Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the region presently known as Bayonne was claimed by the Netherlands after Henry Hudson explored the Hudson River which is aptly named after him. According to Royden Page Whitcomb's 1904 book, First history of Bayonne, New Jersey, the name Bayonne is speculated to have originated with Bayonne, France, from which Huguenots settled for a year before the founding of New Amsterdam. However, there is no empirical evidence for this notion, which is considered apocryphal. Whitcomb gives more credence to the idea that Erastus Randall, E.C. Bramhall and B.F. Woolsey, who bought the land owned by Jasper and William Cadmus for real estate speculation, named it Bayonne for purposes of real estate speculation, because it was located on the shores of two bays, Newark and New York.
There were 25,237 households of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city, 22.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.4 years. For every 100 females there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.
The U.S. Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $53,587 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,278) and the median family income was $66,077 (+/- $5,235). Males had a median income of $51,188 (+/- $1,888) versus $42,097 (+/- $1,820) for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,698 (+/- $1,102). About 9.9% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 Census, the most common reported ancestries of Bayonne residents were Italian (20.1%), Irish (18.8%) and Polish (17.9%).
There were 25,545 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,566, and the median income for a family was $52,413. Males had a median income of $39,790 versus $33,747 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,553. About 8.4% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2013[update], the Mayor of Bayonne is Mark Smith, who was elected in a special election in November 2008 to fill out the term of former Mayor Joseph Doria, who was appointed by then-Governor Jon Corzine to head the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; Smith won an election for a full term of office in May 2010 and will serve in office until June 30, 2014. Members of the Bayonne City Council are Council President Terrence Ruane (At-large), Debra Czerwienski (At-large), Agnes Gillepsie (First Ward), Joseph Hurley (Second Ward) and Raymond Greaves (Third Ward), all of whom are serving concurrent terms of office that end on June 30, 2014.
Bayonne is split between the 8th and 10th Congressional Districts and is part of New Jersey's 31st state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Bayonne had been split between the 10th Congressional District and the 13th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections. The split placed 33,218 residents living in the city's south and west in the 8th District, while 29,806 residents in the northeastern portion of the city were placed in the 10th District.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 32,747 registered voters in Bayonne, of which 17,087 (52.2%) were registered as Democrats, 2,709 (8.3%) were registered as Republicans and 12,928 (39.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 23 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 57.0% of the vote here (13,768 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 40.6% (9,796 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (283 votes), among the 24,139 ballots cast by the town's 35,823 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.4%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 56.0% of the vote here (12,402 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 42.2% (9,341 votes) and other candidates with 0.6% (184 votes), among the 22,135 ballots cast by the town's 32,129 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 68.9.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 53.8% of the vote here (7,421 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 38.7% (5,333 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.8% (662 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (183 votes), among the 13,781 ballots cast by the town's 32,588 registered voters, yielding a 42.3% turnout.
The city of Bayonne is protected on a full-time, around-the-clock basis by the 161 professional firefighters of the city of Bayonne Fire Department (BFD), which was founded on September 3, 1906, and operates out of five Fire Stations, located throughout the city. The BFD operates a fire apparatus fleet of four engines, three trucks, one squad, one rescue, three fireboats, a Multi-Service Unit (M.S.U.) and numerous other special, support, and reserve units. Each piece of apparatus is staffed by 4 captains and 12 firefighters. Each platoon works on a 24 hours on, 72 hours off schedule and is commanded by a Battalion Chief. The BFD responds to approximately 17,000 emergency calls annually. The current Chief of Department is Gregory J. Rogers.
Bayonne Free Public Library and Cultural Center
The Bayonne Board of Education serves students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are the 11 elementary schools — Henry E. Harris No. 1 (grades PreK-8; 650 students), Phillip G. Vroom No. 2 (PreK-8; 376), Dr. Walter F. Robinson No. 3 (PreK-8; 794), Mary J. Donohoe No. 4 (PreK-8; 479), Lincoln Community School No. 5 (PreK-8; 423), Horace Mann No. 6 (PreK-8; 559), Midtown Community School No. 8 (PreK-8; 1,046), George Washington Community School No. 9 (PreK-8; 619), Woodrow Wilson School No. 10 (PreK-8; 648) and John M. Bailey School No. 12 (PreK-8; 663), and Nicholas Oresko School No. 14 (PreK-8; 399), an advanced school for gifted and talented students in academics, the arts, and physical education; and Bayonne High School (9-12; 2,586). Bayonne High School is the only public school in the state to have an on-campus ice rink for its hockey team.
For the 2004–05 school year, Mary J. Donohoe No. 4 School was named a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve. It is the fourth school in Bayonne to receive this honor. The other three are Bayonne High School in 1995–96, Midtown Community School in 1996–97 and P.S. #14 in the 1998–99 school year.
Beginning with the 2006–07 school year, the Board of Education implemented a dress code for students in pre-K through eighth grade. Under this code students wear a school logo shirt and a variety of pants, skirts, shorts, and other prescribed items. The plan was intended to "increase student identification with their schools and the district, eliminate many of the distractions associated with differences in social or economic status, allow the children, their teachers and the Board of Education to concentrate on shared pursuit of educational excellence [and] instill a sense of belonging and school pride". The decision prompted a battle between the Board and parents upset at the manner in which the policy was imposed, the cost of the uniforms, the loss of freedom of expression to students in choosing the clothing they wear and issues regarding the manner in which the contract was awarded.
Bus transportation is provided on three main north-south streets of the city: Broadway, Kennedy Boulevard, and Avenue C, both by the state-operated New Jersey Transit and several private bus lines. The Broadway line runs solely inside Bayonne city limits, while bus lines on Avenue C and Kennedy Boulevard run to various end points in Jersey City. The NJ Transit 120 runs between Avenue C in Bayonne and Battery Park in Downtown Manhattan during rush hours in peak direction while the 81 provides service to New Jersey.
Portions of Bayonne are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.
The Bayonne Town Center, located within the Broadway shopping district, includes retailers, eateries, consumer and small business banking centers. The Bayonne Medical Center is a for-profit hospital that anchors the northern end of the Town Center. It is the city's largest employer, with over 1,200 employees. A 2013 study showed that the hospital charged the highest rates in the United States.
The November 16, 2010, episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart parodied former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's reality television series, Sarah Palin's Alaska, in the form of a trailer for a fictional reality show called Jason Jones' Bayonne, New Jersey, whose portrayal of the city was characterized by prostitution, drugs, crime, pollution and a stereotypical Italian-American population. Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith criticized the sketch, saying, "Jon Stewart's unfortunate and inaccurate depiction of Bayonne represents a lame attempt at humor at the expense of a rock solid, all-American community."
The ABC sci-fi comedy television series, The Neighbors, is about a family that moves FROM Bayonne NJ into a fictional gated community, Hidden Hills, that is populated by aliens from another planet posing as humans.
Notable current and former residents of Bayonne include: ((B) denotes that the person was born there.)
Anthony Chiappone (born 1957), politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly, where he represented the 31st Legislative District from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2007 until his resignation in 2010.
^Broadway National Bank of Bayonne v. Parking Authority, New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division decided August 2, 1962. Via FindACase.com. Accessed November 27, 2011. "The facts are undisputed. The City of Bayonne was governed by a board of commissioners in accordance with the Walsh Act until July 1, 1962.... Mayor-Council Plan C of the Faulkner Act (NJSA 40:69A-1 et seq.) was adopted by referendum in the City of Bayonne and took effect on July 1, 1962."
^via Associated Press. "Booker is officially a U.S. senator after being sworn in", NJ.com, October 31, 2013. Accessed October 31, 2013. "Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey today, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor's gallery that rings the chamber.... Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year."
^Gargiulo, Joseph. "New Bus Ferries Staten Islanders", NYCity News Service, November 16, 2007. Accessed July 6, 2011. "The S89, the first interstate bus route run by New York City Transit, connects Eltingville, Staten Island, with the 34th Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Bayonne. It was created to improve Staten Island transportation and provide access to jobs in Jersey City and Hoboken."
^About Us, Henry Repeating Arms. Accessed December 6, 2011. "Today, the Henry Repeating Arms Company, a descendant of the venerable gunmaker, makes its home in Bayonne, New Jersey."
^McGeehan, Patrick. "Soft Real Estate Market Is a Key Ingredient at Brooklyn Brewery", The New York Times, November 1, 2009. Accessed December 6, 2011. "Still, other small manufacturers, like Henry Repeating Arms, have been leaving the city in search of less expensive places to operate.... They no longer are. Mr. Imperato, who lives in Bay Ridge, moved his company to Bayonne, N.J., last year after searching for a few years for adequate space to buy at a “reasonable” price, he said. With some financial help from the State of New Jersey, the company bought a building on three acres in Bayonne for one-third of what it would have cost in Brooklyn, he said."
^Kaulessar, Ricardo. "The other waterfront walkway: 18-mile Hackensack RiverWalk in Hudson County still underdeveloped", The Hudson Reporter, May 16, 2006. Accessed December 6, 2011. "While the Bayonne and Secaucus portions of the Hackensack RiverWalk have been developed substantially, the Jersey City portion that would make up the majority of the 18-mile walk is far from reality. Anyone who develops along this stretch of the Hackensack River is required to add to the public RiverWalk, a planned linkage of waterfront parks along the Hackensack.... The RiverWalk section in Bayonne, if fully completed, would run from the southwest corner of the town in an area where the Kill Van Kull meets the Newark Bay, to the northwestern point of the area.... Ryan pointed out last week that another piece of the RiverWalk will be unveiled when the North 40 Park, or Richard A. Rutkowski Park, is scheduled to open this week."
^Shooters Island, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Accessed December 6, 2011. "Because of its importance as a habitat and breeding ground for birds, Shooter’s Island was assigned to Parks on March 3, 1994 as a bird sanctuary. Nine of the island’s 43 acres (17 ha) belong to New Jersey (Bayonne owns 7.5 acres (3 ha), Elizabeth owns 1.5 acres). New York State paid New Jersey $30,000 for the right to manage the whole of the island in perpetuity."
^Robbins Reef - Entrance to Kill van Kull, New Jersey Lighthouse Society. Accessed August 6, 2013. "The original lighthouse was an white, octagonal stone tower built in 1839. In 1883 the tower was replaced by the present 46 foot, cast iron 'spark plug' tower built atop a granite foundation situated a few yards south of the old tower."
^Sullivan, Al. "Bayonne High School is film set Bruce Willis will play principal in new movie", Hudson Reporter, October 5, 2007. Accessed March 30, 2012. "When Demi Moore came to Bayonne in 1991 to make her film Mortal Thoughts, not many people may know that she brought her actor/husband, Bruce Willis, with her. Willis, who returned to Bayonne last week to film his segments in a new film, entitled The Assassination of a High School Principal or The Sophomore, was a big hit during his first visit, prompting one teacher - who was on the 1991 set at Horace Mann School - who hoped to catch a glimpse of him at the high school."
^"Building For a Future", The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority, Accessed November 11, 2010.
^Tahaney, Ed. "'Piranha' devours 'Ernie' comic", Daily News (New York), September 2, 1998. Accessed November 20, 2012. ""Ernie," the award-winning comic strip that has appeared in the Daily News since 1987, has decided to join the club 'The Piranha Club'.... The strip, set in Bayonne, N.J., is about an innocent guy whose world is filled with conniving thieves, crooks and swindlers, including his Uncle Sid, the ringleader of the anti-social Piranha Club."
^Reichler, Joe via Associated Press. "Roberts Is Also 20 Game Winner", The Telegraph, August 20, 1952. Accessed October 29, 2013. "Dick Brodowski, of Bayonne, NJ, Boston Rod Sox pitcher, has his blood pressure taken by Lieut Vincent Pattlavina, of Quincy, Mass, at the Army Base induction center in Boston, the morning of August 18."
^"Clem Burke of Blondie talks to ZANI", ZANI. Accessed October 29, 2013. "Clem Burke born 24th November 1954 Bayonne, New Jersey, is a drummer who has been in the forefront of popular music since 1976. He joined Blondie a year before in New York where he passed an audition under the watchful eye of Debbie Harry (Lead Singer and Songwriter) and Chris Stein (Guitar and Songwriter)."
^Hevesi, Dennis. "Robert B. Cohen, Hudson News Chain Founder, Dies at 86", The New York Times, February 5, 2012. Accessed October 29, 2013. "Robert Benjamin Cohen was born in Bayonne, N.J., on May 26, 1925, to Isaac and Lillian Goodman Cohen. His father, who once operated a newsstand and a home-delivery route in Brooklyn, started what was then called the Bayonne News Company in the early 1920s."
^Conte, Michaelangelo. "Former Bayonne Mayor Dennis P. Collins dies at 85", The Jersey Journal, December 7, 2009. Accessed October 29, 2013. "Former Bayonne Mayor Dennis P. Collins died yesterday, leaving a legacy of nearly three decades of public service that earned him the distinction of having the city's largest park and main post office named in his honor.... Collins amassed 28 years of public service, including 12 years on the City Council and a record four-term mayoralty, from 1974 to 1990, when he retired."
^Oreskes, Michael. "Washington at Work; Barney Frank's Public and Private Lives: Lonely Struggle for Coexistence", The New York Times, September 15, 1989. Accessed August 14, 2012. "Mr. Frank points up at the poster as he explains what was wrong with his life back then – how he tried to divide his public from his private life, how he could not handle the strain of this and, finally, how he made a personal blunder that threatens now to wreck a political career more successful than he ever imagined possible as a boy growing up in Bayonne, N.J."
^Staff. "Thinker of the Unthinkable", Time (magazine), July 18, 1983. Accessed November 11, 2012. "Kahn was born in Bayonne, NJ, graduated from UCLA in 1945 and three years later joined the Rand Corp., the California think tank that helps the Pentagon develop defense strategies."
^"Tales from the dark side – Offbeat, off-B'way player turns...", The Star-Ledger, April 17, 2005. "Urbaniak was born in Bayonne but moved to Marlboro Township when he was 7."
^Miller, Jonathan. "THE WEEK; Bayonne Bleeder vs. 'Rocky': The Final Round", The New York Times, August 13, 2006. Accessed August 14, 2012. "So nearly three years ago, Mr. Wepner, who was known in the ring as the Bayonne Bleeder, sued Mr. Stallone for $15 million. This month, Mr. Wepner, 67, who still lives in Bayonne and is a wholesale liquor salesman, settled with Mr. Stallone for an undisclosed amount."