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New Brunswick is one of 25 total municipalities in Middlesex County, the second-most populous county of the 21 counties in New Jersey, USA. New Brunswick was incorporated as a town in 1736 and chartered as a city in 1784.
The city is located along the southern bank of the Raritan River, bordered by Franklin Township (Somerset County), North Brunswick and East Brunswick (Middlesex). It is located across the Raritan River from Piscataway, Edison, and Highland Park (Middlesex).
The official population of New Brunswick is estimated to be 55,266, having increased from 48,573 residents in 2000 and 55,181 in 2010. As of 2020, New Brunswick is the 32nd-largest municipality by population in the State of New Jersey.
New Brunswick is home to thousands of undocumented immigrants and college students, many of whom may not be accounted for in the official data.
In the largely suburban county, New Brunswick is one of three Middlesex municipalities to officially refer to its local government as a “city.” Though it is the county’s seat of government, New Brunswick is has less residents than four Middlesex County “Townships” (Woodbridge, Edison, Old Bridge, and Piscataway) and the City of Perth Amboy.
Though the population may seem small relative to other cities, the city only occupies 5.8 sq. miles, making it one of the most intense areas of population density in Central New Jersey.
New Brunswick is best known for being home to the main campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, as well as the worldwide headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, a global pharmaceutical corporation started in the 1880’s.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated most recently on September 7, 2021.
New Brunswick’s Five Wards
Though New Brunswick does not use a system of neighbhorhood-based elections (and whether or not it should has been a contentious issue for more than a century), the city is still divided into five political subdivisions known as wards. There is no Third Ward, as most of that area’s housing was destroyed and redeveloped into a hotel and corporate headquarters in the early 1980’s.
Each of the five current wards includes a mix of neighborhoods and commercial areas. The First, Fifth and Fourth Wards all converge at the same intersection in downtown: New Street and George Street.
The First Ward includes the Eastern half of the city’s waterfront along the Raritan River. Route 18, a state highway, connects the Lower George Street neighborhood, Riverside, the New Brunswick Apartments, and Riverside Tower to two of the city’s largest apartment complexes (Regency Manor and the Gardens at Raritan), and three neighborhoods: Dewey Heights, Rutgers Village, and Edgebrooke. Route 1 and the New Jersey Turnpike also bisect Ward 1, which ends at the city’s borders with East Brunswick and North Brunswick.
The Second Ward includes the “heart” of the city, more than 100 rectangular blocks of housing, stores, parks, and schools between Livingston Avenue and the city’s border with North Brunswick Township. It also includes most of the historic Douglass campus of Rutgers University, which is home to some of the most buccolic areas of the city. The line between Ward 2 and North Brunswick Township divides the Cook campus of Rutgers University, another area with a lot of open space. Also near the border with North Brunswick are several condominium complexes including Fulton Square, Renaissance Station and Case di Lusso.
The Fourth Ward stretches south to include the area between Route 27 and Livingston Avenue, home to the vast majority of the city’s industrial areas, as well as the Jersey Avenue train station, New Brunswick’s High School and Middle School, the HUB Teen Center, the Schwarz-Robeson public housing complex, and neighborhoods such as Hampton Road, Lincoln Gardens, and a gated community called the Hampton Club.
The Fifth Ward is the smallest of the Wards, but also includes the largest chunk of the city’s rapidly-expanding downtown, which spans every ward except Ward 2. The Fifth Ward stretches from the city’s border with Franklin Township, which is located in Somerset County, to the Raritan River waterfront. It is home to a large number of renters, including many Rutgers University students. It is also home to the massive campus of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
The Sixth Ward encompasses much of the area where Rutgers University students choose to live, and like the Fifth Ward, it lies between Franklin Township and the Raritan River. The city’s tallest building (The Vue), largest park (Buccleuch Park), and its main train station are also located in the Sixth Ward. It is home to the most historic campus of Rutgers University, known as the College Avenue Campus, and the worldwide headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, as well as St. Peter’s University Hospital, and the city’s only two highrise buildings located outside of downtown (the Colony House and 10 Landing Lane). Both highrises are located near the border with Franklin Township, where another highrise (The Harrison) is located.
Neighborhoods of New Brunswick
New Brunswick’s neighborhoods are perhaps its richest asset, home to a bevy of historic architecture, unique businesses, and communities with their own distinct characteristics.
The area near Rutgers University’s main campus is perhaps the only place in New Jersey where such a large number of young people are living on their own for the first time.
On some of the same blocks, a large number of Hispanic immigrants from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and many other nations make the Hub City their home.
Downtown New Brunswick can be defined as the expanding area of intense development that currently spans from Somerset Street to somewhere between Morris Street and Paul Robeson Avenue.
However, the term “Uptown” can refer to any one of three different areas on the southern end of town, including the Route 27 corridor, Livingston and Joyce Kilmer Avenues, and the Georges Road neighborhood.
Below is a summary of all of the neighborhoods in the city of New Brunswick:
- Rutgers Village
- Dewey Heights/University Mews
- Carpender Road
- Cobb Road
- Lower George Street neighborhood
- Hope Manor
- New Brunswick Apartments
- Georges Road/Recreation Park neighborhood
- Unity Square
- Leewood-Mt. Zion homes
- Fulton Square
- Renaissance Station
- Case di Lusso
- Remsen Avenue neighborhood
- The Hampton Club
- Schwarz Homes public housing
- Robeson Village public housing (“The Ville”)
- Hampton Road
- Lincoln Gardens
- Joyce Kilmer Park neighborhood
- HUB Teen Center neighborhood
- Simplex Avenue neighborhood
- Jersey Avenue neighborhood
- Downtown (Parts are also in 1st, 4th, & 6th Wards)
- Hiram Square
- Somerset Street neighborhood
- Buccleuch Park neighborhood
- Easton Avenue neighborhood
Apartment Buildings & Condominium Complexes
New Brunswick is home to hundreds of apartment buildings and thousands of small and large homes. There are approximately 10,000 rental housing units in the city.
New Brunswick is one of many New Jersey cities that has adopted a rent control law, to limit the rate at which landlords may increase rent on residential tenants.
Here is a complete summary of all sites with a dozen or more rental units or condominiums, and approved proposals for additional residential projects of that size:
- Gardens at Raritan (formerly Raritan Gardens): 527 apartments
- Raritan Crossing Apartments: 375 apartments
- Tov Manor Apartments: 288 apartments
- The Edge at Raritan Heights: 254 units (under construction)
- John P. Fricano Tower: 213 apartments (senior housing)
- New Brunswick Apartments (33 Paul Robeson Boulevard): 206 apartments
- The Standard at New Brunswick (90 New Street): 186 apartments
- SoCam 290 (formerly Rockoff Hall): 186 apartments
- Riverside Tower (10 Paul Robeson Boulevard): 169 apartments
- The George (285 George Street): 104 apartments
- Riverside: 76 apartments
- Hope Manor: 68 apartments
- Stirlingside Manor (40 Hassart Street): 48 apartments (senior housing)
- 54 Hassart Street: 20 apartments
- Stirlingside II (site plan approved but not built): 53 apartments (senior housing)
- Fulton Square: 276 condominiums
- St. Mary’s Apartments (260 Remsen Avenue): 133 apartments (senior housing)
- Renaissance Station: 141 condominiums
- Livingston Terrace: 124 apartments
- Livingston Manor (116 Livingston Avenue): 51 apartments (senior housing)
- 175 Remsen Avenue: 18 apartments
- 10 Suydam Street: 13 apartments
- Case di Lusso: 12 condominiums
- 53 Reservoir Avenue: 12 apartments
- Fulton Square II (redevelopment plan approved but no site plan): 112 apartments
- The Hampton Club Condominiums: 312 condominiums (gated community)
- Schwarz Homes-Robeson Village: 258 apartments (public housing)
- Premiere Residences at NBPAC (7 Livingston Avenue): 207 apartments
- Brunswick Arms (119 Livingston Avenue): 71 apartments
- 10 Reed Street: 92 apartments
- Quentin Arms Apartments: 60 apartments
- 17 Hampton Road: 55 apartments
- 280 Fulton Street: 52 apartments
- Residences at The Heldrich (10 Livingston Avenue): 48 condominiums
- 395 Livingston Avenue: 22 apartments
- 156 French Street: 21 apartments
- 45 Quentin Avenue: 20 apartments
- 212 Baldwin Street: 15 apartments
- 188 Rutgers Street: 15 apartments
- 29 Charles Street: 14 apartments
- 147 Welton Street: 14 apartments
- 5 Charles Street: 14 apartments
- 148 Welton Street: 14 apartments
- 200 Comstock Street: 12 apartments
- 14 Class Place: 12 apartments
- 912 Somerset Street: 12 apartments
- 25 Henry Avenue: 12 apartments
- 90 Jersey Avenue (redevelopment plan approved but no site plan): 660 apartments
- 90 Bayard Street (site plan approved but not built): 262 apartments
- 100 Bayard Street (site plan approved but not built): 26 apartments
- 261 Livingston Avenue (site plan approved but not built): 26 apartments
- 405 Livingston Avenue (site plan approved but not built): 12 apartments
- Plaza Square Apartments (1 Richmond Street): 414 apartments
- The Quincy (120 Neilson Street): 393 apartments
- The Aspire (135 Somerset Street): 238 apartments
- The Brunswick (formerly Riverwatch Commons): 200 apartments
- One Spring Street: 121 condominiums
- Birchwood Apartments (272 Hamilton Street): 113 apartments
- Hamilton Gardens Apartments (300 Hamilton Street): 104 apartments
- Providence Square (217 Somerset Street): 98 apartments (senior housing)
- Skyline Tower (60 Paterson Street): 70 apartments
- Westminster Residence (76 Louis Street): 65 apartments
- Providence Square II (55 Harvey Street): 53 apartments (senior housing)
- 276 Hamilton Street: 29 apartments
- Hiram Square: 30 condominiums
- 268 Somerset Street: 24 apartments
- 99 Bayard Street: 20 apartments
- 97 Bayard Street: 18 apartments
- 15 Maple Street: 16 apartments
- The Lofts at Neilson Crossings (former Poile Zedek synagogue): 12 apartments
- Brookside Apartments: 12 apartments
- 14 Laurel Place: 12 apartments
- 255 French Street (site plan approved but not built): 50 apartments
- 111 Bayard Street (site plan approved but not built): 40 apartments
- 52 Easton Avenue (site plan approved but not built): 18 apartments
- Colony House Apartments (1050 George Street): 263 apartments
- The Vue (110 Somerset Street): 150 apartments, 42 condominiums
- 10 Landing Lane (formerly Park Lane Apartments): 143 apartments
- The Verve (88 Easton Avenue): 181 apartments
- The Hub on Morrell (55 & 65 Morrell Street): 63 apartments
- 12 Bartlett Street: 59 apartments
- The Bookend Building (205 Easton Avenue): 53 apartments
- 191 Hamilton Street: 39 apartments
- Century Apartments (85 Easton Avenue): 38 apartments
- 130 Easton Avenue: 35 apartments
- 32 Union Street: 34 apartments
- 66 Sicard Street: 34 apartments
- 100 Hamilton Street: 25 apartments
- 17 Mine Street: 26 apartments
- 50 Union Street: 24 apartments
- 6 Sicard Street: 23 apartments
- 40 Union Street: 21 apartments
- 10 Union Street: 19 apartments
- 15 Union Street: 18 apartments
- The Easton (75 Easton Avenue): 14 apartments
- 48 Courtlandt Street (site plan approved but not built): 94 apartments
- 203 Hamilton Street (site plan approved but not built): 55 apartments
- 185 Easton Avenue (site plan approved but not built): 44 apartments
- College Avenue Campus (Ward 6)
- Cook/Douglass Campus (Wards 1 & 2)
- Downtown Campus (Wards 1, 4, and 5)
- Adult Learning Center (Ward 4)
- Lincoln School (Ward 6)
- Livingston Elementary (Ward 2)
- Lord Stirling Community School (Ward 1)
- New Brunswick Middle School (Ward 4)
- New Brunswick High School (Ward 4)
- Health Sciences Technology High School (Ward 5)
- P-TECH Academy/”Lincoln Annex” Temporary School (Ward 4)
- Redshaw Elementary (Ward 2)
- Paul Robeson School (Ward 2)
- Roosevelt Elementary (Ward 4)
- Woodrow Wilson Elementary (Ward 1)
- New Brunswick Theological Seminary (Ward 6)
- Middlesex College (Ward 4)
- Greater Brunswick Charter School (Ward 4)
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (Ward 5)
- St. Peter’s University Hospital (Ward 6)
Office Buildings and Complexes
The downtown has become home to several private office buildings including:
- “the Golden Triangle” (410 George Street)
- Plaza I & II (303 & 317 George Street)
- Albany Plaza I & II (120 Albany Street)
- 390 George Street
- Liberty Plaza (George Street)
- The Gateway (106 Somerset Street)
- atrium one (100 Bayard Street)
- 104 Bayard Street
- 46 Bayard Street
New Brunswick’s tallest and most recognizable office building is Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide headquarters. The company built the complex in the area bounded by the Northeast Corridor rail viaduct, Johnson Drive, Albany Street, and George Street. Their prior headquarters building remains in use on the other side of Johnson Drive
The design for the site was made by the company of renowned architect I.M. Pei and includes a large portion of open grassy space, in addition to a sleek 14-story tower, which is connected to an expansive low-rise office complex. In addition, the campus includes a parking deck and daycare facility on the opposite side of the railroad tracks.
A new office building opened in 2010 at the corner of French and Plum Streets. It is home to medical and administrative offices for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and is adjacent to a large parking deck connected to the hospital by skywalk. Another similar building has been proposed and approved for the other side of the deck, at 210 Somerset Street.
Many county and city offices and services have been centralized in a six-building complex referred to as Civic Square. The Middlesex County Administration Building, which is connected to the Middlesex County Courthouse, is directly across the street from New Brunswick City Hall. The Middlesex County Family Court is located one block away at 120 New Street, in a structure that shares space with the County College.
The Civic Square Building at 25 Kirkpatrick Street is home to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the New Brunswick Police Department, New Brunswick Municipal Court, and several other city offices. It is located adjacent to City Hall and the historic post office.
Other buildings labeled “Civic Square” in New Brunswick’s downtown include the Middlesex County Administration Building, the Middlesex County Family Court, and a Rutgers University building that is home to the Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Bloustein School of Public Policy. The former county government headquarters now consists mostly of the privately-owned apartment complex known as Skyline Tower, while floors two and three of the building house parts of the Middlesex County Superior Court.
The city and county also have a number of additional offices and facilities throughout New Brunswick, including three active firehouses and a water treatment plant. The New Brunswick Board of Education’s administrative headquarters is located at 268 Baldwin Street, which is also home to the Adult Learning Center.
Parks and Recreational Facilities
New Brunswick does not have any county, state, or national parks located within the city limits. The 70-mile-long Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park begins at the border with Franklin Township.
The following facilities are operated by the City of New Brunswick’s Division of Parks and Shade Trees:
- Buccleuch Park
- Recreation Park
- Alice Jennings Archibald Park
- Feaster Park
- Pittman Park
- Joyce Kilmer Park
- Baker Park
- Monument Square
- Kossuth Park
- Simplex Park
- Quentin Avenue Playground
- War Memorial Park
- Elmer B. Boyd Park
- New Brunswick Memorial Stadium (and surrounding athletic fields)
Boyd Park re-opened in 2010 after being closed since 2004. Pedestrian overpasses at the Paul Robeson Boulevard and New Street interchanges allow residents and visitors to cross Route 18 to enjoy the park. An amphitheater is the centerpiece of the new design.
Additionally, Frank M. Deiner, Sr. Park is one of many recreational areas that are a part the Rutgers campus. Until recently, the park was owned and maintained by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. When Route 18 was extended across the Raritan River in the early 1980’s, the New Jersey Department of Transportation constructed the park over top of the southbound lanes for use primarily by Rutgers students.
The park was home to the University’s annual spring festival, Deinerfest, until 1993 when it was re-located to Busch campus and renamed Rutgersfest. Rutgersfest took place on Livingston campus some years as well. However, April 28, 2011’s event, held on the Busch campus, caused chaos in New Brunswick prompting the University to permanently cancel the event, under pressure from the city police department.
A small lot at the corner of George and Albany Streets (across from Johnson & Johnson worldwide headquarters) is a park owned by Johnson & Johnson called Kilmer Park. There is also a small public park located within “The Yard,” a development built by New Brunswick Development Corporation at 40 College Avenue on the Rutgers University campus.
Two other city-operated public facilities include the New Brunswick Senior Citizen Resource Center and the HUB Teen Center.
Route 1 developments
- Sears and On The Border restaurant
- AMC Loew’s Cinema/Starbuck’s/”The Edge”
- Motel 6/Red Roof Inn
- Home2Suites Hotel
- Aja Restaurant
- Exxon Gas Station
- Brunswick Circle Car Wash
- Rose Mountain Care Center
- Barracks Trading Post
- Terminal Road/Industrial Drive Industrial Area
- Triangle Road/Home News Row Industrial Area
- Jersey Avenue Industrial Area
- Joyce Kilmer Avenue Industrial Area
- Bristol-Myers-Squibb Facility
- St. Peter’s Cemetery (Ward 4)
- Willow Grove Cemetary (Ward 1)
- Shalom Cemetery (Ward 4)
- Poile Zeda Cemetery (Ward 4)
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.