Paramus, New Jersey

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Paramus, New Jersey
Borough of Paramus
Map highlighting Paramus' location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey.
Map highlighting Paramus' location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Paramus, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Paramus, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°56′50″N 74°04′16″W / 40.947309°N 74.070989°W / 40.947309; -74.070989Coordinates: 40°56′50″N 74°04′16″W / 40.947309°N 74.070989°W / 40.947309; -74.07098912
Country  United States of America
State  New Jersey
County Bergen
Incorporated April 4, 1922
 • Type Borough
 • Mayor Richard LaBarbiera (term ends December 31, 2014)3
 • Administrator Joseph O. D'Arco4
 • Clerk Toni Falato5
 • Total 10.520 sq mi (27.246 km2)
 • Land 10.470 sq mi (27.117 km2)
 • Water 0.050 sq mi (0.129 km2)  0.47%
Area rank 205th of 566 in state
2nd of 70 in county2
Elevation7 49 ft (15 m)
Population (2010 Census)8910
 • Total 26,342
 • Estimate (201211) 26,532
 • Rank 93rd of 566 in state
8th of 70 in county12
 • Density 2,516.0/sq mi (971.4/km2)
 • Density rank 249th of 566 in state
50th of 70 in county12
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 07652-076531314
Area code(s) 20115
FIPS code 340035595016217
GNIS feature ID 0885340182

Paramus (/pəˈræməs/ pə-RAM-əs, with the accent on the second syllable19) is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 26,342,8910 reflecting an increase of 605 (+2.4%) from the 25,737 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 670 (+2.7%) from the 25,067 counted in the 1990 Census.20 A suburb of New York City, Paramus is located 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) northwest of Midtown Manhattan and approximately 8 miles (13 km) west of Upper Manhattan. In 2012, it was named as a "New Jersey Healthy Town" under the state's Mayor’s Wellness Campaign.21

Paramus was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 2, 1922, based on the results of a referendum held on April 4, 1922 that passed by a vote of 238 for and 10 against.2223 Paramus was created from portions of Midland Township, which now exists as Rochelle Park.22

The borough is one of the largest shopping destinations in the country, generating over $5 billion in annual retail sales,242526 more than any other ZIP code in the United States.2728 Paramus has more limited shopping hours, as it has some of the most restrictive blue laws in the nation (even stricter than those prevailing in the rest of Bergen County), banning nearly all retail and white-collar businesses from opening on Sundays. The only exceptions are gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores, and a limited number of other businesses.29 More than 63% of Bergen County voters rejected a referendum on the ballot in 1993 that would have repealed the county's blue laws, though the Paramus restrictions would have remained in place.30

New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Paramus as its 21st best place to live in its 2013 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.


Paramus is located at 40°56′50″N 74°04′16″W / 40.947309°N 74.070989°W / 40.947309; -74.070989 (40.947309,-74.070989). According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 10.520 square miles (27.246 km2), of which, 10.470 square miles (27.117 km2) of it was land and 0.050 square miles (0.129 km2) of it (0.47%) was water.21


The area that became northern New Jersey was occupied for thousands of years by prehistoric indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, it was settled by the historic Lenape people. The Lenape language word for the area, Peremessing, which meant that it had an abundant population of Wild Turkey, was anglicized to become the word "Paramus".3132 A large metal statue of a wild turkey in the Paramus Park mall commemorates this history.32 Another variation is that the word means "pleasant stream".33

Albert Saboroweski, whose descendants became known by the family name "Zabriskie",34 immigrated from Poland via the Dutch ship The Fox35 in 1662. He settled in the Dutch West Indies Company town of Ackensack, today's Hackensack, where he started a family. A son, Jacob, was captured by the Lenape and held for 15 years. When he was returned to his family, the Lenape explained to Saboroweski that they had taken the child in order to teach him their language so that he could serve as a translator. They granted Saboroweski approximately 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of land which became known as the "Paramus Patent".36

During the American Revolutionary War, the county included both Tories and Patriots, with Patriots "greatly outnumbering" Tories.37 Although no major battles were fought in Bergen County, Paramus was part of the military activity, as colonial troops were stationed in Ramapo under the command of Aaron Burr.38 In 1777, the British raided the Hackensack area and Burr marched troops to Paramus, from where he attacked the British, forcing them to withdraw.39 General George Washington was in Paramus several times during the War: December, 1778; July, 1780; and, December, 1780.40 Following the Battle of Monmouth, Washington established his headquarters in Paramus in July 1778.41 Over the advice of his staff, Washington moved his headquarters to Westchester County, New York.42

A section of Paramus known as Dunkerhook (meaning dark corner in Dutch) was a free African-American community dating to the early 18th century. Although historical markers on the current site and local oral tradition maintain that this was a slave community, contemporary records document that it was a community of free blacks, not slaves.43 A group of houses built on Dunkerhook Road by the Zabriskies in the late 18th / early 19th centuries were the center of a community of black farmers, who had been slaves held by the Zabriskie family.44

Farview Avenue, located at the highest peak in Paramus, has a clear view of the New York City skyline.45

Paramus became one of the "truck farming" areas that helped New Jersey earn its nickname as the "Garden State".46 By 1940, Paramus' population was just 4,000, with no town center and 94 retail establishments.47 Although the opening of the George Washington Bridge in 1931 and the widening of New Jersey Route 17 and New Jersey Route 4 (which intersect in southern Paramus), made the area accessible to millions, "it was not until the 1950's that massive development hit this section of northern New Jersey".48

During the 1950s and 1960s, Paramus, lacking any master plan until 1969, was redeveloped into two shopping corridors when its farmers and outside developers saw that shopping malls were more lucrative than produce farming.48 "It was a developer's dream: flat cleared land adjacent to major arterials and accessible to a growing suburban population and the country's largest city – with no planning restrictions".48 New York had a state sales tax, but New Jersey had none, so with the opening of Manhattan department stores in the Bergen Mall (1957), the Garden State Plaza (1957) and Alexander's (1961), Paramus became the "first stop outside New York City for shopping".48 From 1948-58, the population of Paramus increased from 6,000 to 23,000, the number of retail establishments tripled from 111 to 319, and annual retail sales increased from $5.5 million to $112 million.48 By the 1980s, when the population had increased slightly over 1960s levels, retail sales had climbed to $1 billion.48


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 889
1910 779 −12.4%
1920 1,321 69.6%
1930 2,649 100.5%
1940 3,688 39.2%
1950 6,268 70.0%
1960 23,238 270.7%
1970 28,381 22.1%
1980 26,474 −6.7%
1990 25,067 −5.3%
2000 25,737 2.7%
2010 26,342 2.4%
Est. 2012 26,532 11 0.7%
Population sources:
193049 1900-2010505152
20005354 20108910

2010 Census

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 26,342 people, 8,630 households, and 6,939 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,516.0 per square mile (971.4 /km2). There were 8,915 housing units at an average density of 851.5 per square mile (328.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 72.29% (19,042) White, 1.42% (374) Black or African American, 0.11% (28) Native American, 22.28% (5,869) Asian, 0.05% (13) Pacific Islander, 1.39% (366) from other races, and 2.47% (650) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 7.26% (1,913) of the population.8

There were 8,630 households of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.4% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.6% were non-families. 17.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.32.8

In the borough, 21.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 19.2% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.3 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.8

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $104,986 (with a margin of error of +/- $9,111) and the median family income was $123,848 (+/- $7,952). Males had a median income of $77,325 (+/- $5,222) versus $52,702 (+/- $4,983) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,024. About 1.6% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.55

Same-sex couples headed 35 households in 2010, more than double the 17 counted in the 2000 census.56

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census16 there were 25,737 people, 8,082 households, and 6,780 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,457.7 people per square mile (949.1/km2). There were 8,209 housing units at an average density of 783.9 per square mile (302.7/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 79.19% White, 1.13% African American, 0.05% Native American, 17.23% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.87% of the population.5354

There were 8,082 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.3% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.1% were non-families. 14.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00 and the average family size was 3.32.5354

In the borough the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.5354

The median income for a household in the borough was $76,918, and the median income for a family was $84,406. Males had a median income of $56,635 versus $37,450 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $29,295. About 1.4% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.5354


Local government

Paramus is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle.6 The Borough form of government used by Paramus, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.57

As of 2013, the Mayor is Democrat Richard LaBarbiera, whose term of office ends December 31, 2014. Borough Council Members are Council President Joseph Lagana (D, 2014), Ralph Amato (R, 2013), Maria Elena Bellinger (D, 2014), Eric Nazziola (R, 2013), Patsy L. Verile (D, 2015) and Donna Warburton (D, 2015).5859606162

Federal, state and county representation

Paramus is located in the 5th Congressional District63 and is part of New Jersey's 38th state legislative district.96465

New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Scott Garrett (R, Wantage Township).66 New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark; took office on October 31, 2013, after winning a special election to fill the seat of Frank Lautenberg)6768 and Bob Menendez (D, North Bergen).6970

The 38th District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Robert M. Gordon (D, Fair Lawn) and in the General Assembly by Tim Eustace (D, Maywood).71 Connie Wagner (D, Paramus) stepped down from office as of October 1, 2013, and had been replaced on the ballot by Joseph Lagana, with her vacant seat to be filled on an interim basis.72 The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).73 The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).74

Bergen County is governed by a directly elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders.75 The County Executive is Kathleen Donovan (R, Rutherford; term ends December 31, 2014).76 The seven freeholders are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year, with a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Chairman Pro Tempore selected from among its members at a reorganization meeting held each January.77 As of 2013, Bergen County's Freeholders are Freeholder Chairman David L. Ganz (D, 2014; Fair Lawn),78 Vice Chairwoman Joan Voss (D, 2014; Fort Lee),79 Chairman Pro Tempore John A. Felice (R, 2016; River Edge),80 Maura R. DeNicola (R, 2016; Franklin Lakes),81 Steve Tanelli (D, 2015; North Arlington)82 and Tracy Silna Zur (D, 2015; Franklin Lakes).8283 Countywide constitutional officials are Sheriff Michael Saudino (R), Surrogate Michael R. Dressler (D, Cresskill) and County Clerk John S. Hogan (D, Northvale).84


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 16,874 registered voters in Paramus, of which 4,454 (26.4% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 3,474 (20.6% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 8,938 (53.0% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 8 voters registered to other parties.85 Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 64.1% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 81.6% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).8586

In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 6,123 votes here (50.0% vs. 43.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 5,907 votes (48.3% vs. 54.8%) and other candidates with 105 votes (0.9% vs. 0.9%), among the 12,234 ballots cast by the borough's 17,617 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.4% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County).8788 In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 6,885 votes here (51.1% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 6,386 votes (47.4% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 106 votes (0.8% vs. 0.8%), among the 13,470 ballots cast by the borough's 17,747 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.9% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County).8990 In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 6,868 votes here (52.3% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 6,103 votes (46.5% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 87 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 13,123 ballots cast by the borough's 17,206 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.3% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).91

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 4,298 votes here (49.7% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 3,857 votes (44.6% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 376 votes (4.3% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 32 votes (0.4% vs. 0.5%), among the 8,656 ballots cast by the borough's 17,354 registered voters, yielding a 49.9% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).92

Public library

There are two public libraries in Paramus. There is the Main Library on Century Road. There is also the Charles E. Reid Branch library on Midland Avenue, which was originally a four-room schoolhouse built in 1876.93

The borough's original public library, known locally as the Howland House, was originally located at the intersection of Spring Valley Road and Howland Avenue. It was demolished sometime in the late 1990s. A September 11, 2001 memorial park now exists at the site known as Howland Memorial Grove.94


The Paramus Public Schools serve students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2010-11 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics95) are five K-4 schools — Memorial Elementary School96 (338 students), Midland Elementary School97 (259), Parkway Elementary School98 (242), Ridge Ranch Elementary School99 (334) and Stony Lane Elementary School100 (215) — Eastbrook Middle School101 (637) and Westbrook Middle School102 (704) for grades 5–8 and Paramus High School103 for grades 9–12 (1,348).104 Three of the district's schools have been formally designated as National Blue Ribbon Schools: Paramus High School in 1988-89, Parkway Elementary School in 1987-88 and Ridge Ranch Elementary School in 1998-99.105106

Public school students from the borough, and all of Bergen County, are eligible to attend the secondary education programs offered by the Bergen County Technical Schools, which include the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and the Bergen Tech campus in Teterboro or Paramus. The district offers programs on a shared-time or full-time basis, with admission based on a selective application process and tuition covered by the student's home school district.107108

Paramus is home to many private religious schools. Paramus Catholic High School is a co-educational Roman Catholic high school founded in 1965 and operated by the Archdiocese of Newark.109 With more than 1,500 students, it has the largest enrollment of any Roman Catholic high school in the state of New Jersey.110 It is also the location of Visitation Academy, a K-8 Catholic school also overseen by the Newark Archdiocese.111

Paramus is home to Yavneh Academy112 and Yeshivat Noam, founded in 2001, which are K-8 co-ed Jewish day schools.113 Frisch School is a Modern Orthodox Jewish yeshiva serving grades 9–12 that describes itself as the nation's second largest coed yeshiva high school.114

Bergen Community College is based in Paramus, with other satellite centers located elsewhere around the county. The bulk of the college's 17,000 students working towards degrees are located at the main campus in Paramus.115

The Bergen campus of Berkeley College is located in Paramus.

As of February 2013 the Japanese Weekend School of New Jersey (ニュージャージー補習授業校), a Japanese weekend school, holds classes at Paramus Catholic. During that month the weekend school was negotiating with the Paramus Public Schools so it could hold classes at West Brook Middle School.116 The offices of the weekend school are in Fort Lee.117


Roads and highways

The borough had a total of 121.78 miles (195.99 km) of roadways, of which 90.79 miles (146.11 km) are maintained by the municipality, 18.86 miles (30.35 km) by Bergen County, 7.72 miles (12.42 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 4.41 miles (7.10 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.118

Highways in Paramus include Route 17,119 Route 4120 and the Garden State Parkway121 (including the Paramus Toll Plaza at Interchange 165).122

Public transportation

New Jersey Transit bus routes 144, 145, 148, 155, 157, 162, 163, 164, 165 and 168 serve the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the 171 and 175 routes provide service to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station ; and local service is offered in the 709, 722, 751, 752, 753, 755, 756, 758, 762 and 770 routes.123

Coach USA provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal via Rockland Coaches routes 45/45A/45X from Pomona, New York and via Short Line on Route 17.124

Frequent jitney service between Paterson and the George Washington Bridge Bus Station in New York City is available at bus stops along Route 4, serviced by Spanish Transportation and other independent companies.125


Shops at Bergen Town Center in Paramus
Interchange of NJ Routes 4 and 17

Paramus is known for its multitude of stores and malls. It has five major indoor shopping centers, serving residents in the areas of Bergen County and Passaic County in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York. New Jersey does not levy a sales tax on clothes and shoes, which makes it an attractive shopping destination for people even further away in New York City, who pay sales tax on clothing items above $110 in price, in addition to the lower standard rate of 7% in New Jersey, compared to 8.875% in New York City.126127 The spending levels generated by the malls have made Paramus one of the top retail ZIP codes in the country.128

At the intersection of Routes 4 and 17 is Westfield Garden State Plaza, the largest and best-known mall in the borough. Westfield Garden State Plaza is the largest mall in the Westfield Group's global portfolio and the largest in New Jersey, with a gross leasable area of 2,128,402 square feet (200,000 m2).129 On Route 4, are The Outlets at Bergen Town Center (known as the Bergen Mall until 2006) and The Shoppes on IV. On Route 17, are Paramus Park and the Fashion Center.

Paramus, along with the rest of Bergen County, has strict blue laws preventing stores selling non-food items from opening on Sundays. Although it started as a religious observance, it is kept on the books due to a desire of the residents of Paramus to have one day a week when traffic is tolerable in the town. This law was called into question when a BJ's Wholesale Club opened at the 4/17 junction. BJ's was allowed to open on Sundays, but is only allowed to sell food and basic necessities. The store has been structured to restrict access to shoppers to items that cannot be purchased on Sunday. Paramus has its own blue laws that are significantly more restrictive than those in effect in other communities in Bergen County. It is one of the last places in the United States to have such an extensive blue law.

Local blue laws in Paramus were first proposed in 1957, while the Bergen Mall and Garden State Plaza were under construction. The legislation was motivated by fears that the two new malls would aggravate the already-severe highway congestion caused by local retail businesses along the borough's highways.29

The Paramus Borough Code forbids the performance of any "worldly employment" on Sunday, with exceptions for charity, and the sale of newspapers, drugs, meals, prepared food and cigarettes, among a limited number of exceptions. Even work performed inside one's own home is prohibited, unless one can "prove to the satisfaction of the Judge that he uniformly keeps the seventh day of the week commonly known as the 'Sabbath'...".130 In spite of its six-day shopping week, Paramus consistently has the most retail sales of any ZIP Code in the United States.131 Many national chain stores boast Paramus as their most prominent locations, including Nordstrom, in which the Paramus store is their best-performing chainwide. There are 25 retailers that occupy multiple stores in Paramus, including Macy's which had outlets in three malls for a period of time. Some retail analysts view Paramus as being two markets, centered on the two major highways. Lord & Taylor has two locations in Paramus, giving Paramus the distinction of the only town with more than one Lord & Taylor location.

An unsuccessful 2010 proposal by Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie would have ended the state's blue laws (now only enforced in Bergen County), with the governor citing industry estimates that the $1.1 billion in added retail revenue on Sundays would generate an additional $65 million in sales taxes for the state.132 In November 2012, Governor Chris Christie issued an executive order temporarily suspending the blue laws in both Bergen County and Paramus due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, a decision that was upheld despite a court challenge by the Borough of Paramus.133 The blue law suspension was in effect on Sunday, November 11, but was back in effect the following Sunday.134

Mall history

  • 1957 – Garden State Plaza was built by Muscarelli Construction Company on 198 acres (0.80 km2) at the intersection of Routes 4 and 17.
  • 1957 – The Bergen Mall was built on 101 acres (41 ha) on an area east of the Plaza on Route 4.
  • 1968 – The Fashion Center was built on a 33-acre (13 ha) site of old celery farms, aimed at quality-oriented shoppers by developer Associated Dry Goods, with a 135,000-square-foot (12,500 m2) Lord & Taylor and a 176,000-square-foot (16,400 m2) B. Altman as anchors and 25 other retailers sandwiched in between135 The owners originally referred to its location as being in Ridgewood/Paramus to appeal to the Ridgewood population. Over the years, the references to Ridgewood became somewhat lost.citation needed
  • 1974 – Paramus Park was built by the Rouse Company, offering a gross leasable area of 755,000 square feet (70,100 m2). The most recent of the large centers was built on 66 acres (270,000 m2) in the middle of an area where the old farms were located.136
  • 2003 – IKEA opens a 370,000-square-foot (34,000 m2) store, its second-largest location in North America, at the intersection of Routes 4 and 17 on the site of the old Alexander's department store.137 It was joined the next year by three other retailers, Bed Bath and Beyond, Christmas Tree Shops, and Sports Authority.

Due to the stricter version of the blue law in Paramus, all malls in the borough (as with the rest of Bergen County) are closed on Sunday. Malls are also required to be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, with early closing (half days) on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Stores may not open before 7:00 AM or remain open after 11:00 PM.138


One of the earliest drive-in theaters opened in Paramus, featuring what was said to be the world's largest and brightest screen, located behind what is now Westfield Garden State Plaza. The Paramus Drive-In closed in 1987 after the last movie presentation, a double-feature of "Crocodile" Dundee and The Untouchables.139

Paramus' lone movie theater complex is a 16-screen AMC Theatres located in an area of new construction at Westfield Garden State Plaza. Prior to the opening of the AMC complex, a number of theatres were closed in the borough, including the Route 4 Tenplex and the Cineplex Odeon Route 17 Triplex, once located next to Westfield Garden State Plaza on Route 17. The Triplex theatre was opened in 1965 by Century Theatres and was closed on January 19, 2006, by Loews Cineplex Entertainment. The Tenplex on Route 4 was closed on May 24, 2007, the day before the new AMC Theatres opened at Westfield Garden State Plaza.140 The Cinema 35 was also closed when the Plaza 35 Shopping Center was renovated in 2005.

Paramus had an outdoor amusement park called Arcola Park. It was built in 1926 and had a huge swimming pool, a convention hall, a dance pavilion, an auditorium, and rides. A fire in 1929 destroyed the entire park, with the exception of the pool. The pool was destroyed by a fire in 1970 and that closed down for good too.141 The park site was replaced by a Ramada Inn, in which the hotel extends out to a small portion of Rochelle Park. 142

Parks and recreation

Bergen County Zoo

Paramus is the home to two county parks. On the eastern side of the borough is Van Saun County Park, which features Bergen County's only zoo, home to a wide variety of wild and domestic animals living in recreated habitats natural to each species.143 Van Saun Park also has a playground, train ride, carousel, athletic fields, and pony rides. On the western side of the borough is Saddle River County Park which features a 6-mile (9.7 km) bike path reaching from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park.144

The borough also has four golf courses. Two are open to the public, with the Paramus Golf Course operated by the borough145 and Orchard Hills County Golf Course operated by the county.146 Two private golf course are located in Paramus, they are the Ridgewood Country Club and Arcola Country Club.

In 2008, the Paramus Golf Course opened up a miniature golf course that is themed after the town of Paramus as well as the state of New Jersey. Turkey statues are scattered around the course to celebrate Paramus as the "land of the wild turkeys."147

Paramus has an outdoor municipal swimming pool complex on Van Binsberger Blvd. It has three pools: a main pool, a pool for younger swimmers, and a baby pool.148

Emergency services

The Paramus Fire Department is a volunteer organization consisting of 4 companies. Company 1 (E1-T1) is located at East Firehouse Lane, across from the Fashion Center. Company 2 (E2-E22) is located on Spring Valley Road, and is nicknamed "Spring Valley Fire Company #2." Company 3 (E3-HazMat-Foam3) is located at 198 West Midland Ave. Company 4 (E4-T4-E44) is on Farview Avenue and is nicknamed "Farview Fire Company #4." Paramus also has a separate volunteer rescue squad (Rescue 7 & 9) specializing in motor vehicle extrication.149

The borough's Ambulance Corps is staffed 24 hours a day for quick response. There are crews stationed at the Life Safety complex, located next to the Rescue building, and at Fire Company 3.150 A separate volunteer Ambulance Corps exists, largely for stand-by purposes at large events. The Paramus Police Department, which responds to 60,000 calls annually, is located on Carlough Drive right next to borough hall.151

In popular culture

  • The 1993 Saturday Night Live spin-off movie Coneheads is set in Paramus.152 Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin's characters decide to move to and permanently reside in the borough so daughter Michelle Burke can attend Paramus High School. Aykroyd's character "Beldar Conehead" spends his days in Paramus giving driving lessons and playing golf.
  • Vinnie Fiorello from the band Less Than Jake, which has a song called "24 Hours in Paramus" on the album titled "Losers, Kings, and Things We Don't Understand."
  • In the movie Ransom, Mel Gibson and Gary Sinise drive right past the now-defunct tenplex movie theater located on Route 4.
  • Several episodes of The Sopranos, the HBO mob drama, have used Paramus locations. Westfield Garden State Plaza was used as the "Paramus Mall," and the Ramsey Outdoor Store on Route 17 became the "Ramsey Outdoor," and a character is "whacked" at the remnants of the Old Mill Bathing Beach on Paramus Road.153154 In the final episode of the series, a scene with Paulie Walnuts is shot in Paramus, where he was in a car, driving past a gas station.155
  • Scenes from the 2008 film Burn After Reading by the Coen Brothers were filmed in Paramus at the site of the old Tower Records annex building located on Route 17S that had been transformed into Hardbodies Fitness Center.156
  • The Colbert Report, during its Threat Down segment on April 24, 2008, listed the bear sightings in Paramus as the Number 1 threat to our country. The Paramus Park mall was also shown in the segment.157
  • In the 2011 superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger, Brooklyn native Steve Rogers uses Paramus as a fake hometown during a string of unsuccessful efforts to enlist in the United States Army during World War II.158

Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Paramus include:

Historic sites

Paramus is home to the following locations on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Midland School – 239 W. Midland Avenue (added 1978). The school was constructed in 1876, and was used as a branck of the Paramus Public Library after Midland School was moved up the street.191
  • Terhune House – 470 Paramus Road (added 1996). An 18th-century Dutch Colonial home constructed of sandstone, that was later modified to add Victorian features, including a mansard roof.192
  • Terhune-Gardner-Lindenmeyr House – 218 Paramus Road (added 1972). A Federal Period home constructed on the last remaining portion of untouched land from Terhune's farm, as taked from the original Zabriskie patent. The oldest known portion that can be reliably dated is from 1807–08, with an older adjoining section of the house dating back as far as 1707.193
  • Harmon Van Dien House – 449 Paramus Road (added 1983)
  • Zabriskie Tenant House – 273 Dunkerhook Road (added 1984). The house was demolished in July 2012 by a housing developer who owned the property, after efforts to preserve or relocate the house failed.194


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  189. ^ Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed February 8, 2011.
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  194. ^ Ensslin, John C. "Preservation effort falls short as Zabriskie house demolition begins (video)", The Record (Bergen County), July 13, 2012. Accessed July 18, 2012. "An irreplaceable link to Bergen's County's early history, particularly for African-Americans, vanished in a cloud of dust on Friday as a backhoe clawed at the splintered wood and brownstone remains of the Zabriskie Tenant House, a 1780s building that later became home to generations of former slaves and their descendents."


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