He was less ambivalent about projects to extend Riverfront Park, which connects downtown Newark and the Ironbound to the Passaic River, and to revive Ironbound Stadium, a beloved sports field that was contaminated by chemicals from a plastics plant and has been closed for 30 years.
“Whatever changes are coming, we don’t want to lose the character of the community,” said Augusto Amador, the Municipal Council member for the East Ward, which includes the Ironbound. “Anything that will be done will be done with that in mind.”
What You’ll Find
The Ironbound is defined by Newark Penn Station and Amtrak train tracks to the west, the Passaic River to the north, U.S. Route 1-9 to the east and Interstate 78 to the south. Real estate brokers often distinguish between “north Ironbound,” considered desirable because it’s near the long commercial corridor of Ferry Street, and “south Ironbound,” which is more industrial. Michael Rosa, an owner-broker with the Rosa Agency, which has an office in the Ironbound, described a typical home as an early 1900s multifamily house on a 25-by-100-foot lot, usually without a driveway.
What You’ll Pay
According to the real estate website Trulia, the median sales price of homes in north Ironbound as of January was $215,000, a 22 percent decrease from the previous 12 months, based on 169 properties sold.
Fifty-three homes throughout the Ironbound were advertised on Coldwell Banker’s website on Feb. 25. They included a five-bedroom, two-family fixer-upper at 62 Vincent Street, priced at $129,900, and a six-bedroom, three-family house at 126 Union Street, priced at $609,000.
About 70 percent of residents are renters, and many units are in multifamily homes. But upscale apartments are more common, Mr. Rosa said, as developers seek to attract affluent tenants to the neighborhood. A two-bedroom unit with hardwood floors and decorative kitchen tiles, for example, was recently leased in a 2015 building on Polk Street, for $2,000 a month. Though that price is high for the Ironbound, where comparably sized apartments average $1,200, such spaces don’t remain on the market for long, Mr. Rosa said. And their popularity is causing rents to rise over all.
Filigreed gold jewelry, soccer jerseys and cases of the Portuguese water Carvalhelhos enliven shop windows along Ferry Street. On a recent afternoon, Seabra’s Marisqueira restaurant at 87 Madison Street was crowded with devourers of cockles bathed in garlic sauce and grilled lobster stuffed with crab meat. The general manager, Mario Martins, who immigrated from Portugal more than two decades ago, said customers flock from many places beyond Newark and sometimes drop in between flights at Newark Airport.
Since 2013, the controversial One Newark program has allowed families to apply to public and charter schools anywhere in the city. Among several neighborhood options is Oliver Street School, a public school at 86 Oliver Street that serves 1,020 students, prekindergarten through eighth grade. On 2014-15 state tests, the last for which information is available, 30 percent of students met standards in English versus 51 percent statewide; 27 percent met standards in math versus 39 percent statewide. In 2016, the school moved to a $73 million building.
Lafayette Street School, a public school at 205 Lafayette Street, with a concentration on performing arts and justice, serves 1,200 students, prekindergarten through eighth grade. Forty-two percent of students met standards in English; 39 percent met standards in math.
East Side High School, a public school at 238 Van Buren Street, serves 2,100 students, Grades 9 through 12. The 2014-15 SAT scores were 374 reading, 404 math and 381 writing, versus 496, 518 and 494 statewide.
Ironbound Catholic Academy at 366 East Kinney Street, created in 2005 through the merger of three Catholic schools, serves 170 students, kindergarten through eighth grade. The tuition is $4,100 a year.
From Newark Penn Station, the trip on New Jersey Transit rail to Pennsylvania Station in New York takes 18 to 27 minutes and is $5.25; a monthly pass is $152.
Named for the rail tracks or forges that surrounded the neighborhood, the Ironbound is also called Down Neck because of its site on a bend of the Passaic River. Starting in the 1830s, the area became a center for tanning, brewing and dye production. In the early 20th century, Portuguese and Spaniards began to arrive, as did African-Americans. Two out of three of the Ironbound’s current 50,000 residents were born outside of the United States.