New Brunswick, New Jersey

New Brunswick is a city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States, in the New York City metropolitan area. The city is the county seat of Middlesex County,[21] and the home of Rutgers University. New Brunswick is on the Northeast Corridor rail line, 27 miles (43 km) southwest of Manhattan, on the southern bank of the Raritan River. As of 2018, New Brunswick had a Census-estimated population of 56,100,[12] representing a 3.1% increase from the 55,181 people enumerated at the 2010 United States Census,[9][10][11] which in turn had reflected an increase of 6,608 (+13.6%) from the 48,573 counted in the 2000 Census.[22] Due to the concentration of medical facilities in the area, including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Saint Peter's University Hospital, as well as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick is known as both the Hub City and the Healthcare City.[23][24] The corporate headquarters and production facilities of several global pharmaceutical companies are situated in the city, including Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

New Brunswick, New Jersey
One of multiple newer skyscrapers in Downtown New Brunswick, an educational and cultural district undergoing gentrification
Hub City, Healthcare City
Location within Middlesex County
New Brunswick
Location within New Jersey
New Brunswick
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 40.486678°N 74.444414°W / 40.486678; -74.444414[1][2]
Country United States
State New Jersey
EstablishedDecember 30, 1730
IncorporatedSeptember 1, 1784
Named forBraunschweig, Germany or King George II of Great Britain
  TypeFaulkner Act (Mayor-Council)
  BodyCity Council
  MayorJames M. Cahill (D, term ends December 31, 2018)[4][5]
  AdministratorDaniel A. Torrisi[6]
  Municipal clerkLeslie Zeledon [7]
  Total5.789 sq mi (14.995 km2)
  Land5.227 sq mi (13.539 km2)
  Water0.562 sq mi (1.456 km2)  9.71%
Area rank264th of 566 in state
14th of 25 in county[1]
Elevation62 ft (19 m)
  Rank27th of 566 in state
5th of 25 in county[13]
  Density10,556.4/sq mi (4,075.8/km2)
  Density rank34th of 566 in state
2nd of 25 in county[13]
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Codes
08901–08906, 08933, 08989[14][15]
Area code(s)732/848 and 908[16]
FIPS code3402351210[1][17][18]
GNIS feature ID0885318[1][19]
New Brunswick is the county seat for Middlesex County.
If I had to fall I wish it had been on the sidewalks of New York, not the sidewalks of New Brunswick, N.J.

Alfred E. Smith to Lew Dockstader in December 1923 on Dockstader's fall at what is now the State Theater.[20]

New Brunswick is noted for its ethnic diversity. At one time, one quarter of the Hungarian population of New Jersey resided in the city and in the 1930s one out of three city residents was Hungarian.[25] The Hungarian community continues to exist, alongside growing Asian and Hispanic communities that have developed around French Street near Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.


Origins of the name

The area around present-day New Brunswick was first inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans. The first European settlement at the site of New Brunswick was made in 1681. The settlement here was called Prigmore's Swamp (1681–1697), then known as Inian's Ferry (1691–1714).[26] In 1714, the settlement was given the name New Brunswick, after the city of Braunschweig (called Brunswick in the Low German language), in state of Lower Saxony, in Germany. Braunschweig was an influential and powerful city in the Hanseatic League and was an administrative seat for the Duchy of Hanover. Shortly after the first settlement of New Brunswick in colonial New Jersey, George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Elector of Hanover, became King George I of Great Britain. Alternatively, the city gets its name from King George II of Great Britain, the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.[27][28]

During the Colonial and Early American periods

Centrally located between New York City and Philadelphia along an early thoroughfare known as the King's Highway and situated along the Raritan River, New Brunswick became an important hub for Colonial travelers and traders. New Brunswick was incorporated as a town in 1736 and chartered as a city in 1784.[29] It was incorporated into a town in 1798 as part of the Township Act of 1798. It was occupied by the British in the winter of 1776–1777 during the Revolutionary War.[30]

The Declaration of Independence received one of its first public readings, by Col. John Neilson, in New Brunswick on July 9, 1776, in the days following its promulgation by the Continental Congress.[31][32][33]

The Trustees of Queen's College (now Rutgers University), founded in 1766, voted to locate the young college in New Brunswick, selecting the city over Hackensack, in Bergen County, New Jersey. Classes began in 1771 with one instructor, one sophomore, Matthew Leydt, and several freshmen at a tavern called the 'Sign of the Red Lion' on the corner of Albany and Neilson Streets (now the grounds of the Johnson & Johnson corporate headquarters). The Sign of the Red Lion was purchased on behalf of Queens College in 1771, and later sold to the estate of Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh in 1791.[34] Classes were held through the American Revolution in various taverns and boarding houses, and at a building known as College Hall on George Street, until Old Queens was erected in 1808.[35] It remains the oldest building on the Rutgers University campus.[36] The Queen's College Grammar School (now Rutgers Preparatory School) was established also in 1766, and shared facilities with the College until 1830, when it located in a building (now known as Alexander Johnston Hall) across College Avenue from Old Queens.[37] After Rutgers University became the state university of New Jersey in 1945,[38] the Trustees of Rutgers divested itself of Rutgers Preparatory School, which relocated in 1957 to an estate purchased from the Colgate-Palmolive Company in Franklin Township in neighboring Somerset County.[39]

The New Brunswick Theological Seminary, founded in 1784 in New York, moved to New Brunswick in 1810, sharing its quarters with the fledgling Queen's College. (Queen's closed from 1810 to 1825 due to financial problems, and reopened in 1825 as Rutgers College.)[40] The Seminary, due to overcrowding and differences over the mission of Rutgers College as a secular institution, moved to tract of land covering 7 acres (2.8 ha) located less than one-half mile (800 m) west, which it still occupies, although the land is now in the middle of Rutgers University's College Avenue Campus.

New Brunswick was formed by royal charter on December 30, 1730, within other townships in Middlesex and Somerset counties and was reformed by royal charter with the same boundaries on February 12, 1763, at which time it was divided into north and south wards. New Brunswick was incorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on September 1, 1784.[29]

African American community

Slavery in New Brunswick

The existence of an African American community in New Brunswick dates back to the 18th century, when racial slavery was a part of life in the city and the surrounding area. Local slaveholders routinely bought and sold African American children, women, and men in New Brunswick in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. In this period, the Market-House was the center of commercial life in the city. It was located at the corner of Hiram Street and Queen Street (now Neilson Street) adjacent to the Raritan Wharf. The site was a place where residents of New Brunswick sold and traded their goods which made it an integral part of the city's economy. The Market-House also served as a site for regular slave auctions and sales.[41]:101

By the late-eighteenth century, New Brunswick also became a hub for newspaper production and distribution. The Fredonian, a popular newspaper, was located less than a block away from the aforementioned Market-House and helped facilitate commercial transactions. A prominent part of the local newspapers were sections dedicated to private owners who would advertise their slaves for sale. The trend of advertising slave sales in newspapers shows that the New Brunswick residents typically preferred selling and buying slaves privately and individually rather than in large groups.[41]:103 The majority of individual advertisements were for female slaves, and their average age at the time of the sale was 20 years old, which was considered the prime age for childbearing. Slave owners would get the most profit from the women who fit into this category because these women had the potential to reproduce another generation of enslaved workers. Additionally, in the urban environment of New Brunswick, there was a high demand for domestic labor, and female workers were preferred for cooking and housework tasks.[41]:107

The New Jersey legislature passed An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in 1804.[42] Under the provisions of this law, children born to enslaved women after July 4, 1804, would serve their master for a term of 21 years (for girls) or a term of 25 years (for boys), and after this term, they would gain their freedom. However, all individuals who were enslaved before July 4, 1804, would continue to be slaves for life and would never attain freedom under this law. New Brunswick continued to be home to enslaved African Americans alongside a growing community of free people of color. The 1810 United States Census listed 53 free Blacks and 164 slaves in New Brunswick.[43]

African American spaces and institutions in the early 19th century

By the 1810s, some free African Americans lived in a section of the city called Halfpenny Town, which was located along the Raritan River by the east side of the city, near Queen (now Neilson) Street. Halfpenny Town was a place populated by free blacks and poorer white people who did not own slaves. This place was known as a social gathering for free blacks that was not completely influenced by white scrutiny and allowed free blacks to socialize among themselves. This does not mean that it was free from white eyes and was still under the derogatory effects of the slavery era.[41]:99 In the early decades of the nineteenth century, White and either free or enslaved African Americans shared many of the same spaces in New Brunswick, particularly places of worship. The First Presbyterian Church, Christ Church, and First Reformed Church were popular among both Whites and Blacks, and New Brunswick was notable for its lack of spaces where African Americans could congregate exclusively. Most of the time Black congregants of these churches were under the surveillance of Whites.[41]:113 That was the case until the creation of the African Association of New Brunswick in 1817.[41]:114–115

Both free and enslaved African Americans were active in the establishment of the African Association of New Brunswick, whose meetings were first held in 1817.[41]:112 The African Association of New Brunswick held a meeting every month, mostly in the homes of free blacks. Sometimes these meetings were held at the First Presbyterian Church. Originally intended to provide financial support for the African School of New Brunswick, the African Association grew into a space where blacks could congregate and share ideas on a variety of topics such as religion, abolition and colonization. Slaves were required to obtain a pass from their owner in order to attend these meetings. The African Association worked closely with Whites and was generally favored amongst White residents who believed it would bring more racial peace and harmony to New Brunswick.[41]:114–115

The African Association of New Brunswick decided to establish the African School in 1822. The African School was first hosted in the home of Caesar Rappleyea in 1823.[41]:114 The school was located on the upper end of Church Street in the downtown area of New Brunswick about two blocks away from the jail that held escaped slaves. Both free and enslaved Blacks were welcome to be members of the School.[41]:116 Reverend Huntington (pastor of the First Presbyterian Church) and several other prominent Whites were trustees of the African Association of New Brunswick. These trustees supported the Association which made some slave owners feel safe sending their slaves there by using a permission slip process.[41]:115 The main belief of these White supporters was that Blacks were still unfit for American citizenship and residence, and some trustees were connected with the American Colonization Society that advocated for the migration of free African Americans to Africa. The White trustees only attended some of the meetings of the African Association, and the Association was still unprecedented as a space for both enslaved and free Blacks to get together while under minimal supervision by Whites.[41]:116–117

The African Association appears to have disbanded after 1824. By 1827, free and enslaved Black people in the city, including Joseph and Jane Hoagland, came together to establish the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church and purchased a plot of land on Division Street for the purpose of erecting a church building. This was the first African American church in Middlesex County. The church had approximately 30 members in its early years. The church is still in operation and is currently located at 39 Hildebrand Way.[44]

Records from the April 1828 census, conducted by the New Brunswick Common Council, state that New Brunswick was populated with 4,435 white residents and 374 free African Americans. The enslaved population of New Brunswick in 1828 consisted of 57 slaves who must serve for life and 127 slaves eligible for manumission at age 21 or 25 due to the 1804 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery. Free and enslaved African Americans made up 11 percent of New Brunswick's population in 1828, a relatively high percentage for New Jersey.[41]:94 By comparison, as of the 1830 U.S. census, African Americans made up approximately 6.4% of the total population of New Jersey.[45]

Jail and curfew in the 19th century

In 1824, the New Brunswick Common Council adopted a curfew for free people of color. Free African Americans were not allowed to be out after 10 PM on Saturday night. The Common Council also appointed a committee of white residents who were charged with rounding up and detaining free African Americans who appeared to be out of place according to white authorities.[41]:98

New Brunswick became a notorious city for slave hunters, who sought to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Strategically located on the Raritan River, the city was also a vital hub for New Jersey's Underground Railroad. For runaway slaves in New Jersey, it served as a favorable route for those heading to New York and Canada. When African Americans tried to escape either to or from New Brunswick, they had a high likelihood of getting discovered and captured and sent to New Brunswick's gaol (pronounced "jail"), which was located on Prince Street, which by now is renamed Bayard Street.[41]:96

Hungarian community

New Brunswick began attracting a Hungarian immigrant population around the turn of the 20th century. Hungarians were primarily attracted to the city by employment at Johnson & Johnson factories located in the city. Hungarians settled mainly in what today is the Fifth Ward.

The immigrant population grew until the end of the early century immigration boom. During the Cold War, the community was revitalized by the decision to house refugees from the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution at Camp Kilmer, in nearby Edison. Even though the Hungarian population has been largely supplanted by newer immigrants, there continues to be a Hungarian Festival in the city held on Somerset Street on the first Saturday of June each year. Many Hungarian institutions set up by the community remain and are active in the neighborhood, including: Magyar Reformed Church, Ascension Lutheran Church, St. Ladislaus Roman Catholic Church, St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church, Hungarian American Athletic Club, Aprokfalva Montessori Preschool, Széchenyi Hungarian Community School & Kindergarten, Teleki Pál Scout Home, Hungarian American Foundation, Vers Hangja, Hungarian Poetry Group, Bolyai Lecture Series on Arts and Sciences, Hungarian Alumni Association, Hungarian Radio Program, Hungarian Civic Association, Committee of Hungarian Churches and Organizations of New Brunswick, and Csűrdöngölő Folk Dance Ensemble.

Several landmarks in the city also testify to its Hungarian heritage. There is a street and a recreation park named after Lajos Kossuth, the famous leader of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. The corner of Somerset Street and Plum Street is named Mindszenty Square where the first ever statue of Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty was erected. A stone memorial to the victims of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution also stands nearby.

Latino community

About 50% of New Brunswick's population is self-identified as Hispanic, the 14th highest percentage among municipalities in New Jersey.[9][46] Since the 1960s, many of the new residents of New Brunswick have come from Latin America. Many citizens moved from Puerto Rico in the 1970s. In the 1980s, many immigrated from the Dominican Republic, and still later from Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico.

Demolition, revitalization and redevelopment

New Brunswick is one of nine cities in New Jersey designated as eligible for Urban Transit Hub Tax Credits by the state's Economic Development Authority. Developers who invest a minimum of $50 million within a half-mile of a train station are eligible for pro-rated tax credit.[47][48]

New Brunswick contains a number of examples of urban renewal in the United States. In the 1960s-1970s, the downtown area became blighted as middle class residents moved to newer suburbs surrounding the city, an example of the phenomenon known as "white flight." Beginning in 1975, Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson and the local government collaborated through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to form the New Brunswick Development Company (DevCo), with the goal of revitalizing the city center and redeveloping neighborhoods considered to be blighted and dangerous (via demolition of existing buildings and construction of new ones).[49] Johnson & Johnson decided to remain in New Brunswick and built a new world headquarters building in the area between Albany Street, Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, Route 18, and George Street, requiring many old buildings and historic roads to be removed. The Hiram Market area, a historic district that by the 1970s had become a mostly Puerto Rican and Dominican-American neighborhood, was demolished to build a Hyatt hotel and conference center, and upscale housing.[50] Johnson & Johnson guaranteed Hyatt Hotels' investment as they were wary of building an upscale hotel in a run-down area.

Devco, the hospitals, and the city government have drawn ire from both historic preservationists, those opposing gentrification[51] and those concerned with eminent domain abuses and tax abatements for developers.[52]

New Brunswick is home to the main campus of Rutgers University and Johnson and Johnson, which built a new headquarters in 1983.[53][54][55] Both work with Devco in a public–private partnership to redevelop downtown, particularly with transit-oriented development.[56][57][58][59][60][61][62] Boraie Development, a real estate development firm based in New Brunswick, has developed projects using the incentives provided by Devco and the state.

Tallest buildings

Christ Church, originally built in 1742, was the tallest building at the time of construction. A steeple was added in 1773 and replaced in 1803.[63] The six-story First Reformed Church, bullt in 1812 was long the city's tallest structure.[64] One of the earliest tall commercial buildings in the city was the eight-story 34.29 m (112.5 ft) National Bank of New Jersey built in 1908.[65][66] The four nine-story 38 m (125 ft) buildings of the New Brunswick Homes housing project originally built in 1958 were demolished by implosion in 2000.[67][68][69] While there no buildings over 100 meters (330 feet) in the city, since the millennium a number of high-rise residential buildings[70] clustered around New Brunswick station have joined those built in the 1960s on the city's skyline.[71][72][73][74][75] In 2008 there was a proposal to construct a 142 m (466 ft) New Brunswick Cultural Center Tower, which would have been the city's tallest building.[76][77] In 2017 it was announced that a new building that would include an performing arts center would be built on the site of the George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre and would include 18 stories of residential units.[78][79][80] A new complex, The Hub, will contain the city's tallest buildings upon completion.[81][82]

Location of the top five tallest buildings within New Brunswick.
Rank Name image Height
Floors Year Notes
1 The Vue 91 m (299 ft) 24 2012 Louis Berger Group[83][72][84][85][86]
2 One Spring Street 78 m (256 ft) 23 2006 Costas Kondylis[87][72][88][89][90]
3- New Brunswick Performing Arts Center 75.62 m (248.1 ft) 23 2019[91] Elkus Manfredi Architects[92][93][94][95]


3- Colony House 75 m (246 ft) 20 1962 [72][97][98]
4 1 Johnson and Johnson Plaza 70 m (230 ft) 16 1983 I. M. Pei[72][99][100]

[61][101] [53][55][102]

5 Skyline Tower 59 m (194 ft) 14 1967/2003 [72][103][104][105]
6 Schatzman-Fricano Apartments 59 m (194 ft) 14 1963 [72][106]
7 The George 14 2013 [107][108][105]
8 Riverside Towers 54 m (177 ft) 13 1964 [72][109][110]
9 The Heldrich 50 m (160 ft) 11 2007 [72][111][112]
10 Rockhoff Hall/SoCam290 50 m (160 ft) 12 2005 [72][113][114][115][116][117]
11 Aspire 49 m (161 ft) 16/17 2015 Bradford Perkins[118][119][120][121][122]"Explainer".
12 The Yard[123] 49 m (161 ft) 14 2016[124] Elkus/Manfredi Architects[125][126][127]
13 410 George Street 47 m (154 ft) 11 1989 Rothe-Johnson Architects[72][128]
14 University Center 45.3 m (149 ft) 12 1994 [72][129][130]

Under construction and proposed

Name image Height
Floors Year Notes
The Standard 76 m (249 ft) 22 2014 (approved) Mark S. Carelli[131][132][133]
The Hub (1) 300 ft (91 m) 25 (proposed) Kohn Pedersen Fox[134][135][136][137][138][139]
The Hub (2) 300 ft (91 m) 25 (proposed) Kohn Pedersen Fox[134][135][139]
The Hub (3) 14 (proposed) Kohn Pedersen Fox[134]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 5.789 square miles (14.995 km2), including 5.227 square miles (13.539 km2) of land and 0.562 square miles (1.456 km2) of water (9.71%).[1][2] New Brunswick is in Raritan Valley (a line of cities in central New Jersey). New Brunswick is on the south side of Raritan Valley along with Piscataway Township, Highland Park, Edison Township, and Franklin Township. New Brunswick lies southwest of Newark and New York City and northeast of Trenton and Philadelphia.

New Brunswick is bordered by Piscataway, Highland Park and Edison across the Raritan River to the north by way of the Donald and Morris Goodkind Bridges, and also by North Brunswick Township to the southwest, East Brunswick Township to the southeast, and Franklin Township.[140]

While the city does not hold elections based on a ward system it has been so divided.[141][142][143] There are several neighborhoods in the city, which include the Fifth Ward, Feaster Park, Lincoln Park,[144] Raritan Gardens, and Edgebrook-Westons Mills.[141]


New Brunswick has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) typical to New Jersey, characterized by humid, hot summers and moderately cold winters with moderate to considerable rainfall throughout the year. There is no marked wet or dry season.

Climate data for New Brunswick, New Jersey
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 39.2
Average low °F (°C) 21.8
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.62
Average snowfall inches (cm) 8.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.7 9.2 10.5 11.8 12.2 11.2 10.4 9.3 8.7 8.9 9.5 9.9 122.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.6 3.7 2.3 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 2.2 13.5
Source: NOAA[145][146]


Historical population
Est. 201856,100[12]1.7%
Population sources:
1860–1920[147] 1840–1890[148]
1850–1870[149] 1850[150]
1870[151] 1880–1890[152]
1890–1910[153] 1860–1930[154]
1930–1990[155] 2000[156][157] 2010[9][10][11]

Census 2010

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 55,181 people, 14,119 households, and 7,751.331 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,556.4 per square mile (4,075.8/km2). There were 15,053 housing units at an average density of 2,879.7 per square mile (1,111.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 45.43% (25,071) White, 16.04% (8,852) Black or African American, 0.90% (498) Native American, 7.60% (4,195) Asian, 0.03% (19) Pacific Islander, 25.59% (14,122) from other races, and 4.39% (2,424) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49.93% (27,553) of the population.[9]

There were 14,119 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.2% were married couples living together, 17.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.1% were non-families. 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.36 and the average family size was 3.91.[9]

In the city, the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 33.2% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 12.2% from 45 to 64, and 5.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23.3 years. For every 100 females there were 105.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 105.3 males.[9]

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $44,543 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,356) and the median family income was $44,455 (+/- $3,526). Males had a median income of $31,313 (+/- $1,265) versus $28,858 (+/- $1,771) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $16,395 (+/- $979). About 15.5% of families and 25.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.4% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.[158]

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 48,573 people, 13,057 households, and 7,207 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,293.5 per square mile (3,585.9/km2). There were 13,893 housing units at an average density of 2,658.1 per square mile (1,025.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.7% White, 24.5% African American, 1.2% Native American, 5.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 21.0% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 39.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[156][157]

There were 13,057 households of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.6% were married couples living together, 18.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.23 and the average family size was 3.69.[156][157]

20.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 34.0% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 11.3% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.[156][157]

The median household income in the city was $36,080, and the median income for a family was $38,222. Males had a median income of $25,657 versus $23,604 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,308. 27.0% of the population and 16.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 25.9% were under the age of 18 and 13.8% were 65 or older.[156][157]


Health care

City Hall has promoted the nickname "The Health Care City" to reflect the importance of the healthcare industry to its economy.[159] The city is home to the world headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, along with several medical teaching and research institutions including Saint Peter's University Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital.[160] There is also a public high school in New Brunswick focused on health sciences, the New Brunswick Health Sciences Technology High School.[161]

Urban Enterprise Zone

Portions of the city are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), one of 32 zones covering 37 municipalities statewide. New Brunswick was selected in 2004 as one of two zones added to participate in the program.[162] In addition to other benefits to encourage employment and investment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the 6 58% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.[163] Established in December 2004, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2024.[164][165]

Arts and culture


Three neighboring professional venues, Crossroads Theatre designed by Parsons+Fernandez-Casteleiro Architects from New York. In 1999, the Crossroads Theatre won the prestigious Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Crossroads is the first African American theater to receive this honor in the 33-year history of this special award category.[166] There is also George Street Playhouse, and the State Theatre, which form the heart of the local theatre scene. Crossroad Theatre houses American Repertory Ballet and the Princeton Ballet School. Rutgers University has a number of student companies that perform everything from cabaret acts to Shakespeare and musical productions.


Owing in part to its abundance of Rutgers University graduates, New Brunswick has developed a rich history in homegrown journalism over the years. One current news outlet is New Brunswick Today a print and digital publication launched in 2011 by Rutgers journalism alumnus Charlie Kratovil[167] which uses the tagline "Independent news for the greater New Brunswick community". The publication has covered issues with the city's water utility among others and was featured on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee[168].


New Brunswick is the site of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (founded in 1966),[169] Albus Cavus, and the Rutgers University Geology Museum (founded in 1872).[170]

Fine arts

New Brunswick was an important center for avant-garde art in the 1950s-70s with several artists such as Allan Kaprow, George Segal, George Brecht, Robert Whitman, Robert Watts, Lucas Samaras, Geoffrey Hendricks, Wolf Vostell and Roy Lichtenstein; some of whom taught at Rutgers University. This group of artists was sometimes referred to as the 'New Jersey School' or the 'New Brunswick School of Painting'. The YAM Festival was venue on May 19, 1963 to actions and Happenings. For more information, see Fluxus at Rutgers University.[171][172]

Grease trucks

The "Grease Trucks" were a group of truck-based food vendors located on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University. They were known for serving "Fat Sandwiches," sub rolls containing several ingredients such as steak, chicken fingers, French fries, falafel, cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, gyro meat, bacon, eggs and marinara sauce. In 2013 the grease trucks were removed for the construction of a new Rutgers building and were forced to move into various other areas of the Rutgers-New Brunswick Campus.[173]


New Brunswick's bar scene has been the home to many original rock bands, including some which went on to national prominence such as The Smithereens and Bon Jovi, as well as a center for local punk rock and underground music. Many alternative rock bands got radio airplay thanks to Matt Pinfield who was part of the New Brunswick music scene for over 20 years at Rutgers University radio station WRSU. Local pubs and clubs hosted many local bands, including the Court Tavern[174] until 2012[175] (since reopened),[176] and the Melody Bar during the 1980s and 1990s. As the New Brunswick basement scene grows in popularity, it was ranked the number 4 spot to see Indie bands in New Jersey.[177] In March 2017, wrote that "even if Asbury Park has recently returned as our state's musical nerve center, with the brick-and-mortar venues and infrastructure to prove it, New Brunswick remains as the New Jersey scene's unadulterated, pounding heart."[178]


New Brunswick City Hall, the New Brunswick Free Public Library, and the New Brunswick Main Post Office are located in the city's Civic Square government district, as are numerous other city, county, state, and federal offices.

Local government

The City of New Brunswick is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government. The governing body consists of a mayor and a five-member City Council, all elected at-large in partisan elections to four-year terms of office in even years as part of the November general election. The City Council's five members are elected on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election every other year. As the legislative body of New Brunswick's municipal government, the City Council is responsible for approving the annual budget, ordinances and resolutions, contracts, and appointments to boards and commissions. The Council President, elected to a two-year term by the members of the Council, presides over all meetings.[3]

As of 2018, Democrat James Cahill is the 62nd Mayor of New Brunswick; he was sworn in as Mayor on January 1, 1991 and is serving a term that expires on December 31, 2018.[4] [179] Members of the City Council are Council President Glenn J. Fleming Sr. (D, 2020), Council Vice President John A. Andersen (D, 2020), Kevin P. Egan (D, 2018), Rebecca H. Escobar (D, 2018) and Suzanne M. Sicora Ludwig (D, 2020).[180][181] [182][183][184]

Police department

The New Brunswick police department has received attention for various incidents over the years. In 1991, the fatal shooting of Shaun Potts, an unarmed black resident, by Sergeant Zane Grey led to multiple local protests.[185] In 1996, Officer James Consalvo fatally shot Carolyn "Sissy" Adams, an unarmed prostitute who had bit him.[186] The Adams case sparked calls for reform in the New Brunswick police department, and ultimately was settled with the family.[187] Two officers, Sgt. Marco Chinchilla and Det. James Marshall, were convicted of running a bordello in 2001. Chinchilla was sentenced to three years and Marshall was sentenced to four.[188] In 2011, Officer Brad Berdel fatally shot Barry Deloatch, a black man who had run from police (although police claim he struck officers with a stick);[189] this sparked daily protests from residents.[190]

Following the Deloatch shooting, sergeant Richard Rowe was formally charged with mishandling 81 Internal Affairs investigations; Mayor Cahill explained that this would help "rebuild the public's trust and confidence in local law enforcement."[191]

Federal, state and county representation

New Brunswick is located in the 6th Congressional District[192] and is part of New Jersey's 17th state legislative district.[10][193][194]

For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Sixth Congressional District is represented by Frank Pallone (D, Long Branch).[195][196] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021)[197] and Bob Menendez (Paramus, term ends 2025).[198][199]

For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 17th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Bob Smith (D, Piscataway) and in the General Assembly by Joseph Danielsen (D, Franklin Township, Somerset County) and Joseph V. Egan (D, New Brunswick).[200][201]

Middlesex County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose seven members are elected at-large on a partisan basis to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects from among its members a Freeholder Director and Deputy Director. As of 2015, Middlesex County's Freeholders (with party affiliation, term-end year, residence and committee chairmanship listed in parentheses) are Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios (D, term ends December 31, 2015, Carteret; Ex-officio on all committees),[202] Freeholder Deputy Director Carol Barrett Bellante (D, 2017; Monmouth Junction, South Brunswick Township; County Administration),[203] Kenneth Armwood (D, 2016, Piscataway; Business Development and Education),[204] Charles Kenny ( D, 2016, Woodbridge Township; Finance),[205] H. James Polos (D, 2015, Highland Park; Public Safety and Health),[206] Charles E. Tomaro (D, 2017, Edison; Infrastructure Management)[207] and Blanquita B. Valenti (D, 2016, New Brunswick; Community Services).[208][209] Constitutional officers are County Clerk Elaine M. Flynn (D, Old Bridge Township),[210] Sheriff Mildred S. Scott (D, 2016, Piscataway)[211] and Surrogate Kevin J. Hoagland (D, 2017; New Brunswick).[209][212]


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 22,742 registered voters in New Brunswick, of which 8,732 (38.4%) were registered as Democrats, 882 (3.9%) were registered as Republicans and 13,103 (57.6%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 25 voters registered to other parties.[213]

Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016[214] 14.1% 1,516 81.9% 8,776 4.0% 426
2012[215] 14.3% 1,576 83.4% 9,176 2.2% 247
2008[216] 14.8% 1,899 83.3% 10,717 1.1% 140
2004[217] 19.7% 2,018 78.2% 8,023 1.4% 143

In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 81.9% of the vote (8,779 cast), ahead of Republican Donald Trump with 14.1% (1,516 votes), and other candidates with 4.0% (426 votes), among the 10,721 ballots cast.[218] In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 83.4% of the vote (9,176 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 14.3% (1,576 votes), and other candidates with 2.2% (247 votes), among the 11,106 ballots cast by the township's 23,536 registered voters (107 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 47.2%.[219][220] In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 83.3% of the vote (10,717 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 14.8% (1,899 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (140 votes), among the 12,873 ballots cast by the township's 23,533 registered voters, for a turnout of 54.7%.[216] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 78.2% of the vote (8,023 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 19.7% (2,018 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (143 votes), among the 10,263 ballots cast by the township's 20,734 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 49.5.[217]

Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2017[221] 13.6% 590 83.1% 3,616 3.4% 148
2013[222] 31.2% 1,220 66.5% 2,604 2.3% 92
2009[223] 20.9% 1,314 68.2% 4,281 8.2% 515
2005[224] 17.2% 880 76.9% 3,943 4.2% 214

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 66.5% of the vote (2,604 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 31.2% (1,220 votes), and other candidates with 2.3% (92 votes), among the 3,991 ballots cast by the township's 23,780 registered voters (75 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 16.8%.[225][226] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 68.2% of the vote (4,281 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 20.9% (1,314 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.2% (387 votes) and other candidates with 2.0% (128 votes), among the 6,273 ballots cast by the township's 22,534 registered voters, yielding a 27.8% turnout.[223]


Public schools

The New Brunswick Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide,[227] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[228][229] The district's nine-member Board of Education is elected at large, with three members up for election on a staggered basis each April to serve three-year terms of office; until 2012, the members of the Board of Education were appointed by the city's mayor.[230]

As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its 10 schools had an enrollment of 10,230 students and 724.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.1:1.[231] Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[232]) are Lincoln Elementary School[233] / Lincoln Annex School[234] (grades PreK-5; 711 students), Livingston Elementary School[235] (K-5; 581), McKinley Community Elementary School[236] (PreK-8; 876), A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School[237] (PreK-5; 781), Paul Robeson Community School For The Arts[238] (PreK-5; 575), Roosevelt Elementary School[239] (PreK-5; 878), Lord Stirling Elementary School[240] (PreK-5; 643), Woodrow Wilson Elementary School[241] (PreK-8; 443), New Brunswick Middle School[242] (6-8; 1,365), New Brunswick High School[243] (9-12; 1,765) and Health Sciences Technology High School[244] (9-12; NA).[245][246]

The community is also served by the Greater Brunswick Charter School, a K-8 charter school with an enrollment of about 250 children from New Brunswick, Highland Park, Edison and other area communities.[247]

Higher education


Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the city had 73.24 miles (117.87 km) of roadways, of which 56.13 miles (90.33 km) were maintained by the municipality, 8.57 miles (13.79 km) by Middlesex County, 7.85 miles (12.63 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 0.69 miles (1.11 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.[251]

The city encompasses the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and Route 18, and is bisected by Route 27. New Brunswick hosts less than a mile of the New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95). A few turnpike ramps are in the city that lead to Exit 9 which is just outside the city limits in East Brunswick Township.

Other major roads that are nearby include the Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge Township and Interstate 287 in neighboring Edison, Piscataway and Franklin townships.

New Brunswick Parking Authority manages 14 ground-level and multi-story parking facilities across the city.[252][253] CitiPark manages a downtown parking facility at 2 Albany Street.[254][255]

Public transportation

New Brunswick is served by NJ Transit and Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor Line.[256] NJ Transit provides frequent service north to Pennsylvania Station, in Midtown Manhattan, and south to Trenton, while Amtrak's Keystone Service and Northeast Regional trains service the New Brunswick station.[257] The Jersey Avenue station is also served by Northeast Corridor trains.[258] For other Amtrak connections, riders can take NJ Transit to Penn Station (New York or Newark), Trenton, or Metropark.

Local bus service is provided by NJ Transit's 810, 811, 814, 815, 818 routes and 980 route,[259] the extensive Rutgers Campus bus network,[260] the MCAT/BrunsQuiDASHck shuttle system,[261] DASH/CAT buses,[262] and NYC bound Suburban Trails buses.[263] Studies are being conducted to create the New Brunswick Bus Rapid Transit system.

Intercity bus service from New Brunswick to Columbia, Maryland and Washington, DC is offered by OurBus Prime.[264]

New Brunswick was at the eastern terminus of the Delaware and Raritan Canal, of which there are remnants surviving or rebuilt along the river.[265] Until 1936, the city was served by the interurban Newark–Trenton Fast Line.

  • On April 18, 1872, at New Brunswick, William Cameron Coup developed the system of loading circus equipment and animals on railroad cars from one end and through the train, rather than from the sides. This system would be adopted by other railroad circuses and used through the golden age of railroad circuses and even by the Ringling shows today.
  • The play and movie 1776 (film) discusses the Continental Army under General George Washington being stationed at New Brunswick, NJ in June 1776 and being inspected by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Chase of Maryland as members of the War Committee.
  • The 1980s sitcom, Charles in Charge, was set in New Brunswick.[266]
  • The 2004 movie Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle revolves around Harold and Kumar's attempt to get to a White Castle restaurant and includes a stop in a fictionalized New Brunswick.[267]

Points of interest

Places of worship

  • Abundant Life Family Worship Church - founded in 1991.[269]
  • Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple (Reform Judaism) - established in 1859.[270]
  • Ascension Lutheran Church - founded in 1908 as The New Brunswick First Magyar Augsburg Evangelical Church.[271]
  • Christ Church, Episcopal - granted a royal charter in 1761.[272]
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church
  • First Baptist Church of New Brunswick, American Baptist
  • First Presbyterian, Presbyterian (PCUSA)
  • First Reformed Reformed (RCA)
  • Kirkpatrick Chapel at Rutgers University (nondenominational)
  • Magyar Reformed, Calvinist
  • Mount Zion AME (African Methodist Episcopal)
  • Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church
  • Point Community Church
  • Saint Joseph, Byzantine Catholic
  • Saint Ladislaus, Roman Catholic
  • Saint Mary of Mount Virgin Church, Remsen Avenue and Sandford Street, Roman Catholic
  • Sacred Heart Church, Throop Avenue, Roman Catholic
  • Saint Peter the Apostle Church, Somerset Street, Roman Catholic
  • Second Reformed Church, Reformed (RCA)
  • Sharon Baptist Church
  • United Methodist Church at New Brunswick
  • Voorhees Chapel at Rutgers University (nondenominational)

Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with the City of New Brunswick include:

Sister cities

New Brunswick has four sister cities, as listed by Sister Cities International:[357][358]

See also


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