Newark (New Jersey)

Newark is New Jersey's largest city and second largest in Metro New York. Although one of the great historic cities of the Northeast and the most culture-rich city in the state, Newark is often overlooked in favor of Goliath-like Manhattan and towns along the Hudson River, such as Jersey City and Hoboken. While no longer the industrial powerhouse it once was, Newark remains one of America's major shipping, rail, and air hubs. Public transportation is abundant, making it easy to get to, from, and around the city.

Newark Skyline

Newark has been economically disadvantaged for some time, and suffers from a bad reputation, often informed by negative stereotyping. Thanks in large part to a nationally high-profile mayor (Cory Booker, now a U.S. Senator), committed populace, and changing attitudes towards once decaying urban areas, the often proclaimed, but stunted renaissance of Newark is steadily and substantially taking hold.


Port Newark (foreground), Jersey City (middleground), and Manhattan (background) from Newark Airport. Newark is a very active port and industrial city, but that's not all it is.

English is the main language, but the Ironbound area is home to a significant Brazilian and Portuguese population. Newark, NJ is pronounced "Noo-wirk", as opposed to Newark, Delaware which is pronounced "Noo-ark". Locals will often pronounce it "Nork" or "Nerk".

Newark is the common image outsiders think of when they hear the word New Jersey. People think that New Jersey is basically the same as Newark, and that the people inside are rude. However, these stereotypes aren't true, they only are in most of the cities in New Jersey which is unfortunately the part most people see when they go to New Jersey.


The city was founded in the year 1666. Three centuries later, the population grew rapidly. Industry also grew constantly. The city even had its own Chinatown. However, in the second half of the 20th century, many raids took place, and much of the Chinese population went away to other areas, causing Newark's Chinatown to fade away. Things only got worse as more racial tension and riots occurred in the city. In the 1990s, the city went through tons of revitalization efforts. Today, the city has grown back into an important industrial hub, however some things such as the old Chinatown and the city's good reputation were forever lost. Despite this, the city still shines with culture and history, and also has the oldest county park in the United States, Branch Brook Park. There is also a huge Portuguese and Brazilian population in Ironbound. Although the city is usually overlooked by Manhattan and it is not the glimmering gem it used to be, the city is still worth a visit.


A map of Newark's wards

The city is divided into five wards, each with its own character. Downtown has retained much of early 20th century architecture and has an iconic skyline. Nearly 100,000 people commute to the central business district on workdays, making for a lively urban landscape. Since the millennium it has become more residential as former office buildings and warehouses, such as the art deco Eleven80 (at 1180 Raymond Blvd.), are converted to housing. A new performing arts complex and sports/concert venue and restaurants have encouraged visitors to linger longer into the night.

The North Ward is home to Branch Brook Park, site of the nation's largest collection of cherry blossom trees, and the neo-Gothic Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Surrounding neighborhoods include architecturally interesting suburban enclaves on the east and bustling urban districts on the west. The East Ward, or the Ironbound, is home to a large Portuguese/Brazilian community, with a "restaurant row" offering a cornucopia of eating establishments for every budget. The South Ward, once the heart of the Jewish community and home to the Weequahic Park and architectural gems, has fallen on hard times, and is where much of the city's crime is concentrated.

Get in

Newark is a transportation Mecca and is very easy to get into and out of.

By plane

  Newark Liberty International Airport (IATA: EWR) is about 5 mi (8 km) south of downtown. It is a major hub for United Airlines, and is served by numerous other domestic and international carriers. JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are in Queens, New York and are served by additional carriers who do not fly to EWR directly. Airport information can be obtained by calling +1-888-EWR-INFO or +1 973 961-6000.

AirTrain Newark shuttles between the airport's parking facilities, three terminals, and train station, where frequent New Jersey Transit (NJT) service is a ten minute ride to downtown. NJT bus #62 and the limited stop GoBus 28 also both travel to downtown, the latter with continuing service to North Newark.

Taxi service is based on a flat-fee determined by destination and paid before the trip begins.

By train

Newark Penn Station waiting room

  Newark Penn Station is located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Newark. It's a beautiful old McKim Mead & White building and worth visiting just on its own. It is served by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, and Raritan Valley Line, with easy connections to New York, Philadelphia, Trenton, and other points south and west. Both Newark and New York have "Penn Stations". It is sometimes easy to mistake the conductor saying "New York" for "Newark" (and vice versa), so beware you don't accidentally get off at the wrong station.

The PATH train (NWK-WTC line connects Penn Station with Jersey City and the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. Connections to other PATH lines can be made to Hoboken and 33rd St. in Manhattan.

  Newark Broad Street Station is served by New Jersey Transit's Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch with trains to suburbs to the west and Hoboken Terminal, Secaucus Junction, and New York Penn to the east.

By car

Route 21 (McCarter Hwy) runs North-South along the railroad tracks a few blocks east of downtown. I-78 skirts the south edge of town and I-280 cuts across the north. Route 1/9 comes across the Pulaski Skyway from Jersey City and Manhattan (via the Holland Tunnel). Take the Raymond Blvd. exit and drive along the Passaic River into downtown.

By bus

Newark Penn Station is also the city's bus terminal and is served by NJ Transit local and regional buses, as well as Greyhound and others. BoltBus stops outside the station, offering service from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Get around

The Newark Light Rail runs two lines both originating at Penn Station. The City Subway Line (shown in blue on maps) has service to University Heights, Branch Brook Park and Grove Street (in adjacent Bloomfield). The Broad Street Line (orange on maps) operates between Penn Station and Broad Street Station.

There is a extensive network of New Jersey Transit buses, many originating at Penn Station. Taxis are also available and can be flagged.


Cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, April 2008


High Street Historic District

Art Galleries


Gospel and Jazz

Newark has a long tradition of jazz and gospel and is home to WGBO, Metro New York's jazz station. Renowned clubs are located in its suburbs, all at short ride to nearby stations of NJT's Morris and Essex Lines which depart from Broad Street Station. Local churches which have been the breeding ground for numerous R&B singers welcome respectful guests.




More than 100,000 people commute to Newark on weekdays, making it New Jersey's largest employment center with many white-collar jobs in insurance, finance, import-export, health-care, and government. As a major courthouse venue including federal, state, and county facilities, it is home to more than 1,000 law firms. The city is also a "college town", with nearly 40,000 students attending the city's universities and medical and law schools. Its port and rail facilities make Newark the busiest transhipment hub on the East Coast in terms of volume. Light manufacturing survives in Newark too.



Newark has three "restaurant rows' downtown: Around the Prudential Center, Halsey Street, and Ferry Street in the Ironbound, the latter known for its Portuguese, Brazilian and Latino food.





There is a liquor store in Penn Station. You can buy individual bottles of beer (including microbrews).






While hotels serving Newark Airport can be inexpensive ($50+ booked online; $69 walk in). some require multiple transfers with hotel shuttle to airport & NJT#62 to Penn Station. Service is sporadic, so one can sometimes expect 1 to 2 hrs each way. Those hotels located on Route 1 & 9 South/Frontage Road have NJT#40 bus service which travel between the airport and Downtown/Newark Penn on an hourly basis.


Visitors Bureau on Park Place at Military Park


Brick City Live and NewarkPatch are online news services covering local politics, culture, and events. The main newspaper of Newark is the Star Ledger. Other metro area newspapers (New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post) are also widely available.

Stay safe

Starting in the 1960s, Newark has been troubled by riots, racial tension, and urban decline. Although the city has improved slightly over the years, Newark can be unsafe if you are not careful. Car theft and car jackings are the biggest crimes in Newark, followed by home invasions. Downtown Newark is crowded and safe during the day. It empties out at night and may seem creepy, but as long as you stay in well lit open areas you should be fine. The Ironbound district has most of the great restaurants and is busy on nights and weekends and is probably the safest part of the city, behind Downtown and residential Forest Hill. If you were to go to a concert at the NJ Symphony Hall or see an event at the Prudential Center you should be fine. They are well lit areas with a police presence and are the safest part of the city.

The North, South and Central Wards have heavier crime rates and it pays to be more guarded in those areas.

Although bustling during peak travel hours and almost completely safe in daylight, Newark Broad Street station (NJ Transit) can be very dangerous after hours and through the night when fewer people wait for trains (usually from 10pm-5am). Armed robberies are common and can occur even when you are not the only one waiting for a late train. If you do find yourself at the station after hours, wait in the lobby beneath the platform, or failing that, one of the lit waiting booths on the platform. Do NOT display cell phones or iPods.



Go next


Believe it or not, it is possible to hitchhike out of the New York Metro area. If you are trying to go long distances, your best bet is to take NJ Transit or Metro North far enough to put you well into the suburbs, preferably to a stop that puts you near (within walking distance of) a major highway such as an Interstate. From there, get to an on-ramp and put out your thumb. Be advised, however, that New Jersey state laws on hitchhiking are notoriously ambiguous, and you will be hassled by local police, so use common sense and discretion. If you're trying to go west into Pennsylvania, your best bet is to take NJ transit to Mt. Olive, which is only a 5-min walk from I-80, which generally carries a good amount of long-distance traffic going west.

Routes through Newark (by car)

Allentown Union  W  E  Jersey City New York City
New York City Secaucus  N  S  Elizabeth Philadelphia
Parsippany East Orange  W  E  Harrison Ends at
Spring Valley East Orange  N  S  Union Cape May
New York City Jersey City  N  S  Elizabeth Philadelphia
New York City Jersey City  N  S  Elizabeth Cape May
Clifton Lyndhurst/Nutley  N  S  END

Routes through Newark (by long-distance rail)

Washington, D.C. Woodbridge  SW  NE  New York City Boston
Philadelphia Trenton  W  E  New York City END
END New York City  N  S  Trenton Philadelphia
Philadelphia Woodbridge  W  E  New York City END
Philadelphia Woodbridge  SW  NE  New York City New Haven
Philadelphia Trenton  W  E  New York City END

Routes through Newark (by subway/commuter rail)

Dover Montclair  W  E  Secaucus New York City
Dover East Orange  W  E  Secaucus/Hoboken New York City/END
Woodbridge Newark Airport  SW  NE  Secaucus New York City
High Bridge Cranford  W  E  Secaucus New York City
END  W  E  Harrison Financial District, Manhattan

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.