The Showcase Magazine – September 2015

 

New Providence
By Susan Baldani

Located in the Watchung Mountains in Union County, New Providence is a wonderful place to buy a home, raise a family, or just visit. In fact, NJ Family Magazine ranked New Providence #1 in Union County and #8 in the state in their 2015 Best Towns for Families rankings. Inside New Jersey magazine listed New Providence as one of the best places to buy a house in New Jersey in its October 2008 edition. It may be a small town covering only 3.6 miles, but it’s packed with a variety of places to shop, eat and have fun.

New Providence was purchased in 1664 from the Lenape Native Americans by James, Duke of York, who was the brother of King Charles II. Established by European settlers in 1720, the town was originally called “Turkey” or “Turkey Town” due to its proliferation of wild turkeys. Over nine percent is protected parkland, which gives the town a country-like feel. However, it is also commuter friendly with a train station right in town, and only 28 miles from New York City. It is also conveniently located near Route 78, the Garden State Parkway, and the NJ Turnpike. Newark Liberty International Airport is only 16 miles away.

The Village Shopping Center is located in downtown and is filled with a variety of stores, restaurants, and a supermarket. One of these restaurants, Dim Sum Villa, is a family-owned business that serves authentic Cantonese cuisine. Along with well-known dishes such as Lo Mein, Fried Rice and Beef with Broccoli, they also offer Rack of Lamb with Chopped Shallots, Home Style Filet of Grouper, and Sliced Chicken with Chinese Squash, to name just a few. All the dishes are made with high-quality, fresh ingredients that are sure to please. The downtown itself has recently undergone a $1.5 million streetscape project, and more stores, shops and restaurants line the streets. The Farmers Market, located in the Presbyterian Church parking lot on Springfield Avenue, is open each Wednesday through October 28, 12:00 to 6:00, rain or shine.

New Providence has quite a few historic sites. The Presbyterian Church, dating from 1737, is located in the center of town, and used to be a hub for the community. The cemetery, located adjacent to the church, has 48 revolutionary war veterans buried on its site. The Salt Box Museum, dating back to the 19th century, is filled with information and memorabilia about the history of the town. Some of their artifacts date back to before the American Revolution. It is also said that George Washington spent the night in a home that is still standing today.

The New Providence School District is highly rated, and provides classes for student in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Academy of our Lady of Peace, a private Catholic School, also provides classes for student in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

If you and your kids like to stay active, there are quite a few organizations offering a variety of sports. These include the Chief’s Lacrosse Club for boys, the Rebel’s Lacrosse Club for girls, the New Providence Soccer Club, the New Providence Tennis Association, and the New Providence Police Athletic League (PAL) offering baseball, basketball, football, softball, wrestling, and cheer.

Murray Hill is a community within New Providence and is home to some well-known companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, C.R. Bard, and the Linde Group, as well as many other local and small businesses. It too has its own NJ Transit station, which makes it convenient for those traveling into and out of New York City.

So if you live in town, take advantage of all it has to offer. And if you’re a visitor, take some time to explore the area and discover what a great community it really is.

Susan Baldani has a MA in Education and a BA in Psychology. She enjoys writing and in addition to writing articles on small town life, is currently working on her second book. You can contact her at suebaldani@yahoo.com or at the www.mywritingwall.com.

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