the Castle underwent a multi-million dollar restoration and all four floors of the building were developed into a museum and library. Today, Passaic County remains the owner of the building and generously supports the facilities' operation; however, the Passaic County Historical Society is solely responsible for the operation and management of Lambert Castle Museum with its historical period rooms, long-term and changing exhibition galleries, educational programs for elementary and middle-school students, and research library/archive.[64]

Above Lambert Castle stands an 75-foot observation tower, located at the peak of Garret Mountain, which while technically standing in Woodland Park, was constructed when the property was considered part of Paterson. The tower is part of the Garret Mountain Reservation and was recently renovated to its original condition as built by Lambert in 1896, who used the tower to impress guests with its view of the New York City skyline.

Attempts are being made to fund the restoration of the Paterson Armory as a recreation and cultural center.

Sister cities

Sister cities of Paterson include:

In popular culture

Paterson is the subject of William Carlos Williams' five-book epic poem Paterson, a cornerstone work of modern American poetry.[11] Paterson is also mentioned in the twelfth line of Part 1 of Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl.

Paterson is the setting of many of Junot Diaz's short stories and novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and John Updike's 1997 novel In the Beauty of the Lilies.

The controversial arrest and conviction of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, whose conviction was overturned in 1985, as dramatized in the 1999 Denzel Washington film, The Hurricane, partially shot in the city.[11] The lyrics of the Bob Dylan song "Hurricane" include "In Paterson that's just the way things go / If you're Black you might as well not show / Up on the street / Unless you want to draw the heat". Lean On Me is based on events that occurred in Paterson's Eastside High School.[66] Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) with Brooke Shields was filmed entirely in Paterson, the director's hometown.[67] as was State Property.[citation needed]. Its sequel, State Property 2, and Far from Heaven, The Preacher's Wife, and Purple Rose of Cairo are the among the other films also partially shot Paterson.

Paterson Falls was featured in the first season of The Sopranos in the episode Pax Soprana as the place where Junior Soprano's friend, Capri's grandson committed suicide after taking poor designer drugs. As a favor, Junior Soprano had Mikey Palmice and another individual toss the dealer, Rusty Irish, over the falls. Some interior shots for the show were filmed in the unused Barnert Hospital. The Sopranos also shot a scene at Ralph Piccolo Pizza and renamed it "UF-FA'S Pizzeria"

The Band Blanks 77, an American punk rock band Founding member lived in Paterson. Founded in 1991.[citation needed] The NJ-based band Suit of Lights pays tribute to Paterson in their song, Goodbye Silk City. The 1983 music video "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood makes reference to Paterson in its opening sequence.[68]

The first marketable revolver was produced in Paterson by Samuel Colt starting in 1836, and was known as the Colt Paterson.[69]

Notable residents

(B) denotes that the person was born there.


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