About Westfield, NJ
Westfield, NJ is another community that has a slightly bigger city feel than other more rural towns in Jersey.
Westfield, New Jersey
Westfield is a town in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town’s population was 30,316, reflecting an increase of 672 (+2.3%) from the 29,644 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 774 (+2.7%) from the 28,870 counted in the 1990 Census. According to a 2014 nationwide survey, Westfield is considered to be the 30th safest city to live in the United States.
The old village area, now the downtown district, was settled in 1720 as part of the Elizabethtown Tract. Westfield was originally formed as a township on January 27, 1794, from portions of Elizabeth Township, while the area was still part of Essex County, and was incorporated on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey’s initial group of 104 townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature. It became part of the newly formed Union County on March 19, 1857. Portions of the township have been taken to form Rahway Township (February 27, 1804), Plainfield Township (April 5, 1847), Cranford Township (March 14, 1871), Fanwood Township (March 6, 1878; now known as Scotch Plains), Mountainside (September 25, 1895) and Hillside (April 3, 1913). The Town of Westfield was incorporated on March 4, 1903, replacing Westfield Township. The name of the town is derived from its location in the western, undeveloped fields of the Elizabethtown tract.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 6.743 square miles (17.463 km), including 6.719 square miles (17.401 km) of land and 0.024 square miles (0.062 km) of water (0.36%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Germantown.
Six municipalities border the town of Westfield: Mountainside to the north, Springfield Township to the northeast, Garwood and Cranford to the east, Clark to the southeast, and Scotch Plains to the west and southwest.
Westfield consists of two sides of the town, the North Side and the South Side. Neighborhoods include Brightwood, Country Club Estates, The Gardens, Indian Forest, Kimball Avenue Historic District, Manor Park, Stonehenge, Stoneleigh Park and Wychwood.
The Westfield Memorial Library was founded in 1873 as the “Every Saturday Book Club” and has evolved over the past century into the Westfield Memorial Library of today. The Library is located in a large, modern, Williamsburg-style building at 550 East Broad Street. The library’s collection consists of over 250,000 books, two dozen public computers, a wide array of multimedia options, a large youth services area with a vivid mural depicting Westfield history, and multiple tables and carrels for studying. The library offers classes for adults and children, storytimes for children, and computer instruction.
Westfield’s downtown features many local and national stores, such as Lord & Taylor and several landmarks that were shown and used in the NBC network television show Ed such as the Rialto Theater. There are over 40 restaurants and casual dining establishments throughout the downtown. Downtown is located mostly north of the Westfield train station. The downtown area has a mix of independent stores and boutiques as well as national stores. Over one-third of the retailers and restaurants have existed for 25 years or more.
Downtown Westfield, with over 200 retail establishments and 400 commercial enterprises, is a regional destination in New Jersey. The Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) manages the Special Improvement District (SID) area’s growth and enhancement. The DWC participates in the National Main Street program associated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is funded by a SID assessment on downtown properties and operates as the district’s management agency. The DWC sponsors marketing efforts and promotions, special event planning, urban design and building improvement projects. The DWC works closely with the town government and volunteer groups to improve the downtown area. In 2004, Westfield won the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust. In 2010, Westfield was the winner of America in Bloom contest for communities with a population of 25,001–50,000 against the other two towns entered in their category. Shopping and dining in Westfield attract citizens from other communities across the state.
Several war memorials (including ones dedicated to the Korean War, World War II, and the Spanish–American War) are located in a plaza near the downtown. The plaza is also home to the September 11 Memorial Park, which pays special tribute to the residents of Westfield who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
|* = Lost territory in previous decade.|
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 30,316 people, 10,566 households, and 8,199 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,512.2 per square mile (1,742.2/km). There were 10,950 housing units at an average density of 1,629.8 per square mile (629.3/km). The racial makeup of the town was 88.17% (26,729) White, 3.25% (984) Black or African American, 0.12% (36) Native American, 5.67% (1,718) Asian, 0.03% (10) Pacific Islander, 0.79% (241) from other races, and 1.97% (598) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.92% (1,492) of the population.
There were 10,566 households, of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.0% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the town, 30.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 22.5% from 25 to 44, 29.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.0 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.
The Census Bureau’s 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $127,799 (with a margin of error of +/- $10,580) and the median family income was $150,797 (+/- $11,480). Males had a median income of $111,762 (+/- $7,767) versus $71,217 (+/- $5,624) for females. The per capita income for the town was $63,498 (+/- $4,577). About 0.9% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.4% of those under age 18 and 2.0% of those age 65 or over.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the town had a total of 108.63 miles (174.82 km) of roadways, of which 96.69 miles (155.61 km) were maintained by the municipality, 9.94 miles (16.00 km) by Union County and 2.00 miles (3.22 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Westfield can be accessed by Exits 135 and 137 of the nearby Garden State Parkway, or by the Lawrence, Mountain, or Springfield Avenue exits of U.S. Route 22. A two-mile segment of New Jersey Route 28 runs alongside the commuter railroad that marks the boundary between the town’s North and South Sides.
New Jersey Transit (NJT) provides passenger rail service from the Westfield train station on the Raritan Valley Line to Newark Penn Station with connecting service to New York Penn Station. Westfield riders are able to make a one-seat ride into NY Penn Station during weekday off-peak hours. Westfield’s position and schedule on the Raritan Valley Line make it highly desirable for commuters, as several times in the morning and evening rush hours, a non-stop service operates to/from Newark Penn Station. On these non-stop services, the one-way journey time to/from NY Penn Station is 50 minutes or 20 minutes to/from Newark Penn Station. The NJT 113 bus route provides one-seat service to New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal seven days per week from the town center, taking approximately one hour to NYC, with additional service available along Route 22 on the northern edge of the town (NJT bus routes 114 and 117), taking approximately 45 minutes. The 59 route provides local bus service between Plainfield and Newark.
Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 20 minutes away, most conveniently reached via Route 22 or NJT trains. Linden Airport, a general aviation facility, is in nearby Linden, New Jersey.
A number of taxicab companies operate out of Westfield, mostly for transportation to and from airports. The Uber on-demand car service has recently increased in popularity in the area.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Westfield include:
- Charles Addams (1912–1988), cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, most famous for his cartoons of The Addams Family.
- Virginia Apgar (1909–1974), creator of the Apgar score for assessing health of newborns.
- Billy Ard (born 1959), former NFL guard for the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
- Richard Bagger (born 1960), former mayor, selected by Governor Chris Christie to be his chief of staff.
- Robert L. Barchi, President of Rutgers University.
- Bryan Beller (born 1971), bass guitarist known for his work with Mike Keneally, Steve Vai, Dethklok, James LaBrie of Dream Theater and Dweezil Zappa.
- Jon Bramnick (born 1953), member of the New Jersey General Assembly who has represented the 21st Legislative District since 2003.
- Brock Brower (1931-2014), novelist, magazine journalist and TV writer.
- Dave Brown (born 1970), NFL quarterback drafted in the 1st round of the supplemental draft, 1992-2000 (New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals).
- Steve Brozak (born 1961), Managing Partner and President of WBB Securities, LLC, a Democratic congressional candidate in the 2004 election cycle and the Chairman and CEO of StormBio, Inc.
- Robert N. Buck (1914–2007), aviator and author who broke 14 junior airspeed records in the 1930s, started his flying career at the Westfield Airport.
- Alan Bunce (1900-1965), radio and television actor.
- Gil Chapman (born 1953), running back and return specialist for the University of Michigan and New Orleans Saints.
- Steve Cheek (born 1977), NFL punter, 2001–2005 (San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers).
- Michael Chertoff (born 1953), United States Secretary of Homeland Security and former United States district court Judge.
- John Chironna (1928-2010), head coach of the Rhode Island Rams football team in 1961 and 1962.
- Chris Christie (born 1962), Governor of New Jersey, who lived in Westfield for a year while his home in Mendham was under construction.
- Pat Cosquer (born 1975), college squash coach.
- Alexander Wilson Drake (1843–1916), artist, collector and critic.
- Sara Driver (born 1955), independent filmmaker.
- Michael DuHaime (born 1974), Republican strategist and public affairs executive.
- Geoff Edwards (1931–2014), actor and game show host.
- Edward Einhorn (born 1970), children’s author, director and playwright.
- Mike Emanuel (born 1967), Washington correspondent for Fox News.
- Kevin Feige (born 1973), film producer and President of Marvel Studios.
- Michael Fennelly (born 1949), rock guitarist, singer and songwriter who performed with The Millennium and Crabby Appleton.
- Gina Glantz, political strategist, campaign manager, field director and consultant.
- Dan Graham (born 1942), artist, writer, and curator.
- Robert Greifeld, CEO of NASDAQ-OMX.
- Harry Hanan (1916–1982), cartoonist of the syndicated comic strip Louie.
- Walt Hansgen (1919-1966), racecar driver.
- Chuck Hardwick, politician and business leader who served as Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and was a candidate for Governor of New Jersey.
- Langston Hughes (1902–1967), poet.
- Clark Hulings (1922–2011), realist artist.
- Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960), folklorist.
- Robert Kaplow (born c. 1954), teacher and novelist whose coming-of-age novel was made into a film titled Me and Orson Welles.
- Thomas Kean, Jr. (born 1968), New Jersey State Senator and son of former Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean.
- Kevin Kelly (born 1952), founder of Wired magazine.
- Martin Kunert, film director and TV writer/producer (Voices of Iraq, MTV’s Fear, Campfire Tales).
- Christian J. Lambertsen (1917–2011), “the father of the Frogmen”.
- Marilyn Lange (born 1952), Playboy Playmate for May 1974 and Playmate of the Year for 1975.
- Richard Leigh (1943–2007), co-author of The New York Times best seller The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and other works of fiction and nonfiction.
- Margaret Carver Leighton (1896–1987), children’s author.
- Ira Lewis (1932–2015), actor and playwright (Chinese Coffee).
- John List (1925–2008), murderer convicted in the deaths of his wife, mother and three children.
- Andrew McCarthy (born 1962), actor who appeared in Weekend at Bernie’s.
- Patrick Morrisey (born 1967), elected as Attorney General of West Virginia in 2012.
- Randolph Perkins (1871–1936), mayor of Westfield from 1903 to 1905, and represented New Jersey’s 6th congressional district from 1921 to 1936.
- Paul Robeson (1898–1976), athlete, actor, singer, political activist, NFL guard from 1920 to 1922 for the Akron Pros and Milwaukee Badgers.
- Bret Schundler (born 1959), former Mayor of Jersey City and former New Jersey gubernatorial candidate.
- Coleen Sexton (born 1979), actress who made her Broadway debut at age 20 in Jekyll & Hyde in 2000.
- Matthew Sklar (born 1973), Tony Award-nominated composer for Broadway musicals Elf and The Wedding Singer, and associate conductor for many other productions.
- Dan Soucek (born 1969), North Carolina State Senator.
- Jeff Torborg (born 1941), MLB player and manager.
- P. Roy Vagelos (born 1929), former Chairman and CEO of Merck & Co.
- Jeffrey A. Warsh (born 1960), State Assemblyman and Executive Director of New Jersey Transit.
- Harrison A. Williams (1919–2001), U.S. Senator who was forced to resign in the face of expulsion due to his involvement in the Abscam case.
- Malinda Williams (born 1975), actress.
- Harold “Butch” Woolfolk (born 1960), NFL running back from 1982 to 1988 who played for the New York Giants, Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions.
- Dan Yemin, punk rock guitarist.