It’s no secret that the Village of Ridgewood is considered one of the most desirable places to live in North Jersey. Often topping national lists for its schools and community, Ridgewood – also known as the Village – attracts families, New York City commuters, and empty nesters.
“It has the wonderful capture of hugging people with making them feel comfortable,” says Frances Hanson Ekblom, a Realtor® of 23 years at Tarvin Realtors®, and a born-and-raised Ridgewood resident who still lives there. “You have the downtown, you have wonderful schools, and you have a diversity of price points. It’s not just for one kind of client.”
At 5.8 square miles, it is home to nearly 25,000 residents, with houses that range from $400,000 to $6 million. Families looking to settle down and escape New York City often choose Ridgewood for its community. Its six schools are spread across the Village to avoid busing, allowing caregivers and students the ability to walk to school.
What else makes Ridgewood so special? New Jersey Realtor® Magazine breaks down its unique characteristics that makes Ridgewood a loved municipality in New Jersey.
Central Business District
Perhaps Ridgewood’s most well-known asset is its downtown district. “Everyone loves a vibrant downtown,” says Ekblom. Though some of the smaller, family-owned favorites have closed, visitors from across the county come for its salons, parks, and boutiques, and over 30 restaurants. Town favorites include Sook Pastry, From Scratch, Ridgewood Coffee Company, and the infamous bookstore, Bookends.
“I think the town has grown with the changes but has maintained that sweetness of having a home that you can call home and a downtown where people really do know one another.
Summer in the Village
Summers are not complete without Graydon Pool. Not your typical swimming pool, Graydon is a natural freshwater 2.68-acre swimming hole with a sand floo and beach area. Graydon has programs for children of all ages, including “Movie on the Beach,” aquatic swim programs, and book readings for youngsters. Part of the Village since 1929, Graydon is a historic site and considered a treasure to residents.
Ridgewood hosts community events year-round, but there is perhaps no better time than summer. Every Friday, the Ridgewood Guild hosts “Music in the Night,” which attracts musicians throughout the county. Sprawled across street corners and storefronts, shoppers and diners can enjoy live performances from musicians, young and old. On the first Friday of June,July, and August, professional and amateur artists showcase their crafts in “Art in the Park”. Movies are also part of summer festivities – every Wednesday, a scheduled films played on a 25-foot screen in Van Neste Square, the heart of Ridgewood’s downtown, where moviegoers set up picnic blankets and lawn chairs.
But it is Ridgewood’s Fourth of July parade that amasses large crowds each year. A 107-year-old celebration, lawn chairs can be seen outlining Ridgewood Avenue a week before the parade, which has become a village tradition. The Ridgewood Fourth of July Celebration Committee spends an entire year of preparing, and since 1960 has had an annual theme. Over the years, former Governor Chris Christie, NASA Astronaut Garrett E. Reisman, and former Canadian Ambassador Kenneth Taylor has attended as guests. It’s no wonder that the parade has topped 201 Magazine’s “Best Parade” and “Best Fireworks” for over a decade.
Proximity to New York City
Ridgewood has one of NJ Transit’s major rail stations, with at least 50 trains going into New York City on weekdays. It’s accessibility to Manhattan attracts residents from Hoboken, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, looking for lower rents while remaining close to the city.
Further proof of Ridgewood’s proximity to New York is apparent on Crest Road. This winding residential street offersstunning vistas of Manhattan’s cityscape. Perched on a woody cliff, Cest Road is home to beautiful Tudor and colonial homes – highlighting the architecture Ridgewood is known for.
Photos courtesy of Alexandra Hoey