The Ironbound, also referred to as “down Neck”, is a multi-ethnic, largely working-class neighborhood of 50,000 in Newark, New Jersey. Historically it has been a mosaic of peoples from countries around the world who arrive in the community with aspirations for a better life for themselves and their children.
In the 19th century, Germans, Lithuanians, Italians and Poles made the area their home. In the 20th century, African Americans arrived along with large numbers of Portuguese and Spanish immigrants, followed by people from Central and South America – all contributing to the richness of Ironbound’s cultural diversity. Today, two out of three Ironbound residents came to the U.S. as immigrants.
The Ironbound Makes up most of Newark’s East ward and covers four square miles, including its residential community that is interspersed with commerce and a surrounding industrial area that includes trucking, chemical and waste businesses, and Newark Airport. The Ironbound is an economic engine within Newark driving 40% of its economy and contributing to 33% of its top trade.
The residential and commercial district with ferry street on its spine is approximately 1 1/2 square miles. Ironbound gathers its name from the many forges and foundries and the railroads that once encircled it. Today it is bound by Penn Station and the Amtrak line on the west, the Passaic River on the north, highway 1 and 9 on the east, and highway 28 on the south.
Today local factories, warehouses and industrial lots continue to operate alongside one-, two- and three-family homes and public housing complexes. Many private homes have multiple families in small apartments. Subprime lending rates in the Ironbound are among the highest. in the state with foreclosures threatening working class families struggling to keep up with rising costs. One out of every four residents lives in poverty.