Small Friendly Town; Large Hometown Spirit!
Less than 4 square miles in size, New Providence is a small and friendly town, with plenty of community pride- which explains it’s motto, “Nice Place. Nice People.” Known for it’s excellent schools, recreational diversions, and super low crime rate, it’s no wonder Niche.com rates New Providence as the #1 ‘Best Place to live in Union County New Jersey’ and in the top 1% of ‘Best Places to Raise a Family in America’.
Where people feel connected, neighbors help neighbors. The New Providence Community Service Association, a non-profit established in 1954, is perhaps one of the first organizations of it’s kind in the country, with the purpose of residents helping one another in times of need.
Just 28 miles West of New York City, and 16 miles to Newark airport, New Providence is conveniently located on the Western slope of the Watchung mountains, with attractive transportation options by train, bus, car or plane. There are two train stations in town on the Gladstone Branch of New Jersey Transit that offer convenient one-hour, one-seat rides directly to Manhattan during commuting hours each weekday morning and evening. The rest of rail service from New Providence’s station goes to Hoboken, but riders of those trains can transfer in Summit or Newark to get to Manhattan. By bus during rush hour it can take less than an hour to get to New York’s Port Authority or Penn Station. And car commuters benefit from New Providence’s close proximity to routes I-78, I-287, Rt. 280, the Garden State Parkway, and the New Jersey Turnpike. Without traffic, New Providence is only a 40-minute drive to Manhattan.
Settled by Puritans in 1720, New Providence was originally called Turkey Town because of an abundance of wild turkeys. Then, according to local legend, one Sunday morning in 1759 the choir loft at the Presbyterian Church collapsed onto what was fortunately empty pews below. Declaring the timing of the incident “providential,” the pastor suggested changing the town’s name to New Providence.
What’s There to do?
Parks, Community Events, and Near-by Attractions
The sense of community felt by many residents of New Providence is reinforced by many special events hosted by the business community throughout the year, such as street fairs, summer concerts, holiday events, 5K races and car shows. Outside of special events, there’s always plenty to do, given the many shops, restaurants parks and near-by attractions to choose from.
Several playgrounds and recreational areas spread around the town make up over 9% of New Providence’s land area. Oakwood Park, the largest park in the Borough, features a playground, numerous ball fields, ice skating ponds in the winter, canoeing, kayaking, a nature trail, horseshoe pit, bocce court, covered picnic areas & restrooms. Lions Park & Field is another popular spot because of it’s shade, small creek, ball fields, basketball court and separate playground areas for preschool and school-age kids. Lincoln Field, near the library and town center, has both a playground and athletic fields, while the small Jaycees Park, also near the town center, features a playground, fitness court, a walking trail and shade trees.
Other Outdoor Recreation
In the summertime there are a few swimming options. The public New Providence Community Pool is an expansive complex with two Olympic sized pools, a kiddie pool, shuffleboard, and a basketball court. There are also two private swim clubs in town, Clearwater Swim Club and Crestview Swim and Tennis Club. Centennial Park is a popular venue in New Providence for many outdoor events such as the annual Carved Pumpkin Contest and the free Summer Concert series. And a new interactive facility, Harmony Park, is an exciting newer concept outdoor space, filled with hands on, large, interactive musical instruments. For garden enthusiasts, near the New Providence public tennis courts is a 28-plot Community Garden with a drip irrigation system. Plus, the recreation department offers a number of organized activities for residents of all ages: Summer camp programs, and a number of sport programs.
Just minutes from New Providence there are other plenty of interesting outdoor attractions. Popular with ‘Birders’, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Educational Center features 7,768 acres of habitat, a variety of wildlife, and is home to over 244 species of birds. People can walk the many trails and observe, study and photograph the wildlife. Also close by, for history buffs and general outdoorsy folks, the 1,945 acre Watchung Reservation, the largest nature reserve in Union County, has lakes, hiking trails, and the historic remnants of the Village of Feltville
Housing & Education
Affordable & Top Notch!
Ranked by Niche.com as an A+ school district overall, and consistently on the list of New Jersey’s best schools, the New Providence school district is comprised of two elementary schools, Allen W. Roberts Elementary School (grades PreK to 6th) , Salt Brook Elementary School (grades K to 6th), The New Providence Middle School (grades 7th and 8th), and the New Providence High School (9th through 12th grades). The high school was in fact recently named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, and was ranked #1 out of 328 high schools statewide by New Jersey Monthly magazine in 2012. Of exceptional note is that approximately 44% of the students in the high school participate in Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
There’s also several private educational choices in and around town: The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in New Providence, affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. It serves students in PreK through 8th grade and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In neighboring Summit there are three additional private school choices, Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, a coeducational Roman Catholic school serving Pre-K to 6th grade and girls only 7th through 12th grade, Oratory Prep, a Roman Catholic college preparatory day school for boys grades 7th through 12th, and The Kent Place School, an all girls independent college-preparatory day school serving students preschool through 12th grade.
In addition to colonials scattered throughout town, many of the homes in New Providence are split-level and ranch style homes built in the 1950’s and 60’s after Bell Labs moved into the unincorporated section of town known as Murray Hill (most of Murray Hill lies in New Providence, with the remainder in Berkeley Heights.) New Providence has many housing options more affordable than in the nearby transit towns of Summit and Chatham Borough, with the average single family home price is currently around $700,000 and home prices ranging primarily between $400,000 and $1,500,000, with some outliers on both ends of the spectrum.
There are also many townhome communities in New Providence, with values also ranging from around $400k on the low end upward to over $1,000,000.