The name Piscataway may stem from the area's original European settlers, transplants from near the Piscataqua River defining the coastal border between New Hampshire and Maine, whose name derives from peske (branch) and tegwe (tidal river), or alternatively from pisgeu (meaning "dark night") and awa ("Place of") or from a Lenape language word meaning "Great Deer". The area was first settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists who had left the Puritan colony in New Hampshire.
Piscataway Township was formed on December 18, 1666, and officially incorporated by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, as part of the state's initial group of 104 townships. The community, the fifth-oldest municipality in New Jersey, has grown from Native American territory, through a colonial period and is one of the links in the earliest settlement of the Atlantic Ocean seacoast that ultimately led to the formation of the United States. Over the years, portions of Piscataway were taken to form Raritan Township (March 17, 1870, now Edison), Dunellen (October 28, 1887), Middlesex (April 9, 1913) and South Plainfield (March 10, 1926).
The township consists of the communities of New Market (known as Quibbletown in the 18th Century), Randolphville, Fieldville and North Stelton. The original village settlement of Piscatawaytown is located in present day Edison Township. Piscataway is often segmented into unofficial sections by local residents which include Bound Brook Heights ("the Heights"), New Brunswick Highlands, Lake Nelson, Randolphville, Arbor, New Market, North Stelton, Fellowship Farm and Possumtown.
The Arbor and New Brunswick Highland sections of Piscataway were historically African American neighborhoods.
The New Market section historically comprised the Quaker village of Quibbletown. The early name of the village originated from the fact that settlers of different religious denominations quibbled about whether the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday or on Sunday in the village.
There were 17,050 households of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.9% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.0% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the township, 20.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 17.8% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.0 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $88,428 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,958) and the median family income was $95,483 (+/- $3,327). Males had a median income of $57,308 (+/- $4,335) versus $48,606 (+/- $1,863) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $31,254 (+/- $1,335). About 2.5% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 census, 12.49% of Piscataway's residents identified themselves as being of Indian American ancestry, which was the fourth highest of any municipality in the United States and the third highest in New Jersey — behind Edison (17.75%) and Plainsboro Township (16.97%) — of all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry.
There were 16,500 households out of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 19.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the township the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $68,721, and the median income for a family was $75,218. Males had a median income of $47,188 versus $36,271 for females. The per capita income for the township was $26,321. About 2.7% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
In November 1966, Piscataway voters, under the Faulkner Act, approved a Charter Study and elected a Charter Study Commission to recommend the form of Government best suited to Piscataway's needs. The Commission recommended Mayor-Council Plan F. Voters approved the plan in a referendum in November 1967 and the new form of government was inaugurated on January 1, 1969. Under Plan F the Mayor is the administrator and the Council is the legislative body. A full-time business administrator, appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council, and responsible to the Mayor, supervises the day-by-day operation of municipal government. There are seven Council members, one representing each of four wards, and three at-large members. Terms of office for the Mayor and Council members are four years, on a staggered schedule, with either the three at-large seats (and the mayoral seat) or the four ward seats up for vote in even years as part of the November general election.
As of 2013[update], the mayor of Piscataway is Democrat Brian C. Wahler, whose term of office ends December 31, 2016. Members of the Township Council are Council President Jim Bullard (D, 2014; Ward 2), Council Vice President Michele Lombardi (D, 2014; Ward 4), Gabrielle Cahill (D, 2016; At Large), Steven D. Cahn (D, 2014; Ward 3), Michael Griffith (D, 2016; At Large), Mark Hardenburg (D, 2014; Ward 1) and Chanelle C. McCullum (D, 2016; At Large).
Chanelle McCullum was appointed in April 2013 to fill the vacant at-large seat of Kenneth Armwood, who had been the township council president until he was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. McCullum was elected in November 2013 to serve the balance of the unexpired term through its expiration in December 2016.
Federal, state and county representation
Piscataway Township is located in the 6th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 17th state legislative district.
Middlesex County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose seven members are elected at-large to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects from among its members a Freeholder Director and Deputy Director. As of 2013[update], Middlesex County's Freeholders (with committee chairmanship, residence and term-end year listed in parentheses) are Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano (Ex-officio on all committees; South River, term ends December 31, 2013), Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios (County Administration; Carteret, 2015), Carol Barrett Bellante (Finance; Monmouth Junction in South Brunswick, 2014), H. James Polos (Public Safety and Health; Highland Park, 2015), Charles E. Tomaro (Business Development and Education; Edison, 2014) and Blanquita B. Valenti (Community Services; New Brunswick, 2013). The seat of Stephen J. "Pete" Dalina (D-Fords, Woodbridge) – Chairperson, Infrastructure Management Committee, is vacant following his death in October 2013 after serving 23 years in office as the longest-serving freeholder in the county. Constitutional officers are County Clerk Elaine M. Flynn (Old Bridge Township), Sheriff Mildred S. Scott (Piscataway) and Surrogate Kevin J. Hoagland (New Brunswick).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 31,266 registered voters in Piscataway Township, of which 11,355 (36.3%) were registered as Democrats, 3,034 (9.7%) were registered as Republicans and 16,859 (53.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 18 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 71.0% of the vote here (15,978 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 27.2% (6,111 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (215 votes), among the 22,491 ballots cast by the township's 32,398 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.4%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 64.2% of the vote here (12,627 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 34.3% (6,749 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (218 votes), among the 19,670 ballots cast by the township's 27,842 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 70.6.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 54.9% of the vote here (6,773 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 37.6% (4,637 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.0% (738 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (111 votes), among the 12,334 ballots cast by the township's 31,079 registered voters, yielding a 39.7% turnout.
Fire and EMS Piscataway is divided into four fire districts which are served by a total of two volunteer rescue squads and six volunteer fire companies, one of which combines both fire and EMS services. The fire districts are the zones in which fire departments operate, and although the volunteer EMS squads follow the basic regions of the districts, only North Stelton Fire Rescue EMS is a part of a fire district. Additionally, on weekdays from 6am until 6pm, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital staffs an ambulance in Piscataway. When the volunteer rescue squads are not in service, either Rutgers University Emergency Services or Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital may be asked to send an ambulance.
Arbor Rescue Squad (EMS), 1790 W. 7th Street (partial coverage)
River Road Rescue Squad (EMS), 101 Shirley Parkway (partial coverage)
The primary law enforcement agency within Piscataway is Piscatway Police Department. Rutgers University Police Department and The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Police Department operate on their respective campuses within Piscataway. Also, The New Jersey State Police also patrols the section of Interstate 287 that bisects the town.
The Piscataway Township Schools serves students with its high school, four schools that educate students in kindergarten through third grade, two intermediate schools serving grades 4-5, and three middle schools for students in grades six, seven, and eight. Schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are the four elementary schools — Eisenhower Elementary School (grades K-3; 533 students), Grandview Elementary School (PreK-3; 732), Knollwood Elementary School (K-3; 515) and Randolphville Elementary School (K-3; 553) — both Arbor Intermediate School (536) and Martin Luther King Intermediate School (503) for grades 4 and 5, three middle schools for grades 6-8 — Conackamack Middle School (454), Quibbletown Middle School (566) and Theodore Schor Middle School (565) — and Piscataway Township High School with 2,226 students in grades 9-12.
Middlesex County schools
Nu-View Academy Piscataway Campus, 1 Park Avenue - Programs for students with symptoms of; Depression, ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Thought Disorder, or Anxiety Disorder.
The township had a total of 206.70 miles (332.65 km) of roadways, of which 181.68 miles (292.39 km) are maintained by the municipality, 18.94 miles (30.48 km) by Middlesex County and 6.08 miles (9.78 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Piscataway is served by a number of roads. County roads include CR 501 (along the border with South Plainfield), CR 514 and CR 529. Route 18 currently ends at Hoes Lane, with plans to extend to Interstate 287. Interstate 287 passes through the center of the township for about 4 miles.
Louis Brown Athletic Center is the home of the Rutgers University men's and women's basketball teams. The venue was originally named the Rutgers Athletic Center, and is still referred to as the RAC by many.
^ abCheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking of Living in: Piscataway", The New York Times, June 28, 1992. Accessed October 3, 2012. "What is now the township was settled in 1666 by Quakers and Baptists fleeing the intolerant Puritan colony in New Hampshire. While Piscataway is a derivative of the Leni Lenape word for "Great Deer," the township is believed to have been named for the settlers' former home on the Piscataqua River."
^Raum, John O. The History of New Jersey: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 1, p. 247-8, J. E. Potter and company, 1877. Accessed July 17, 2013. "Piscataway was incorporated in 1798, so named from some of the first settlers who came from Piscataqua, in Maine, and upon their arrival they called the place New Piscataqua. New Market, formerly Quibbletown, is a thriving post town. New Brooklyn, Samptown, New Durham and Raritan Landing, are small villages in the township. The population of Piscataway was in 1850, 2,975; in 1860, 3,186; and in 1870, 2,757."
^Staff. "Piscataway election results", Courier News, November 2, 2010. Accessed November 24, 2013. "Three incumbents, including 20-year Councilman Mark Hardenburg, swept to victory Tuesday along with one newcomer to keep Democrats completely in control of the seven-member Township Council."
^Staff. "Community news briefs: New councilwoman is sworn in", Courier News, April 21, 2013. Accessed November 24, 2013. "The Honorable Judge Philip Paley swore in Piscataway resident, Chanelle McCullum, as an at-large councilwoman at the township's regular and agenda meeting on April 16.Due to the resignation of Piscataway council president Kenneth Armwood, who was appointed to the open seat on the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders after Freeholder Director Christopher Rafano's appointment to the New Jersey Superior Court, McCullum will temporally fill the vacancy until it is filled for Armwood's unexpired term at the next general election."
^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."
^Giambusso, David. "Middlesex Freeholder Stephen 'Pete' Dalina dead at 83", The Star-Ledger, October 5, 2013. Accessed October 6, 2013. "Longtime Middlesex County Freeholder Stephen J. "Pete" Dalina died in office Saturday at the age of 83, county officials confirmed.... Dalina was first elected freeholder in 1990. He served as deputy director from 1994 to 2008 and as director in 2009. He was the longest-serving member of the board."
^Cornelius Low House / Middlesex County Museum, Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Accessed November 24, 2013. "Cornelius Low was a leading citizen of Raritan Landing, a port community on the Raritan River in central New Jersey that flourished between 1720 and 1835."
^"Gorgias Press - Liturgy". New Liturgical Movement. Retrieved 2011-10-13. "Gorgias Press who publish a number of books related to Eastern Christianity. They also have a Liturgy section which includes books like F.E. Brightman's compilation of Eastern liturgies, as well as other non-Byzantine (i.e. Oriental) liturgical items that some may find of interest here."
^About Melissa, Melissa Bacelar. Accessed November 24, 2013. "Melissa grew up in Piscataway, New Jersey. Her father came to America from Cuba when he was thirteen and her mother's family owns the oldest Lumber Yard in New Jersey, opened by her great grandfather in the 1900's."
^Rutgers Oral History Archives: Blum, Samuel, Rutgers University, July 8, 1994. Accessed November 24, 2013. "My father and mother summered out here in what is Piscataway Township, a place called Ferrer Colony. It's five miles from here. They built a shack that they and I summered in, until I was ten.... He built a permanent winter home and we left the city. I enrolled in the Fellowship Farm School in Piscataway Township."
^Mallozzi, Vincent M. "BIG EAST REPORT", The New York Times, January 17, 1996. Accessed October 3, 2012. "One of the players who played well in Kittles's absence against West Virginia was the freshman John Celestand, a 6-3 guard from Piscataway N.J., who scored 14 points against the Mountaineers."
^Asjha Jones profile, Women's National Basketball Association. Accessed September 6, 2007. "A Parade, USA Today and Street & Smith First Team All-American at Piscataway High School, averaging 22.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.9 steals…Scored a school career-record 2,266 points and had 1,256 rebounds."
^Lizura, Joe. Medieval Church Discovered, Joe Lizura Official Website, September 6, 2012. Accessed November 24, 2013. "At least I personally have a good feeling for ”old” because my hometown of Piscataway, New Jersey was founded in 1666 – old? yes, but still not as old as the Church under the parking lot in England."
^Sullivan, John. "At Rutgers, Weathering An Ordeal", The New York Times, November 30, 2003. Accessed January 26, 2011. "From his early boyhood home in New Brunswick, Richard Levis McCormick would have glimpsed Old Queens above the river. Even after his family moved to the more rural town of Piscataway, the building would have been a familiar site as he visited the campus where his parents taught."
^Coaches, Kansas City Chiefs. Accessed November 24, 2013. "Matt Nagy - Quarterbacks; born April 24, 1978, Piscataway Township, N.J."
^Harbatkin, Erica. "Piscataway H.S. opens wing", Home News Tribune, October 21, 2007. Accessed November 24, 2013. "Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, a former mayor of Piscataway, stood in front of the group, pumped his fist in the air and yelled, "Go Chiefs! Go Superchiefs band!"