Berkeley Heights New Jersey is home to over 13,000 residents and covers a land area of 6.3 square miles in Union County. Berkley Heights is located 10 miles from Edison, 18 miles from Newark, and 35 miles from New York, NY.
Berkeley Heights began in an area that is now part of the 1,960-acre Watchung Reservation, a Union County park that includes 305 acres of the township. In 1793, a regional government was formed. It encompassed the area from present-day Springfield, Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights, and was called Springfield Township. Growth continued in the area, and by 1809, Springfield Township divided into Springfield Township and New Providence Township. New Providence Township included Summit, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights.
Today Berkeley Heights is nestled in the Watchung Mountains, a community of comfortable homes, quiet tree lined streets, which provides the ideal setting for raising a family and enjoying life. The Berkeley Heights Public School District is an excellent school system consisting of 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 High School.
Residents enjoy spacious parks and outstanding recreational programs for all ages. Berkeley Heights is an easy commute by train to New York City for work or play and provides access to other locations by nearby major highways.
New Jersey Transit has two direct trains to New York Pennsylvania Station each weekday morning on the Morris and Essex line, and two direct trains each weekday evening for the return trip. Travel time is 50 to 56 minutes, and a monthly pass costs $308.
There are also eight morning trains that require a transfer at Summit or Newark Broad Street to get to Penn Station. Parking at the train station for residents is $285 a year. There is a three-year waiting list for spots, but Mr. Bruno says the township is planning to expand the lots.
Another option is Lakeland Bus Lines, which offers service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Five buses make the trip, scheduled for 55 minutes to one hour, each weekday morning, making three stops along the way. A 10-trip ticket is $88.80.
WHAT TO DO
Berkeley Heights is surrounded by open space. At the northern edge of the township, only a block from Springfield Avenue, is the Passaic River County Park, part of which is in the Union County parks system. To the south is Watchung Reservation, Union County’s largest park, at 1,945 acres. People go there to hike, fish, canoe, ride horses and picnic.
Among summer programs offered by the township’s recreation department: a playground camp for students in Grades 1 through 7; concerts and movies; lessons and camps in tennis, table tennis and gymnastics; and several adult fitness programs. Family membership at the Berkeley Heights Community Pool is $425 a year for residents.
The system has an early-childhood center for prekindergarten through first grade, three elementary schools for Grades 2 through 5, a middle school and Governor Livingston High School. Average class size at Hughes Elementary is 18.6 students, about the state average.
The high school has about 1,000 students in Grades 9 through 12. SAT averages last year were 573 in math, 547 in reading and 552 in writing, versus 520, 496 and 499 statewide. The graduation rate for the class of 2010 was 100 percent, versus 94.7 percent statewide.
In 1845, David Felt built a mill, a general store-cum-church and about half a dozen other buildings on Watchung Reservation land bought from the descendants of Peter Willcox, the first European settler. The community, called Feltville, survived for about 15 years, and in 1882 was used as a summer resort, Glenside Park. The Union County Park Commission bought the land in the 1920s, and some of the Feltville buildings still stand, off Glenside Avenue.