Clifton, New Jersey
"The City that Cares"
|Coordinates: 40°51′44″N 74°09′37″W / 40.862137°N 74.160393°WCoordinates: 40°51′44″N 74°09′37″W / 40.862137°N 74.160393°W|
|Incorporated||April 26, 1917|
|• Type||1923 Municipal Manager Law|
|• Body||City Council|
|• Mayor||Raymond Grabowski (term ends December 31, 2026)|
|• Manager||Dominick Villano|
|• Municipal clerk||Nancy Ferrigno|
|• Total||11.43 sq mi (29.60 km2)|
|• Land||11.28 sq mi (29.20 km2)|
|• Water||0.15 sq mi (0.40 km2) 1.37%|
|• Rank||197th of 565 in state|
4th of 16 in county
|Elevation||131 ft (40 m)|
|• Rank||383rd in country (as of 2021)|
11th of 565 in state
2nd of 16 in county
|• Density||8,008.5/sq mi (3,092.1/km2)|
|• Rank||51st of 565 in state|
4th of 16 in county
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||0885188|
Clifton is a city in Passaic County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Criss-crossed by several major highways, the city is a regional commercial hub for North Jersey and is a bedroom suburb of New York City in the New York Metropolitan Area. As of the 2020 United States Census, the city retained its position as the state's 11th-most-populous municipality, just behind 2020 #10 Trenton, and well ahead of 2020 #12 Cherry Hill, with a population of 90,296, reflecting an overall increase of 6,160 (+7.3%) from the 2010 Census count of 84,136, which in turn reflected an overall increase of 5,464 (+6.9%) from the 78,672 counted in the 2000 census. The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated that the city's population was 89,367 in 2021, reflecting an overall decrease of 929 (1%) from the 90,296 counted in the 2020 Census, but still ranking the city the 383rd-most-populous in the country.
Clifton was incorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 26, 1917, replacing Acquackanonk Township, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier. Clifton is listed under five different ZIP codes. 07011, 07012, 07013, 07014, and 07015.
The city of Clifton turned 100 years old in April 2017, but documented European settlements in the area date back to 1679, when a leader of the Lenape Native Americans gave a deed for 11,000 acres (4,500 ha) along the shores of the Passaic River to Hans Frederick. The modern name of "Clifton" was derived from the cliffs of Garrett Mountain, which borders the Albion Place neighborhood in the western part of the city. Clifton was once an agricultural hub, and home to the U.S. Animal Quarantine Station, which was operated in Clifton by the United States Department of Agriculture, starting in 1903. It was served by the Newark Branch of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. It was the primary location on the East Coast where animals from poultry, horses, and cattle, to zoo animals, were held in quarantine after being brought into the United States, to ensure that the animals were not infected with diseases that could be spread in the U.S. The federal station operated in Clifton until the late 1970s, when the facility was relocated to Stewart International Airport.
Although Clifton and surrounding municipalities have long converted from farmlands to suburban communities, given their close proximity to Manhattan (Clifton is less than 15 miles directly west from Midtown), the city still has three small working farms that sell fresh and organic vegetables in-season:
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 11.43 square miles (29.60 km2), including 11.27 square miles (29.19 km2) of land and 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2) of water (1.37%).
The Passaic River provides part of the boundary of Clifton at its northeastern edge. Weasel Brook is a tributary of the Passaic, which links from Plog Brook, passing through its namesake Weasel Brook Park, before turning south and joining the Passaic River close to Route 21.
Unincorporated communities, localities, and place names, located partially or completely within the city, include:
Clifton is located 10 miles (16 km) west of New York City off both Route 3 and Route 46. The city is also served by the Garden State Parkway, Route 19 and Route 21; all of those highways pass either around or through parts of the city.
The city borders the municipalities of Little Falls, Passaic, Paterson, and Woodland Park in Passaic County; Elmwood Park, Garfield, Lyndhurst, and Rutherford in Bergen County, and Bloomfield, Montclair, and Nutley in Essex County.
The 2010 United States census counted 84,136 people, 30,661 households, and 21,125 families in the city. The population density was 7,472.0 per square mile (2,885.0/km2). There were 31,946 housing units at an average density of 2,837.1 per square mile (1,095.4/km2). The racial makeup was 69.63% (58,588) White, 4.92% (4,137) Black or African American, 0.50% (419) Native American, 8.90% (7,488) Asian, 0.03% (22) Pacific Islander, 12.44% (10,464) from other races, and 3.59% (3,018) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.92% (26,854) of the population.
Of the 30,661 households, 30.3% had children under the age of 18; 50.3% were married couples living together; 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present and 31.1% were non-families. Of all households, 26.0% were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.33.
22.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.4 years. For every 100 females, the population had 93.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 90.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $62,271 (with a margin of error of +/− $3,208) and the median family income was $76,070 (+/− $2,883). Males had a median income of $49,780 (+/− $2,391) versus $40,149 (+/− $2,057) for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,812 (+/− $1,255). About 7.2% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.
Same-sex couples headed 243 households in 2010.
As of the 2000 United States census there were 78,672 people, 30,244 households, and 20,354 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,965.2 people per square mile (2,688.1/km2). There were 31,060 housing units at an average density of 2,749.9 per square mile (1,061.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 66.22% White, 2.89% African American, 0.24% Native American, 6.44% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.60% from other races, and 4.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 19.84% of the population.
There were 30,244 households, out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the city the population was 21.6% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $50,619, and the median income for a family was $60,688. Males had a median income of $40,143 versus $32,090 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,638. About 4.3% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.
The most common ancestry groups in Clifton as of 2000 were Italian American (17%), Polish American (13%), Irish American (9%) and German American (8%). Many Turkish, Albanian, and Ukrainian immigrants also live in Clifton. There are significant populations of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Arabs, Filipinos, Chinese, and Indians as well.
Clifton is a diverse suburb of New York City, just over 10 miles to the West of the city. It boasts numerous national and local shopping options like Trader Joe's, Costco, Home Depot, Target, Stew Leonard's Wine Shop and countless specialty grocers and retailers. Notable local businesses in Clifton include:
The city of Clifton is governed under the 1923 Municipal Manager Law. The city is one of seven municipalities (of the 564) statewide governed under this form. The governing body is the City Council, which is comprised of seven council members, with all positions elected at-large on a non-partisan basis to concurrent four-terms of office as part of the November general election. The mayor is chosen by the City Council, with the position traditionally given to the top vote getter in the previous election. Clifton's municipal elections had been held in May, as required for municipalities conducting non-partisan elections. Following the passage of a state law in 2010 allowing non-partisan elections to be shifted to November, Clifton voters were overwhelmingly in favor of the move in a non-binding referendum held in November 2013. On December 13, 2013, the Clifton City Council voted 6–0, with one abstention, to make the move to November local elections binding, which had the effect of extending the terms of all sitting council members by six months, from June 30 to December 31. Officials cited increased voter participation and reduced costs as the justifications behind supporting the shift.
As of 2023, Clifton's mayor is Raymond Grabowski, whose term of office ends December 31, 2026. He replaced James Anzaldi, who had been one of the members of the City Council since 1978, and was first selected to be mayor in 1990, succeeding two-term mayor Gloria Kolodziej. Anzaldi was the first mayor in Clifton's history to be elected to six terms. The other current members of the City Council are William "Bill" Gibson, Antonio Latona, Joseph Kolodziej, Lauren E. Murphy, Rosemary Pino, and Mary Sadrakula, all of whom are serving concurrent terms of office that end on December 31, 2026.
Grabowski's election and Council nomination as mayor ended up being considered the most contentious local political event since 1966, when the then-top vote getter, Bill Bate, the only Democrat on the Council at that time, ended up getting passed over in favor of Joseph Vanecek, as, this time around, Grabowski would only get four of the seven possible votes on the Council, as opposed to Anzaldi, who won most, if not all, of those votes unanimously, in each of his terms, with the other three votes going to newcomer Antonio Latona (Grabowski/Kolodziej/Murphy/Sadrakula voting for Grabowski; Gibson/Latona/Pino, surprisingly, voting for Latona, all despite Gibson reportedly privately considering taking enough of those votes away from Grabowski to become mayor himself as of January 2023, even though Grabowski won at the polls in November 2022 by the final margin of roughly 9,400-8,200).
If at any time a seat becomes vacant on the council, it is filled by special election unless the vacancy occurs during a council election year. In the interim, the council is allowed to appoint an interim councilperson to fill the seat until the election can take place (again, except when the entire council is up for election); common practice is to nominate the eighth-place candidate from the previous election.
The city has done this four times since 1990:
Clifton is located in the 9th Congressional District, and is part of New Jersey's 34th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Clifton had been part of the 8th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's Ninth Congressional District is represented by Bill Pascrell (D, Paterson). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027) and Bob Menendez (Harrison, term ends 2025).
For the 2022–2023 session, the 34th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nia Gill (D, Montclair) and in the General Assembly by Thomas P. Giblin (D, Montclair) and Britnee Timberlake (D, East Orange).
As of the state legislative elections in November 2023, Clifton will be part of the 27th Legislative District, with both Clifton and Montclair leaving the 34th, and joining Livingston, Millburn, Roseland, and West Orange in Essex County, in that Legislative District; that reapportionment decision represented compromise between state legislators in both parties - the initial Democratic plan would have kept the existing 34th District entirely intact, while the initial Republican plan would have added it to the 40th Legislative District, placing it with some of the longtime Republican-leaning municipalities in that district.
Passaic County is governed by Board of County Commissioners, comprised of seven members, who are elected at-large, to staggered three-year terms in office, on a partisan basis, with two or three seats being voted on each year as part of the November general election in three-year cycles. At a reorganization meeting held each January, the board selects a Director and Deputy Director from among its members, to serve for a one-year term. As of 2023, Passaic County's Commissioners are: Bruce James (D, Clifton, 2023), Cassandra "Sandi" Lazzara (D, Little Falls, 2024), Deputy Director John W. Bartlett (D, Wayne, term as commissioner ends 2024; term as deputy director ends 2023), Orlando Cruz (D, Paterson, 2023; appointed to serve the remainder of an unexpired term), Terry Duffy (D, West Milford, 2025), Nicolino Gallo (R, Totowa, 2024), and Director Pasquale "Pat" Lepore (D, Woodland Park, term as commissioner ends 2025; term as director ends 2023). Constitutional officers, elected countywide, are: County Clerk Danielle Ireland-Imhof (D, Hawthorne, 2023), Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik (D, Clifton, 2025), and Surrogate Zoila S. Cassanova (D, Wayne, 2026).
As of January 2021, there were a total of 53,555 registered voters in Clifton, of which 22,940 (42.8% vs. 31.0% countywide) were registered Democrats, 9,562 (18% vs. 18.7%) were registered Republicans, and 20,150 (37.5% vs. 50.3%) were registered Unaffiliated. There were 19 voters registered to other parties. Among the city's 2020 Census population, 52.9% (vs. 53.2% in Passaic County) were registered to vote, including 67.9% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.8% countywide).
In the 2020 presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden received 59% of the vote (23,930 cast), ahead of the then-President, Republican Donald Trump, with 39.7% of the vote (16,128 cast), and all other candidates with 1.3% of the vote (565 cast), among the 40,623 ballots cast by the city's 57,785 registered voters (70.3%); almost all ballots statewide in the 2020 presidential election were cast via vote-by-mail, however, due to the ongoing pandemic. In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 60% of the vote (20,425 votes cast), ahead of Republican Donald Trump with 37% (12,620 votes cast), and all other candidates with their combined 3% (973 votes). In the 2012 presidential election, the then-President, Democrat Barack Obama, received 62.6% of the vote (18,761 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 36.3% (10,885 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (305 votes), among the 30,261 ballots cast by the city's 47,933 registered voters (310 ballots were spoiled), for turnout of 63.1%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 18,260 votes (56.5% vs. 58.8% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 12,848 votes (39.8% vs. 37.7%) and other candidates with 334 votes (1.0% vs. 0.8%), among the 32,317 ballots cast by the city's 44,903 registered voters, for turnout of 72.0% (vs. 70.4% in Passaic County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 15,597 votes (52.0% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of the then-President, Republican George W. Bush, with 13,120 votes (43.8% vs. 42.7%), and other candidates with 228 votes (0.8% vs. 0.7%), among the 29,971 ballots cast by the city's 41,220 registered voters, for turnout of 72.7% (vs. 69.3% in the whole county).
In the 2021 gubernatorial election, the-then Governor, Democrat Phil Murphy, received 10,240 votes cast (54%), ahead of Republican Jack Ciattarelli with 8,485 votes cast (45%), and all other candidates with 200 combined votes (1%), among the 18,925 ballots cast by the city's 53,555 registered voters (35.3%); despite Murphy winning by noticeably closer margins both locally and statewide compared to 2017, there were many more in-person votes cast once again, in contrast with 2020. In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Democrat Phil Murphy received 9,465 votes cast (61.3%), ahead of Republican Kim Guadagno with 5,655 votes cast (36.7%), and all other candidates with 315 combined votes (2%), among the 15,435 ballots cast by the city's 52,065 registered voters (30%). In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 56.0% of the vote (9,300 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 42.8% (7,100 votes), and other candidates with 1.2% (200 votes), among the 16,600 ballots cast by the city's 49,230 registered voters (361 ballots were spoiled), for turnout of 34.5%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 9,080 ballots cast (49.1% vs. 50.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 8,220 votes (44.5% vs. 43.2%), Independent Chris Daggett with 787 votes (4.3% vs. 3.8%), and other candidates with 243 votes (1.3% vs. 0.9%), among the 18,330 ballots cast by the city's 43,800 registered voters, yielding 42.2% turnout (vs. 42.7% in the county). In the 2005 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 9,925 votes cast (56.5%), ahead of Republican Doug Forrester with 7,038 votes cast (40%), and all other candidates with 625 votes cast (3.5%), among the 17,588 ballots cast by the city's 39,878 registered voters (46%). In the 2001 gubernatorial election, Jim McGreevey, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee in 1997, received 10,015 votes cast (55.5%), ahead of Republican Bret Schundler with 7,850 votes cast (43.5%), and all other candidates with 175 combined votes (1.5%), among the 18,040 total votes cast locally in said election.
The Clifton Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2020–21 school year, the district, comprised of 18 schools, had an enrollment of 10,514 students and 870.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.1:1. Schools in the district (with 2020–21 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Clifton Early Learner Academy (377 students; in grades PreK), School One (245; K-5), School Two (385; K-5), School Three (282; K-5), School Four (141; K-5), School Five (373; K-5), School Eight (169; PreK-5), School Nine (285; K-5), School Eleven (415; K-5), School Twelve (616; PreK-5), School Thirteen (447; K-5), School Fourteen (356; K-5), School Fifteen (310; PreK-5), School Sixteen (195; K-5), School Seventeen (476; PreK-5), Christopher Columbus Middle School (1,172; 6-8), Woodrow Wilson Middle School (1,276; 6-8) and Clifton High School (2,891; 9-12).
With more than 3,300 students enrolled in 2006, Clifton High School was the largest single-facility high school in New Jersey; Elizabeth High School had more students, but they were spread over multiple campuses before the school was split into separate academies. An additional overflow site, the Clifton High School Annex, was constructed at a cost of $17 million and opened in September 2009 to accommodate 540 of the school year's 850 incoming ninth graders to alleviate overcrowding.
Classical Academy Charter School of Clifton, a charter school founded in 1998 for Clifton residents that provides an education based on the classics to students in sixth through eighth grades, was recognized in 2008 by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
Private schools in Clifton include Saint Philip Preparatory School, a K–8 elementary school that operates under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson. St. Andrew the Apostle School was closed after the 2017–2018 school year due to financial challenges and a decline in the number of students registering for the new school year. St. Brendan Catholic School, which opened in 1946, was closed after the 2018–2019 school year and merged with the Academy of St. James in Totowa, with the merged school to be called The Academy of St. James and St. Brendan.
The Clifton Police Department is a full-service department, and employs 159 sworn officers, 20 public safety telecommunicators, 12 civilian officers, and 25 part-time special officers. The department is led by Chief Thomas Rinaldi, who was named to the position in February 2020, and made full-time June 1, 2020.
The Clifton Fire Department has 143 full-time firefighters. The department operates a fleet of five engines, two ladders, and three basic life support ambulances 24/7, along with three marine rescue boats, a foam pumper and tender, light rescue truck, and haz-mat unit, which are cross staffed. The department is led by Chief Frank S. Prezioso.
Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton EMS is a volunteer service that primarily covers the Passaic Park neighborhood of Passaic, and parts of Clifton. Hatzolah operates two ambulances strategically parked throughout the community, with a third on standby, available to assist neighboring chapters such as Union City and Elizabeth.
As of May 2010[update], the city had a total of 199.94 miles (321.77 km) of roadways, of which 145.43 miles (234.05 km) were maintained by the municipality, 35.95 miles (57.86 km) by Passaic County, 14.06 miles (22.63 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 4.50 miles (7.24 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Major roadways in the city include Route 3 (which crosses from east to west along the southern portion of the city), Route 21 (along the Passaic River), Route 19 in the city's northwest and U.S. Route 46. The Garden State Parkway crosses the city, connecting Bloomfield in Essex County to the south to Elmwood Park in Bergen County in the north. Parkway interchanges 153 (signed for Route 3 and Route 46 West) / 153A (for Route 3 East) / 153B (for Route 3 and Route 46 West), 154 (for Route 46), 155 (for Clifton) / 155P (for Passaic) and 156 (to Route 46).
NJ Transit trains at the Clifton station and Delawanna station follow the NJ Transit Main Line to Suffern and Hoboken Terminal. Until 1966, the Newark Branch of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad served several stations in the town, Athenia (Colfax Avenue) and Allwood. The Newark Branch tracks are now used for freight only, operated by Norfolk Southern.
NJ Transit provides bus service on the 190, 191, 192 and 195 routes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, to Newark on the 13, 27 and 72 routes, and local service on the 74, 702, 703, 705, 707, 709, 744 routes.
DeCamp Bus Lines provided service on the 33 and 66 routes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, until discontinuing its commuter routes in April 2023.
See also: Category:People from Clifton, New Jersey
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Clifton include:
((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), New Jersey Legislature, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 22, 1998. Accessed May 29, 2010.