Railroads provided access from Cresskill to customers in New York City, including a chicken hatchery that was the world's largest by 1897. Railroad access established the former Camp Merritt as a major debarkation point for more than a million American troops being sent abroad to fight in World War I. To commemorate the fact, a large obelisk memorial (referred to by locals as "The Monument"), or "The Circle Monument" was dedicated in 1924, set in the center of the Camp Merritt Memorial Circle at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Knickerbocker Road (CR 505).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 2.07 square miles (5.36 km2), including 2.07 square miles (5.35 km2) of land and 0.01 square miles (0.01 km2) of water (0.24%).
It rests on land originally inhabited by the Munsee-Delaware.
Of the 3,002 households, 40.5% had children under the age of 18; 66.2% were married couples living together; 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present and 22.8% were non-families. Of all households, 21.1% were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.32.Same-sex couples headed 7 households in 2010, an increase from the 5 counted in 2000.
26.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 20.6% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.7 years. For every 100 females, the population had 88.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 85.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $105,625 (with a margin of error of +/- $14,945) and the median family income was $128,382 (+/- $16,732). Males had a median income of $95,795 (+/- $24,665) versus $72,188 (+/- $16,155) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $56,485 (+/- $6,202). About 2.4% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 7,746 people, 2,630 households, and 2,161 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,625.9 people per square mile (1,397.5/km2). There were 2,702 housing units at an average density of 1,264.8 per square mile (487.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 78.05% White, 0.92% African American, 0.04% Native American, 18.64% Asian, 0.65% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.99% of the population.
There were 2,630 households, out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.1% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.8% were non-families. 15.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the borough the age distribution of the population shows 26.3% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $84,692, and the median income for a family was $96,245. Males had a median income of $61,194 versus $38,990 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $41,573. About 1.7% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.
The post office in Cresskill, circa 1915
Cresskill is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Cresskill is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor of the Borough of Cresskill is Republican Benedict Romeo, whose term of office ends December 31, 2023. Members of the Cresskill Borough Council are James Cleary (R, 2020), Gregory K. Mueller (R, 2021), Hector Olmo (R, 2020), Kathleen Savas (D, 2021), Mark Spina (R, 2022) and Simone Tsigounis (R, 2022).
Cresskill has a fire department on Madison Avenue. It is home to Engine 1, Engine 2, Engine 3, Ladder 1, and Rescue 1.
Cresskill also has an emergency medical services station, located next to the fire department on Madison Avenue.
Cresskill's police department is located at the borough hall on Union Avenue.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,904 registered voters in Cresskill, of which 1,263 (25.8% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,234 (25.2% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 2,403 (49.0% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 57.2% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 78.1% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 2,086 votes (52.8% vs. 54.2% countywide), ahead of Republican Donald Trump with 1,689 votes (42.7% vs. 41.1% countywide) and other candidates with 127 votes (3.2% vs 3.0% countywide), among the 3,953 ballots cast by the borough's 5,467 registered voters for a turnout of 72.3% (vs. 73% in Bergen County). In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,805 votes (49.7% vs. 43.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,777 votes (48.9% vs. 54.8%) and other candidates with 22 votes (0.6% vs. 0.9%), among the 3,634 ballots cast by the borough's 5,163 registered voters, for a turnout of 70.4% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,989 votes (50.4% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,913 votes (48.5% vs. 44.5%) and other candidates with 23 votes (0.6% vs. 0.8%), among the 3,944 ballots cast by the borough's 5,074 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.7% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,886 votes (50.5% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,813 votes (48.5% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 27 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 3,738 ballots cast by the borough's 4,748 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.7% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 64.3% of the vote (1,412 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 34.9% (766 votes), and other candidates with 0.9% (19 votes), among the 2,259 ballots cast by the borough's 4,949 registered voters (62 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 45.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,213 votes (49.5% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 1,106 votes (45.2% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 99 votes (4.0% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 8 votes (0.3% vs. 0.5%), among the 2,449 ballots cast by the borough's 4,975 registered voters, yielding a 49.2% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 37.02 miles (59.58 km) of roadways, of which 33.65 miles (54.15 km) were maintained by the municipality and 3.37 miles (5.42 km) by Bergen County.
^Harvey, Cornelius Burnham. Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, p. 11, New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900. Accessed September 1, 2013. "For a period of sixteen years following the passage of this act few boroughs were organized in the State, only three of them being in Bergen County.... As it was twenty-six boroughs were created in the county from January 23, 1894, to December 18, of the same year."
^Rondinaro, Gene. "Start-Up Buyer Oasis in Affluent Bergen", The New York Times, January 19, 1997. Accessed September 8, 2008. "Utilizing the newly built railroad connections to New York, more than one million American soldiers passed through the camp before it was disbanded in 1920. In 1924, the Camp Merritt Memorial Obelisk at the traffic circle connecting Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue -- better known to residents as the Monument -- was dedicated to those troops by Gen. John J. Pershing."
^Biography, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Accessed January 3, 2019."A native son of Paterson, N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City."
^Biography of Bob Menendez, United States Senate, January 26, 2015. "Menendez, who started his political career in Union City, moved in September from Paramus to one of Harrison's new apartment buildings near the town's PATH station.."
^. United States Senate. Accessed April 30, 2021. "Booker, Cory A. - (D - NJ) Class II; Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ) Class I"
^Board of Education, Cresskill Public Schools. Accessed April 28, 2020. "The district is governed by a Board of Education and administered by a Superintendent of Schools, a School Business Administrator, and three principals. The staff, comprised of teachers, child study team specialists, area supervisors, nurses, secretaries, and custodians, totals 180."
^Trotter, J.K. "Fox News Boss Roger Ailes Treats Cops as His Personal Minions", Gawker, September 15, 2014. Accessed July 6, 2016. "He's also made very good friends with the local cops of Cresskill, New Jersey. According to police records obtained by Gawker, the Cresskill Police Department supplies 24/7 security to Ailes' residence there—apparently at no cost to Ailes himself—and otherwise delivers on-demand police services to his family, regardless of whether or not they are in any obvious danger."
^Venutolo, Anthony. "Exploring the valleys in peak form", The Star-Ledger, December 14, 2007. Accessed July 8, 2011. "Throughout her career, Blige, a 36-year-old Bronx native who now lives in Cresskill, has used her music as a kind of public therapy, reflecting on where she is, where she has been and where she wants to go."
^Levin, Jay. "Harold Martin, former Bergen County freeholder and state Assemblyman, dies", The Record, October 20, 2010. Accessed September 12, 2017. "Harold Martin, a Democrat from Cresskill who served one term as a Bergen County freeholder and three terms in the state Assembly, died Tuesday. He was 92. Mr. Martin, who worked at various times as a stockbroker, an electronic manufacturers sales representative and a research economist, used a seat on the Cresskill Planning Board and frequent attendance at Cresskill Council meetings as a springboard to higher office."
^Lyons, Richard D. "Reuben Mattus, 81, the Founder of Haagen-Dazs", The New York Times, January 29, 1994. Accessed December 4, 2013. "Reuben Mattus, the Polish immigrant who stuck an umlaut on a nonsensical name and parlayed the exotic result into the multimillion-dollar company that sold Haagen-Dazs ice cream, died on Thursday in the North Broward Medical Center in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Mr. Mattus, who lived in Cresskill, N.J., was 81."
^Czerwinski, Mark. "A Big Positive for Whalers", The Record, November 21, 1993, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 2, 2015. Accessed September 12, 2017. "Pierre McGuire knows hockey. The former Bergen Catholic standoutand Cresskill resident also has paid his dues as an assistant coach."
^ abHalasz, Piri. "Ward Engravings on View", The New York Times, October 27, 1974. Accessed September 12, 2017. "Since then, Mr. Ward has illustrated more than 100 books for adults and children; they range from editions of Goethe's Faust and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to a number of children's books written by his wife, May McNeer Ward.... For the last 16 years, Mr. and Mrs. Ward have lived on Lambs Lane, in Cresskill, in a small house to which they have added a much larger studio."
^Petkewich, Rachel. "Nobel Laureate R. Bruce Merrifield Dies At 84", Chemical & Engineering News, May 23, 2006. "Robert Bruce Merrifield, a biochemist who won the 1984 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for a method he named solid-phase peptide synthesis, died on May 14 at his home in Cresskill, N.J., after a long illness. He was 84."
^Coutros, Evonne; and Koloff, Abbott. "Nicholas Oresko of Cresskill, World War II hero, dies at 96", The Record, October 4, 2013, backed up by the Internet Archive as of September 7, 2013. Accessed September 12, 2017. "Nicholas Oresko of Cresskill, the nation's oldest Medal of Honor recipient, died Friday evening, having been watched over all week by veterans and military personnel who'd heard he was in a hospital with a broken leg. Oresko, 96, was a U.S. Army master sergeant during World War II, when, although badly wounded, he wiped out two enemy bunkers near Tettingen, Germany, during the Battle of the Bulge."
^Kramer, Peter D. "9/11: Man in the red bandanna's finest hour", The Record, September 6, 2016, backed up by the Internet Archive as of October 11, 2016. Accessed September 12, 2017. "This week will find Tom Rinaldi pingponging from his home in Tenafly, New Jersey — less than a mile from the Cresskill home he grew up in — to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens, to cover the U.S. Open."
^Levin, Jay. "Richard H. Tedford, 82; paleontologist and author", The Record, July 21, 2001, backed up by the Internet Archive as of January 12, 2016. Accessed September 12, 2017. "Richard H. Tedford of Demarest, whose eminent, decades-long career as a vertebrate paleontologist took him on fossil explorations of Australia, China and the American West, died last Friday. He was 82.... Mr. Tedford, formerly of Cresskill, was predeceased by his first wife, Elizabeth."
^"Music Notes", The Star-Ledger, November 16, 2000, p. 71. "Wright returns. Singer-songwriter-keyboardist Gary Wright, who grew up in Cresskill and went to Tenafly High School, will perform in New York tonight for the first time in 20 years."
^Voger, Mark. "Hippiefest: Gary Wright interview", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, July 29, 2011. Accessed May 26, 2015. "Born in Cresskill and a graduate of Tenafly High School, Wright is coming home to perform on Aug. 9 in Red Bank, Aug. 10 in Morristown and Aug. 12 in Englewood as part of the Hippiefest tour alongside Felix Cavaliere, Mark Farner, Dave Mason and Rick Derringer."