If you think North Jersey is better than, well, the rest of Jersey, you've come to the right place.
You've got your suburban delights like Madison and Montclair -- with their quaint and charming downtowns. Or, if you're up for a more city-like feel, there's the slowly revitalizing Newark, with new, sleek eateries like Marcus Samuelsson's, Marcus B&P and the draw of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Prudential Center. As we announced in a previous story, we want to find the best downtown in New Jersey within these generally defined parameters: Fun sections of town where people like to spend time -- and that offer something special. Based on the sheer number of serious contenders here alone, the best downtown could very well be within the northern section of the Garden State. You can stroll down red-bricked sidewalks with a coffee in hand, peruse your locally-sourced vendors or hey, run into the set of the new Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix because future box-office hits only shoot in the most iconic places. For North Jersey, you have a chance to vote for the best downtown areas in Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, Morris and Warren counties. Now is your chance for your voice to be heard. Below is a poll with the list of downtown areas in the five-county areas comprised by reader nominations, emails, and Facebook comments. Voting will remain open until Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. The winners will move on the "Terrific 10," then to the "Fantastic Five" and finally the designation of the being the best downtown in New Jersey. Just like March Madness, we know that some cities will be on the proverbial "bubble," there may be a Cinderella downtown or two, and there will be a lot of pride and cheering for your favorite downtown area to win this distinction. Good luck to all of the downtowns.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco announced that the county had become the first place in the nation to eradicate chronic homelessness. Bergen County has been certified as the first "community" in the nation to end chronic homelessness. The announcement was made by county and federal officials at the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center - which officials called integral in achieving the milestone. "By securing safe, permanent housing for individuals who were chronically homeless, we're providing these most vulnerable residents with the stability they need to address other challenges that have limited their ability to prosper in our communities." said County Executive James J. Tedesco. While the county is still tackling the issue of family and youth homelessness, they have eradicated homelessness among people with disabilities and other complex needs also known as chronic homelessness. In August, the county celebrated as they became the first community in the state to eliminate homelessness among veterans, certified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In January of 2015, the county counted 28 persons experiencing chronic homelessness. A year later that number was reduced to 10. Since May 1016, the county has counted less than three people that were chronically homeless. "This is a proof point for us in the federal government and across the nation,"Ann Oliva, HUD's deputy assistant secretary for special needs, said at the event. "It is the proof point to show that we can put an end to chronic homelessness." The county decided to tackle homelessness in 2009 with the $11 million Housing, Health and Human Services Center, a one-stop shop where homeless residents could spend the night, receive help with health and behavioral issues and get permanent housing assistance. Tedesco said the housing first approach saves taxpayers money by interrupting a costly cycle of emergency room, hospital, detox, and jail visits. "Bergen County's achievement helps demonstrate the strategies necessary for success, including coordinated and proactive outreach and engagement efforts and quick connections to housing," said Matthew Doherty, USICH's Executive Director. "These are strategies that we must be able to replicate and adapt at the scale necessary in communities of all sizes in order to end chronic homelessness everywhere in our country."
New Jersey Transit has one train that hugs the shore: the North Jersey Coast Line. Traveling to Long Branch and Bay Head, this journey offers sweeping views of the Atlantic, and crosses over a number of bridges to give riders a birds-eye view of the waters below, as well as tidal marshes.
A newly announced tenant at the American Dream mall at the Meadowlands will be ripped from the digital world. MUNCHIES, a youth-driven food and culture website, will take its words and videos about dining into another dimension when it launches a food hall at the retail and entertainment behemoth being built at the intersection of routes 3, 120 and the New Jersey Turnpike.
This isn't the food court of your mall rat days. At MUNCHIES, diners will be able to order a Beef Marrow Cheeseburger and Eggplant Tempura and wash it down with the Martinez cocktail, a precursor to the martini. The 38,000-square-foot space will include 18 vendors, demos from visiting chefs and other engaging events.
We asked John Martin, co-founder and publisher of MUNCHIES, to explain this new concept. Here's what he said:
Q. What is a food hall?
A. A food hall is a collection of [food and beverage] establishments grouped together in a specific location. There can also be more than food, there will be space for experiential components. It's the modernizing of the food court concept, and more high end that speaks to today's food-obsessed public.
Q. What types of vendors do you envision?A. I see vendors from all across the spectrum, everything from authentic BBQ to killer Mexican to perfect ice cream. It's important to have strong operators who can handle the volume of visitors that American Dream is going to have. And the selection will come heavily from the MUNCHIES family - chefs, restaurants, people we've worked with, or done content about will have an opportunity to be involved.
Q. Why did MUNCHIES want to make a physical location?A. We've always been big into taking MUNCHIES from a digital only brand into the physical realm - events, merchandise, books, meal kits, our Test Kitchen, it only made sense to use our brand to curate an amazing selection of vendors for the public.
Q. Why is American Dream the right place for it?A. Brooklyn would have been too obvious. And 40 million visitors annually is something every brand would want to get in front of - it's as big as it gets. It's an audacious project, and MUNCHIES has never shied away from doing the unexpected and thinking big. Also, there's an indoor ski hill and we're basically at the base of that.
Q. How frequently will there be cooking presentations and other entertainment at MUNCHIES?
A. We're building out the programming now, but definitely big tentpoles every month, with smaller activations daily and weekly pending the schedule and other activities at American Dream.
Q. Why will people be drawn to this?A. The adventure of tasting new foods, prepared by some of the freshest culinary talent on the planet will be sure to engage all sorts of audiences. MUNCHIES will be promoting heavily across all our channels, and American Dream has a robust marketing program sure to surprise and delight everyone who visits.
Art dealer David Killen says he found this abandoned Willem de Kooning painting - one of many - stored away in Ho-Ho-Kus.
When a N.J. elementary school teacher offered David Killen a chance to buy 200 paintings she had in storage, the Manhattan art dealer thought they'd make great filler items at his next auction.
"I thought it was a bunch of junk," Killen said Monday. "I saw good, bad and ugly. Overall, I thought it was garbage, but I'm always looking for filler." He offered $75 a painting - a total of $15,000.
When he loaded the boxes of artwork onto his truck, he began to realize he'd stumbled onto an unbelievable find that could fetch millions. "The more I looked at them, the more I realized - these are real de Koonigs," he said.
What's going on? Ask Alexa what's happening around New Jersey Willem de Kooning was a Dutch abstract expressionist artist who died in 1997. His paintings have sold worldwide for tens of millions. Two experts say the paintings Killen has are authentic. Originally, the 200 pieces of art were gathered in New York City, in a world-famous art restoration studio run by conservator Orrin Riley. When Riley died in 1986, his girlfriend Susanne Schnitzer took possession of the paintings and held onto them for years, according to Killen.
In 2009, Schnitzer was hit by a car and died. Her trusted friends - a group from New Jersey serving as executors that included the teacher - took the paintings, along with many other of Schnitzer's possessions and stored them in Ho-Ho-Kus.
Morristown Medical Center bested Hackensack University Hospital for the top spot in New Jersey, followed by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, according to the report.
No New Jersey hospital earned a spot among the 20 named to the national "honor roll" for being the best of the best in numerous specialties. For the third consecutive year, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. claimed the top spot in America, followed by the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The list of the top 15 New Jersey hospitals includes a six-way tie for 10th place.
Here are New Jersey's top-performing hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report:
10. (tie) Capital Health Regional Medical Center
The Trenton-based hospital earned high-performing status in the areas of nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, and for treating heart failure.
10. (tie) Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital SomersetPart of the RWJBarnabas Health chain, this hospital in Somerville was recognized for "high-performing" care in urology, as well as the treatment of heart failure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
10. (tie) Penn Medicine Princeton Medical CenterThe rankings awarded "high-performing" status for hip and knee replacement surgery and treating heart failure at this Plainsboro hospital, which the University of Pennsylvania Health System acquired in January.
10. (tie) Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center
Located in Perth Amboy, Raritan Bay was recognized for its speciality care in diabetes/endocrinology and nephrology, and for its treatment of heart failure. Hackensack Meridian Health acquired the Raritan Bay hospitals in 2016.
10. (tie) St. Barnabas Medical CenterLocated in Livingston and one of the flagship hospitals of the RWJBarnabas chain, St. Barnabas excelled in the treatment of heart failure, colon cancer surgery and COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
10. (tie) Hunterdon Medical CenterThe hospital was noted for its expertise in geriatric and nephrology (kidney) care and for the treatment of heart failure.
8. (tie) Overlook Medical CenterPart of the Atlantic Health System chain, this hospital in Summit was recognized for its neurology and neurosurgery department, and for its expertise in performing colon cancer surgery and treating COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and heart failure.
8. (tie) Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical CenterThis Red Bank hospital is a high performer in orthopedic care and ranks high in the treatment of heart failure and COPD, as well as performing hip replacement surgery.
6. (tie) Valley Hospital
Located in Ridgewood in competitive Bergen County, this hospital excelled in the treatment of heart failure, COPD, lung cancer, and for colon cancer and hip replacement surgeries.
6. (tie) Virtua Voorhees Hospital
Virtua in Voorhees excelled in five performance areas: treating heart failure and COPD, (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,) performing colon cancer surgery and hip and knee replacement surgery.
5. AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center
This Atlantic City hospital is a high-performer in the areas of orthopedics, endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and in treating COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart failure and performing hip and knee replacement surgeries.
4. Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center
Jersey Shore in Neptune racked up accolades in the specialties of gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics, urology, and for performing aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery and treating heart failure.
3. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
RWJBarnabas Health's other flagship hospital, located in New Brunswick, excels in six specialties: cancer, cardiology and cardiac surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics and urology. It's also a high performer in treating heart failure and COPD, and for performing aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery, colon cancer surgery and lung cancer surgery.
It also ranked third in last year's report.
2. Hackensack University Medical CenterHackensack University Medical Center, the flagship hospital for the largest hospital system in the state, ranked 44th best in the nation in orthopedics. Within New Jersey, it claimed eight specialties in the "high-performing" category: cancer, endocrinology, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology. In the treatment and surgical categories, Hackensack was a high performer in lung cancer surgery, hip and knee replacements, colon cancer surgery, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart failure, and abdominal aortic aneurism repair. Hackensack was the top rated hospital last year.
1. Morristown Medical CenterMorristown Medical Center is home to the nation's 20th best cardiology and cardiac surgery department and 48th best gastroenterology and GI surgery, the rankings said. The flagship hospital for Atlantic Health System also ranked as a high performer in the state for geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and pulmonology. U.S. News and World Report gave high marks to Morristown's track record with lung cancer surgery, hip and knee replacement surgery, colon cancer surgery, heart bypass surgery, abdominal aortic aneurism repair, aortic valve surgery, and for treating heart failure.
Across all 16 specialties, Morristown Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center were among 152 hospitals that performed well enough to be nationally ranked, the report said. Morristown ranked 20th best in the nation for its cardiology department and 48th best for its gastroenterology departments.
Hackensack's orthopedics department ranked 44th best in the country.
Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation is ranked as fourth best rehabilitation hospital in the nation, the report said. This is the 26th consecutive year that Kessler Institute has been nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
Stand-outs in the regionThe magazine also analyzed data by region and created a ranking by metro areas, such as in New York and Philadelphia.
How New Jersey fared in the NY Metro region:
4. Morristown Medical Center
5. Hackensack University Medical Center
6. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-New Brunswick
12. Jersey Shore University Medical Center
14. Valley Hospital
16 (tie) Riverview Medical Center; Overlook Hospital
20. (tie) Hunterdon Medical Center; St. Barnabas Medical Center; Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-Somerset;
New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell was ranked first.
In the Philadelphia metro region:
10. Virtua Voorhees Hospital
Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian was number 1.
About the reportAlthough several report cards and consumer guides exist, U.S. News and World Report launched the model nearly 30 years ago. Hospitals compete for the coveted designation that they used in their advertising and promote with laminated plaques in their lobbies. The criteria include survival and readmission rates, patient experience and feedback, physician surveys, safety measures and quality of nursing care. The rankings favor high-volume hospitals. “For nearly three decades, U.S. News has strived to make hospital quality more transparent to healthcare consumers nationwide,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “By providing the most comprehensive data available on nearly every hospital across the United States, we give patients, families and physicians information to support their search for the best care across a range of procedures, conditions and specialties.”
Read the report here.
Just because a college is less expensive doesn't mean it's a better investment. When you consider cost, financial aid, student debt and earnings after graduation, some of New Jersey's more expensive colleges are better deals than they seem, especially in the case of public universities.
By Adam Clark for Bergen Review Media
How the rankings were calculated Money magazine only included 727 colleges and universities on its list. To be considered, colleges had to have at least 500 students, have a graduation rate that was at or above average, not be in financial distress and have enough data to be analyzed. The colleges were ranked based on 26 factors, including the graduation rate, tuition rate and the average salary of graduates.
Acceptance rates run the gamut from one of the country's most exclusive universities to several colleges that take almost everyone who applies. Here are the Fall 2017 acceptance rates for the 26 four-year colleges with at least 1,000 applications, not including for-profit colleges.
William Paterson University
Acceptance rate: 92.4 percent
Note: William Paterson University called its acceptance rate for 2017 an anomaly. It received fewer applications in 2017 because it eliminated fee waivers that allowed prospective students to apply for free. The university has reinstated the fee waivers and expects its acceptance rate to return to usual, around 73 percent, spokeswoman Mary Beth Zeman said.
St. Peter's University
Acceptance rate: 91.3 percent
New Jersey City University
Acceptance rate: 91 percent
Acceptance rate: 88.9 percent
Acceptance rate: 81.5 percent
Acceptance rate: 79.4 percent
Acceptance rate: 73.9 percent
Seton Hall University
Acceptance rate: 73.2 percent
Acceptance rate: 67.2 percent
College of St. Elizabeth
Acceptance rate: 64.6 percent
Acceptance rate: 64.2 percent
Acceptance rate: 63.8 percent
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Metropolitan campus)
Acceptance rate: 87.6 percent
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Florham Park campus)
Acceptance rate: 83.9 percent
Acceptance rate: 82.2 percent
Montclair State University
Acceptance rate: 70.6 percent
Acceptance rate: 69.42 percent
Acceptance rate: 69.3 percent
Georgian Court University
Acceptance rate: 68.9 percent
Acceptance rate: 63.4 percent
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Acceptance rate: 61.4 percent 7,254
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Acceptance rate: 57.8 percent
Acceptance rate: 57.36 percent
The College of New Jersey
Acceptance rate: 47.5 percent
Acceptance rate: 6.4 percent
Note: Centenary University is not included in the list because its applications and offers for Fall 2017 were not included in the state database. After the story was published, the university provided for the following information:
Acceptance rate: 87 percent
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.