In this Bergen County borough, the shopping district has a wholesome vibe and everyone seems to know everyone. But Times Square is only 12 miles away.
Living In … Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
For Meghan and Justin Lehman, newcomers to Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., it was the bicycles left unlocked outside local stores that clinched the deal.
The couple had been living in crowded, party-hearty Hoboken, “but we were planning to start a family and get a dog, and were running out of space, so we didn’t see our future there,” said Mr. Lehman, 35, who works in information technology for a media company.
In 2015, the Lehmans rented half of a two-family house in Hasbrouck Heights. Ms. Lehman, a trade-show planner who is 32, knew the southern Bergen County borough because she had cousins there. When it came time to buy in 2017, they looked farther north, in Paramus, where there were bigger houses and lots. But they kept thinking about those bicycles on Boulevard, Hasbrouck Heights’s main drag. “If the kids feel comfortable leaving their bikes unchained, that says a lot,” Mr. Lehman said.
By The New York Times
The couple, who became parents in June, paid $432,500 for a three-bedroom raised ranch on a sycamore-lined street livened by the sound of children playing. They updated the interior, added blue siding and fenced in the backyard for Cooper, their lab mix.
“My only gripe here,” Mr. Lehman said of the borough, “is that there’s no dog park.”
A mile-and-a-half square atop a hill, Hasbrouck Heights is hardly the boondocks. Times Square is 12 miles east, and the Manhattan skyline is visible from some streets. On the northern end, Interstate 80 swipes past and Route 46 cuts through. Route 17, with office buildings, hotels and chain restaurants, runs down the town’s eastern edge, and Teterboro Airport is just on the other side.
Woodland Park, in the southwest corner of Hasbrouck Heights, has walking trails, a ball field, a playground and a picnic pavilion.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Although the flight paths more directly affect neighboring Hackensack, there is no ignoring the airport: Twenty years ago, a twin-engine plane crashed into a Hasbrouck Heights backyard, killing the four passengers. But in one sense, the borough of 12,000 embraces the proximity: Its high school sports teams are the Aviators.
“We do have some noise issues,” said Mayor John “Jack” DeLorenzo. “But the airport has been very cooperative with us, and has done sound testing and tried to restrict the number of flights in the overnight hours.”
Mary DeAngelis, 42, a nurse, can see Teterboro Airport from where her street crests. In 2017, she bought an expanded six-bedroom colonial for $493,000 with her sister, Donna DeAngelis, 52, who works in human resources, and their mother, Barbara DeAngelis, now 72. The three previously rented separate homes in nearby towns. Now they share a house with an open floor plan downstairs and an upstairs configuration that gives each of them — Mary DeAngelis has two children, ages 5 and 6, and Donna DeAngelis has three who are college age — a measure of privacy.
While they chose Hasbrouck Heights for the size of the house they were able to buy, and the ease of commuting, Mary DeAngelis said they have come to prize the small-town accouterments: the swim club, the annual holiday parade and tree lighting, and the way everyone seems to knows everyone, a byproduct of families staying put.
“You feel it downtown on the Boulevard, when you’re getting a bagel or running into Rite Aid,” she said. “Everyone is so neighborly. There’s a sense of community beyond anything I’ve experienced.”
249 WASHINGTON PLACE | A four-bedroom, two-bathroom house, built in 1905 on 0.25 acres, listed for $679,000. 201-370-0107Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
What You’ll Find
Driving through Hasbrouck Heights on Route 17 offers little inkling of the residential community up the hill or beyond the cliff to the west. Bordered primarily by Hackensack and the boroughs of Lodi, Wood-Ridge and Teterboro, Hasbrouck Heights has an eclectic housing stock of Capes, Victorians, ranches, split-levels, boxy contemporaries, Tudors, McMansions and colonials of all stripes, many on 50-foot-wide lots. The architectural variety, spanning the late 1800s to the current decade, is evident on nearly every block.
“With the new construction, builders have done a good job adding style and character,” said Susan LeConte, the president and chief executive of LeConte Realty, in Hasbrouck Heights. “The homes are not cookie-cutter.”
230 LINCOLN AVENUE | A two-bedroom, two-bathroom house, built in 2009 on 0.13 acres, listed for $669,000. 201-741-6120Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Pedestrian-friendly Boulevard, where the municipal offices, the library, and high school and middle school are situated, runs north-south and loops around a landscaped traffic circle, which adds a patch of green to a borough with only one full-fledged park.
“We’re constantly looking for ideas to add playground space or park areas,” Mr. DeLorenzo, said. “It’s tough, because no one expected this volume of people and houses and traffic when the town was developed.”
What You’ll Pay
For home buyers who deem northern Bergen County areas like Oradell and Ridgewood out of their price range, Hasbrouck Heights is a lower-cost alternative, offering similar aesthetics and solid schools, said John Tamborini, a broker and an owner of the local real estate agency Re/Max Trading Places.
“You’d probably have to spend $600,000 to $700,000 in a northern Bergen town for a comparable house you can find here in the neighborhood of $450,000 to $500,000,” he said.
259 PATERSON AVENUE | A four-bedroom, one-bathroom house, built in 1923 on 0.11 acres, listed for $449,999. 973-253-2800Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
This year, through Oct. 31, 91 single-family houses in Hasbrouck Heights sold at a median price of $450,000, unchanged from the same period in 2018, according to the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service.
On Nov. 21, the service’s website showed 20 single-family houses on the market, from a four-bedroom, two-bathroom Cape Cod listed for $335,000, with annual property taxes of $10,067, to a renovated circa-1905 colonial on an oversized lot, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, listed for $679,000, with taxes of $13,500.
The Boulevard business district is decidedly wholesome, populated by schoolchildren after the dismissal bell. There, you’ll find a religious supply store, a children’s clothier and an Austrian-style bakery, along with the ubiquitous salons and pizza and bagel places. Dining options include a “Cheers”-like bar and grill, a Greek spot with patio seating and the Risotto House, an Italian restaurant named for its specialty.
In a borough proud of its championship high school football team, the athletic complex near Route 17 is another popular gathering place. For night life, Bananas Comedy Club inside the Holiday Inn on the highway is regionally known. So, too, is the retro, aluminum-clad Bendix Diner farther up Route 17.
Come nightfall, curbsides empty as vehicles are moved onto driveways to abide by the ban on street parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., when the sweepers operate. Violation carries a $23 fine, although residents can request overnight parking when circumstances warrant.
“With our wide streets, daytime parking is easy, and the overnight ban adds a safety factor,” said Marian Calabro, a writer and corporate historian who has been a resident for 32 years. “That was part of the attraction for many of us who moved here from crowded Hudson County.”
There are two public elementary schools, a middle school for sixth through eighth grade, and a high school; the latter two share a building. The ethnic and racial composition of the 1,800-student district is 56 percent white, 26.5 percent Hispanic, 13 percent Asian and 3 percent black.
Average SAT scores in 2017-18 were 566 in reading and writing and 583 in math, versus 542 and 543 statewide. Of Hasbrouck Heights High School’s class of 2018, 83.7 percent proceeded to postsecondary education, versus 76.3 percent statewide.
Corpus Christi School, affiliated with the local Catholic parish, serves prekindergarten through eighth grade.
Most Manhattan-bound commuters walk to Boulevard to catch New Jersey Transit’s No. 163 or 164 bus, which reach the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan in about 40 minutes. The fare is $4.50 one way or $148 monthly.
Neighboring Wood-Ridge has two train stations, on the Pascack Valley Line (Wood-Ridge) and the Bergen County Line (Wesmont), both with parking. From either, the ride to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan takes 30 to 40 minutes, including the transfer at Secaucus. The Wood-Ridge fare is $5.50 one way, or $170 monthly; the Wesmont fare is $6.75 one way, or $184 monthly.
Once part of Lodi Township and largely agricultural, Hasbrouck Heights began developing in the 1870s. It was known as Corona, after the Center Corona Land and Building Association. Because of mail confusion with the Corona section of Queens, the post-office name was changed to Hasbrouck, honoring J.D. Hasbrouck, a railroad official. “Heights” was added later because there was a Hasbrouck in upstate New York. The borough of Hasbrouck Heights was incorporated in 1894.
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