Livingston is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 29,366, reflecting an increase of 1,975 (+7.2%) from the 27,391 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 782 (+2.9%) from the 26,609 counted in the 1990 Census.
Livingston was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 5, 1813, from portions of Caldwell Township (now Fairfield Township) and Springfield Township (now in Union County, New Jersey). Portions of the township were taken to form Fairmount (March 11, 1862, now part of West Orange) and Roseland (March 10, 1908).
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Arts and Entertainment
Livingston is home of several performing arts organizations:
- Livingston Symphony Orchestra is a group of community-based performers which was formed in 1960. The symphony orchestra is currently directed by Istvan Jaray, an internationally renowned artist who appears regularly in concert halls across Europe, Canada and the United States. It holds many performances during each season.
- Livingston Community Players is a community-based theatre organization. There has been many productions in the recent years. The performers are from local community and other places in New Jersey. Past productions, including The Sound of Music, Oliver!, and Annie, received Perry Awards from New Jersey Association of Community Theatres.
- Children's Theatre of Livingston is a local organization that provides performance opportunities for Livingston children grades 2 to 8. The children are trained in acting roles and staging staff. It has annual performance since the first season in 2007.
- New Jersey Ballet is a major ballet company based in Livingston. The company is recognized nationally and internationally with tours in many countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Livingston is also the headquarters of New Jersey School of Ballet which offers many classes in Ballet, Jazz and Tap.
Livingston has many local artists in varied forms. Local artists have support from Livingston Arts Association which is an organization formed in 1959 to promote art in the community including large scale exhibitions, demonstrations, and workshops. The organization is also a member of Art Council of Livingston which has a gallery at Livingston Town Center. The Arts Association includes numerous organizations in addition to the Arts Council of Livingston, including the NJ State Opera Guild – West Essex Chapter and Livingston Camera Club.
There are many studios at Riker Hill Art Park with more than 40 working artists in various media including pottery, fine metalwork, glass, jewelry, paintings, fine arts, sculpture, and photography. Many studios offer art classes for adults and children.
The Livingston Public Schools serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2015-16 school year, the district's nine schools had an enrollment of 5,984 students and 471.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratioof 12.7:1. Schools in the district (with 2015-16 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Burnet Hill Elementary School (449 students in grades PreK-5), Collins Elementary School (472; K-5), Harrison Elementary School (474; K-5), Hillside Elementary School (398; K-5), Mount Pleasant Elementary School (453; K-5), Riker Hill Elementary School (495; K-5), Mount Pleasant Middle School Grade 6 (364), Heritage Middle School Grades 7 and 8 (962) and Livingston High School (1,832; 9-12).
For the 1997–98 school year, Livingston High School received the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award from the United States Department of Education, one of the highest honors that an American school can achieve. Livingston High School was ranked 24th in New Jersey in New Jersey Monthly's 2012 rankings, 9th in New Jersey high schools in Newsweek's 2013 rankings of "America's Best High Schools", and is unranked in USNews's high school rankings. 26.7% of the township's population 25 years and older who attain professional, Masters or Doctorate degrees. During 2007–2008 budget year, Livingston allocated 59.96% of local property tax toward the Livingston Public Schools. Additionally, a separate budget of 7% of all municipal services went toward the operation of its public library. According to library statistics collected by Institute of Museum and Library Services, Livingston Public Library was ranked 22 out of 232 municipal libraries in New Jersey based on total circulation in 2006.
Parks and Recreation
There are more than 470 acres (1.9 km2) of wooded parks with passive hiking trails in Livingston. Additional 1,817 acres (7.35 km2) are zoned to be preserved in its natural state without public access. This brings to about 25% of total land in the town that is in its natural conditions with habitats of eight threatened or endangered species.
There are many smaller parks and open space areas dedicated to recreation and sports, mostly centered around the town's public schools. These include two swimming pools, ten little league baseball diamonds, four full baseball diamonds, eight full soccer/lacrosse fields, one full football field, three basketball courts, sixteen tennis courts, eleven playgrounds, a jogging track, a dog park, and a fishing/ice skating pond. The township is planning to build inter-connected mixed-use paths, biking and hiking trails to connect those parks and open space throughout the township.
Livingston has an active open space trust fund that continues to acquire more lands for preservation and recreation. As of 2003, there were 842 acres (9% of total land) that were protected from development. There were additional 2,475 acres (10.02 km2) that could be protected by the fund.
The recreation department under the Senior, Youth and Leisure Services program offers many programs for residents ranging from pre-school courses, children games, crafts, and dance; to a dozen of youth and adult sports programs. There are many independent sports organizations such as Livingston Little League, Livingston Jr. Lancers (football and cheerleading), Livingston Lacrosse Club, and Livingston Soccer Club.
Shopping and dining
Although largely a bedroom community, there are many stores and restaurants located in Livingston, in three main shopping areas.
The first area is located in the center of the town. It stretches along Livingston Avenue from Route 10 to Northfield Avenue. Historically, the area has been dominated by small local stores, but retains some chain stores including Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and ShopRite. With the addition of Livingston Town Center, classified as mixed-use development, new restaurants have opened as well, adding to the large number of locally owned establishments.
The second area is the Livingston Mall located at the south-western corner of the town. Macy's, Lord & Taylor and Sears department stores are anchors in the original three wings of the mall. The fourth wing, added in 2008, is home of Barnes & Noble.
The third shopping area begins the Route 10 shopping corridor that extends to East Hanover. It includes Rt 10 Farmer's Market.
Many office parks are located along Eisenhower Parkway on the western side of the town. There are a few headquarters of major companies including former CIT Group corporate headquarters, Inteplast Group headquarters, The Briad Group headquarters, and customer service and support center of Verizon New Jersey.
There are varieties of other services in the town. The Westminster is located on the western side of the town. There is no sidewalk access to other businesses so alternative modes of transportation should be considered if looking to dine in the area. Saint Barnabas Medical Center – a 597-bed hospital – is located in the southern side of the town near West Orange and Millburn. Fitness facilities include West Essex YMCA and New York Sports Club. A Jewish Community Center with fitness center also exists just over the border in West Orange.
Livingston also has a local Public-access television station (Livingston TV on Comcast TV-34 and Verizon FiOS 26), which is maintained by Livingston High School Students as well as the LPBC (Livingston Public Broadcasting Committee).