The Real Down Neck, Part 2 How Did All of Ironbound Come to Be Called "Down Neck"?

by Tom Murphy


I've wondered about this question, and have come to a tentative answer. I'll have to check with a real historian who knows the city to verify my guess, but until then, I'm convinced by the internal evidence.

Under the old political system, Newark had many small, numbered wards (as opposed to the few large, geographically named ones it has now). Ward 12 was Down Neck and the Island. Dutch Neck was part of Ward 11. There were many more people living in Down Neck than on The Island, so basically Ward 12 was Down Neck. Even after a large part of Dutch Neck was transferred into Ward 12, Down Neck politicians dominated the Ward, and so in many minds, "Down Neck" and Ward 12 were the same. This was probably the beginning.

After the reorganization, I believe (This is one of the points I really need to speak to an historian about) that former Ward 12 politicians, especially Down Neckers, dominated East Ward politics, and so again all of the territory they controlled came to be considered part of Down Neck.


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