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From upper left, clockwise: South Mountain Reservation in Essex County; the Palisades in Bergen County overlooking the George Washington Bridge; the west side of the Palisades seen from the Watchung Mountains approximately 13 miles (21 km) away; Exchange Place in Jersey City; the Meadowlands; the Chemical Coast

The Gateway Region is the primary urbanized area of the northeastern section of New Jersey. It is anchored by Newark, the state's most populous city. It is part of the New York metropolitan area.

The area encompasses Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Union and Middlesex counties. It is the most urban part of the state, with a population of more than four million, and is home to most of its larger cities, though much housing was originally developed as suburbs of neighbouring New York City.[1][2][3][4] It is home to Ellis Island, the "gateway" through which many immigrants entered the United States, many of whom chose to stay in the region, which continues to be the port of entry and first home to many born abroad, making it one of the most ethnically diverse of the nation. It may also be the most socio-economically diverse, with some of the biggest pockets of poverty and most exclusive of suburbs in the state.[5]

The designation Gateway Region has not caught on in local parlance, as the topography and self-identification of the residents tend not to correspond to the collective name. The terms North Jersey and Central Jersey are used in describing parts of the Gateway. The name may have been taken from the 1960s Newark nickname Gateway City after the newly developed Gateway Center downtown. Amtrak's high-speed rail project throughout the region is called Gateway. It is one of six tourism regions established by the New Jersey State Department of Tourism, the others being the Greater Atlantic City Region, the Southern Shore Region, the Delaware River Region, the Shore Region and the Skylands Region.[6] The Gateway National Recreation Area, though not located inside the Gateway Region, is nearby.


The Gateway Region is home to New Jersey's six largest municipalities: Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Woodbridge Township, and Edison. Major rivers and the bays include the Hudson River/Upper New York Bay, the Hackensack River and the Passaic River/Newark Bay, and the Raritan. The topography of the area is quite varied, with the Palisades and the Meadowlands in the northeast, the hills and valleys of the Watchung Mountains in the west, the Ramapo Mountains in the north, and tidal plains of the Raritan to the south. The confluence of the roads and railways of the Northeast Megalopolis make the region very heavily traveled. Chemical Coast is a nickname for the heavily industrial area along the Arthur Kill. Though there are broad distinctions between cities, suburbs, heavy industry, light manufacturing, recreational "green spaces", nature preserves, and retail, transportation, and maritime infrastructure, the landscape is characterized by their close proximity to each other, as is typical of urban sprawl.


Lenape and New Netherland

The Gateway Region was the territory of the Lenape Native Americans. Later called Delaware Indian, this collection of Algonquian-language speaking people included the Hackensack, Raritan, and Tappan. They are recalled in the countless number of place names given by them to towns, hills, and bodies of water. Much of the land was "purchased" by Dutch and English from the Lenape, though this concept of "ownership" was foreign to them. The Lenape retreated to the west as settlements grew, and "agreed" to re-locate in 1766 with the Treaty of Easton, though some became part of the Ramapough Mountain Indians.

Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company anchored his ship the Halve Maen (Half Moon) at Sandy Hook and Weehawken Cove in 1609. The area became part of the colonial province of New Netherland with headquarters in New Amsterdam. In 1630 the patroonship Pavonia was established and 1660, after series of confrontations with the Lenape, that the first chartered village was established on the west bank of the North River at Bergen Square, creating the oldest municipality in the state. Descendants of the New Netherlanders spread across North Jersey, and influenced its development and character for generations.[7]

Colonial America

The Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson

When the English entered New York Harbor in 1664, a negotiated surrender (which guaranteed religious tolerance and protection of private property) was made to transfer control of the area to the British crown. Elizabethtown was founded as the capitol and became the first officially English-speaking settlement, named after the wife of the province's proprietor, Sir George Cateret. In 1666, Newark was established by Puritans from Connecticut. By 1675, the region become the proprietary colony of East Jersey (establishing a border with New York State, which was formalized in 1738). It was partitioned into four counties for administrative purposes: Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County and Monmouth County. Settlement remained sparse, though some towns were created within farming communities and along rivers and bays. Among them are Perth Amboy in 1684, Hackensack and Piscataway[8] in 1693, and New Brunswick in 1736 (which later became home to Rutgers University). During the 18th century, migration inland increased along the Horseneck Tract and Raritan Valley. Slavery and indenture were encouraged to populate the area. The third public reading of The Declaration of Independence took place in New Brunswick, but many East Jerseyans became Tories. Several battles of American Revolution took place in the region including those at Connecticut Farms, Bound Brook, and Paulus Hook.

Invention, industry and immigration

Ellis Island was the first stop for most immigrants from Europe
The Thomas Edison factory in West Orange

The first steam engine in America was introduced at the Schuyler Copper Mine on New Barbadoes Neck in 1755.[9] In 1791, Alexander Hamilton help found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), which encouraged the harnessing of the water power of the Great Falls of the Passaic and to secure economic independence from British manufacturers. Paterson, which was founded by the society, became the cradle of the industrial revolution in America, supported in part by the Morris Canal built in the 1820s. A century later Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park, made his mark.[10] In 1872 the Singer Manufacturing Company of New York opened a factory in Elizabethport along Trumbull Street next to the intersection of the CNJ mainline with the Perth Amboy and Elizabethport Branch.[11] Many discoveries and inventions, or application or mass production of them, were made in the Gateway Region including the steam engine, the revolver, the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, the rocket engine, and the electric railway. It is the site of the first automobile and first submarine in the United States. It can claim to the birthplace of baseball and the American film industry, Television to the home was first broadcast in the Gateway.[12]

The latter half of the 19th century saw an explosion of the population.[13][14] German immigration to the United States after 1848 gave the parts of the region a distinctly German flavor. Rail lines which still cross-cross the region, led to the development of the shipping industry at the North River (Hudson River), Newark Bay, and Kill van Kull, and the beginnings of suburban developments such as Llewellyn Park. Streetcar suburbs also began to develop elsewhere.

The Bayway Refinery, which started in 1907, is the nation's northernmost and is along the corridor with other heavy industry. It was at this time that the Chemical Coast began to be developed. The Paterson Silk Strike took place in 1913. The Hudson Waterfront became home to heavy industry and shipping. Among the industries that would prosper in the first half of the 20th century were Alcoa Aluminum, the Ford Motor Company, Lever Brothers, Valvoline Oil Co. and Archer-Daniels-Midland.[15]

World Wars

The Pulaski Skyway

While immigration to Ellis Island decreased the population continued to grow, in part due to the Great Migration. Upon entry into World War I, the US government took the Hamburg-American Line piers in Hoboken under eminent domain, which became the major point of embarkation for more than three million soldiers, known as "doughboys". Camp Merritt was established in Cresskill for troop staging.[16] In 1916, an act of sabotage literally and figuratively shook the region when German agents set off bombs at the munitions depot in New York Bay at Black Tom.[17] Another act of sabotage known as the Kingsland Explosion occurred on January 11, 1917.[18] The T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion, though not considered sabotage, also caused tremendous damage.

The forerunner of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was established on April 30, 1921.[19] Huge transportation projects opened between the wars: The Holland Tunnel in 1927, The George Washington Bridge in 1931, The Bayonne Bridge in 1931, and The Lincoln Tunnel in 1937, allowing vehicular travel between New Jersey and New York City to bypass the waterfront. Hackensack River crossings, notably the Pulaski Skyway, were also built. Newark Airport was the first major airport in the New York Metropolitan Area, opening on October 1, 1928. At Houvenkopf Mountain crosses were burned by the Ku Klux Klan. Radburn was founded in 1929 as "a town for the motor age".[20][21] The Kearney Works of Western Electric kept the plant running with "make work" program,[22] similar to WPA projects.

The region played an important role in the World War II effort. PT boats were manufactured by Elco in Bayonne.[23] Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) was opened in 1942 as a U.S. military base (remained in operation until 1999).[24] General Motors produced planes at Linden Assembly.The Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company would produce over thirty ships before its closing in 1949.[25] In 1946, the baseball color line was first crossed at Roosevelt Stadium by Jackie Robinson.[26]

Post-war prosperity and urban decline

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The Second Great Migration and the G.I. Bill changed the social geography as well as the physical geography of the Gateway. Planned and built during the 1950s Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is the first and largest container port in the eastern United States. Direct distance dialing (DDD) was introduced on November 10, 1951, in Englewood[27] The northern parts of the New Jersey Turnpike were opened between 1952 and 1956. The metropolitan section (north of the Driscoll Bridge) of the Garden State Parkway was completed in 1957. Bergen Town Center was the first mall in New Jersey, opened in 1957, soon followed by Westfield Garden State Plaza.[28] and The Mall at Short Hills. Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal became the nation's first container terminal in 1958, and was for many years its busiest. The Newark Riots and the Plainfield Riots took place in 1967.

Pre- and post-millennium

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The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission was established in 1969 to protect the delicate balance of nature, provide for orderly development, and manage solid waste activities in the New Jersey Meadowlands District, and the Meadowlands Sports Complex opened in 1976. Terminals A, B, and C at Newark Airport were completed in 1973.

People's Express later made the airport its major hub, increasing the airport's passenger volumes. Liberty State Park opened in 1976. Gentrification of the Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City nineteenth-century districts began in the late 1970s, which led to the eventual redevelopment of the Hudson Waterfront. Secaucus Junction, Midtown Direct, and the Hudson–Bergen Light Rail began service and changed local commuting patterns. The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act was passed in 2004 to protect the watershed which supplies much of the region. Cory Booker became mayor of Newark in 2006. The Prudential Center opened in downtown Newark in 2007. American Dream Meadowlands, a large shopping and entertainment complex, opened on October 25, 2019.


The Gateway Region has an extensive network of national highways, state freeways, and toll roads; commuter and long-distance trains; an expanding light rail system; local and interstate bus routes; and is home to one of the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area's three major airports. Much of the rail and surface transit system is operated by New Jersey Transit and the high transit ridership is mostly oriented to commuters traveling to downtown Newark, lower and midtown Manhattan, and increasingly, the Hudson Waterfront. Outside of the most "city-like" areas of Greater Newark, Elizabeth, Hudson County, and Greater Paterson, the automobile remains the most common means of intra-regional travel.[29] The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest on the East Coast of the United States.


A train arriving at the upper level of Secaucus Junction station


Commercial scheduled passenger service:

General aviation:


Journal Square Transportation Center

Interstate crossings

Major highways


Containers at Port Elizabeth


The Port of New York and New Jersey is the nation's third busiest. Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, was the first in the nation to containerize,[30] It and Port Jersey in Bayonne and Jersey City include large segments that are part of Foreign Trade Zone 49.


The Gateway is part of the Greater New York media market.


Many communities have weekly local newspapers specific to their towns, while other daily newspapers have a broader readership and are commonly available in retail shops and for delivery. The following newspapers are daily newspapers serving the Gateway Region market.

Published in New Jersey

Published in New York


The region has ethnic market stations as well as commercial stations that mainly address the metropolitan New York City market as a whole. The WNJN network for New Jersey PBS affiliate stations provide New Jersey-specific news coverage.

Television stations located in and broadcasting from Gateway:

Cable and satellite
VHF stations (analog)
VHF stations (digital)
UHF stations (analog)
UHF stations (digital)


Radio stations in the Gateway Region include:


Main article: Cuisine of New Jersey


Main articles: New York City English and New Jersey English

Annual events

There are re-occurring events throughout the year in the Gateway including street fairs, First Nights, Summer stock theatre, county fairs, fireworks, and other festivals. Among them are:

Exhibitions and performances

Historic sites and exhibitions

The Gateway Region is home to many points of historical interest, including districts, private homes, places of worship, train stations, civic and industrial architecture, and structures of engineering significance. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal national symbols of mass immigration to the United States are all located on the Upper New York Bay. The Edison National Historic Site and the Great Falls of the Passaic River speak to the innovation of the region. Administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Register of Historic Places mirrors the National Register of Historic Places, and uses the same criteria for eligibility. Most counties have historical societies and many municipalities assign historic designation or preservation status. The New Jersey Historical Society maintains archives and promotes research. There are also museums with thematic exhibitions.

Science and natural history

Visual arts

Music and stage

Located near New York City, many residents and visitors take advantage of and contribute to performances in music, theater, and dance. There are many theater and dance companies throughout the region. Major companies, events, and performance venues include:

Prudential Center
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Kasser Theater

Sport teams and venues

See also: List of New York metropolitan area sports teams

The Gateway is home to five teams from major professional sports leagues playing in the state (though three teams identify as being from New York), as well as minor league teams. Since the 1970s several new stadiums and arenas have been built mostly near Downtown Newark or as part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which since 2009 can be reached with the Meadowlands Rail Line.[40]

The teams are:

The venues include:

Nature and outdoor recreation

Environmental centers

Meadowlands Environment Center


Presby Memorial Iris Gardens

National natural landmarks

Parks, reserves, and forests

Branch Brook Park during the Cherry Blossom Festival


State prisons

Superfund sites

The region has some of the highest concentration of super fund sites in the nation.[47]

Further information: List of Superfund sites in New Jersey

Universities and colleges

Dickson Hall (left)and University Hall (right) at Montclair State University
Old Queens, the oldest building at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, built between 1809 and 1825
Stevens Institute

See also


  1. ^ New-Jersey Towns Growing Up at the Expense of New-York. - View Article -
  2. ^ NEW SUBURBAN ERA DAWNING IN JERSEY - Tunnels, Bridges, and Railroad Improvements Broadening the Commuting Area. - View Article -
  3. ^ THE NEW-JERSEY SUBURBS. - How New-York is Extending on the West Side of the Hudson-Some Interesting Facts as to the Growth of New-Jersey Near the City New-York. - View Article...
  4. ^ The Favorable Locations Described. - Jersey City And Environs. Elizabeth. Linden. Plainfield. Route Of The New-Jersey Railroad. On The Morris And Essex Railroad. On The Erie R...
  5. ^ "This Land is Your Land. . . This Land is My Land - TIME". Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  6. ^ "Visitor Information - Regional Tourism". Archived from the original on 2009-08-20.
  7. ^ Voorhees, David William (2009). "The Dutch Legacy in America". Dutch New York:The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture. Yonkers, New York: Fordham University Press, with Hudson River Museum. ISBN 978-0-8232-3039-6.
  8. ^ The area was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire. Cheslow, Jerry. " If You're Thinking of Living in: Piscataway", The New York Times, June 28, 1992. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  9. ^ No. 1085: The First American Steam Engine Archived January 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ History of Northern New Jersey from Archived February 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "SINGER SEWING CO. – History". Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  12. ^ UCLA Film and Television Archive Television Programs Preserved 1988 - 2000. University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved February 18, 2007. Archived January 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "New Jersey Resident Population by County: 1880 - 1930". Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  14. ^ "Geostat Center: Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
  15. ^ Hall, Edgewater, p. 28 and pp. 33-37
  16. ^ Camp Merritt Accessed May 6, 2009. Archived December 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Black Tom Info from New Jersey City University Accessed May 6, 2009. Archived December 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Kingsland Explosion Accessed May 6, 2009. Archived August 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Port Authority Accessed May 6, 2009. Archived August 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ History from the Radburn Association website Archived June 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Western Electric History". Archived from the original on January 27, 2011.
  23. ^ Elco Accessed May 6, 2009. Archived April 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ MOTBY Accessed May 6, 2009. Archived April 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Kearny Yard. Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Roosevelt Stadium Archived December 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ 1951: First Direct-Dial Transcontinental Telephone Call, AT&T. Accessed June 8, 2007. "Nov. 10, 1951: Mayor M. Leslie Downing of Englewood, N.J., picked up a telephone and dialed 10 digits. Eighteen seconds later, he reached Mayor Frank Osborne in Alameda, Calif. The mayors made history as they chatted in the first customer-dialed long-distance call, one that introduced area codes." "AT&T Labs Research | AT&T". Archived from the original on June 20, 2007. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
  28. ^ Karsian, Dillon. "Garden State Plaza Reshaped Landscape."[permanent dead link], Shopping Center World, May 1, 1999. Accessed October 20, 2007. "Having undergone periodic renovations and expansions since its spring 1957 debut as an open-air center, the property today stands in the superregional class." [dead link]
  29. ^ Newark-Hudson Rail Mass Transit Map [dead link]
  30. ^ Doig, Jameson W. (2001). "Epilogue". Empire on the Hudson. Columbia University Press.
  31. ^ German American Volkvest Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Briggs, David; "'I was looking at him and I couldn't see color'" Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine Stories on the Passion Play controversy at Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Exhibit
  34. ^ Yogi Berra Museum Archived February 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ George Street Playhouse [dead link]
  36. ^ * Archived May 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ *New Jersey Youth Symphony Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^
  39. ^ UCPAC opening Archived April 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ HBLR/Meadowlands Rail map Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ *Flat Rock Brook Nature Center (Englewood, New Jersey) Archived April 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Department of Environmental Protection Archived May 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ *Meadowlands Environment Center Archived December 18, 2002, at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ * Hartshorn Arboretum Archived February 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ Greenwood Gardens, a historic public garden of Short Hills, New Jersey Archived December 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ Meadowlands Environment Center Archived December 18, 2002, at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ "These are the most toxic places in Northeastern New Jersey". 15 November 2016.

40°48′N 74°12′W / 40.8°N 74.2°W / 40.8; -74.2