Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: The Ironbound, Newark

  1. #1

    Default The Ironbound, Newark

    January 11, 2004

    IF YOU'RE THINKING OF LIVING IN | THE IRONBOUND

    A Home Away From Home for Immigrants

    By JULIA LAWLOR


    Ferry Street, the commercial center of the Ironbound, reflects the area's strong Portuguese flavor.

    THE working-class area in Newark's East Ward known as the Ironbound is the first stop on many an immigrant's pursuit of the American dream, beckoning with its low-cost housing, close-knit community and convenient location.

    Often the journey ends not with a house in a leafy suburb, but on the gritty streets of the Ironbound itself. Some new arrivals may have the means to leave, but they do not have the heart to do so.

    "What's so special about this place is that it's a community, a little village," said Linda Rodrigues, a daughter of Portuguese immigrants and raised in the Ironbound.

    Dr. Rodrigues, chairwoman of the foreign language department at the New School University, returned to the Ironbound in 1976 after living briefly in New York City. From her living room she can gaze across the street at the house where she grew up. She can stroll along the Ironbound's commercial center, Ferry Street, and bump into someone she knows on every block. Traffic is congested, to be sure, and there is a severe shortage of parking spaces. But, she said, "I don't want to live anyplace else."

    The Ironbound, which comprises roughly four square miles east of Newark's Pennsylvania Station, between the Passaic River and Newark Liberty International Airport, is a mix of homes, stores and industrial buildings, with a vibrant commercial center of shops, ethnic restaurants, cafes and clubs on Ferry Street.

    Portuguese immigrants started arriving in the 1920's to join a population that was largely Polish, Italian, Irish and German. There was also a sizable number of blacks in the 1950's and 1960's, Ms. Rodrigues said, but the number has dwindled.

    Relaxed immigration laws resulted in a large influx of Portuguese in the 1960's and 1970's. The next wave of immigrants, in the late 1980's and early 1990's, were Portuguese-speaking Brazilians. More recently, there have been Spanish speakers from South America and Mexico.

    Only about 15 percent of the housing in the Ironbound is single-family, according to Arthur Rosa, president of the Rosa Agency, a local real estate firm. Two- and three-family houses make up about 60 percent of the market, he said, and the remainder is apartment buildings with four or more units.

    Prices have doubled in the last five years and more than tripled in 10 years, Mr. Rosa said. Existing single-family homes range from the low- to the mid-$200,000's, two-family housing is in the mid-$300,000 range, and three-family houses in the mid-$400,000's. New two-family houses start in the mid-$400,000's and new three-families go for well over $500,000.

    SINCE the late 1990's, demand for housing has been high, said Manuel Morais, president of Century 21 Central Realty in the Ironbound. Some 900 new homes have been built in the last decade.

    In the past three months, however, sales have slowed, in part because a revaluation in Newark has caused property taxes to soar, said Manny Fernandes, sales manager for Century 21. Dr. Rodrigues's taxes doubled, for example, to $7,600 from $3,700.

    The demand for rental apartments in the Ironbound exceeds the supply, and most tenants are found by word of mouth.

    Matt McCracken, an architect, moved to the Ironbound from London four years ago, renting a large three-bedroom apartment on Ferry Street with access to a backyard for $1,200 a month. He likes the short commute to his office in Manhattan, and he can walk to the supermarket, the barber, the neighborhood bar. "You feel like you're in a community as soon as you walk into the Ironbound," he said.

    This closeness attracted many Portuguese immigrants to the Ironbound. Jobs were available in the many factories and there were people happy to help them find work and a place to stay. Today, there are some 20 Portuguese social clubs, most representing a single town or province of Portugal. The clubs help new immigrants, but mainly offer programs that keep the Portuguese traditions alive.

    The oldest of the clubs, the Sport Club Portuguese, was founded in 1921 and has 1,000 members from all regions of Portugal, said its president, Jack Costa. It sponsors nine soccer teams and a troupe that performs traditional Portuguese dances. It also founded the Luis de Cames School, which teaches Portuguese history and language. "This is a way to show our kids where we came from," Mr. Costa said.

    Brazilians now make up about half of the Portuguese-speaking population in the Ironbound, where initial tensions over cultural differences between mainland Portuguese and Brazilians have largely disappeared.

    Grass is a rare sight in the Ironbound today, but when Newark was founded in 1666, the area was all farmland. Early on, said Charles F. Cummings, a Newark city historian, the Ironbound area was referred to as "Dutch Neck" and then "Down Neck" because of the way the Passaic River curved to form what looked like a neck.

    The Ironbound's present name may stem from the many forges and foundries there in the second half of the 19th century, Mr. Cummings said. But the name might also have come from the rail tracks that surrounded the area when the railroads were built in the 1830's.

    The Ironbound soon developed into the industrial center of the city, where the poorest residents lived and toiled in factories 12 hours a day, six days a week. At one time it was filled with breweries, according to Mr. Cummings. The most famous, Ballantine, opened there early in the 19th century. The Ballantine brewery closed in the 1970's, as did many other Ironbound factories.

    A big fear of many Ironbound residents today is that the jump in property taxes late last year will force them out of the area. Many tax bills have more than doubled, said Augusto Amador, a City Council member for the East Ward, which encompasses the Ironbound. "This is causing a lot of pain, and those most affected are the senior citizens who can't afford to pay," he said. One realtor cited the case of an elderly woman whose taxes jumped from $700 in 2002 to $3,900 at the end of last year.

    Mr. Amador is proposing an ordinance to allow elderly and disabled homeowners in one- and two-family houses to defer paying the tax increase until their homes are sold.

    The lack of space for recreation, for parking, for expanded schools and playgrounds is another concern. The Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Riverbank Park was saved from being turned into a minor league baseball stadium by a group called Friends of Riverbank Park. After extensive renovation, it reopened last year. A new park, Joseph Minisch Park, is being built alongside the Passaic River.

    "Open space is a major quality of life issue in the Ironbound," said Joseph Della Fave, executive director of the Ironbound Community Corporation. "We have half an acre of park space for every 1,000 residents, compared with seven and a half acres of park space for every 1,000 residents in New York and other major cities." Mr. Della Fave's office is favors amending the master plan to require new developments to set aside space for parking and playgrounds.

    The housing boom has led to overcrowding in the Ironbound's schools. In the area's six elementary schools, class sizes through fourth grade average in the mid-20's, according to Ray Lindgren, executive assistant to the superintendent of schools. State guidelines call for no more than 21 students per class in those grades.

    Dr. Lindgren said classes in the upper grades can reach 30 students, though guidelines state there should be no more than 24. Some schools use trailers for classrooms.

    The district is planning to replace all the elementary schools, most built more than 100 years ago. Two new schools are to be built on the sites of existing schools; the rest will be built elsewhere and the present buildings used for other purposes. A new East Side High School is to be built at the old Ballantine brewery site.

    Eight years ago, the state took over the Newark public schools, largely because of problems with fiscal management and academic achievement. Dr. Lindgren said that there had been a "major turnaround in the fiscal area" in the schools and that academic achievement had improved, "although it is not where it needs to be."

    STILL, the Ironbound has one of the jewels of the district: the Ann Street School. In 1999, the school, for pupils in prekindergarten through eighth grade, received a National Blue Ribbon award, the only urban school in New Jersey to do so that year, according to Dr. Lindgren. The award is based on the quality of curriculum, special programs offered and student test scores, he said.

    On statewide assessment tests, the percentage of fourth graders in the six schools who scored "proficient" or "advanced proficient" in language arts literacy ranged from 83 to 94 percent, except at South Street School, where 59 percent of the students scored that high. The statewide average was 86 percent. In fourth-grade math, the range was 72 percent to 91 percent, except for 44 percent at South Street, which ends with fifth grade. The statewide average for math was 68.5 percent.

    Between 62 and 90 percent of eighth graders were proficient or better in language arts, compared with a statewide average of 73 percent. In math, the percentage of eighth graders in three Ironbound schools who scored proficient or above ranged from 73 to 79 percent; at Oliver Street School, however, 46 percent were at that level and at Hawkins, 28 percent. The statewide average was 68 percent.

    Last year's senior class at East Side High School had 399 students, and 49 percent went on to two- or four-year colleges. Students totaled an average of 757 on the SAT reasoning tests, compared with the statewide average of 1,016.

    Many parents in the Ironbound send their children to parochial schools. St. Casimir Academy has 220 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. Tuition is $2,500 a year. The Academy of St. Benedict also offers prekindergarten through eighth grade, with tuition and fees of $2,300. It currently enrolls 250 students.

    Ironbound residents whether from Portugal, Ecuador, Peru or Brazil seem to share one form of recreation. The parks are full of children, and adults, playing soccer, and the game is the spectator sport of choice at bars and clubs. When Brazil won the World Cup, revelers took to the streets in the middle of the night.


    Homes on New York Avenue.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    815

    Default

    Great restaraunts, Spanish and Portugese!

    The Iron Bound is interesting in that it's a City within a City, most of the Portugese and "Spainards" have been giving way to Brazilians.

  3. #3
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Manhattan - South Village
    Posts
    4,240

    Default

    Across the Ironbound neighborhood from the Gateway Center.



    Ferry Street and the Ironbound, Verrazzano Bridge way in the distance. That steel-arch bridge is the Casciano Bridge - the NJ Turnpike extension over Newark Bay to the Holland Tunnel.



    Tracks leading south toward the airport. One of the iron boundaries of the neighborhood to the left.
    Last edited by NYatKNIGHT; June 2nd, 2006 at 03:49 PM.

  4. #4

    Default

    Interesting jumble.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hey people!

    I know this thread is a lil' bit old, but i am here to ask you guys a favor okay?

    I am portuguese and i am living in Lisbon, Portugal at the moment.
    Although I wanna move to Newark in about 1/2 years from now.

    So, my question is...

    Can you post more photos of the Ironbound?

    I really would like to see some pics of my future "home"!
    Thanks!

    Stay tuned!

  6. #6
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Manhattan - South Village
    Posts
    4,240

    Default

    I put the photos back for you, above, they are the only ones I have. Ironbound is a cool neighborhood, hope you enjoy it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Here is a pic from Wikipedia.


  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NYatKNIGHT
    I put the photos back for you, above, they are the only ones I have. Ironbound is a cool neighborhood, hope you enjoy it.
    Thank you very much NYatKNIGHT!!!
    Thanks a lot!

    Thats a cool place to live!

    What do you, american people, think about the portuguese people?

  9. #9

    Default

    It's definitely a great place. I just got back from a local resturant there called Spanish Tavern. Great food and great atmosphere. It's a close-knit community. You'll definitely love living in the Ironbound.

  10. #10

    Default

    mix106: i live in Northern Jersey and drive through Ironbound everyday; I'll tell you that, in general, people really like the Portuguese...They work hard, a lot of the guys are really skilled craftsmen, they keep their neighborhoods real clean and the homes have nice landscaping and beautifully paved driveways...There are a ton of Portuguese restaurants in the Newark area too...It seems like now the trend in, Newark at least, is for the new arrivals to be from Brazil and not Portuguese from Portugal...Nearby cities with many Portuguese include Union, Hillside, Belleville, Kearny, and North Arlington...Also some in Bloomfield, Elizabeth, Linden, Jersey City, and Kenilworth....

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tone99loc
    mix106: i live in Northern Jersey and drive through Ironbound everyday; I'll tell you that, in general, people really like the Portuguese...They work hard, a lot of the guys are really skilled craftsmen, they keep their neighborhoods real clean and the homes have nice landscaping and beautifully paved driveways...There are a ton of Portuguese restaurants in the Newark area too...It seems like now the trend in, Newark at least, is for the new arrivals to be from Brazil and not Portuguese from Portugal...Nearby cities with many Portuguese include Union, Hillside, Belleville, Kearny, and North Arlington...Also some in Bloomfield, Elizabeth, Linden, Jersey City, and Kenilworth....
    Thanks for your info!!!

    Have you ever been to a portuguese restaurant before?

    If not, you probably should go to one...

    If you go to one you MUST order Cozido Portuguesa, a portuguese dish!
    Very tasty

  12. #12

    Default

    i eat portuguese food every once in a while; it is great; i've eaten at the spanish tavern, but i love eating at Iberia on Ferry Street...also Burnett BBQ in Union is great for take out...there is a great churrasco place i like on route 22 (either in Union or Hillside)...in fact, there are tons of portuguese restaurants all over northeastern new jersey - but thanks mix, i will definitely look for Cozido Portuguesa next time!!!

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    northeastern Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1

    Default Ironbound-Newark

    Thought I'd throw in my 2 cents if anyone still looks at this thread? This restaurant is not in NJ but just across the river in West SOHO at the intersection of Greenwich and Spring Sts. It's called Po! run by Jorge Neves. Jorge also co-owns another restaurant across the street (Spring St.) with Giorgio DeLuca (of Dean & DeLuca), the place is called Giorgione. (great Italian food by the way) Anyway, about Po!; execellent Portuguese comfort food. My brother-in-law (who is Portuguese) introduced me to this establishment a number of years ago. I live in N.E. PA, a little more than two hours away, but I try and stop by every chance I get whenever near the NY metro area. Only ever ate once in Newark at a Brazilian restaurant a couple of years ago. It was good! Unfortunately I don't remember the name?

Similar Threads

  1. Newark Development
    By Kris in forum New York Metro
    Replies: 8237
    Last Post: October 20th, 2014, 09:56 PM
  2. Newark Arena - Prudential Center
    By Kris in forum New York Metro
    Replies: 228
    Last Post: January 31st, 2009, 02:21 AM
  3. Historic Newark Airport Terminal
    By Kris in forum New York Metro
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: December 17th, 2004, 09:30 PM
  4. Newark Christmas with a NY flair
    By NYguy in forum New York Metro
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: November 28th, 2003, 07:06 PM
  5. Airtrain Newark, two years and still growing
    By STT757 in forum New York Metro
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: October 27th, 2003, 10:17 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Google+ - Facebook - Twitter - Meetup

Edward's photos on Flickr - Wired New York on Flickr - In Queens - In Red Hook - Bryant Park - SQL Backup Software