Plainfield New Jersey

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Plainfield is a city in Union County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey, known by its nickname as "The Queen City." The city is both a regional hub for Central New Jersey and a bedroom suburb of the New York Metropolitan area, located within the core of the Raritan Valley region. As of the 2020 United States census, the city's population was 54,586, an increase of 4,778 (+9.6%) from the 2010 census count of 49,808, which in turn reflected an increase of 1,979 (+4.1%) from the 47,829 counted in the 2000 census. The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated that the city's population was 54,936 in 2021, ranking the city the 723rd-most-populous in the country.

The area of present-day Plainfield was originally formed as Plainfield Township, a township that was created on April 5, 1847, from portions of Westfield Township, while the area was still part of Essex County. On March 19, 1857, Plainfield Township became part of the newly created Union County.

Plainfield was incorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 21, 1869, from portions of Plainfield Township, based on the results of a referendum held that same day. The city and township coexisted until March 6, 1878, when Plainfield Township was dissolved and parts were absorbed by Plainfield city, with the remainder becoming Fanwood Township (now known as Scotch Plains).

The name "Plainfield", also used in both North Plainfield and South Plainfield, is derived from a local estate or from its scenic location.

Plainfield was settled in 1684 by Quakers, and incorporated as a city in 1869. Formerly a bedroom suburb in the New York metropolitan area, it has become the urban center of 10 closely allied municipalities, with diversified industries, including printing and the manufacture of chemicals, clothing, electronic equipment, and vehicular parts. Among the several 18th-century buildings remaining are a Friends' meetinghouse (1788), the Martine house (1717), and the Nathaniel Drake House (1746), known as George Washington's headquarters during the Battle of Short Hills in June 1777. Nearby Washington Rock is a prominent point of the Watchung Mountains and is reputed to be the vantage point from which Washington watched British troop movements.

The "Queen City" moniker arose in the second half of the 19th century. Plainfield had been developing a reputation during this period as featuring a climate that was beneficial for respiratory ailments. In 1886, in an effort to publicize the climate, local newspaper publisher Thomas W. Morrison began to use the slogan "Colorado of the East" to promote Plainfield. As Denver, Colorado, was known as the "Queen City of the Plains," the slogan for Plainfield eventually became abbreviated to "The Queen City."

In 1902, the New Jersey Legislature approved measures that would have allowed the borough of North Plainfield to become part of Union County (a measure repealed in 1903) and to allow for a merger of North Plainfield with the City of Plainfield subject to the approval of a referendum by voters in both municipalities.

Plainfield is the birthplace of P-Funk. George Clinton founded The Parliaments while working in a Plainfield barber shop. Parliament-Funkadelic was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Plainfield has been home to former New Jersey governor James McGreevey.

In sports history, Plainfield is the birthplace and/or home of several current and former athletes, including professionals and well-known amateurs. Included in their number are Milt Campbell, the 1956 Olympic Decathlon gold medalist (the first African-American to earn this title), Joe Black, the first African-American pitcher to win a World Series game, Jeff Torborg, former MLB player, coach and manager, former Duke University and Chicago Bull basketball player Jay Williams, and Vic Washington, NFL player.

Plainfield's history as a place to call home for the 19th and 20th century wealthy has led to a significant and preserved suburban architectural legacy. An influx of Wall Street money led to the creation of what was called Millionaires' Row after the opening of the railway in the 19th century.

There are numerous sites, including homes, parks, and districts in the city that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While not listed, the Plainfield Armory, a prominent landmark completed in 1932, was sold by the state in 2013 as surplus property.

Plainfield's wealthy northeast corner, known as the "Sleepy Hollow" section of the city, was and still is characterized by its array of finely landscaped streets and neighborhoods with homes defined by a broad array of architectural styles, most built during the first half of the twentieth century. From the tree-lines neighborhoods, it can be seen that the lot sizes vary, but the stateliness and distinction of each house is evident, whether a stately Queen Anne mansion or gingerbread cottage. Most lots are nicely landscaped and semi or fully private.

Plainfield was affected by the Plainfield Rebellion in July 1967. This civil disturbance occurred in the wake of the larger Newark riots. A Plainfield police officer was killed, about fifty people were injured, and several hundred thousand dollars of property was damaged by looting and arson. The New Jersey National Guard restored order after three days of unrest. This civil unrest caused a massive white flight, characterized by the percentage of Black residents rising from 40% in 1970 to 60% a decade later.

Author and Plainfield native Isaiah Tremaine published Insurrection in 2017 as a mournful accounting of the Plainfield riots—and subsequent racial tensions at Plainfield High School—from his perspective as a Black teenager living in the city with both white and Black friends at the time. Prior to the rebellion, Plainfield was a regional shopping and entertainment center. Residents of nearby Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties would drive to shop and explore the business districts of Plainfield. Other than during the holidays, peak shopping times Plainfield were Thursday nights and Saturday, when Front Street and the areas around it bustled.

Plainfield had several entertainment venues at that time. At the peak, there were four operating movie theaters: the Strand, the Liberty, the Paramount and the Oxford theaters.

Manufacturers of heavy goods included Chelsea Fan Corp., Mack Truck and National Starch and Chemical Corp. Plainfield Iron and Metal maintained a large scrapyard in the West End.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 5.97 square miles (15.46 km2), including 5.96 square miles (15.43 km2) of land and 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2) of water (0.15%).

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Netherwood.

The city is located in Central Jersey on the southwestern edge of Union County and is bordered by nine municipalities. In Union County are Scotch Plains to the north and east and Fanwood to the northeast. In Middlesex County, are South Plainfield and Piscataway to the south; Dunellen to the southwest and Edison to the southeast. In Somerset County, Green Brook Township lies to the northwest, North Plainfield lies to the north and Watchung borders to the northwest.

Plainfield is in the Raritan Valley, a line of cities in central New Jersey, and lies on the east side of the Raritan Valley along with Edison.

The Robinson's Branch of the Rahway River additionally flows through Plainfield en route to the Robinson's Branch Reservoir.

Plainfield has a humid continental climate, characterized by brisk to cold winters and hot, muggy summers. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −17 Â°F (−27 Â°C) on February 9, 1934, and the highest temperature ever recorded was 106 Â°F (41 Â°C) on July 10, 1936, and August 11, 1949. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Plainfield has a humid subtropical climate, which is abbreviated as "Cfa" on climate maps.

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

The 2010 United States census counted 49,808 people, 15,180 households, and 10,884 families in the city. The population density was 8,270.1 per square mile (3,193.1/km2). There were 16,621 housing units at an average density of 2,759.8 per square mile (1,065.6/km2). The racial makeup was 23.54% (11,724) White, 50.20% (25,006) Black or African American, 0.91% (455) Native American, 0.95% (474) Asian, 0.05% (26) Pacific Islander, 20.13% (10,024) from other races, and 4.21% (2,099) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40.37% (20,105) of the population.

Of the 15,180 households, 35.2% had children under the age of 18; 37.9% were married couples living together; 24.1% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.3% were non-families. Of all households, 21.3% were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.23 and the average family size was 3.60.

25.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.3 years. For every 100 females, the population had 101.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 100.4 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $52,056 (with a margin of error of +/− $3,048) and the median family income was $58,942 (+/− $4,261). Males had a median income of $33,306 (+/− $4,132) versus $37,265 (+/− $3,034) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,767 (+/− $1,013). About 12.2% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 16.0% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2000 United States census of 2000, there were 47,829 people, 15,137 households, and 10,898 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,921.7 people per square mile (3,057.4/km2). There were 16,180 housing units at an average density of 2,679.8 per square mile (1,034.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 21.45% White, 61.78% African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 10.78% from other races, and 4.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.16% of the population.

There were 15,137 households, out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 24.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.10 and the average family size was 3.49.

In the city the population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,683, and the median income for a family was $50,774. Males had a median income of $33,460 versus $30,408 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,052. About 12.2% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 12.6% of those age 65 or over.

Portions of Plainfield are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. The city was selected in 1983 as one of the initial group of 10 zones chosen to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the .mw-parser-output .frac{white-space:nowrap}.mw-parser-output .frac .num,.mw-parser-output .frac .den{font-size:80%;line-height:0;vertical-align:super}.mw-parser-output .frac .den{vertical-align:sub}.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px}6+5⁄8% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in January 1986, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023.

The UEZ program in Plainfield and four other original UEZ cities had been allowed to lapse as of January 1, 2017, after Governor Chris Christie, who called the program an "abject failure", vetoed a compromise bill that would have extended the status for two years. In May 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that reinstated the program in these five cities and extended the expiration date in other zones.

Downtown Plainfield has two historic commercial districts: the North Avenue Commercial District and the Plainfield Civic District. Both are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Events such as the Christmas Tree Lighting, the Queen City 5k, Fire Safety Fair, and Mayor's Wellness Walk take place in the Downtown each year.

Downtown Plainfield Alliance (DPA) is a "nonpolitical, nonprofit grassroots group that supports the improvement of Downtown Plainfield through beautification, volunteerism, economic development, marketing, community development, and activism."

The restoration of large 19th century-era Plainfield estates to their original glory, such as the Craig Marsh home, has been featured in various home design magazine coverage. Residential districts include:

While the more affluent eastern part of the city has been relatively integrated over the decades, with both Black and white upper-middle-class-to-wealthy families, the West End of Plainfield is the historically middle-class and working-class Black district in the city and features a close-knit African-American community.

Part of the West End is known to locals as Soulville.

Mount Olive Baptist Church has been serving the West End as a community of faith since 1870. It is considered Plainfield's first Black church. As the Black community grew, other congregations branched off from Mount Olive.

Calvary Baptist Church began in 1897 among a group of Black congregants from Mount Olive, and celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2017 with a series of events.

Nearby, Shiloh Baptist Church was founded in 1908, also by Mount Olive congregants, and offers many faith-based events to the community, including its Jazz for Jesus program.

The West End has been eyed recently for redevelopment.

The White Star, a diner in the West End on West Front Street near Green Brook Park, has been an area meeting spot and landmark for over half a century.

The West End has grown more Latin in recent years. As of the 2020 census, 51% of all people living in Plainfield were of Hispanic origin. This was up from 25% in 2000 and 40% in 2010.

In his book Insurrection, Isaiah Tremaine, a Black Plainfield native, credits the influx of Latinos for breathing new life and energy into a city hurting from racism and racial strife in the 1970s.[citation needed]

The West End was once home to the Silk Palace, a barbershop at 216 Plainfield Avenue owned in part by funk music legend George Clinton, staffed by various members of Parliament-Funkadelic, and known as the "hangout for all the local singers and musicians" in Plainfield's 1950s and 1960s doo-wop, soul, rock and proto-funk music scene.

In 2022, Plainfield Avenue from Front Street to West Fifth Street was renamed as Parliament Funkadelic Way in honor of its musical history.

A sizable and diverse LGBTQ+ community contributes to the long-time perception of Plainfield as a stronghold of gay life and gay community in the suburbs of New Jersey.[citation needed]

Plainfield has one of the highest percentage of same-sex householders in the state of New Jersey.[100][101] The First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, the oldest such congregation in the United States, is certified as LGBTQ welcoming.

In 1986, The New York Times reported on what was termed at the time as the "growing homosexual population in Plainfield" drawn to the stock of aging Victorian, Tudor and colonial homes, and featured interviews with various gay men who lived in Plainfield and worked in Manhattan.[102]

One of the Queen City's elected leaders, former Councilwoman Rebecca Williams (who now represents all of Union County a county commissioner), is openly lesbian. In 2017, as Council President, Williams organized and hosted the city's first-ever Pride flag-raising during Pride Month.[103][104][105]

In 2015, an openly gay Plainfield Republican ran for state Assemblyman.[106]

Plainfield has been home to openly gay former New Jersey governor James McGreevey and his longtime partner, an Australian-American business executive.

Plainfield is also at the center of gay life in Union County, which hosts LGBTQ family events and opened the state's first county-wide office of LGBTQ services in 2018.[107]

Tëmike Park is an LGBTQ+ welcoming space in Plainfield between Stelle Avenue and Randolph Road. It is named for a Lenape-language expression of welcome.[108]

Plainfield media includes:

Remaining multi-community newspapers include the Courier News, a daily newspaper based in Bridgewater Township, and The Star-Ledger based in Newark.[137] The Courier News is a consolidation of The Evening News (founded in 1884), the Plainfield Daily Press (founded in 1887) and the Plainfield Courier (founded in 1891). The paper was based in the city and called the Plainfield Courier News until 1972, when it moved westward to Bridgewater.[138][139]

Local civic reporting includes:

As of 2017, local media in New Jersey has undergone dramatic shrinkage.[145]

C L I P S was a daily online news round-up dedicated to local Plainfield news by the late Dan Damon, former City of Plainfield information officer, who passed in 2020. "Begun in 2003 as an email newsletter to Plainfield city council members. it was later offered to the general public by email and had been available as a blog since 2007."[146]Plainfield Today was a city opinion blog also published by Damon.[147]

Plainfield Plaintalker (2005–2010) and Plaintalker II (2010–2017) were two local blogs published by longtime local reporter Bernice Paglia.[148]

From 1961 to 1997, Plainfield was home to WERA at 1590 on the AM dial with studios at 120 West 7th Street.[149]

Houses of worship include:

Plainfield is governed under a Special Charter granted by the New Jersey Legislature. The city is one of 11 (of the 564) municipalities statewide governed under a special charter.[159] The governing body is comprised of a mayor and a seven-member city council, all of whom serve four-year terms in office. The city is divided into four wards, with one ward seat up for election each year. There are three at-large seats: one from the First and Fourth Wards; one from the Second and Third Wards; and one from the city as a whole. The three at-large seats and mayoral seat operate in a four-year cycle, with one seat up for election each year.

As of 2022[update], the Mayor of the City of Plainfield is Democrat Adrian O. Mapp, whose term of office ends December 31, 2025. Members of the Plainfield City Council are Council President Barry N. Goode (At Large Wards 1 and 4; D, 2023), Council Vice President Charles McRae (Ward 3; D, 2024), Terri Briggs-Jones (Ward 4; D, 2025), Ashley Davis (Ward 1; D, 2022), Steve G. Hockaday (At Large All Wards; D, 2024), Sean McKenna (Ward 2; D, 2023) and Joylette Mills-Ransome (At Large Wards 2 and 3; D, 2022).[160][161][162][163][164][165][166]

In June 2018, the city council appointed Elton Armady to fill the at-large seat expiring in December 2020 that became vacant after Rebecca Williams resigned to take a seat on the Union County Board of chosen freeholders.[167] Armady served on an interim basis until the November 2018 general election, when he was elected to serve the balance of the term of office.[166]

Plainfield is located in the 12th Congressional District[168] and is part of New Jersey's 22nd state legislative district.[169][170] Prior to the 2010 Census, Plainfield had been part of the 6th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.[171]

For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, Ewing Township).[172][173] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027)[174] and Bob Menendez (Harrison, term ends 2025).[175][176]

For the 2022–2023 session, the 22nd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nicholas Scutari (D, Linden) and in the General Assembly by Linda S. Carter (D, Plainfield) and James J. Kennedy (D, Rahway).[177]

Union County is governed by a Board of County Commissioners, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members.[178] As of 2022[update], Union County's County Commissioners are Chair Rebecca Williams (D, Plainfield, term as commissioner and as chair ends December 31, 2022),[179] Vice Chair Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term as commissioner ends 2023; term as vice chair ends 2022),[180] James E. Baker Jr. (D, Rahway, 2024),[181] Angela R. Garretson (D, Hillside, 2023),[182] Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2022),[183] Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2022),[184] Lourdes M. Leon (D, Elizabeth, 2023),[185] Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2024)[186] and Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded (D, Westfield, 2024).[187][188] Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union Township, 2025),[189][190] Sheriff Peter Corvelli (D, Kenilworth, 2023)[191][192] and Surrogate Susan Dinardo (acting).[193][194] The County Manager is Edward Oatman.[195]

As of March 2011, there were a total of 20,722 registered voters in Plainfield, of which 12,078 (58.3% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 947 (4.6% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 7,693 (37.1% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties.[196] Among the city's 2010 Census population, 41.6% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 56.1% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).[196][197]

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 14,640 votes (93.3% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 909 votes (5.8% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 46 votes (0.3% vs. 0.8%), among the 15,683 ballots cast by the city's 22,555 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.5% (vs. 68.8% in Union County).[198][199] In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 15,280 votes (92.3% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,110 votes (6.7% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 56 votes (0.3% vs. 0.9%), among the 16,548 ballots cast by the city's 22,516 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.5% (vs. 74.7% in Union County).[200] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 11,508 votes (85.4% vs. 58.3% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,773 votes (13.2% vs. 40.3%) and other candidates with 88 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 13,480 ballots cast by the city's 20,445 registered voters, for a turnout of 65.9% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).[201]

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 75.9% of the vote (5,757 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 22.7% (1,723 votes), and other candidates with 1.4% (104 votes), among the 8,174 ballots cast by the city's 21,996 registered voters (590 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 37.2%.[202][203] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 7,140 ballots cast (81.3% vs. 50.6% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 1,057 votes (12.0% vs. 41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 355 votes (4.0% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 84 votes (1.0% vs. 0.8%), among the 8,786 ballots cast by the city's 21,738 registered voters, yielding a 40.4% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).[204]

The Plainfield Public School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide that were established pursuant to the decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Abbott v. Burke[205] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[206][207]

As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of 13 schools, had an enrollment of 9,363 students and 615.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 15.2:1.[208] Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[209]) are DeWitt D. Barlow Elementary School[210] (373 students; in grades K–5), Cedarbrook Elementary School[211] (699; K–8), Clinton Elementary School[212] (380; K–5), Frederic W. Cook Elementary School[213] (367; K–5), Emerson Elementary School[214] (459; K–5), Evergreen Elementary School[215] (531; K–5), Jefferson Elementary School[216] (419; K–5), Charles H. Stillman Elementary School[217] (311; K–5), Washington Community School[218] (576; K–5), Hubbard Middle School[219] (715; 6–8), Maxson Middle School[220] (726; 6–8), Plainfield Academy for the Arts and Advanced Studies[221] (396; 7–12) and Plainfield High School[222] (741; 9–12).[223][224]

The district's main high school was the 318th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology.[225] The school had been ranked 280th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 307th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[226] The school was removed in 2009 from the list of persistently dangerous schools in New Jersey.[227]

Plainfield is also home to New Jersey's first high school focused on sustainability, the Barack Obama Green Charter High School.[228]

Established in 1984, Koinonia Academy moved to Plainfield in 1997, where it serves students in Pre-K through twelfth grades and operates under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.[229][230]

Union College, a community college headquartered in nearby Cranford, maintains a campus in downtown Plainfield.[231]

As of May 2010[update], the city had a total of 101.79 miles (163.82 km) of roadways, of which 87.58 miles (140.95 km) were maintained by the municipality, 14.21 miles (22.87 km) by Union County.[232]

Plainfield is one of the few large suburban cities in central New Jersey to have no federal highway within it. The only major thoroughfare through Plainfield is Route 28, connecting Somerville with Elizabeth and New Jersey Route 27. U.S. Route 22, a mecca for highway shopping and dining, is accessible from Plainfield through North Plainfield, Dunellen and Fanwood. In the early 1960s, Interstate highways were completed near, but not through Plainfield. Interstate 287 is accessible through South Plainfield and Piscataway, while Interstate 78 is accessible through Watchung / Warren Township and neighboring communities. The busiest connecting thoroughfares are Park Avenue (north-south), traversing from U.S. 22 to and into South Plainfield and Edison; Front Street (east-west), connecting Scotch Plains with Dunellen; South Avenue and 7th Street, both of which parallel Front Street, connecting Scotch Plains/Fanwood with Piscataway, South Plainfield and the Middlesex County border.

Plainfield has two NJ Transit rail stations on the Raritan Valley Line, formerly the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The main Plainfield station is in the downtown and a second, smaller Netherwood station is in the Netherwood section, east of downtown and within a mile of the Fanwood border. A third station, located in the west end of town, was closed long ago. The New Brunswick train station is approximately 15 minutes away. The Central Railroad of New Jersey first offered service to Plainfield in 1839. At the height of popularity, the Plainfield "Jersey Central" train station, with its main station building constructed in 1902, was a hub for commuting to Newark and New York. (The Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal was in Jersey City, where ferries would take the rail passengers to New York City.) The station was located near the main post office and downtown stores. The station was serviced by the now defunct Railway Express postal carrier company.[233]

NJ Transit provides bus service on the 113 and 114 to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan; the 59, 65 and 66 (Limited) to Newark; and local service on the 819 and 822 routes.[234]

In years past, Plainfield was serviced by the Somerset Bus Company with service from Union County to Essex and New York City, the Public Service Bus Company with similar service and Plainfield Transit, providing local service.

Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 30 minutes away. A proposed PATH train extension to Plainfield in the 1970s, with stops at the airport and at Elizabeth, was canceled in 1976.[235]

Solaris Health System, the nonprofit company that owns Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, asked for permission to close the hospital. This request has been opposed by People's Organization for Progress, an advocacy group based in Newark, New Jersey.[236][237][238] The closing has been attributed to the large number of uninsured patients served by the hospital.[239]

Neighborhood Health Services Corporation (NHSC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community health center serving the greater Plainfield and Elizabeth communities. NHSC has been designated a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service's Bureau of Primary Health. NHSC's 340B Drug Pricing Program, in partnership with Drug Mart Pharmacy of South Plainfield, New Jersey, provides eligible patients access to outpatient drugs at significantly reduced prices.[240]

At the height of popularity in the 1950s through the 1970s, Plainfield was a hub for medical practices. Park Avenue was lined with doctors and medical offices and was nicknamed "Doctors Row".[241]

Plainfield Teacher's College was a mythical institution created as a hoax by a duo of college football fans in 1941. The phony college's equally nonexistent football team had its scores carried by major newspapers including The New York Times before the hoax was discovered.[242][243]


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