Secaucus was originally formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 12, 1900, from portions of North Bergen. On June 7, 1917, Secaucus was incorporated as a town, replacing Secaucus borough, based on the results of a referendum held on June 5, 1917.
Secaucus was originally an agricultural community specializing in flowers. It later became known for its pig farms in the first half of the 20th century. In the early 1900s the town was home to approximately 55 pig farms, which housed nearly 250,000 pigs, which outnumbered humans 16 to 1. These farms served the meat demands of Newark and New York, and made the farmers wealthy. Many of them were local politicians, most notably pork peddler Henry B. Krajewski, who ran for New Jersey senator, three times for governor and twice for U.S. President. The town's pig farms, rendering plants, and junk yards gave the town a reputation for being one of the most odorous in the New York metropolitan area. In the 1950s the pig farms began to dwindle, partially due to construction on the New Jersey Turnpike, which would carry tourists who would not appreciate the odor. In 1963, debris from the demolition of Pennsylvania Station was dumped in the Secaucus Meadowlands. In later decades Secaucus became more of a commuter town. In a non-binding referendum in 1969, 90% of voters in Secaucus chose to leave Hudson County and join Bergen County, as that county was more similar in character and had lower taxes. However, only the state has the authority to change county lines, so it never came to fruition. Today it remains the most suburban town in Hudson County.
On February 9, 1996, two NJ Transitcommuter trains collided at Bergen Junction in Secaucus when a train operating on the Bergen Line ran a signal and sideswiped a train running on the Main Line. The accident occurred during the morning rush hour just south of the current Secaucus Junction station. With three fatalities, the incident is NJ Transit's deadliest accident and was the first to involve fatalities of the passenger and crew on NJ Transit.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Secaucus as its 182nd best place to live in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey, after ranking the borough 11th in its 2008 rankings.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 6.599 square miles (17.090 km2), including 5.822 square miles (15.078 km2) of land and 0.777 square miles (2.012 km2) of water (11.77%).
Being partly surrounded by the Hackensack Meadowlands, Secaucus provides opportunities to observe the recovery of natural marshes in the town's post-industrial, post-agricultural age. Some marsh areas in the northeast part of town have been filled to provide a new commercial area, and some to build footpaths for nature walks with signs illustrating birds and other wildlife to be seen there. At 27.4%, it has the most open "green" space in of any town in Hudson County.
As its name suggests, the North End in Secaucus, New Jersey, is the section of town north of New Jersey Route 3 and the Secaucus Plaza Central Business District, to which it is connected by Paterson Plank Road. The Hackensack River and its tributary Mill Creek create the other borders for the district.
There were 6,297 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the town, the population was spread out with 19.3% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 90.5 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $82,289 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,523) and the median family income was $96,475 (+/- $10,189). Males had a median income of $58,902 (+/- $7,548) versus $54,665 (+/- $4,626) for females. The per capita income for the town was $38,375. About 4.7% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.9% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
There were 6,214 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the town, the population was spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $59,800, and the median income for a family was $72,568. Males had a median income of $49,937 versus $39,370 for females. The per capita income for the town was $31,684. About 3.9% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
Harmon Meadow Plaza
There are several large retail areas in Secaucus. Secaucus Plaza is the "downtown" area of Secaucus, just off of Route 3. The Outlets are a collection of outlet shops selling discounted name-brand merchandise in southwest Secaucus. Many factory retail outlets are scattered throughout the Harmon Cove industrial section, often located in warehouses or converted factories. Harmon Cove Outlet Center is the largest outlet mall, on Enterprise Avenue. The Mill Creek Mall is a mall on Route 3 on the west side of the Turnpike. Harmon Meadow Plaza is a large hotel, restaurant and shopping complex that features gyms, a pool hall, the Meadowlands Convention Center, a 14-screen Showplace Theatres and a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club located east of the New Jersey Turnpike, near Route 3 and Interchange 16E. Best Buy, Raymour & Flanigan, Ashley Furniture, Home Depot and Daffy's are located on Paterson Plank Road off Interchange 16E.National Retail Systems is another large employer. Secaucus is home to several corporate headquarters, including The Children's Place, FiberMedia and Hartz Mountain Industries.Goya Foods previously had its headquarters there.
In 2011, two companies announced that they would be leaving Secaucus. The Manischewitz Company announced that it would relocate its administrative offices to Newark after being located in Secaucus for seven years.Panasonic's North American headquarters, with 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) of offices and 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of warehouse space, had been located in Secaucus since 1973. After considering new locations in New York, California and Georgia, the company announced it would relocate to Newark and would receive an Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit of $102 million from the State of New Jersey for the relocation 8 miles (13 km) from its Secaucus location. The company also cited the environmental benefits possible by reducing the need of 1,000 employees to drive to work.
As of the 2014–15 NBA season, Secaucus became the official review headquarters of the National Basketball Association. All reviews of controversial calls and plays take place in the replay center. Referees consult the headquarters for guidance on the correct call. The high-tech center features over 94 HD televisions, with multiple feeds of every live NBA game.
Secaucus held a pre-Super Bowl "Winter Blast" party during the first weekend of February 2014 to celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII being played in New Jersey. The party featured a number of activities, including an ice skating rink. The town had planned for large crowds, even planning special court sessions in advance to handle the projected surge of potentially disruptive visitors. The turnout was much lower than expected, with Mayor Gonnelli citing the NFL's focus on activities in Manhattan aimed at visitors.
Secaucus is governed under the Town form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Town Council made up of six council members elected from three wards. A Mayor is elected at-large directly by the voters. The Town Council consists of six members elected to serve four-year terms on a staggered basis, with three seats up at the same time as the mayor and three seats the following year, followed by two years with no elections.
As of 2019[update], the Mayor of Secaucus is Independent Michael Gonnelli, whose term of office ends December 31, 2021. Members of the Town Council are James J. Clancy Sr. (I, 2022; Ward 2), Robert V. Constantino (I, 2021; Ward 1), Mark Dehnert (I, 2021; Ward 2), John Gerbasio (I, 2022; Ward 1), William McKeever (I, 2021; Ward 3) and Orietta Turci-Tringali (I, 2022; Ward 3).
Orietta Tringali was chosen in January 2018 to fill the Ward 3 seat expiring in December 2018 that had been held by Susan Pirro until she resigned from office. On June 9, 2018 the Office of Emergency Management Building was dedicated to former Councilwoman Susan Pirro who died on March 18, 2018.
In October 2016, Gary Jeffas resigned from office to fill the position as Town Administrator; his Ward 1 seat expiring in December 2018 was filled by John Gerbasio, who served on an interim basis until the November 2017 election, when he was chosen to serve the balance of the term of office.
Richard Steffens was chosen unanimously by the council in August 2009 to step in as mayor to finish the term of Dennis Elwell who resigned amid corruption charges on July 28, 2009, and was later convicted. Michael Gonnelli then won a full four-year term in November 2009 and was re-elected to another 4 years in 2013.
In 2018, the town had an average property tax bill of $6,258, the lowest in the county, compared to an average bill of $7,762 in Hudson County and $8,767 statewide.
Washington Hook & Ladder Co. # 1 Firehouse
Secaucus is served around the clock by five volunteer fire companies that make up the Secaucus Fire Department, with a combined fire apparatus fleet of five Engines, two Trucks, one Rescue, one Squad (utility unit), one Tanker and five boats, operating out of five fire stations located throughout the town.
Federal, state and county representation
Secaucus is located in the 9th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 32nd state legislative district.
According to The Hudson Reporter, Secaucus is "arguably Hudson County's most conservative town". As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 10,298 registered voters in Secaucus, of which 5,886 (57.2%) were registered as Democrats, 876 (8.5%) were registered as Republicans and 3,531 (34.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 61.1% of the vote (4,188 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 38.1% (2,609 votes), and other candidates with 0.8% (56 votes), among the 6,893 ballots cast by the town's 10,819 registered voters (40 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 63.7%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 53.0% of the vote here (3,889 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 45.6% (3,348 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (63 votes), among the 7,344 ballots cast by the town's 10,650 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.0%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50.6% of the vote here (3,460 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 48.6% (3,320 votes) and other candidates with 0.3% (33 votes), among the 6,838 ballots cast by the town's 9,767 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 70.0.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 54.5% of the vote (2,214 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 42.8% (1,738 votes), and other candidates with 2.7% (108 votes), among the 4,376 ballots cast by the town's 10,966 registered voters (316 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.9%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 50.7% of the vote here (2,959 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 35.9% (2,096 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 5.4% (315 votes) and other candidates with 2.3% (132 votes), among the 5,833 ballots cast by the town's 10,158 registered voters, yielding a 57.4% turnout.
The southbound New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) in Secaucus
Former trolley station, now a park
Secaucus contains a wide variety of road and rail transportation. Because of its central location, many shipping warehouses and truck freight transfer stations are located in Secaucus, both for shipping companies such as UPS and for numerous retailers. For example, Barnes & Noble's "same day delivery" service to Manhattan operates from a warehouse in Secaucus. The town also has a large rail yard and multimode terminal run by CSX and Norfolk Southern where loads are switched between trains or transferred to or from trucks.
Locally, Secaucus is covered by weeklies the River View Observer and El Especialito. The town had been served by the Secaucus Home News, a weekly newspaper that published for 107 years before abruptly shutting down in 2017.
^Kuperinsky, Amy. "'The Jewel of the Meadowlands'?: N.J.'s best, worst and weirdest town slogans", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, January 22, 2015. Accessed July 12, 2016. "Secaucus, however, is 'The Jewel of the Meadowlands,' as seen on a welcome sign topped by an egret in the marsh-adjacent Hackensack River community. Mayor Michael Gonnelli says the slogan predates his tenure, but agrees wholeheartedly with the message. 'We have a lot going here. I think everybody that lives here is happy to live here,' he says — even the egrets."
^Page, Jeffrey. "Our towns challenge our tongues"Archived August 27, 2013, at Archive.today, The Record (Bergen County), June 17, 2005. Accessed September 1, 2014. "You can always tell newcomers to Secaucus. Because most words are pronounced with emphasis on the next-to-last syllable, they say they live in see-KAW-cus – although the ones who fear their friends might recall that Secaucus used to be pig-farming country might say they live in South Carlstadt, which doesn't exist. If I said 'see-KAW-cus' to someone local, they'd think I didn't know what I was talking about, said Dan McDonough, the municipal historian. Of course it's SEE-kaw-cus. Everybody knows that."
^Archilla, Dylan M. "Taking a dip Hudson County towns offer swim fun", The Hudson Reporter, July 3, 2003. Accessed July 20, 2011. "Secaucus, being the most 'suburban' of Hudson's County's towns (and being closest to Bergen County), not surprisingly boasts the most spacious facility. Sporting four distinct pools (an Olympic-sized pool, a diving tank, a lap pool, and a wading pool for the kiddies the Secaucus Swim Center is open to non-residents)."
^Greene, Richard Henry, et. al. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 53, p. 12. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1922. Accessed November 14, 2019. "Abel Smith took up land on Great Neck (Great Neck was also a part of Hempstead) prior to and during 1710 (H.T.R., II, 422-23) and removed there and lived on a large farm or 'plantation'.... In 1733 he and Deborah sold their farm on Great Neck to the first wife In 1733 he and Deborah sold their farm on Great Neck to Henry Allen for 1650 and removed to Secaucus, Bergen County, in New 'East Jersey' (near the present Jersey City) where he bought a large tract of land and built a mansion. 'This Jersey land has since its purchase been continuously possessed and occupied by the direct descendants of Abel Smith up to the present day.'"
^Bonamo, Mark J. "The lost cause; Secaucus residents remember attempt to secede from Hudson County", The Hudson Reporter, August 1, 2006. Accessed November 14, 2019. "Encouraged by this success, Amico began to look across the Hackensack River. 'The makeup of Secaucus is very much unlike most of Hudson County,' he said. 'It's much more like Bergen County. We did some analysis about what taxes were like in other counties, and Bergen County had the lowest. Bergen County would have accepted us back in 1969.... We had a non-binding resolution that approved secession by 90 percent.'"
^Higgs, Larry. "The deadliest train crashes in New Jersey history", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, November 27, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2018. "Two NJ Transit commuter trains sideswiped each other in Secaucus on the morning of Feb. 9, 1996, killing three people and injuring 168 of the 400 passengers. The near head-on collision happened after a Bergen Line train to Hoboken went through a stop signal and hit a Main Line train en route from Hoboken, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report on the crash."
^Jones, Richard Lezin. "Secaucus Journal; Humbled Mountain Offers a Mine of History, and Prehistory", The New York Times, March 31, 2002. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Or maybe the biggest insult came later, when what was left of the mountain – a geological marvel, a pristine example of igneous diabase nearly a quarter billion years old and as tall as a 20-story building – became a canvas for college students spray-painting their fraternity letters. But, no, Dan McDonough said as he stared at the once-great peak known as Snake Hill, the familiar, graffiti-scarred outcropping of rock beside the New Jersey Turnpike, between Exits 15W and 16W, those indignities are not in the forefront of his mind."
^Staff. "New Panasonic Headquarters", The New York Times, April 15, 1973. Accessed September 1, 2014. "This 250,000-square-foot office building and a 500,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution plant will be the new headquarters of the Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, which imports Panasonic electronic products."
^Villanova, Patrick. "Secaucus councilwoman resigns amid breast cancer fight", The Jersey Journal, December 26, 2017. Accessed February 17, 2018. "Citing her ongoing battle with breast cancer, Councilwoman Susan Pirro has resigned from her post on the town's governing body.... Her resignation is effective Jan. 1, 2018.... Mayor Michael Gonnelli has announced Orietta Tringali, second grade teacher at Huber Street School, is his choice to fill the third ward vacancy."
^Pries, Allison. "Trustee hopeful to quit race, join Secaucus Council", The Record (Bergen County), October 12, 2016. Accessed February 7, 2018. "Gerbasio and First Ward Councilman Gary Jeffas are part of a role shuffling that will occur at the start of 2017. Jeffas will resign his elected position and be hired as town administrator and Gerbasio will be appointed to Jeffas' council seat, Mayor Michael J. Gonnelli said."
^Kim, Jennifer. "Richard Steffens gets sworn in to fulfill former mayor Dennis Elwell's term", NJ.com, August 26, 2009. Accessed September 1, 2014. "With his wife Kathleen Steffens, former Secaucus library director, by his side Richard Steffens, a former two-term Democratic councilman and a former board of education trustee, was sworn in by Assemblyman Vincent Prieto with a 6–0 vote at last night's council meeting as mayor to succeed Dennis Elwell."
^Biography, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Accessed January 3, 2019."A native son of Paterson, N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City."
^Parish History, Immaculate Conception Parish. Accessed September 1, 2014. "In 2008, the parish school also closed and the buildings are being used for religious education."
^Bonamo, Mark J. "Switzerland in Secaucus Watchmaking school teaches how to keep time ticking", The Hudson Reporter, December 14, 2006. Accessed July 15, 2012. "To help address this occupational gap, the Swatch Group opened the school named after Hayek in Sept. 2005. The school strictly adheres to the curriculum established by the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program, or WOSTEP. Completion of the two-year, 3,000-hour training program enables graduates to get a job servicing watches anywhere in the world. There are only four other schools like the one in Secaucus in the U.S."
^Harrington, Shannon D. "Enter Exit 15X", The Record (Bergen County), November 30, 2005. Accessed August 29, 2013. "Exit 15X, the new $250 million Secaucus interchange on the New Jersey Turnpike, will open to motorists Thursday night."
^Staff. "Secaucus rail station finally gets parking", The Hudson Reporter, June 1, 2009. Accessed November 20, 2013. "State officials, including New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 1 to celebrate the opening of the long-anticipated 1,100-space parking lot at the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station in Secaucus."
^"Secaucus Home News closes down", The Hudson Reporter, November 30, 2017. Accessed February 26, 2018. "The Secaucus Home News, a weekly newspaper that launched in 1910, published its final issue this week, a former reporter has confirmed. 'It is done,' said Louise Rittberg, who reported for the paper from 1980 to 2001. 'One hundred and seven years.'"
^Hanc, John. "Lifting for Life: Dave Draper, a 1960s bodybuilding star is back—and touting the rewards of strength building." AARP Bulletin, October 2006. "Except the muscles: they were real. Draper had been developing those since he was 12, not on a West Coast beach but in the basement of his parents' home in Secaucus, N.J."
^Livio, Susan K.; and Graber, Trish G. "Former N.J. Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto dies at 61", The Star-Ledger, August 6, 2009. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Anthony Impreveduto, a 61-year-old former teacher and Hudson County Assemblyman for 17 years, died today at Hackensack University Medical Center after a battle with cancer. Impreveduto was forced to resign, fined $10,000 and placed on five years' probation after pleading guilty to using campaign funds for income taxes, a daughter's wedding and sports memorabilia. He got his start in politics as a councilman in Secaucus, serving from 1981 to 1992. He got elected to the state Assembly in 1987 and served eight terms."
^"Poor Man's Candidate", Time March 17, 1952. "Massive (6 ft., 240 lbs.) Henry B. Krajewski of Secaucus, N.J. has a five-acre farm with 4,000 pigs, a flourishing saloon ("Tammany Hall Tavern") and political ambitions."
^Bio, The Wrens. Accessed October 11, 2018. "The Wrens move to a house in Secaucus, NJ. (The Wrens will continue to live together and record at home for the next 10 years)... The Wrens release their second full length, Secaucus (1996), for Meltzer’s revamped Grass to even more wonderful critical review."