Northern New Jersey, USA
Much of Northern New Jersey is considered part of the Greater New York City metropolitan area. Jerseyans, however, never struggle with identity crises. Nor do they need to cross state lines to experience cultural activities, the arts, hometown pro sports--or their beloved 24-hour diners.
In the heart of the Northeast Corridor, the region is an international gateway with proximity to Manhattan and Philadelphia. Its economy is heavily tied to the pharmaceutical and high tech industries while its residents invest heavily in education.
The area offers a range of lifestyles as semi-urban, suburban or rural as one desires. Some townships, such as Montclair, are known for attracting former New Yorkers who bring their arthouse and international sensibilities with them. Home values and household incomes in Northern New Jersey are higher than both state and national averages.
Affluence reigns. Several communities vie for spots among the wealthiest in the country, such as Upper Saddle River. It may be close to the New York border but this five-square-mile borough of sprawling mansions on one-acre lots has a decidedly bucolic feel. There’s no real main street, no downtown and no sidewalks. The tiny borough of Alpine, located along the Palisades in Bergen County, was ranked as America’s most expensive zip code in 2012 by Forbes. In 2014, Time named the zip code of Shorts Hills in Essex County the Richest Town in America of 10,000 or more residents.
While the cost of living is relatively high--comparable to California, according to USA Today--North Jerseyans enjoy value for their dollars. Luxury house hunters find towns with thousands of acres of parkland, private lake communities and areas on the National Historic Register. The northwestern reaches of the region offer rural ambiance and progressive smart-growth initiatives. Low crime rates, highly ranked school districts and quintessential Americana downtowns are commonplace. Many communities date back to the 19th century, and locals are justly proud of their historic preservation committees and hard-earned retro charm.