Most liquor licenses? Bumpiest town? Local municipalities hold unusual distinctions

Hudson County is the densest county in the state of New Jersey, which itself is the most densely populated state in the United States.

And several of the 12 towns within Hudson have their own unusual distinctions – some flattering, some not.

Hoboken: Most liquor licenses per square mile

Hoboken, a 1.3-square mile city just across the river from midtown Manhattan, is one of the state’s most thriving communities. Bars and restaurants dot the main street, Washington Street.

It has been rumored that Hoboken has the most liquor licenses per square mile in the country.

There are 139 liquor licenses in the city, although not all are active, spread among liquor stores and private venues.

“At one time there were more liquor licenses in Hoboken than days in the year,” said Mayor David Roberts last week. The bars catered to the port city’s numerous seamen, factory workers, and longshoremen.

“Since then, through attrition, it might be half [as many],” Roberts said. “It is a large number.”

But Hoboken officials said recently that they had not researched the rumor about Hoboken having the most liquor licenses per mile.

Factoring in Hoboken’s land area of 1.3 square miles and the number of liquor licenses, there are approximately 107.7 liquor licenses per square mile in Hoboken.

How does that compare with New York and New Orleans?

Manhattan, the 22.7 square-mile borough in the city of New York, has approximately 3,600 liquor licenses, totaling 158.6 licenses per square mile.

But what about the entire city of New York? The land area of the five boroughs is 303.3 square miles, and there are 30,831 liquor licenses among them. That means New York City has 101.65 liquor licenses per mile of land, slightly below Hoboken’s average.

New Orleans, a 180.6 square-mile city, has 883 liquor licenses, totaling 4.9 licenses per square mile. (It is likely to be much higher in the French Quarter.)

Therefore, in terms of actual cities rather than neighborhoods, Hoboken may well have the most.

North Bergen: Second bumpiest city

North Bergen has been said to be the second bumpiest town in the United States.

“I believe some years ago, the federal government did a study that said North Bergen was only second to San Francisco [in hills per square mile],” said Derek McGrath, engineer for the North Bergen Department of Public Works. “You have to appreciate North Bergen’s position; we have plenty of steep hills that go both east and west. To the east of North Bergen we have property that touches the Hudson River, to the west the Hackensack River. No one else has this.”

Recently, North Bergen cited that statistic when buying new police cars, saying the city’s bumpy streets make it hard to patrol and cause wear and tear on the cars.

“We’re always in need of new police vehicles because of the hills,” North Bergen Police Chief William Galvin said. “From 91st Street to 61st Street, we have nothing but hills. It does take its toll. Plus, every so often you lose a patrol vehicle to an accident, which we did recently. So new vehicles are constantly in demand.”

Union City: Second largest Cuban community At one time, Union City had its own claim to fame as being the second largest Cuban community in the nation, after Miami.

During the wave of immigrant exiles of the 1960s, the Cuban population that did not settle in Miami’s Little Havana found its way to the north in Union City. However, throughout the years, the growing Cuban community has spread out to other regions of North Hudson.

“Now I would say North Hudson has the second largest Cuban American community, which is taken from [demographic] statistic reports done by the UEZ [Urban Enterprize Zone],” said Wendy Martinez, spokesperson for Union City Town Hall. “But at one time the city had the second largest community.”

Union City is still the New Jersey municipality with the highest Hispanic population. Using data provided by the 2000 Census, Union City has an 82.3 percent Latino population.

Jersey City: Second biggest in state Jersey City is the second largest city in the state. According to the United States 2000 Census, Jersey City had a total population of 240,055.

The other largest cities might surprise you. Did you know that Woodbridge, Dover and Hamilton are in the mix?

The largest city is Newark, with its population of about 277,911 residents.

The remaining three through seven are: Paterson, pop. 150,782; Elizabeth, pop. 123,215; Woodbridge, pop. 100,866; Edison, pop. 100,138; Dover, pop. 93,671; Hamilton, pop. 89,632; Trenton, pop. 85,314; and Camden, pop. 80,089.

Bayonne: Third longest steel arch bridge

The Bayonne Bridge that connects Bayonne to Staten Island is the third-longest steel arch bridge ever constructed, following the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai, China, and the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. When it was first constructed in November 1931, it was the first of its kind, and the bridge even appeared in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film War of the Worlds. Bayonne itself has also been the scene for other films and TV shows like A Beautiful Mind (2001) and HBO’s “Oz.”

It has been speculated that the municipality derived its name from Bayonne in France, and that French Huguenots settled in this Hudson County nook before New Amsterdam was founded. However, there is no historical record to prove it, and Bayonne may have actually gotten its name due to the fact that it rested on the shore of two bays.

West New York: Longest shopping strip

West New York has a 78.74 percent Latino population out of its 45,768 residents, a smaller percentage than Union City. The towns share another distinction.

Snaking through both towns is Bergenline Avenue, also known as the “Miracle Mile,” said to be the longest commercial avenue in the state and shared by neighboring Guttenberg and North Bergen. “Confirming Bergenline Avenue is the largest commercial avenue, I would say that’s correct, although Tonnelle Avenue, at this point, with Lowes, Target, and now Home Depot, is on the way with more big box retail, which is probably bigger,” said Chris Pianese, town administrator for North Bergen. “Bergenline is more your business district in terms of shops and smaller mom-and-pop stores.”

There are more than 300 retail stores and restaurants up and down Bergenline.

“It’s a big outdoor mall that starts in Union City and leads all the way up to 92nd Street [in North Bergen],” said Oscar Miquelli of the West New York Urban Enterprise Zone.

Secaucus and the pig farms

During the 1950s, Secaucus was home to a number of pig farms, industrial rendering plants, and junkyards, which gave the town a reputation of being one of the most odorous in the New York area.

However, thanks to area gentrification and environmental improvements in the Meadowlands, Secaucus is now perfumed with the scent of wildflowers, and the rebirth of marsh vegetation and wild birds.

“With the disappearance of all the farms and in many cases the disappearance of some of the truck companies, and in our opinion [the effort of] the residents is what has changed Secaucus into a wonderful community,” said Mayor Dennis Elwell.

Now Secaucus is known as the Jewel of the Meadowlands.

“I think it’s attributed to many things, including the recreation programs and the education programs of Secaucus; we were the first town in the region to offer pre-K and one of the first to provide after-care,” said Elwell.

Secaucus is also home to a number of television stations such as UPN’s WWOR-TV and MSNBC, and the town is also the headquarters for the MetroStars of Major League Soccer.

Weehawken and the duel

While much of Hudson County can claim breathtaking views of New York City, Weehawken boasts some of the best views of the New York City skyline. Further up on Boulevard East, which runs on the eastern cliffs on the Palisades, is Weehawken’s Hamilton Park, dedicated to the famous duel of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

The 200th anniversary of the famous duel, which left Hamilton dead, was celebrated in town two years ago.

The park has become the site for numerous wedding parties to take pictures during the summer weekends, and along the Boulevard East strip, many gracious homes and mansions for the Victorian era still stand.

Other distinctions: Most renters, smallest houses

A site called also lists several Hudson County towns in a variety of its top 100 lists.

Among the top cities with the most renters, Union City is ranked 48, West New York is 52, Hoboken is 59, and Jersey City is 80.

Among the cities with the smallest houses is brownstone-heavy Hoboken, with a rank of 50, West New York at 60, Union City at 68, and Guttenberg at 71.

Jersey City is ranked 21st as one of the 100 most racially diverse cities in the country.

Reporter correspondent Rebecca Kaufman contributed to this story.