Being partly surrounded by the Hackensack Meadowlands, Secaucus provides opportunities to observe the recovery of natural marshes in the town's post industrial, post agricultural age. Some marsh areas in the northeast part of town have been filled to provide a new commercial area, and some to build footpaths for nature walks with signs illustrating birds and other wildlife to be seen there.
Secaucus was originally formed as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 12, 1900, from portions of North Bergen. On June 7, 1917, Secaucus was incorporated as a town, replacing Secaucus borough, based on the results of a referendum held on June 5, 1917.
Secaucus was originally an agricultural community specializing in flowers. It later became known for its pig farms in the first half of the 20th century. In the early 1900s the town was home to approximately 55 pig farms, which housed nearly 250,000 pigs, which outnumbered humans 16 to 1. These farms served the meat demands of Newark and New York, and made the farmers wealthy. Many of them were local politicians, most notably pork peddler Henry B. Krajewski, who ran for New Jersey senator, three times for governor and twice for U.S. President. The town's pig farms, rendering plants, and junk yards gave the town a reputation for being one of the most odorous in the New York metropolitan area. In the 1950s the pig farms began to dwindle, partially due to construction on the New Jersey Turnpike, which would carry tourists that it was realized, would not appreciate the odor. In 1963, debris from the demolition of Pennsylvania Station was dumped in the Secaucus Meadowlands. In later decades Secaucus became more a commuter town. In a non-binding referendum in 1969, 90% of voters in Secaucus chose to leave Hudson County and join Bergen County, as that county was more similar in character and had lower taxes. Today it is the still the most suburban town in Hudson County.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Secaucus as its 182nd best place to live in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey, after ranking the borough 11th in its 2008 rankings.
There were 6,297 households of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the town, 19.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $82,289 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,523) and the median family income was $96,475 (+/- $10,189). Males had a median income of $58,902 (+/- $7,548) versus $54,665 (+/- $4,626) for females. The per capita income for the town was $38,375. About 4.7% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.9% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
There were 6,214 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the town the population was spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $59,800, and the median income for a family was $72,568. Males had a median income of $49,937 versus $39,370 for females. The per capita income for the town was $31,684. About 3.9% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.4% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over. About 20% of the town's employed residents commute to New York City to work.
Secaucus is governed under the Town form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a Town Council made up of six council members elected from three wards. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters. The Town Council consists of six members elected to serve four-year terms on a staggered basis, with three seats up at the same time as the mayor and three seats the following year, followed by two years with no elections.
As of 2012[update], the Mayor of Secaucus is Michael Gonnelli. Gonnelli succeeded Richard Steffens, who stepped in to finish the term of Dennis Elwell. Elwell resigned amid corruption charges on July 28, 2009, and was later convicted. Members of the Town Council are Deputy Mayor John Bueckner (2013; Ward 2), James Clancy (I, 2014; Ward 2), Robert Constantino (2013; Ward 1), Gary Jeffas (I, 2014; Ward 1), William McKeever (2013; Ward 3) and Susan Pirro (I, 2014; Ward 3).
Washington Hook & Ladder Co. # 1 Firehouse
The town of Secaucus is served around the clock by five volunteer fire companies that make up the Secaucus Fire Department, which operate a combined fire apparatus fleet of five Engines, two Trucks, one Rescue, one Squad (Utility Unit) and one boat out of five fire stations located throughout the town.
Federal, state and county representation
Secaucus is located in the 9th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 32nd state legislative district.
According to The Hudson Reporter, Secaucus is "arguably Hudson County's most conservative town." As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 10,298 registered voters in Secaucus, of which 5,886 (57.2%) were registered as Democrats, 876 (8.5%) were registered as Republicans and 3,531 (34.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 53.0% of the vote here (3,889 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 45.6% (3,348 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (63 votes), among the 7,344 ballots cast by the town's 10,650 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.0%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50.6% of the vote here (3,460 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 48.6% (3,320 votes) and other candidates with 0.3% (33 votes), among the 6,838 ballots cast by the town's 9,767 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 70.0.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 50.7% of the vote here (2,959 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 35.9% (2,096 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 5.4% (315 votes) and other candidates with 2.3% (132 votes), among the 5,833 ballots cast by the town's 10,158 registered voters, yielding a 57.4% turnout.
Secaucus a wide variety of road and rail transportation. The town is divided into four by the intersecting roads of NJ 3, which runs east and west, and the eastern spur of the New Jersey Turnpike (part of Interstate 95), which runs north-south, with an interchange (16E/17) at NJ Route 3 and interchange 15X, near the Secaucus Junction Station, which opened in late 2005.
Because of its central location, many shipping warehouses and truck freight transfer stations are located in Secaucus, both for shipping companies such as UPS and for numerous retailers. For example, Barnes & Noble's "same day delivery" service to Manhattan operates from a warehouse in Secaucus. The town also has a large rail yard and multimode terminal run by CSX and Norfolk Southern where loads are switched between trains or transferred to or from trucks.
There are several large retail areas in Secaucus. Secaucus Plaza is the "downtown" area of Secaucus, just off of Route 3. The Outlets are a collection of outlet shops selling discounted name-brand merchandise in southwest Secaucus. Many factory retail outlets are scattered throughout the Harmon Cove industrial section, often located in warehouses or converted factories. Harmon Cove Outlet Center is the largest outlet mall, on Enterprise Avenue. The Mill Creek Mall is a mall on Route 3 on the west side of the Turnpike. Harmon Meadow Plaza is a large hotel, restaurant and shopping complex that features gyms, a pool hall, the Meadowlands Convention Center, a 14-screen Showplace Theatres and a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club located east of the New Jersey Turnpike, near Route 3 and Interchange 16E. Best Buy, Raymour & Flanigan, Ashley Furniture, Home Depot and Daffy's are located on Paterson Plank Road off Interchange 16E.National Retail Systems is another large employer. Secaucus is home to several corporate headquarters, including Goya Foods,The Children's Place, FiberMedia and Hartz Mountain.
In 2011, two companies announced that they would be leaving Secaucus. The Manischewitz Company announced that it would relocate its administrative offices to Newark after being located in Secaucus for seven years.Panasonic's North American headquarters had been located in town since 1973. After searching for a new location in New York, California, and Georgia the company announced it would relocate to Newark. Panasonic received an Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit of $102 million from the State of New Jersey for the relocation. The company also cited the environmental benefits possible by reducing the need of 1,000 employees to drive to work. Their Consumer Affairs Division, however, remains in Secaucus.
Secaucus held a pre-Super Bowl "Winter Blast" party during the first weekend of February 2014 to celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII being played in New Jersey. The party featured a number of activities, including an ice skating rink. The town had planned for large crowds, even planning special court sessions in advance to handle the projected surge of potentially disruptive visitors. The turnout was much lower than expected, with Mayor Gonnelli citing the NFL's focus on activities in Manhattan aimed at visitors.
^Page, Jeffrey. "Our towns challenge our tongues", The Record (Bergen County), June 17, 2005. Accessed June 19, 2007. "You can always tell newcomers to Secaucus. Because most words are pronounced with emphasis on the next-to-last syllable, they say they live in see-KAW-cus - although the ones who fear their friends might recall that Secaucus used to be pig-farming country might say they live in South Carlstadt, which doesn't exist. If I said 'see-KAW-cus' to someone local, they'd think I didn't know what I was talking about, said Dan McDonough, the municipal historian. Of course it's SEE-kaw-cus. Everybody knows that."
^Archilla, Dylan M. "Taking a dip Hudson County towns offer swim fun", Hudson Reporter, July 3, 2003. Accessed July 20, 2011. "Secaucus, being the most "suburban" of Hudson's County's towns (and being closest to Bergen County), not surprisingly boasts the most spacious facility. Sporting four distinct pools (an Olympic-sized pool, a diving tank, a lap pool, and a wading pool for the kiddies the Secaucus Swim Center is open to non-residents)."
^Jones, Richard Lezin. "Secaucus Journal; Humbled Mountain Offers a Mine of History, and Prehistory", The New York Times, March 31, 2002. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Or maybe the biggest insult came later, when what was left of the mountain -- a geological marvel, a pristine example of igneous diabase nearly a quarter billion years old and as tall as a 20-story building -- became a canvas for college students spray-painting their fraternity letters. But, no, Dan McDonough said as he stared at the once-great peak known as Snake Hill, the familiar, graffiti-scarred outcropping of rock beside the New Jersey Turnpike, between Exits 15W and 16W, those indignities are not in the forefront of his mind."
^Bonamo, Mark J (August 1, 2006). "The lost cause Secaucus residents remember attempt to secede from Hudson County". The Hudson Reporter. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Encouraged by this success, Amico began to look across the Hackensack River. 'The makeup of Secaucus is very much unlike most of Hudson County,' he said. 'It's much more like Bergen County. We did some analysis about what taxes were like in other counties, and Bergen County had the lowest. Bergen County would have accepted us back in 1969. They liked the fact that we were predominantly independents at that time, and Bergen County was Republican. We had a non-binding resolution that approved secession by 90 percent.'"
^Nutt, Amy Ellis (October 31, 2013). "Booker is officially a U.S. senator after being sworn in". NJ.com/Associated Press. 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."
^Bonamo, Mark J. "Switzerland in Secaucus Watchmaking school teaches how to keep time ticking", Hudson Reporter, December 14, 2006. Accessed July 15, 2012. "To help address this occupational gap, the Swatch Group opened the school named after Hayek in Sept. 2005. The school strictly adheres to the curriculum established by the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program, or WOSTEP. Completion of the two-year, 3,000-hour training program enables graduates to get a job servicing watches anywhere in the world. There are only four other schools like the one in Secaucus in the U.S."
^Harrington, Shannon D. "Enter Exit 15", The Record (Bergen County), November 30, 2005. Accessed August 29, 2013. "Exit 15X, the new $250 million Secaucus interchange on the New Jersey Turnpike, will open to motorists Thursday night."
^Staff. "Secaucus rail station finally gets parking", Hudson Reporter, June 1, 2009. Accessed November 20, 2013. "State officials, including New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 1 to celebrate the opening of the long-anticipated 1,100-space parking lot at the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station in Secaucus."
^Livio, Susan K.; and Graber, Trish G (August 6, 2009). "Former N.J. Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto dies at 61". The Star-Ledger. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Anthony Impreveduto, a 61-year-old former teacher and Hudson County Assemblyman for 17 years, died today at Hackensack University Medical Center after a battle with cancer. Impreveduto was forced to resign, fined $10,000 and placed on five years' probation after pleading guilty to using campaign funds for income taxes, a daughter's wedding and sports memorabilia. He got his start in politics as a councilman in Secaucus, serving from 1981 to 1992. He got elected to the state Assembly in 1987 and served eight terms. "
^"Poor Man's Candidate". Time March 17, 1952. "Massive (6 ft., 240 lbs.) Henry B. Krajewski of Secaucus, N.J. has a five-acre farm with 4,000 pigs, a flourishing saloon ("Tammany Hall Tavern") and political ambitions."