Fort Lee, New Jersey

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Borough of Fort Lee, New Jersey
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Map highlighting Fort Lee's location within Bergen County. Inset: Bergen County's location within New Jersey

mapsize1 = 250x200px
map_caption1 = Census Bureau map of Fort Lee, New Jersey
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = New Jersey
subdivision_name2 = Bergen
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Mark Sokolich (D, 2011)
leader_title1 = Administrator
leader_name1 = Peggy Thomas
government_type = Borough (New Jersey)
settlement_type = Borough (New Jersey)
government_footnotes =
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = March 29, 1904
area_magnitude =
area_total_sq_mi = 2.9
area_total_km2 = 7.5
area_land_sq_mi = 2.5
area_land_km2 = 6.6
area_water_sq_mi = 0.3
area_water_km2 = 0.9
area_water_percent = 12.15
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_urban_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
population_as_of = 2007
population_footnotes =
population_total = 36521
population_metro =
population_urban =
population_density_km2 = 5,411.7
population_density_sq_mi = 14,001.7
timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 40 |latm = 51 |lats = 2 |latNS = N
longd = 73 |longm = 58 |longs = 15 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 88
elevation_ft = 289
elevation_footnotes = [Gnis|885223|Borough of Fort Lee, Geographic Names Information System, accessed September 17, 2007.]
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 07024
area_code = 201
website =
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 34-24420GR|2 [ [ A Cure for the Common Codes: New Jersey] , Missouri Census Data Center. Accessed July 14, 2008.]
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0876418GR|3
footnotes =

Fort Lee is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the borough population was 35,461.

Fort Lee was formed by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 29, 1904, from the remaining portions of Ridgefield Township."The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 78.] ["History of Bergen County," Vol. 1, pp. 361-364 shows a creation date of April 18, 1904, for Fort Lee.] With the creation of Fort Lee, Ridgefield Township became defunct and was dissolved as of March 29, 1904. ["Municipal Incorporations," Extinct List p. 81.]

The New Jersey entrance to the George Washington Bridge is in Fort Lee.


Fort Lee is located at coor dms|40|51|12.32|N|73|58|29.32|W|type:city(35461)_region:US_source:WebsiteAndGoogleMaps_scale:250000 (40.853423, -73.97481).GR|1 It is north of Edgewater, New Jersey and is on the Hackensack Peninsula between the Hackensack River and the Hudson River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 km²), of which, 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (12.15%) is water.


Fort Lee is named as a result of George Washington and named after General Charles Lee, who camped in this area, defending New York City. George Washington and his troops actually walked on a road which is called Main Street in Fort Lee. In fact, it was during Washington's retreat from Fort Lee in November 1776 that Thomas Paine composed his pamphlet, "The American Crisis", which began with the recognized phrase, "These are the times that try men's souls". The George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to the Washington Heights neighborhood in uptown Manhattan, New York City, has its western terminus located in Fort Lee.

In recent years, Fort Lee has seen a surge of residents of Korean origin which has led to the conversion of much of the town into a large Koreatown, similar to Chinatowns of such cities as New York and San Francisco in that many traditional Korean stores and restaurants may be seen in Fort Lee, and the hangul letters of the Korean alphabet are as common as signs in English in parts of the downtown area.

The rapid increase of the Korean population has seen the decline of many other immigrant communities once centered in Fort Lee, notably the Greek and Italian communities, once quite large but now all but extinct. Luxury high-rises built near the George Washington Bridge have attracted many New York City residents to the city as well, as Fort Lee offers some relief from the stresses and prices of living in New York City. A sizable Russian immigrant community has also sprung up in recent years, also attracted by the urban setting of Fort Lee.

America's First Motion Picture Industry

The history of cinema in the United States can trace its roots to the East Coast where at one time, Fort Lee was the motion picture capital of America. The industry got its start at the end of the 19th century with the construction of Thomas Edison's "Black Maria", the first motion picture studio in West Orange, New Jersey. Cities in New Jersey offered land at costs considerably less than New York City, and the cities and towns of New Jersey near New York benefited greatly as a result of the phenomenal growth of the film industry at the turn of the 20th century.

Filmmaking began attracting both capital and an innovative workforce and when the Kalem Company began using Fort Lee in 1907 as a location for filming in the area, other filmmakers quickly followed. In 1909 a forerunner of Universal Studios, the Champion Film Company, built the first studio. They were quickly followed by others who either built new studios or who leased facilities in Fort Lee. In the 1910s and 1920s, film companies such as the Independent Motion Picture Co., Peerless Studios, The Solax Company, Éclair Studios, Goldwyn Picture Corporation, American Méliès (Star Films), World Pictures, Biograph Studios, Fox Film Corporation, Pathé Frères, Metro Pictures Corporation, Victor Film Company, Selznick Pictures Corporation were all making pictures in Fort Lee. Such notables as Mary Pickford and Miles Remy got their start at Biograph Studios.

With the offshoot businesses that sprang up to service the film studios, for nearly two decades Fort Lee experienced unrivaled prosperity. However, just as the development of Fort Lee production facilities was gaining strength, Nestor Studios of Bayonne, New Jersey, built the first studio in Hollywood in 1911. Nestor Studios owned by David and William Horsley, later merged with Universal Studios, and William Horsley's other company Hollywood Film Laboratory is now the oldest existing company in Hollywood, now called the Hollywood Digital Laboratory. California's more hospitable and cost effective climate led to the eventual shift of virtually all filmmaking to the West Coast by the 1930s. Some companies, such as American Méliès, moved to San Antonio, Texas, and others moved to Jacksonville, Florida. However, the companies which moved to Texas and Florida soon folded or joined the move to Hollywood.

Since 2000 the [ Fort Lee film commission] has been charged with celebrating the history of film in Fort Lee as well as to attract film and television production companies to the borough.


1900= 2612
1910= 4472
1920= 5761
1930= 8759
1940= 9468
1950= 11648
1960= 21815
1970= 30631
1980= 32449
1990= 31997
2000= 35461
estref= [|04000US34|16000US3422560&_street=&_county=fort+lee&_cityTown=fort+lee&_state=04000US34&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=160&_submenuId=population_0&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry= Census data for Fort Lee] , United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 9, 2008.]
footnote=Population 1930 - 1990. [ [ New Jersey Resident Population by Municipality: 1930 - 1990] , Workforce New Jersey Public Information Network. Accessed March 1, 2007.] [ [ Historical Population Trends in Bergen County (1900 - 2000)] , Bergen County, New Jersey. Accessed December 23, 2007.]
As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 35,461 people, 16,544 households, and 9,396 families residing in the borough. The population density was 14,001.7 people per square mile (5,411.7/km²). There were 17,446 housing units at an average density of 6,888.5/sq mi (2,662.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 62.75% White, 1.73% African American, 0.07% Native American, 31.43% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.69% from other races, and 2.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.87% of the population.

There were 16,544 households out of which 22.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. 39.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the borough the population was spread out with 17.5% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $58,161, and the median income for a family was $72,140. Males had a median income of $54,730 versus $41,783 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $37,899. About 5.7% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2000 census, 17.18% of Fort Lee's residents identified themselves as being of Korean ancestry, which was the fifth highest in the United States and third highest of any municipality in New Jersey; behind neighboring Palisades Park (36.38%) and Leonia (17.24%) — for all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry. [ [ Korean Communities] , Epodunk. Accessed June 28, 2006.] In the same census, 5.56% of Fort Lee's residents identified themselves as being of Chinese ancestry, [ [ Chinese Communities] , Epodunk. Accessed June 28, 2006.] and 6.09% of Fort Lee's residents identified themselves as being of Japanese ancestry, the highest of any municipality in New Jersey for all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry. [ [ Japanese Communities] , Epodunk. Accessed June 28, 2006.]


Local government

Fort Lee is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at large. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office and only votes to break a tie. 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."2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book", Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 160.]

asof|2008, the Mayor of Fort Lee is Mark J. Sokolich (D, term ends December 31, 2011). Members of the Borough Council are Council President Michael Sargenti (D, 2008), Joseph L. Cervieri, Jr. (D, 2009), Jan Goldberg (D, 2010), Ila Kasofsky (D, 2010), Armand Pohan (D, 2008) and Harvey Sohmer (D, serving unexpired term expiring 2008). [ [ Fort Lee Mayor & Borough Council] , Borough of Fort Lee. Accessed February 1, 2007.] [ "County of Bergen: 2008 County and Municipal Directory"] , Bergen County, New Jersey, p. 44. Accessed July 3, 2008.]

In elections held on November 6, 2007, voters filled the position of mayor and two seats on the borough council. Democrat Mark J. Sokolich (3,873 votes) was elected mayor, defeating Republican Judith Waters Fisher (1,415). Democratic incumbent Ila Kasofsky (3,744) and running mate Jan Goldberg (3,762) were elected to the council, ahead of Republican candidates Puzant C. Torigian (1,329) and Boris Zmijewsky (1,319). Democrats will again occupy all seats on the 2008 governing body. [Firschein, Merry. [ "Fort Lee municipal elections"] , "The Record (Bergen County)", November 3, 2007. Accessed December 26, 2007.] [Firschein, Merry. [ "Fort Lee election results"] , "The Record (Bergen County)", November 6, 2007. Accessed December 24, 2007.] [ [ Bergen County election results] , "The Record (Bergen County)", November 7, 2007. Accessed November 10, 2007.]

On Election Day, November 7, 2006, voters filled two three-year seats on the Borough Council, on a Council that was comprised entirely of Democrats, in a community in which registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a better than 2-1 margin. Incumbent Democrats Mark J. Sokolich (6,020 votes) and Joseph L. Cervieri Jr. (5,836) won re-election, defeating Republicans challengers John Cali (2,475) and Boris Zmijewsky (2,316). [ [ Fort Lee Election Guide] , "The Record (Bergen County)", November 1, 2006] [ [ Fort Lee election results] , "The Record (Bergen County)", November 8, 2006] [ [ Bergen County 2006 General Election Results] , accessed February 1, 2007]

Federal, state and county representation

Fort Lee is in the Ninth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 38th Legislative District. [ [ 2006 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government] , New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 57. Accessed August 30, 2006.]


As of April 1, 2006, out of a 2004 Census estimated population of 37,310 in Fort Lee, there were 17,434 registered voters (46.7% of the population, vs. 55.4% in all of Bergen County). Of registered voters, 4,788 (27.5% vs. 20.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 2,016 (11.6% vs. 19.2% countywide) were registered as Republicans and 10,628 (61.0% vs. 60.1% countywide) were registered as Undeclared. There were two voters registered to other parties. ["County of Bergen: Voter Statistics by Municipality, Ward & District," Bergen County, New Jersey, dated April 1, 2006.]

On the national level, Fort Lee leans very strongly toward the Democratic Party. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 61% of the vote here, defeating Republican George W. Bush, who received around 38%. [ [ 2004 Presidential Election results: Bergen County] , New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety: Division of Elections, dated December 13, 2004.]


The Fort Lee School District serves public school students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics [ [ Data for the Fort Lee School District] , National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 3, 2008.] ) include four K-6 elementary schools — [ School 1] (544 students), [ School 2] (397 students), [ School 3] (464 students) and [ School 4] (466 students) — [ Lewis F. Cole Middle School] (grades 7 and 8; 533 students) and Fort Lee High School (grades 9-12; 1,083 students).


Fort Lee is served by Palisades Interstate Parkway, New Jersey Route 4, New Jersey Route 5, New Jersey Route 67, Interstate 95/New Jersey Turnpike, U.S. Route 9W, U.S. Route 1-9, U.S. Route 46, and County Route 505. The George Washington Bridge crosses the Hudson River from Fort Lee to Manhattan.

Fort Lee is also served by New Jersey Transit buses 154, 156, 158 and 159 to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the 171, 175, 178, 181, 182, 186 and 188 lines to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal; and local service on the 751, 753, 755 and 756.. [ [ Routes by County: Bergen County] , New Jersey Transit. Accessed August 8, 2008.]

In addition, China Airlines provides private bus service to John F. Kennedy International Airport from the Citibank to feed its flight to Taipei, Taiwan. [" [ Complimentary Bus Service Provided To/From JFK International Airport Terminal One] ," "China Airlines]


*The Long Path, is a 330-mile (528 km) long-distance hiking trail that starts at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee and continues to Altamont, New York, in the Albany area.
*NBC owns a building in Fort Lee that houses operations for WNJU, licensed to Linden. The same building served as the original MSNBC studios from 15 July 1996 to November of that year, when MSNBC moved to Secaucus. The building was also the original home for CNBC from the channel's launch in 1989 until 2003, when that network transferred operations to new facilities in Englewood Cliffs.
*In "Desperately Seeking Susan", Rosanna Arquette plays a bored suburban housewife living in Fort Lee who becomes obsessed with a woman she only knows about by reading messages to and from her in the personals section of a New York City tabloid.
*Martin Scorsese directed several scenes of "Goodfellas" in Fort Lee. [Fort Lee Film Commission. [ "Fort Lee: Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry"] , Accessed May 14, 2007. "The most interesting film shot in Fort Lee in the modern era was "Goodfellas" (Warner Brothers, 1990). Director Martin Scorsese, who is a leading film scholar, knows the history of film in Fort Lee and shot key scenes of this film blocks away from locations used by D. W. Griffith in the first classic gangster film, "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" (Biograph, 1912)."] [ [ Filming Locations for "Goodfellas"] , Internet Movie Database. Accessed May 14, 2007.]

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Fort Lee include:
* Albert Anastasia (1902-1957), Mafia boss. [ [ King of the Brooklyn Docks] , accessed March 29, 2007. "In the mid-1940s, Anastasia decided to move away from Brooklyn and follow his longtime friend Joe Adonis to the country setting of Fort Lee, New Jersey. The Brooklyn home held in the name of his wife was sold for $25,000. The Anastasias built a new, 35-room, 5-bathroom house, valued at more than $75,000 at #75 Bluff Road in Fort Lee."]
* Mickey Appleman, professional poker player. ["Frank closer to big money", "The Record (Bergen County)", August 3, 2006. "All were eliminated along with pros Mickey Appleman of Fort Lee and Teaneck native David Sklansky."]
* Mike Berniker (1935-2008), record producer. [Levin, Jay. [ "Grammy winner M. Berniker"] , "The Record (Bergen County)", September 23, 2008. Accessed September 23, 2008.]
* Balfour Brickner (1926-2005), was rabbi emeritus of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan.Saxon, Wolfgang. [ "Balfour Brickner, Activist Reform Rabbi, Dies at 78"] , "The New York Times", September 1, 2005. Accessed November 4, 2007. "Rabbi Balfour Brickner, a voice of Reform Judaism on issues like race and abortion and the rabbi emeritus of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan, died on Monday at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was 78 and lived in Fort Lee, N.J., and Stockbridge, Mass."]
* Dr. Joyce Brothers (born 1925), psychologist, television personality, current resident. [ [ Ft. Lee's Dr. Brothers to be honored] , "The Record (Bergen County)", December 3, 2006. "But right now, she's getting ready for a photo shoot at her spacious Fort Lee co-op."]
* Cam'ron (born 1976), rapper. [ [ "It's not easy being pink: Cameron Giles, better known as Cam'ron, triggered the pink fad. Now he wants to change color and cash in as a trendsetter"] , "Taipei Times", October 18, 2004. Accessed May 13, 2007. "In a gated condominium community in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the dense shrubbery suggests a botanical garden more than a residential one.... That is how you can tell the house of Cameron Giles. For the better part of two years, pink has been the dominant color in the life of Giles, a rapper who performs as Cam'ron."]
* Jay Chiat (1931-2002), Advertising agency executive. [ [ The Last Adman] , "New York (magazine)", April 8, 2002. "When I started to get friendly with Jay, he couldn't explain either, at least not with any clear logic, how he went from being a Jewish kid from the Bronx and Fort Lee, New Jersey, to ending up in the agency business."]
* Celia Cruz (1925-2003), Cuban-born singer. [ [ Latin music icon Celia Cruz dies] ,, July 17, 2003. "But she spent her final days at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, trying to recover from a December surgery to remove a brain tumor."]
* Kerri Green (born 1967), actress.Fact|date=May 2008
* Buddy Hackett (1924-2003), comedian and actor. [ [ COMEDIAN BUYS HOME; Buddy Hackett New Owner of Anastasia House in Fort Lee] , "The New York Times", August 30, 1958. "Buddy Hackett is the owner of Albert Anastasia's Spanish stucco home on the edge of the Palisades in Fort Lee."]
* Whitney Houston (born 1963), Singer, Actress.Fact|date=August 2007
* Jay-Z, rapper. [Barboza, Craigh. [ "Friend Or foe?"] , "USA Weekend", January 28, 2001. Accessed May 14, 2007. "Jay-Z, himself, has a two-floor penthouse in Fort Lee, N.J., with a view of Manhattan."]
* Ali Khatami (born 1953), former Iranian Presidential Chief of Staff. [Sciolino, Elaine. [ "BENEATH THE TURBAN: A special report.; Mullah Who Charmed Iran Is Struggling to Change It"] , "The New York Times", February 1, 1998. Accessed October 31, 2007. "Still, the Khatami children were encouraged to earn their own money, said Ali Khatami, 44, the President's brother, a businessman who lived in Fort Lee, N.J., for a year and a half while he was getting his master's degree in industrial engineering."]
* Samm Levine (born 1982), actor on "Freaks and Geeks". [ [ Super Sunday tallies up a record $5,165,961 in contributions for United Jewish Fund] , "The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles", March 3, 2000. "Levine, who was present at the opening of Valley Alliance's Milken Gym, told The Journal that Super Sunday reminded him of the community spirit of his home town -- Fort Lee, New Jersey."]
* Richard Reines, co-owner of Drive-Thru Records, a record label specializing largely in pop punk music. [La Gorce, Tammy. [ "Finding Emo"] , "The New York Times", August 14, 2005. Accessed October 22, 2007. "Richard Reines, who owns Drive-Thru Records, which is based in the San Fernando Valley in California, believes in the New Jersey scene; Drive-Thru's roster includes Hidden in Plain View from Stanhope and the Early November from Hammonton. "We came back, because as label owners we couldn't be away from it," said Mr. Reines, who is from Fort Lee."]
* Freddie Roman (born 1937), comedian, New York Friars' Club notable. [Strauss, Robert. [ "IN PERSON; In a Club Full of Comics, The King Is Also a Jester"] , "The New York Times", December 11, 2005. "Three or four times a week, Mr. Roman travels into Manhattan from his house in Fort Lee, where he has lived for six years, and holds court in one of the dining rooms at the Friars Club, formerly a doctor's town house on East 55th Street."]
* Joe Rosario, actor, appeared on "The Sopranos", "Law & Order", current resident.Fact|date=November 2007
* Anton Sikharulidze (born 1976), gold medal winning pairs figure skater. [Araton, Harvey. [ "Sports of The Times; Golden Windfall for the Russians"] , "The New York Times", February 17, 2002. Accessed November 4, 2007. "At 25, Anton Sikharulidze is already a citizen of the world, more than familiar with the culture of the West. He lived in Fort Lee, N.J., for two years, trained in Hackensack."]
* Phoebe Snow (born 1952), singer. [Friedman, Roger. [,2933,260381,00.html "Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Likely Guests at Cannes"] , "Fox news", March 22, 2007. "Phoebe and Valerie lived in a small apartment in Fort Lee."]
* Darryl Strawberry (born 1962), Major League Baseball Outfielder who played for both the New York Mets and New York Yankees. [ [ Darryl Strawberry leaves hospital after cancer surgery] ,, October 16, 1998. "He will convalesce at his home in Fort Lee, New Jersey."]
* Lyle Stuart (1922-2006), independent publisher of controversial books. [Ramirez, Anthony. [ "Lyle Stuart, Publisher of Renegade Titles, Dies at 83"] , "The New York Times", June 26, 2006. Accessed November 4, 2007. "He was 83 and lived in Fort Lee, N.J."]
* Chien-Ming Wang (born 1980), pitcher for the New York Yankees. [Chen, Albert. [ "Chien-Ming Wang Has A Secret (cont.)"] , CNN Sports Illustrated, April 16, 2008. Accessed May 4, 2008. "During the baseball season Chien-Ming and his wife, Chia-Ling, whom he met in his first year of college and married in December 2003, live in a modest three-bedroom house in Fort Lee, N.J."]


*"History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923;" by "Westervelt, Frances A. (Frances Augusta), 1858-1942."
*"Municipal Incorporations of the State of New Jersey (according to Counties)" prepared by the Division of Local Government, Department of the Treasury (New Jersey); December 1, 1958.


External links

* [ The Borough's web site]
* [ Fort Lee Police Department]
* [ Fort Lee Volunteer Fire Department]
* [ Fort Lee Volunteer Ambulance Corps]
* [ Fort Lee School District]
*NJReportCard|03|1550|0|Fort Lee School District
* [ Data for the Fort Lee School District] , National Center for Education Statistics
* [ Fort Lee Online community web site]
* [ Fort Lee Film Commission web site]
* [ an enlarged view of road jurisdiction at the Fort Lee approaches to the George Washington Bridge]

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