Ivy Hill is a neighborhood of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, United States. It is a diverse neighborhood in the city's West Ward bordering South Orange, Maplewood and Irvington. The Ivy Hill neighborhood is often considered a section of the Vailsburg area.
The Ivy Hill area had been part of the South Orange Township known as Maplewood until 1890 when the city of Newark bought this land. In 1926, another 110 acres (0.45 km2) was annexed by Newark. In the 1960s, novelist Philip Roth in his book American Pastoral, described the community as family-oriented and safe.
In 1927, the City of Newark designated land for the formation of Ivy Hill Park on Manor Dr. to accommodate the recreational needs of Maplewood, Newark, South Orange and Irvington. The park acreage is 18.96. Due to a 25-year, no-cost lease agreement between Seton Hall University and Essex County Parks for one acre of University tennis courts, this brings the total number of courts in the park to 10. In exchange, the County rehabilitated the tennis courts and allows Seton Hall University use of the park's facilities. The area hosts softball competitions.
Ivy Hill Park also includes hard surface tennis courts, softball/baseball fields, a combination football/soccer field, a lighted basketball court, a playground, a shelter and a band concert area.
The Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association was formed several decades ago and hosts forums for public debate. In 2010, concerns voiced by members included issues such as "increased police presence, job creation, failing schools, recreational facilities for children, control of the Newark watershed, and residency requirements for city employees." Many city workers do not live within the city limits, according to one report.
The area has many single-family, duplex homes and apartment buildings of various sizes.
The Ivy Hill Park Apartments consists of ten fifteen-story buildings on Mount Vernon Place and Manor Drive. It is a privately managed facility which spreads out for half a mile. "Groundbreaking for the Ivy Hill Apartments took place in September 1951, with the first tenants moving in November of the next year. The developers were Arthur Pedula and Ralph Solow. Though forgotten today, Pedula was one of Newark's largest developers. The Ivy Hill Apartments were built with federal and city assistance. The City of Newark sold Pedula and Solow the 31 acres for the apartments, and the federal government, through the Federal Housing Administration, provided $17 million in low interest loans to the developers. Newark further facilitated the apartment buildings construction to allow for cheaper reinforced concrete, rather than structural steel. It is also a nuclear fallout shelter. In 1955, the complex was sold to New York real estate investor and manager Henry Moscowitz, owner of the Argo Corporation. The Ivy Hill apartments were originally solidly middle-class. Nearly a fifth of all residents were transplants from New York City and 22% of the residents commuted into the great metropolis. Throughout the years, it became home to an extremely diverse resident base. In 2011, residents from over 40 countries were represented, totaling up to 10,000 residents, with the sense of the complex being like a mini "United Nations". Of the 10,000 residents, 1,000 of them are Russian speakers. Due to its walking proximity to Seton Hall University, many undergraduate and graduate students live here too. There are also a number of retirees. The complex is New Jersey's largest privately owned apartment complex.
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In 2007 there was a triple execution-style murder of three college-bound students behind the Mount Vernon school which generated national attention. The murdered students became known as the Mount Vernon 3. They had been bound for Delaware State University. The shooting happened in a parking lot behind the Mount Vernon School just across Manor Drive from Ivy Hill Park Apartments. It led to lawsuits against the school for inadequate security as well as protests from residents about lack of police presence, an underused police facility, and lack of surveillance cameras.
The Ivy Hill Park Apartment complex has had serious problems with crime, although there are conflicting reports whether the crime rate is improving. Some court cases involving these apartments include Kuzmicz v. Ivy Hill Park Apartments, Ivy Hill Park Apts. V. GNB Park. Corp, Ivy Hill Park Apts. V Sidisin, etc.
There was a homicide victim in building 55. There is a report of residents who were "often afraid to approach their own apartments because of the gantlet of gang members lurking around the doorways of the buildings." Some buildings were plagued by "garbage and mischief". Illegal immigrants have lived in the Ivy Hill Park Apts. According to longtime residents, the management has recently changed for the better, but it is a slow process. There are also unmarked police cars parked around the area.
According to one newspaper account:
Drug dealing nearby is hardly uncommon. Parties could get out of hand. Cars were stolen. Lights were broken. Fists could fly, and weapons could be brandished.
The complex management had trouble dealing with gang members who used the extensive complex as a hideout. Security guards for the complex, including off-duty Newark police officers, gave "little resistance" to gang activity, according to one report. Evictions did not seem to matter since gang members returned to the complex to menace residents.
There were always problems in those apartments. I wanted to protect my sons.-- resident of Ivy Hill Apartments in 2007
The complex was described as "rough" with an "atmosphere of fear." Criminal gangs either lived or robbed there, sometimes who slipped through apartment doors "cracked barely open by frightened residents." One gang did stickups in elevators and parking lots to extort cash from victims.
In Mr. Roth's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral, ...It was very family-oriented, said Eileen Smith ... lived in Vailsburg's Ivy Hill Apartments in the 1960's. My parents never had a car. We walked everywhere, and it was safe. You could take a bus downtown and come back at night without having to worry about crime.
Cora Ianiro and Melissa Tighe had three hits each to lead Mount St. Dominic past defending champion Cedar Grove, 5-4, in the Essex County Tournament semifinals at Ivy Hill Park in Newark.
Candidates faced questions prepared by the Ivy Hill Neighborhood Association, the decades-old community group that hosted the forum, and residents. Many of the themes echoed issues facing candidates throughout the city: increased police presence, job creation, failing schools, recreational facilities for children, control of the Newark watershed, and residency requirements for city employees.
... Carranza, 28, possessed of a temper and a growing rap sheet, appears to have directed the group of a half-dozen or more -- answered to like a boss. The group pulled off petty stickups in the elevators and parking lots of the sprawling Ivy Hill Park Apartments in the West Ward, according to interviews with relatives, friends and victims, who say the crew extorted people for quick cash, sometimes slipped through apartment doors cracked barely open by frightened residents.
Although Irvington Avenue through the village is by all accounts a safe thoroughfare during the day, residents say a wave of muggings, break-ins and robberies over the last few months have turned the corridor menacing after nightfall.
26-year-old city man was shot dead Sunday in the city's Ivy Hill neighborhood, police said.
Police have identified a suspect in the death of a woman found Tuesday in a West Ward apartment and expect to make an arrest soon, officials said. Newark police arrived to 55 Manor Drive near Ivy Hill after receiving information there may have been a homicide victim there...
The survivor and the families filed a civil suit in June, alleging that the school board failed to provide adequate security in the playground, despite knowledge of serious criminal threats arising from the nearby Ivy Hill apartments.
... a supposedly empty police building on Irvington Avenue in the Ivy Hill area of Newark's West Ward.... 50 Ivy Hill residents marched in a cold rain one night calling out a list of demands that included more police presence and full staffing of that facility...
... With her sons, she moved into the Ivy Hill Apartments. ... Asked why they left Ivy Hill, Ms. Gomez said: "There were always problems in those apartments. I wanted to protect my sons."
The family landed in Newark's rough Ivy Hill apartments
People in the Ivy Hill Apartments say that some of the young suspects arrested in the Mount Vernon case had been strong-arming residents for money, creating an atmosphere of fear.