The Crossroads of Bergen County
Journeys into Hackensack
Time Square has always been known as "Crossroads of the World". Closer to home, many are unaware that Hackensack and specifically its intersection of Main Street and Mercer Street used to be considered the "Crosssroads of Bergen County".
It was there that major transportation routes intersected. As a result it was also a focal point for social and commercial interaction.
The original growth of Hackensack came from its accessibility to transport: the Hackensack River. It then became a major stop along the colonial pike route, and later became a stop for two major rail lines.
One line was the Erie which ran north-south a few blocks west of the center of town (today the Pascack Valley line that runs along Railroad Avenue). The other ran east-west through the heart of town.
When trolley routes arrived Hackensack was a major stop, terminus and transfer point. For many years the point of intersection and transfer between east-west and north-south lines was just one block from the train station - there at that intersection of Main and Mercer.
Thus, the apt description as "crossroads of Bergen County"
When buses replaced the trolleys, the intersection remained busy and important - the 165 to Hudson County and New York met the number 1 bus that ran from Paterson to the ferry at Edgewater. Also crossing east-west were the numbers 78, 82 of Public Service and the 54,55 and 56 of the Westwood Lines. A bus terminal, a WPA New Deal project of the 1930's, was situated a block to the east next to what would eventually became a modern headquarters for the Bergen Evening Record.
On the corner itself a longtime landmark was the Hackensack Trust Company bulding.
These days the scene is very different.
Buses still stop at a nearby bus station and at the Main-Mercer intersection, But the buzz is not the same these days. A different generation tends to think of Paramus - highways, shopping malls congestion & all as the "crossroads".
But changes are in the air. The Trust company building is gone - a hole in the ground with being filled with construction - evidence of a promised new development for the site. The second generation bus station, the WPA vintage building was demolished decades ago for a parking area for the now too departed Record. The Record, now North Jersey Media, is no longer a fmily or local business. It was sold to Gannett, the folks who started USA Today. Its former property is slated for redevelopment as well.
Hackensack looks to be busy again; new construction downtown, the Courthouse, the Medical Center, and part of FDU all bring folks to town. So, it may even become a crossroads to a new generation - just as once was at the corner of Main and Mercer.