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Paramus, New Jersey
Borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States
Paramus was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 2, 1922, and ratified by a referendum held on April 4, 1922, that passed by a vote of 238 to 10. Paramus was created from portions of Midland Township, which now exists as Rochelle Park. The name is usually said to be of Native American origin, derived from words meaning "land of the turkeys" or meaning "pleasant stream."
The borough is one of the largest shopping destinations in the country, generating over US$6 billion in annual retail sales, more than any other ZIP Code in the United States. Despite this, Paramus has some of the most restrictive blue laws in the nation, banning nearly all white-collar and retail businesses from opening on Sundays except for gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores, and a limited number of other businesses.
The area that became northern New Jersey was occupied for thousands of years by prehistoric indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, it was settled by the LenapeNative Americans. The Lenape language word for the area, Peremessing, which meant that it had an abundant population of wild turkey, was anglicized to become the word "Paramus". A large metal statue of a wild turkey in the Paramus Park mall commemorates this history. Another alternative derivation is that the word means "pleasant stream".
Albert Saboroweski (Albrycht Zaborowski), whose descendants became known by the family name "Zabriskie", immigrated from Poland via the Dutch ship The Fox in 1662. He settled in the Dutch West Indies Company town of Ackensack, today's Hackensack. A son, Jacob, was captured by the Lenape and held for 15 years. When he was returned to his family, the Lenape explained to Saboroweski that they had taken the child in order to teach him their language so that he could serve as a translator. They granted Saboroweski approximately 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of land which became known as the "Paramus Patent".
During the American Revolutionary War, the county included both Tories and Patriots, with Patriots "greatly outnumbering" Tories. Although no major battles were fought in Bergen County, Paramus was part of the military activity, as colonial troops were stationed in Ramapo under the command of Aaron Burr. In 1777, the British raided the Hackensack area and Burr marched troops to Paramus, where he attacked the British, forcing them to withdraw. General George Washington was in Paramus several times during the War: December 1778; July 1780; and, December 1780. Following the Battle of Monmouth, Washington established his headquarters in Paramus in July 1778. Over the advice of his staff, Washington moved his headquarters to Westchester County, New York.
A section of Paramus known as Dunkerhook (meaning dark corner in Dutch) was a free African-American community dating to the early 18th century. Although historical markers on the current site and local oral tradition maintain that this was a slave community, contemporary records document that it was a community of free blacks, not slaves. A group of houses built on Dunkerhook Road by the Zabriskies in the late 18th to early 19th centuries was the center of a community of black farmers, who had been slaves held by the Zabriskie family.
Farview Avenue, located at the highest peak in Paramus, has a clear view of the New York City skyline.
Paramus became one of the "truck farming" areas that helped New Jersey earn its nickname as the "Garden State". By 1940, Paramus' population was just 4,000, with no town center and 94 retail establishments. Although the opening of the George Washington Bridge in 1931 and the widening of New Jersey Route 17 and New Jersey Route 4 (which intersect in southern Paramus), made the area accessible to millions, "it was not until the 1950s that massive development hit this section of northern New Jersey".
During the 1950s and 1960s, Paramus, lacking any master plan until 1969, was redeveloped into two shopping corridors when its farmers and outside developers saw that shopping malls were more lucrative than produce farming. "It was a developer's dream: flat cleared land adjacent to major arterials and accessible to a growing suburban population and the country's largest city - with no planning restrictions". New York had a state sales tax, but New Jersey had none, so with the opening of Manhattan department stores in the Bergen Mall (1957), the Garden State Plaza (1957) and Alexander's (1961), Paramus became the "first stop outside New York City for shopping". From 1948-58, the population of Paramus increased from 6,000 to 23,000, the number of retail establishments tripled from 111 to 319, and annual retail sales increased twenty-fold, from $5.5 million to $112 million. By the 1980s, when the population had increased slightly over 1960s levels, retail sales had climbed to $1 billion.
Paramus was the scene of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S. when an outbreak at the New Jersey Veterans Home killed 72 people, all former soldiers, on May 10, 2020.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 10.51 square miles (27.21 km2), including 10.45 square miles (27.05 km2) of land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) of water (0.60%).
Of the 8,630 households, 33.8% had children under the age of 18; 68.4% were married couples living together; 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present and 19.6% were non-families. Of all households, 17.8% were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.32.
21.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 19.2% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.3 years. For every 100 females, the population had 94.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 91.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $104,986 (with a margin of error of +/- $9,111) and the median family income was $123,848 (+/- $7,952). Males had a median income of $77,325 (+/- $5,222) versus $52,702 (+/- $4,983) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $40,024. About 1.6% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
Same-sex couples headed 35 households in 2010, more than double the 17 counted in the 2000 census.
There were 8,082 households, out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.3% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.1% were non-families. 14.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00 and the average family size was 3.32.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 23.2% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $76,918, and the median income for a family was $84,406. Males had a median income of $56,635 versus $37,450 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $29,295. About 1.4% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
Paramus was home to the America regional headquarters of Hanjin Shipping, located on the eastbound side of Route 4.Hudson City Bancorp had its headquarters located at West 80 Century Road until its acquisition by M&T Bank, which was completed in 2015.Movado Group Inc. is a watchmaker with its headquarters on From Road. Suez North America, founded as Hackensack Water Company in 1869 and later named United Water, is an American water service company headquartered in Paramus.Coach USA is a large tour operator with its headquarters in Paramus, at the offices of its Community Coach subsidiary.
Paramus was the former headquarters location for Toys "R" Us before the company relocated to Wayne, New Jersey in 2002 and went bankrupt. Paramus was also the headquarters of Magic Solutions, a defunct computer software company that specialized in help desk automation and asset management software.
Paramus is known for its multitude of stores and malls. It has five major indoor shopping centers, serving residents in the areas of Bergen County and Passaic County in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York. New Jersey does not levy a sales tax on clothes and shoes, which makes it an attractive shopping destination for people even further away in New York City, who pay sales tax on clothing items above $110 in price, in addition to the lower standard rate of 6.625% in New Jersey, compared to 8.875% in New York City. The spending levels generated by the malls have made Paramus one of the top retail ZIP Codes in the country.
Many national chain stores boast Paramus as their most prominent locations. Nordstrom's Paramus location, which was its first New York area store when it opened in September 1990 with strong sales volume, is their best-performing. There are 25 retailers that occupy multiple stores in Paramus, including Macy's which had outlets in three malls for a period of time. Some retail analysts view Paramus as being two markets, centered on the two major highways. Lord & Taylor has locations at both Westfield Garden State Plaza and Fashion Center, giving Paramus the distinction of the only town with more than one Lord & Taylor location. Toys "R" Us had two locations: Fashion Center, a location on the eastbound side of Route 4. Paramus also housed a Babies "R" Us on the northbound side of Route 17, but it closed in 2018. Later that year, the Fashion Center and Route 4 Toys "R" Us locations closed due to the company's bankruptcy. In 1983, Paramus was one of the first locations opening a Kids "R" Us store. When Toys R Us was revived in 2019 after emerging from bankruptcy, the first new Toys R Us store opened at Westfield Garden State Plaza on November 27, 2019.H&M has three locations in Paramus: Paramus Park, Westfield Garden State Plaza, and The Outlets at Bergen Town Center.
In addition to the state blue laws that apply to all of Bergen County, Paramus has even stricter restrictions preventing stores selling non-food items from opening on Sundays. These laws were enacted shortly after Garden State Plaza opened out of fear that the mall would cause high levels of congestion in the borough. It is one of the last places in the United States to have such an extensive blue law. This law was called into question when a BJ's Wholesale Club opened at the Routes 4/17 junction. BJ's was allowed to open on Sundays, but is only allowed to sell food and basic necessities. The store has been structured to restrict access to items that cannot be purchased on Sunday. Paramus has its own blue laws that are significantly more restrictive than those in effect in other communities in Bergen County.
Local blue laws in Paramus were first proposed in 1957, while the Bergen Mall and Garden State Plaza were under construction. The legislation was motivated by fears that the two new malls would aggravate the already-severe highway congestion caused by local retail businesses along the borough's highways.
The Paramus Borough Code forbids the performance of any "worldly employment" on Sunday, with exceptions for charity, and the sale of newspapers, medicinal drugs, meals, prepared food and cigarettes, among a limited number of exceptions. Even work performed inside one's own home is prohibited on Sunday. In spite of its six-day shopping week, Paramus consistently has the most retail sales of any ZIP Code in the United States.
More than 63% of Bergen County voters rejected a referendum on the ballot in 1993 that would have repealed the county's blue laws, though the Paramus restrictions would have remained in place. An unsuccessful 2010 proposal by Governor of New JerseyChris Christie would have ended the state's blue laws (now only enforced in Bergen County), with the governor citing industry estimates that the $1.1 billion in added retail revenue on Sundays would generate an additional $65 million in sales taxes for the state. In November 2012, Governor Chris Christie issued an executive order temporarily suspending the blue laws in both Bergen County and Paramus due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, a decision that was upheld despite a court challenge by the Borough of Paramus. The blue law suspension was in effect on Sunday, November 11, but was back in effect the following Sunday.
Timeline of malls and shopping centers
1957 - Garden State Plaza was built by Muscarelli Construction Company on 198 acres (0.80 km2) at the intersection of Routes 4 and 17.
1957 - The Bergen Mall was built on 101 acres (41 ha) on an area east of the Plaza on Route 4.
1963 - Paramus Place was built on the north side of Route 4 across from Bergen Mall.
1967 - The Fashion Center was built on a 33-acre (13 ha) site of old celery farms, aimed at quality-oriented shoppers by developer Associated Dry Goods, with a 135,000-square-foot (12,500 m2) Lord & Taylor and a 176,000-square-foot (16,400 m2) B. Altman as anchors and 25 other retailers sandwiched in between The owners originally referred to its location as being in Ridgewood/Paramus to appeal to the Ridgewood population.
1972 - The 35 Plaza Shopping Center is built on Route 4, just located 2 minutes away from Paramus Place.
1974 - Paramus Park was built by the Rouse Company, offering a gross leasable area of 755,000 square feet (70,100 m2). The most recent of the large centers was built on 66 acres (270,000 m2) in the middle of an area where the old farms were located.
1986 - The Shoppes on IV opened up and was built on 236 acres (96 ha) in the westbound area of Route 4.
1998 - The Paramus Towne Square opened up and was built on the north side of Route 17.
2003 - IKEA opens a 370,000-square-foot (34,000 m2) store, its second-largest location in North America, at the intersection of Routes 4 and 17 on the site of the old Alexander's department store. It was joined the next year by three other retailers, Bed Bath and Beyond, Christmas Tree Shops, and Sports Authority to form a shopping center with a combined gross leasable area of 719,226 square feet (66,818.3 m2). However, when Sports Authority went out of business in 2016, the store was closed.
2015 - The Paramus Design Center opens up on the northbound side of Route 17.
2018 - The Paramus Crossroads shopping center, located on the southbound side of Route 17, officially opened in summer of 2018. However, there are 3 tenants available at this time. The other tenants are expected to be finished soon.
Due to the stricter version of the blue laws in Paramus, malls (and almost all retail establishments) in the borough are closed on Sunday except for restaurants and other exempted establishments. Stores may not open before 7:00 AM or remain open after 11:00 PM.
Arts and culture
One of the earliest drive-in theaters opened in Paramus, featuring what was said to be the world's largest and brightest screen, located behind what is now Westfield Garden State Plaza. The Paramus Drive-In closed in 1987 after the last movie presentation, a double-feature of "Crocodile" Dundee and The Untouchables.
Currently, Paramus' lone movie theater complex is a 16-screen AMC Theatres located in an area of new construction at Westfield Garden State Plaza. Prior to the opening of the AMC complex, a number of theatres were closed in the borough, including the Route 4 Tenplex and the Cineplex Odeon Route 17 Triplex, once located next to Westfield Garden State Plaza on Route 17. The Triplex and Tenplex theatres was opened on October 12, 1965 by Century Theatres and was closed on May 24, 2007, by Loews Cineplex Entertainment. On May 25, 2007, the new AMC Theatres opened at Westfield Garden State Plaza. The Paramus Picture Show, known as Cinema 35 until 1997, closed in December 2004 in the wake of declining attendance. A 12-screen Regal Cinemas was planned to open at Paramus Park as part of renovations that would have replaced the Sears store with a Stew Leonard's location. However, the plans were cancelled after Stew Leonard's took up more space than expected. 
The Bergen Town Center had a performing arts theater called "Playhouse on the Mall". It had a seating capacity of 635 seats and was opened in 1960. From 1960 to 1970, author Robert Ludlum was the manager of the theater. The theater closed in 1982 due to rising costs and low attendance and was converted into retail space in 1986.
In 2016, the Garden State Plaza added a Bergen Performing Arts Center performance area for shows and performances located near Macy's, which took up the former space of the Venetian carousel. There was also a Bergen PAC ticket center located near the performance area. The Bergen PAC performance area, however, was short lived as it was replaced by a video game theater, then it became a lounge area in 2017.
Parks and recreation
Bergen County Zoo at Van Saun Park
Paramus is the home to two county parks. On the eastern side of the borough is Van Saun County Park, a 146-acre (59 ha) park that features Bergen County's only zoo, home to a wide variety of wild and domestic animals living in recreated habitats natural to each species. Van Saun Park also has a playground, train ride, carousel, athletic fields, and pony rides. The Washington Spring site in the park takes its name from reports that General Washington drank water from the spring here while his troops were encamped nearby, west of the Hackensack River. The Continental Army is reported to have utilized the old spring at the base of these slopes during the September encampment west of the Hackensack River.
On the western side of the borough is Saddle River County Park which features a 6-mile (9.7 km) bike path reaching from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park.
The borough has four golf courses. Two are open to the public, with the Paramus Golf Course operated by the borough and Orchard Hills County Golf Course operated by the county. The two private golf course located in Paramus are the Ridgewood Country Club and Arcola Country Club. Ridgewood Country Club was ranked as the #6 Center Ranked Among Top 500 Holes in the World Golf Magazine - 2000 and Ranked # 84 on the list of Most Prestigious Clubs in America Golf Connoisseur - 2006.
In 2008, the Paramus Golf Course opened a miniature golf course that is themed after the borough of Paramus as well as the state of New Jersey. Turkey statues are scattered around the course to celebrate Paramus as the "land of the wild turkeys."
Paramus has an outdoor municipal swimming pool complex on Van Binsberger Boulevard. It has three pools: a main pool, a pool for younger swimmers, and a baby pool.
Arcola Park was an outdoor amusement park built in 1926. It had a huge swimming pool, a convention hall, a dance pavilion, an auditorium, and rides. A fire in 1929 destroyed the entire park, with the exception of the pool. The pool was destroyed by another fire in 1970 and closed down for good. The park site was replaced by a Ramada Inn, the hotel extending into a small portion of Rochelle Park.
Paramus Little League were the 2011 New Jersey State Little League Champions.
Paramus Fire Department in the Paramus 4th of July Parade, circa 2017
During the week of the 4th of July, Paramus holds its own Independence Day celebration. First, there is the performance of the Paramus Community Orchestra at the Paramus Bandshell which takes place on July 2. Next, on the 3rd, there is a softball game between the Paramus Fire Department and the Paramus Police Department, held annually since 2011. On the 4th, there is a parade. The parade route starts at the intersection of Century Road and Farview Avenue and ends at Memorial Elementary School. On the 5th, there is a fireworks display at the Cliff Gennarelli Paramus Sportsplex.
Paramus also holds its own Memorial Day parade every year.
Paramus hosts an annual National Night Out. The event typically includes games and activities as well as a concert. The borough's fire, rescue, police, and ambulance vehicles are also displayed.
The Paramus Rescue Squad and Fire Department Companies 2 & 3 host a Halloween party every October called, "Safe Halloween" to ensure every child has a safe and fun Halloween.
The Paramus Fire Department also has its annual "Santa Detail" every December. The fire department drives throughout the borough on the Sunday before Christmas with Santa riding atop the fire apparatus. Members of the department accompany Santa and give out lollipops to residents who come outside during the tour.
Paramus is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of a Mayor and a Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Paramus is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor is Democrat Richard LaBarbiera, whose term of office ends December 31, 2022. Borough Council members are Maria Elena Bellinger (D, 2020), Christopher Di Piazza (R, 2020), Holly Tedesco-Santos (D, 2021), Joseph Vartolone (R, 2022), Patsy L. Verile (D, 2021) and Jeanne T. Weber (R, 2022).
In October 2015, Moody's Investors Service upgraded general obligation debt of the Borough of Paramus from Aa1 to Aaa, in light of the low levels of debt and the strength of the borough's financial operations, reserve levels, tax base, management practices and levels of wealth.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 16,874 registered voters in Paramus, of which 4,454 (26.4% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 3,474 (20.6% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 8,938 (53.0% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 8 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 64.1% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 81.6% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 6,565 votes (49.5% vs. 41.1% countywide), ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton with 6,312 votes (47.6% vs. 54.2%) and other candidates with 389 votes (2.9% vs. 4.6%), among the 13,434 ballots cast by the borough's 18,526 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.5% (vs. 72.5% in Bergen County). In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 6,123 votes here (50.0% vs. 43.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 5,907 votes (48.3% vs. 54.8%) and other candidates with 105 votes (0.9% vs. 0.9%), among the 12,234 ballots cast by the borough's 17,617 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.4% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 6,885 votes here (51.1% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 6,386 votes (47.4% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 106 votes (0.8% vs. 0.8%), among the 13,470 ballots cast by the borough's 17,747 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.9% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 6,868 votes here (52.3% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 6,103 votes (46.5% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 87 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 13,123 ballots cast by the borough's 17,206 registered voters, for a turnout of 76.3% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 64.4% of the vote (4,888 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 34.8% (2,641 votes), and other candidates with 0.8% (60 votes), among the 7,809 ballots cast by the borough's 17,083 registered voters (220 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 45.7%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 4,298 votes here (49.7% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 3,857 votes (44.6% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 376 votes (4.3% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 32 votes (0.4% vs. 0.5%), among the 8,656 ballots cast by the borough's 17,354 registered voters, yielding a 49.9% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
Paramus is home to four special education schools. New Alliance Academy, located on Midland Ave, provides educational and ancillary therapeutic services for high school teenagers experiencing acute psychological distress. The EPIC School (Educational Partnership for Instructing Children) is located on North Farview Avenue, next to the Our Lady of Visitation Church. The Alpine Learning Group is located on County Route 62, close to Linwood Avenue, and P.R.I.D.E. School, which is a part of the ECLC school, which serves three other locations in New Jersey, has a location on Sette Drive. The Bergen County Special Services School District, which provides public special education services on a countywide basis, is headquartered in Paramus.
The borough's public library maintains two locations--the Main Library on Century Road and the Charles E. Reid Branch library on Midland Avenue, which was originally a four-room schoolhouse built in 1876.
The borough's original public library, known locally as the Howland House, was originally located at the intersection of Spring Valley Road and Howland Avenue. It was demolished sometime in the late 1990s. A September 11, 2001 memorial park now exists at the site known as Howland Memorial Grove.
New Bridge Medical Center - located at 230 East Ridgewood Avenue, this medical center is a 1,070-bed hospital that is a clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. It was founded in 1916 and is the largest hospital and licensed nursing home in the entire state of New Jersey.
Oradell Animal Hospital - located on Winters Avenue, across from Paramus Park, this facility provides medical care and treatments for all animals.
The Valley Hospital has a health and fitness center on the southbound side of Route 17 and is specialized in recovery physical therapy. Valley Hospital also has support offices at the Kraft Center, located on 15 Essex Avenue. In addition, the Luckow Pavilion, located at 1 Valley Health Plaza, near the Fashion Center, specializes in cancer treatment, fertility, gamma knife surgery, and pharmacy.
View south along the Garden State Parkway at the exit for Route 17 in Paramus
Easton Tower - Intersection of Red Mill Road and Paramus Road (added 2007). The tower was built in 1899 and was originally housed as a water pump that sits alongside the Saddle River. The tower was named after businessman Edward D. Easton.
Midland School - 239 W. Midland Avenue (added 1978). The school was constructed in 1876, and was used as a branch of the Paramus Public Library after Midland School was moved.
Terhune House - 470 Paramus Road (added 1996). An 18th-century Dutch Colonial home constructed of sandstone, that was later modified to add Victorian features, including a mansard roof.
Terhune-Gardner-Lindenmeyr House - 218 Paramus Road (added 1972). A Federal Period home constructed on the last remaining portion of untouched land from Terhune's farm, as taken from the original Zabriskie patent. The oldest known portion that can be reliably dated is from 1807-08, with an older adjoining section of the house dating back as far as 1707.
Zabriskie Tenant House - 273 Dunkerhook Road (added 1984). The house was demolished in July 2012 by a housing developer who owned the property, after efforts to preserve or relocate the house failed.
Other points of interest
Buehler Challenger and Science Center, located on the campus of Bergen Community College, is a space museum where children learn about outer space and missions through simulations. The science center is also available to adults and educators.
Fritz Behnke Historical Museum, located on Paramus Road. It is open every Sunday and has exhibits about Paramus' past.
New Jersey Children's Museum. Opened in 1992, it featured hands-on exhibits for children such as a fire truck, a news studio, a helicopter, and other fun pretend attractions that drew 700,000 visitors per year. It closed in 2014 after Valley Hospital bought the property near its Ridgewood location.
The Paramus Fire Department is a volunteer fire department that has a total of about 130 members who are on call around-the-clock, 365 days a year. Over the last several years, the number of calls for service that the fire department has responded to averages about 1,300 calls per year. The mission of the Paramus Fire Department is to protect the lives and property of the community. The fire department comprises four fire companies:
Fire Company 1 (Engine 1 and Ladder Truck 1) is located at East Firehouse Lane, across from the Fashion Center.
Fire Company 2 (Engine 2 and Engine 22-a spare) is located on Spring Valley Road, and is nicknamed "Spring Valley Fire Company #2."
Fire Company 3 (Engine 3, HazMat 3 - staffed by HazMat Technicians from all four fire companies, Utility 3, and Foam 3 - which carries AFFF firefighting foam) is located at 198 West Midland Avenue.
Fire Company 4 (Engine 4, Ladder Truck 4, and Engine 44 - a mini-pumper) is on Farview Avenue, and is nicknamed "Farview Fire Company #4."
Paramus also has a separate volunteer rescue squad (Rescue 7 & Rescue 9) located on West Jockish Square that specializes in motor vehicle extrication, as well as a marine unit for responses involving water rescues.
Ambulance and police
The borough's Emergency Medical Services department is staffed 24 hours a day. A separate volunteer Ambulance Corps exists, largely for stand-by purposes at large events. The Volunteer Ambulance Corps station is located on East Midland Avenue. The Paramus Police Department, which responds to 60,000 calls annually, is located on Carlough Drive right next to borough hall.
The borough of Paramus also has an emergency management department that is required by state and law to develop emergency plans to protect people and property in the event of any emergency or disaster. The Emergency Management offices are located on Carlough Drive in the Paramus Life Safety Complex next to borough hall, the police department, and the rescue squad.
Scenes from the 2008 film Burn After Reading by the Coen Brothers were filmed in Paramus at the site of the old Tower Records annex building located on Route 17S that had been transformed into Hardbodies Fitness Center.
A scene from the 1996 film Ransom was filmed on Route 4 in Paramus where Mullen is driving to Stone Quarry.
Several episodes of the HBO crime drama The Sopranos used Paramus locations. Throughout the series, Garden State Plaza and the Ramsey Outdoor store on Route 17 were both featured, and a character was "whacked" at the remnants of the Old Mill Bathing Beach on Paramus Road. In the series finale, a scene with Paulie Gualtieri was filmed in Paramus, in which he drove past a gas station.
The former Paramus Bowling Center was the filming site of the bowling competition shows Make That Spare and Championship Bowling.
Hanson's 1997 video "Tulsa, Tokyo & the Middle of Nowhere", features the band travelling to Paramus Park on May 7, 1997, performing in the food court in front of 600 screaming fans. The performance was their first public appearance after the release of "MMMBop".
Garden State Plaza is the setting for Tricia Sullivan's science fiction novel Maul (2002). The novel takes its title from the way that the word "mall" is pronounced with the New Jersey accent. In the novel, three teenage girls start a shoot out with a local gang.
^ abTompkins, John. "Sunday Selling Plaguing New Jersey", The New York Times, June 2, 1957. Accessed December 18, 2017. "The battle over whether retailers should be allowed to sell on Sunday is becoming more intense in New Jersey as lobbyists on both sides increase their efforts."
^Citizens Semi-Centennial Assoc., 1919, Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey, Past and Present, p. 3. Accessed October 6, 2019. "The name 'Paramus' is said to be derived from the Indian 'Peremessing', descriptive of the fact that the country abounded in wild turkey. The first white settlers called it 'Peremesse' from which the transition was gradually made to the present form, Paramus."
^Cardwell, Diane. "For House Telling Paramus's History, End May Be Near", The New York Times, June 27, 2011. Accessed December 25, 2011. "The two houses, at 273 and 263 Dunkerhook, and a third one down the road and just over the line in Fair Lawn, were originally built, historians say, by one of the founding families of Bergen County, the Zabriskies. (The house at 273 Dunkerhook dates to around 1790, the one at 263 Dunkerhook to 1803.) As the Paramus houses passed from the Zabriskies to black farmers believed to be former Zabriskie slaves, they helped seed a thriving black settlement of several houses and a church that lasted into the 1930s."
^City of New York. "New York Sales and Use Tax"Archived November 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed November 4, 2013. "The City Sales Tax rate is 4.5%, NY State Sales and Use Tax is 4% and the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District surcharge of 0.375% for a total Sales and Use Tax of 8.875 percent"
^Belson, Ken; and Schweber, Nate. "Sales Tax Cut in City May Dim Allure of Stores Across Hudson". The New York Times. January 18, 2007. Accessed August 22, 2011. "For years, shoppers from New York City have played a game of retail arbitrage, traveling to the many malls in northern New Jersey, a state where there is no tax on clothing and shoes. Even accounting for tolls, gas and time, shoppers could save money by visiting the Westfield Garden State Plaza and other malls here, escaping the 8.375 percent sales tax they must pay in New York City on clothing and shoes that cost more than $110 per item."
^Verdon, Joan. "Remodeled Paramus Park draws smaller prototype stores", The Record, August 13, 2011. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Paramus Park, like the other malls in the borough, has benefited from 'the critical mass of retail that is assembled in this community,' and the spending levels that have made Paramus one of the top retail ZIP codes in the country, said Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera."
^Barmash, Isadore. "Sales Strong for Jersey Nordstrom's", The New York Times, October 9, 1990. Accessed August 11, 2015. "Nordstrom Inc.'s store here, its first in the New York metropolitan area, appears to be off to a strong start in its first month, industry analysts and company executives say. Nordstrom executives refused to give details on the store's sales but said it had had the best initial sales volume of any of the company's three East Coast stores."
^Our History, Toys "R" Us. Accessed August 11, 2015. "In 1983, the company branched out into children's clothing when it opened its first Kids 'R' Us® stores in Paramus, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York."
^The Sunday Closing Law, Bergen County, New Jersey. Accessed January 28, 2018. "Bergen County has by referendum become the last county in New Jersey to retain the Sunday Closing Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:171-5.8 et seq. As a result, the sale of certain items is still prohibited and the law should still be enforced."
^Brennan, John. "11 things you might not know about Bergen County's blue laws", The Record, June 23, 2017. Accessed January 28, 2018. "A key moment in time was the 1959 vote to allow each of New Jersey's 21 counties to make individual decisions on blue laws. Ten counties preferred the status quo -- at first. Hudson County voters decided in 1985 to become the 20th of 21 counties to repeal the state's blue laws."
^ abParamus Borough Code: Chapter 391: Sunday Activities, Borough of Paramus. Accessed January 28, 2018. "391-2. Sunday activities restricted. No worldly employment or business, except works of necessity and charity, shall be performed or practiced by any person within the Borough on the first day of the week, commonly called and hereinafter designated as 'Sunday.'"
^Brennan, John. "11 things you might not know about Bergen County's blue laws", The Record, June 23, 2017. Accessed December 18, 2017. "In Jan. 1986, Gov. Tom Kean signed a bill into law that allowed Bergen municipalities to have their own blue laws, even if the county at some point removed its bans. The state Supreme Court upheld that option six months later. That decision allowed Paramus to maintain even stricter blue laws than in the rest of the county."
^Gartland, Michael. "Christie's blue law repeal proposal criticized", The Record, March 17, 2010. Accessed June 29, 2011. "Macy's declined to comment, referring questions to the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, which supports lifting the blue laws. The association said that Sunday hours would generate $1.1 billion a year in extra business for Bergen County retailers, along with $65 million in state sales tax revenues."
^McQuaid, Kevin L. "Rouse Co. buys out partner in Paramus Park mall in N.J.", The Baltimore Sun, August 30, 1995. Accessed October 30, 2013. "The stake in the Paramus Park Mall from Rodamco N.V., a Dutch investment firm, marks the fourth time this year that Rouse has solidified its ownership of a retail property. With the purchase, a Rouse subsidiary will control the entire 755,000-square-foot mall.... Paramus Park, completed in 1974 and anchored by Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Macy's, is typically one of the best performers in Rouse's 75-property retail portfolio."
^Sloan, Carole. "Ikea adds breathing space in Paramus", Furniture Today, August 10, 2003. Accessed October 30, 2013. "More lifestyle vignettes, fewer rigid product displays, and more places for shoppers to relax are key elements in the furniture presentation at the just-opened Ikea store in Paramus, N.J., said Ian Wrling, U.S. deputy manager, North America. The store, at 370,000-square-feet, is the second-largest of Ikea's North American units, and 'offers us the opportunity to give customers breathing space in what had been a very rigid furniture presentation,' he said."
^Gartland, Michael. "Epic theater soon to play its final reel", The Record, May 19, 2007. Accessed August 2, 2015. "The AMC Paramus Route 4 10 -- known affectionately to locals simply as the Tenplex -- will run its projectors for the last time Thursday, just one day before a bigger, more advanced cineplex opens down the road at the Garden State Plaza."
^Verdon, Joan. "Paramus Park awaits its renaissance", The Record, February 7, 2016. Accessed February 26, 2016. "In 2014, before the Sears deal was struck, Paramus Park received approval from the borough of Paramus for an expansion project that included a 13-screen movie theater and several restaurants."
^Verdon, Joan. "Stew Leonard's to replace Paramus Sears", The Record, October 13, 2017. Accessed October 16, 2017. "The Sears department store that has been an anchor of the Paramus Park mall since it opened in 1974 will be replaced by a Stew Leonard's farm-style supermarket and a 12-screen movie theater under a plan submitted to Paramus zoning officials Thursday."
^Biography, Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Accessed January 3, 2019. "Josh now lives in Wyckoff, New Jersey with Marla, his wife who was a federal prosecutor, and their two young children, Ellie and Ben."
^Johnson, Brent. "Meet your 3 new state lawmakers, New Jersey", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 25, 2018. Accessed July 3, 2018. "Swain, the former mayor of Fair Lawn, and Tully, the former council president in Bergenfield, will be district mates. They replace Joseph Lagana, who moved up to the state Senate last month when state Sen. Robert Gordon resigned to join the state Board of Public Utilities, and Tim Eustace, who resigned last month to take a job outside of state government."
^Glovin, David. "Two Bergen Schools Pocket National Awards", The Record, May 22, 1999. Accessed June 29, 2011. "The Cherry Hill School in River Edge and the Ridge Ranch School in Paramus were among the 266 public and private elementary schools that were named 1998-99 Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Education Department."
^Lipowsky, Josh. "Ben Porat Yosef headed for Paramus", The Jewish Standard, August 22, 2008. Accessed January 27, 2020. "After seven years of renting space in a Leonia synagogue, Yeshiva Ben Porat Yosef is moving into the old Frisch building rather than the Jewish Center of Teaneck as its board had planned.... Ben Porat Yosef had held classes in Sons of Israel since the school was founded in 2001 and needed more space each year as it added grades... When the prospect arose for BPY to move the entire school to Paramus, however, the yeshiva had to take it, said Yehuda Kohn, BPY's vice president."
^About Bergen Community College. Bergen Community College. Accessed June 1, 2015. Founded in 1965 to satisfy the region's need for a convenient, affordable and comprehensive higher education destination, Bergen Community College now enrolls nearly 17,000 students in its academic degree programs. The College's three sites in Paramus (main campus), Hackensack (Ciarco Learning Center) and Lyndhurst (Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands) serve more than 32,000 students in degree, continuing education and adult education programs."
^Ensslin, John C. "Preservation effort falls short as Zabriskie house demolition begins (video)", The Record, July 13, 2012. Accessed July 18, 2012. "An irreplaceable link to Bergen's County's early history, particularly for African-Americans, vanished in a cloud of dust on Friday as a backhoe clawed at the splintered wood and brownstone remains of the Zabriskie Tenant House, a 1780s building that later became home to generations of former slaves and their descendents."
^About Us, Paramus Fritz Behnke Historical Museum. Accessed August 13, 2015.
^Pries, Allison. "New Jersey Children's Museum to close next month", The Record, August 15, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2015. "It was just another familiar, fun moment for young imaginations at the New Jersey Children's Museum, a community touchstone for thousands of North Jersey children, parents and grandparents over the past 22 years.... The site the museum operates out of was sold in February to Valley Health Systems, which will convert it to its needs, Sumers said."
^Levy, Emanuel. "Burn After Reading: Shooting a Joel and Ethan Coen Wild Comedy", Emanuel Levy Cinema 24/7, August 24, 2008. Accessed December 12, 2013. "The unit soon decamped to Paramus, New Jersey, where all the scenes that transpire at Hardbodies Fitness Center the workplace of Linda, Chad, and Ted were filmed. At an abandoned building that had until recently housed a Tower Records, Gonchor and his department with an fitness-equipment assist from Gym Source transformed the newly emptied space into a working gym."
^Schager, Nick. "The 10 Best Movies Set in New Jersey; A state that deserves more cinematic recognition", Esquire, June 20, 2014. Accessed September 7, 2015. "Much of Ron Howard's Ransom was filmed in and around New York and New Jersey, and Mel Gibson's first attempt to hand over money in exchange for his kidnapped son is clearly set at a Haledon, New Jersey, quarry -- a location that Gibson arrives at after driving from Manhattan to Jersey City (via the Holland Tunnel), and then on through Paramus."
^Nash, Margo. "Footlights; All About A, And Don't Forget Z", The New York Times, September 4, 2005. Accessed October 16, 2018. "When it came time to choose a shopping center, the video's makers headed, quite naturally, to New Jersey. Mr. Colbert, dressed as a big blue letter Z, and Ms. Sullivan, appearing as a big red A, are shown in the video ambling around the Garden State Mall [sic], asking people if they know any words with their letters in them. Ms. Sullivan got a lot more responses than Mr. Colbert."
^Zeitchik, Steven. "In Person; Meet Joe Fan", The New York Times, January 23, 2005. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Amid the swirl of the New York region's media personalities, most people have probably never heard of Mr. Benigno. But as the longtime host of WFAN's overnight program, the Garfield-born, Paramus-bred broadcaster combined an uncommon mix of black humor, esoteric knowledge and incredulity to become a cult figure."
^Oshinsky, David M."Charge It!", The New York Times, March 2, 2003. Accessed September 15, 2011. "Cohen belongs to the postwar baby boom generation. Raised in Paramus, N.J., an epicenter of tract housing and highway shopping malls, she has used the experience of the Garden State to probe the larger issues of postwar economic change."
^Whelan, Jeff S. "Former state Sen. Coniglio indicted on corruption charges", The Star-Ledger, February 14, 2008. Accessed February 8, 2011. "Coniglio, a Bergen County Democrat, allegedly helped Hackensack University Medical Center obtain millions of dollars in state funding in exchange for a $5,000 per month-job as a 'hospital relations' consultant, according to the indictment. The 65-year-old retired plumber from Paramus had no prior experience for such a job, authorities said."
^Levine, Cecilia. "Paramus Pro Wrestler Who Lost Daughter Has New Purpose: 'End Drunk Driving'", Paramus Daily Voice, October 21, 2017. Accessed November 18, 2017. "Oct. 10, 2015 was the day life both stopped and started for Paramus native Bill DeMott.... DeMott graduated from Paramus High School in 1983, and went on to become a pro wrestler, earning himself the title of world heavyweight champion, and more."
^Pinto, Fausto Giovanny. "The hip-hop homes of Bergen County", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, September 2016. Accessed July 30, 2019. "The Terror Squad founder and 'Lean Back' lyricist's Paramus home was featured on a 2004 episode of MTV Cribs, in which he licked the bottom of a pair of Air Jordan sneakers valued at $5,000."
^Goulis, Thalia; and Jablonski, Marc. Paramus[permanent dead link], p. 112. Arcadia Publishing, 2015. ISBN9781439649671. Accessed December 18, 2017. "The glam rock band Trixter, popular in the 1990s, was formed by four of the town's residents, and Dean Friedman, best known for the 1977 hit 'Ariel,' included lyrics in his song about a girl 'standing by the water fall in Paramus Park' and references the town as the 'bosom of suburbia.'"
^Saxon, Wolfgang. "Fred C. Galda, 79, Retired Judge", The New York Times, August 19, 1997. Accessed December 25, 2011. "Fred C. Galda, a retired New Jersey Superior Court judge and former prosecutor and Mayor of Paramus, N.J., died on Thursday at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J. He was 79 and a resident of Saddle River, N.J."
^Friess, Steve. "Tournament Winner Says He Was Wrong", The New York Times, February 24, 2007. Accessed December 25, 2011. "In his first interview since the settlement, Gold, a 38-year-old Hollywood producer from Paramus, N.J., said the lawsuit was not difficult to resolve, although the agreement bars him from disclosing the fate of the record-setting $12 million purse."
^Beckerman, Jim. "Hollywood weighs in on 9/11", The Record, April 23, 2006. Accessed May 26, 2010. "... you're particularly sensitive and you're out for an evening of fun and the trailer catches you unaware it could be upsetting says Levin a Paramus native ..."
^About Trisha, CentralParkJogger.com. Accessed March 3, 2015. "Born and raised in Paramus, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh, Trisha was a Phi Beta Kappa economics major at Wellesley College and a double graduate degree recipient (M.B.A. and M.A.) at Yale University."
^Maag, Christopher. "Sen. Menendez moves to Bergen County", The Record, July 5, 2014. Accessed October 24, 2014. "Menendez first talked publicly about his move at a political fundraiser in Edgewater on Wednesday night, where he announced not only that he will support Democrat James Tedesco's campaign for Bergen County executive, he'll also be voting for Tedesco in the November election. 'Yes that is correct. He lives in Paramus now," said Steven Sandberg, a spokesman for Menendez."
^Liv Morgan, Online World of Wrestling. Accessed April 13, 2016. "Hometown: Paramus, New Jersey, USA"
^Pennington, Juliet. "Ken Oringer is hungry for street food, a good walk", The Boston Globe, December 6, 2014. Accessed September 24, 2015. "When he isn't working at his flagship Clio or one of his other five eateries, Oringer enjoys his time at home in the South End with his wife, Celine, daughter, Verveine, and son, Luca. We caught up with Oringer, 49, a Paramus, N.J., native, to talk about all things travel."
^Wassel, Bryan. "Berklee professor, former Paramus resident credits Beatles as musical inspiration", Town News, May 4, 2011. Accessed September 13, 2011. "A former Paramus resident has accomplished a series of firsts at Berklee College in Boston: becoming the first woman to graduate the guitar performance program in 1982, the first female faculty member of the guitar department in 1984 and the first female to be promoted to full professor in the department in 2009. Lauren Passarelli, who was born in Teaneck and grew up in Paramus, developed her interest in guitar at an early age, citing the Beatles as one of her biggest influences.... Passarelli's musical talent goes beyond just the guitar, and while attending Paramus High School she played flute in the school's marching and concert bands, as well as guitar for the stage band."
^Bell, Jack. "U.S. Women's Coach Pleads for Better Players", The New York Times, May 18, 2009. Accessed February 8, 2011. "'They've made a concerted effort to bring loads of Brazilian players and coaches and have followed the Brazilian philosophy, which is about having great technical skills and playing a beautiful game,' Tambi said during a recent interview at his home in Paramus, N.J."
^Jaeger, Barbara. "Paramus Band Feels At Home In The Studio", The Record, July 17, 1992. Accessed October 15, 2007. "For all those Trixter fans who've been wondering when the Paramus-based band will be releasing a new album, guitarist Steve Brown has these encouraging words..."