This is what Money Magazine Says About Maplewood! "A 30-minute train ride from Midtown Manhattan; Maplewood, N.J. is a favorite compromise for city people who also want good public schools and their own yards. The town has a palpable sense of community (there are close to 30 block associations in Maplewood and neighboring South Orange), and residents prize its diversity. "We're not a cookie-cutter suburb in terms of outlook, interests or people," says Barbara Heisler Williams, 43, resident for 13 years." Maplewood prides itself on being a diverse and family-friendly community. In a number of surveys it is ranked among the most desirable places to live in the United States. The township has a downtown area alternatively known as "the village" or "Maplewood Center" with its own movie theater, several upscale and midscale restaurants, a small supermarket, independent café, two liquor stores, and a small bookstore. The structure of the village is largely unchanged since the 1950s. Many of the most recognizable buildings and spaces were the work of famous architects and landscape designers. Most of the schools and the Municipal Building were the work of Guilbert & Betelle. The center of town is dominated by Memorial Park, a design of the Olmsted Brothers. The Olmsted firm was also responsible for the landscaping at Ward Homestead, designed by John Russell Pope, and now known as Winchester Gardens, located on Elmwood Avenue. On the opposite side of town is another Olmsted work, South Mountain Reservation. The Maplewood Theater, where Cheryl Crawford first revived Porgy and Bess, was designed by William E. Lehman. There are approximately 226 streets covering 60 miles within Maplewood. One thoroughfare, Springfield Avenue, is a state highway (Route 124, from Irvington to Morristown), and four thoroughfares (Valley Street, Millburn Avenue, Irvington Avenue and Wyoming Avenue), are Essex County roads.
Racing Toward Diversity
Two New Jersey towns keep their eyes on the prize. By Steve Chambers On a Saturday morning in Maplewood, New Jersey, day-trippers bound for Manhattan sip blended teas and nibble popovers in the Civil War–era train station, as classical music plays softly. This is "the community of the 21st century that really goes back to the model of the 19th century," says Ellen Greenfield, a resident for 35 years, who has happily watched yet another major evolution of this commuter town unfold in recent years. As gays, African Americans, Asians, and Latinos have discovered this suburban enclave, located hard beside grinding urban poverty, amenities typical of the most upscale American suburbs have become commonplace in Maplewood. Greenfield ticks off some of the modern conveniences unavailable to earlier rail commuters. When the relaxed day-trippers lounging on this Saturday morning return to their frenetic work week, they will drop off dry cleaning with a concierge, leave their cars to be serviced, or catch a jitney back home. That pay-as-you-go service may ferry them up the hill to a palatial estate with views of the New York City skyline or down to manicured streets on the border of Newark, New Jersey's largest city. But on this lovely fall morning, the jitney idling in the station lot awaits eager house hunters considering a move to Maplewood (pop. 23,868) or its neighboring community of South Orange (pop. 16,964). Their tour guides will be volunteers from the South Orange- Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. And while those volunteers always short-en the name of the coalition by eliminating the words "on Race" for such outreach efforts, there will still be much talk about the diversity of this pleasant community.