Image from Irvington
Image courtesy of Jim Henderson. Used by permission under Public Domain. License Info Photo has been cropped.
Image from Irvington
Image courtesy of Jim Henderson. Used by permission under Public Domain. License Info Photo has been cropped.

Living In: Irvington

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Irvington is a mid-sized town located in Essex County, New Jersey. Directly west of Newark, New Jersey, the town is notorious for being an unsafe and poverty-stricken urban area. The area's demographic has seen radical changes over the past half century. Until 1965, Irvington held almost an exclusively white population. The Newark riots of 1967 led many families to leave the city and relocate the short distance to Irvington. Caught in the height of the crack epidemic of the 1980s, the town continued to decline into poverty. By 1980, the black population had grown to 40% and diversity continued to decline as the black population rose to over 70% by 1990. The city itself is a little under 3 square miles with a population around 54 thousand, which has been declining in recent years. Several parts of Irvington are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. These areas have policies enacted to encourage economic growth and development. In addition to business' received infrastructure incentives and reduced regulations, shoppers only pay a reduced 3.5% sales tax rate, as to the opposed 7% New Jersey state tax rate. Crime and violence is higher in Irvington than many other areas near New York City. The violent crime rate is reported to 6 times higher than the New Jersey average and the murder rate is 8 times higher. The Irvington Public School District is one of the 31 SDA Districts in New Jersey, which require the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. The district includes the Augusta Preschool Academy, the Berkeley Terrace School, Chancellor Avenue School, Florence Avenue School, Madison Avenue School, Thurgood G. Marshall School, Mount Vernon Avenue School, University Elementary School, Union Avenue Middle School, University Middle School, and Irvington High School. In 2012, Irvington High School was 309th-ranked public high school in the state out of the 328 listed. Irvington is fairly easy to drive to being directly off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 143 and Interstate 78 at Exit 54. The fairly recently renovated Irvington Bus Terminal is historically one of the New Jersey Transit's busiest stations. The 107 New Jersey Transit Bus provides quick service directly into Midtown Manhattan via the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The public transportation system in Irvington provides local service and also offers transportation to Newark International Airport. Many notable personas have resided in Irvington at some point during their lives. Most popular include the MLB pitcher Paul Boris, NFL players Josh Evans and Kareen Huggins, Olympic gold medal swimmer Cullen Jones, and singer and actress Queen Latifah.

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