Ho-Ho-Kus /ho?'ho?.k?s/ is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 census, the borough's population was 4,078, reflecting an increase of 18 (+0.4%) from the 4,060 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 125 (+3.2%) from the 3,935 counted in the 1990 Census. The borough is the home of several historical landmarks, including the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and The Hermitage.
Ho-Ho-Kus was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on October 12, 1908, from what had originally been the borough of Orvil, which was in turn created on March 8, 1905, from portions of Orvil Township.
As of the 2000 United States Census, Ho-Ho-Kus was the 15th-wealthiest community in New Jersey with a per capita money income of $63,594 as of 1999, an increase of 36.9% from the $46,451 recorded in 1989. The borough's median household income was $165,827 in 2013. In 2011, New Jersey Monthly magazine named Ho-Ho-Kus the best place to live in the state of New Jersey, citing its affluence, low crime rate and the quality of its school system, as well as its proximity to New York City and other major commercial destinations.
History of the name
The meaning of the name Ho-Ho-Kus is in dispute. From the official history on the borough's website, the most likely origin is a contraction of the Delaware Indian term "Mah-Ho-Ho-Kus" (or "Mehokhokus"), meaning "the red cedar."
Other meanings have been suggested over the years and are listed on the borough's website, including an Indian word for running water, a cleft in the rock or under the rock or hollow rock, the word "hohokes", signifying the whistle of the wind against the bark of trees, the Chihohokies Indians whose chief lived here, the Dutch Hoog Akers for "high acorns" or Hoge Aukers, Dutch for "high oaks", the Indian word hoccus meaning "fox", or woakus, "gray fox", or that the "Ho" part means joy or spirit, and the rest of the name from "hohokes," meaning a kind of bark of a tree.
Ho-Ho-Kus versus Hohokus
A constant source of confusion has been the manner in which the borough's name has been spelled, with each syllable capitalized and separated by hyphens. The confusion is only exacerbated by the existence of Hohokus Township, which comprised the area of present-day Ho-Ho-Kus and other surrounding communities, yet was spelled without the multiple capitalization or the hyphens. Ho-Ho-Kus is served by interchange 168 on the Garden State Parkway which spells the municipality as "Hohokus" on its exit signing.
The name "Ho-Ho-Kus" was used explicitly in the resolution requesting a change of name passed by the Borough Council on October 12, 1908 and submitted to the Secretary of State of New Jersey requesting "That the Borough now known as the Borough of Orvil be hereafter known as the Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus..."
A few theories have been offered for the hyphens and capitalization. One is that it was intended to differentiate between the borough and Hohokus Township, which was formed on April 9, 1849, and continued to exist until November 7, 1944, when a referendum was passed changing the name to present-day Mahwah. Another explanation was that it was meant to avoid confusion by postal clerks with mail being sent to Hoboken.
While efforts had been made in the ensuing decades to change the name or to alter the way in which the name of the borough is spelled, the borough remains as "Ho-Ho-Kus."
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According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.749 square miles (4.530 km2), including 1.735 square miles (4.494 km2) of land and 0.014 square miles (0.036 km2) of water (0.80%).
The borough borders Hillsdale, Ridgewood, Saddle River, Waldwick, Washington Township.
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 4,078 people, 1,401 households, and 1,154 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,350.3 per square mile (907.5/km2). There were 1,462 housing units at an average density of 842.6 per square mile (325.3/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 92.03% (3,753) White, 0.22% (9) Black or African American, 0.07% (3) Native American, 5.79% (236) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.39% (16) from other races, and 1.50% (61) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.12% (168) of the population.
There were 1,401 households, of which 40.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.2% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.6% were non-families. 15.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the borough, 29.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 18.8% from 25 to 44, 31.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.3 years. For every 100 females there were 95.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $155,030 (with a margin of error of +/- $14,301) and the median family income was $157,202 (+/- $13,820). Males had a median income of $93,750 (+/- $26,877) versus $83,636 (+/- $27,361) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $67,238 (+/- $11,693). About 1.9% of families and 1.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
Same-sex couples headed 8 households in 2010, unchanged from 2000.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 4,060 people, 1,433 households, and 1,199 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,331.1 people per square mile (900.9/km²). There were 1,465 housing units at an average density of 841.2 per square mile (325.1/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 92.66% White, 0.59% African American, 0.10% Native American, 5.22% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,433 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.6% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.3% were non-families. 14.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the borough the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 3.3% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $129,900, and the median income for a family was $144,588. Males had a median income of $92,573 versus $54,091 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $63,594. 2.1% of the population and 2.6% of families were below the poverty line. 0.7% of those under the age of 18 and 1.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Ho-Ho-Kus is primarily an upper-class and upper-middle class suburb of New York City, ranking 15th in the state of New Jersey in terms of per-capita income. According to the Forbes 2010 survey of the most expensive ZIP codes in America, Ho-Ho-Kus ranked 268th nationally, with a median home price of $901,841.
The Ho-Ho-Kus School District is classified in District Factor Group "J," the highest of eight categories, in both the 2000 and 1990 rankings. District Factor Groups are used in the state of New Jersey to rank school districts according to common socioeconomic characteristics. Northern Highlands Regional High School, which receives students from Ho-Ho-Kus, Allendale, Upper Saddle River, and part of Saddle River, is placed in the same category.
In popular culture
- Various scenes of the movie Lymelife were filmed in Ho-Ho-Kus in March 2008.
- The movie Frankenhooker is set in Ho-Ho-Kus.
- Scenes from Far from Heaven and Analyze That were shot in Ho-Ho-Kus.
- The 1917 version of the film Polly of the Circus included scenes shot at the Racetrack. Also filmed at the Racetrack was The Crowd Roars starring James Cagney.
- The Andrews Sisters launched a comical song called "Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J." in 1948 which included a visit to the borough.
- In the episode, "The Adventures of Hackidu" of Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert sends Ray to Amy's brother in Ho-Ho-Kus to acquire a card at his comic book store for Ally.
- Within The Critic episode "From Chunk to Hunk", a television show parodying Saturday Night Live is introduced with the line, "Live from Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, it's Yesterday Night!"
- In the novel Just One Look by Harlan Coben, part of the action takes place in Ho-Ho-Kus. The borough is also mentioned in Long Lost by the same author.
- An animated Sesame Street skit involved a man called Uncle Gus "and all of us" (a group of kids, of which the narrator, Sonia Manzano, was a part) taking a ride on a bus to Ho-Ho-Kus. The back of the bus had a hippopotamus and a snuffleupagus. As the skit was written back when Mr. Snuffleupagus was still "imaginary" to the adults on the street, the kids naturally saw both animals, but Uncle Gus could see only the hippo.
Points of interest
- The Hermitage, site of Aaron Burr's marriage, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- The Ho-Ho-Kus Inn (also known as Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern), is a historic landmark that is currently a restaurant.
- The Ho-Ho-Kus Memorial Volunteer Ambulance Corps, voted the best EMS agency in Bergen County
Ho-Ho-Kus is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, 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 consists 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 Ho-Ho-Kus, the most common system used in the state, 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 2015, the Mayor of Ho-Ho-Kus is Republican Thomas W. Randall, whose term of office ends December 31, 2015. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Douglas K. Troast (R, 2015), Edmund M. Iannelli (R, 2017), Philip Rorty (R, 2016), Kevin Shea (R, 2016), Steven D. Shell (R, 2017) and Kim Weiss (R, 2015).
Donald G. Cirulli is the Borough Administrator.
Federal, state and county representation
Ho-Ho-Kus is located in New Jersey's 5th congressional district and is part of the 40th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Ho-Ho-Kus had been in the 39th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Scott Garrett (R, Wantage Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).
The 40th District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Kevin J. O'Toole (R, Cedar Grove) and in the General Assembly by Scott Rumana (R, Wayne) and David C. Russo (R, Ridgewood). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Bergen County is governed by a directly elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. As of 2015, the County Executive is James J. Tedesco III (D, Paramus; term ends December 31, 2018). The seven freeholders are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year, with a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Chairman Pro Tempore selected from among its members at a reorganization meeting held each January. Bergen County's Freeholders are Freeholder Chairwoman Joan Voss (D, 2017; Fort Lee), Vice Chairman Steve Tanelli (D, 2015; North Arlington) Chairman Pro Tempore John A. Felice (R, 2016; River Edge), David L. Ganz (D, 2017; Fair Lawn), Maura R. DeNicola (R, 2016; Franklin Lakes) Thomas J. Sullivan Jr., (D, Montvale, 2015; serving the unexpired term of office that had been occupied by James Tedesco before he was sworn in as County Executive) and Tracy Silna Zur (D, 2015; Franklin Lakes). Countywide constitutional officials are County Clerk John S. Hogan (D, Northvale), Sheriff Michael Saudino (R) and Surrogate Michael R. Dressler (D, Cresskill).
As of March 23, 2011, there was a total of 2,981 registered voters in Ho-Ho-Kus, of whom 546 (18.3% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,456 (48.8% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 976 (32.7% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 73.1% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 103.3% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,447 votes (62.8% vs. 43.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 826 votes (35.9% vs. 54.8%) and other candidates with 21 votes (0.9% vs. 0.9%), among the 2,303 ballots cast by the borough's 3,116 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.9% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 1,440 votes (58.1% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,009 votes (40.7% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 15 votes (0.6% vs. 0.8%), among the 2,478 ballots cast by the borough's 3,066 registered voters, for a turnout of 80.8% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,547 votes (62.2% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 916 votes (36.8% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 18 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 2,489 ballots cast by the borough's 2,987 registered voters, for a turnout of 83.3% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 74.4% of the vote (1,085 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 24.6% (358 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (15 votes), among the 1,479 ballots cast by the borough's 3,042 registered voters (21 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 48.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,063 votes (62.5% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 553 votes (32.5% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 76 votes (4.5% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 3 votes (0.2% vs. 0.5%), among the 1,701 ballots cast by the borough's 3,024 registered voters, yielding a 56.3% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
The Ho-Ho-Kus School District serves public school students in pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade at Ho-Ho-Kus Public School. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's one school had an enrollment of 650 students and 50.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 13.00:1. The school population has seen an increase of more than 200 students in the preceding decade.
Local secondary school students in public school attend Northern Highlands Regional High School in nearby Allendale, which serves students in the ninth through twelfth grades grades from Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Upper Saddle River and Saddle River, as part of sending/receiving relationships with the Ho-Ho-Kus district.
After ending a long-standing sending relationship to Ridgewood High School in the mid-1970s, Ho-Ho-Kus students started attending Midland Park High School. The small size of the Midland Park school and the lack of electives led to efforts in the mid-1990s to find another high school to serve students from the borough. Since then, high school students from Ho-Ho-Kus have been attending Northern Highlands Regional High School. The current agreement between Ho-Ho-Kus and Northern Highlands runs through 2018.
Public school students from the borough, and all of Bergen County, are eligible to attend the secondary education programs offered by the Bergen County Technical Schools, which include the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and the Bergen Tech campus in Teterboro or Paramus. The district offers programs on a shared-time or full-time basis, with admission based on a selective application process and tuition covered by the student's home school district.
Ho-Ho-Kus is home to the Ho-Ho-Kus Waldwick Cooperative Nursery School.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 26.52 miles (42.68 km) of roadways, of which 19.50 miles (31.38 km) were maintained by the municipality, 6.01 miles (9.67 km) by Bergen County and 1.01 miles (1.63 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Route 17, County Route 507, and County Route 502 travel through Ho-Ho-Kus.
Ho-Ho-Kus is served by New Jersey Transit at the Ho-Ho-Kus train station, which is located at Brookside Avenue and 1st Street, one block from Franklin Turnpike. The station provides service on both the Bergen County Line and Main Line, which run north-south to Hoboken Terminal with connections via the Secaucus Junction transfer station to New Jersey Transit one-stop service to New York Penn Station and to other NJ Transit rail service. Connections are available at the Hoboken Terminal to other New Jersey Transit rail lines, the PATH train at the Hoboken PATH station, New York Waterways ferry service to the World Financial Center and other destinations and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service.
Short Line provides service between the borough and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan from a stop at Route 17 and Hollywood Avenue, with limited service offered at a stop at Franklin Turnpike and Maple Avenue.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Ho-Ho-Kus include:
- Joan Aldrin (née Archer), first wife of astronaut Buzz Aldrin who flew the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 space missions.
- David Duffield (born 1941), businessman and founder of Information Associates, Integral Software Systems, Business Software, PeopleSoft, and Workday.
- Jim Fassel (born 1949), former head coach of the New York Giants.
- Dennis McNerney, former County Executive of Bergen County.
- Dan Reeves (born 1944), former running back of the Dallas Cowboys, former head coach of the New York Giants.
- Orville James Victor (1827-1910), theologian, journalist, editor and abolitionist who has been called the creator of the dime novel.
- Richard Warch (1939-2013), 14th president of Lawrence University.
- Municipal Incorporations of the State of New Jersey (according to Counties) prepared by the Division of Local Government, Department of the Treasury (New Jersey); December 1, 1958.
- Clayton, W. Woodford; and Nelson, William. History of Bergen and Passaic Counties, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1882.
- Harvey, Cornelius Burnham (ed.), Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey. New York: New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Co., 1900.
- Hudson, Sue F., Background of Ho-Ho-Kus History, under the auspices of the Woman's Club of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, 1953
- Van Valen, James M. History of Bergen County, New Jersey. New York: New Jersey Publishing and Engraving Co., 1900.
- Westervelt, Frances A. (Frances Augusta), 1858-1942, History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1923.
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