JAMES J. BRADDOCK  --  NORTH HUDSON COUNTY PARK
North Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey
167 acres


Directions:

Off Route 501, north of Guttenberg.  It is located at the north end of North Bergen and is bordered by 79th Street, Bergenline Ave., Woodcliff Ave. and Boulevard East.

I have not been to this park before, so use the following with great caution:

George Washington Bridge west; get off for Fort Lee, New Jersey; turn right and follow Hudson Terrace/River Road for about 4.2 miles; turn right onto Bull's Ferry Road, which heads uphill; turn right at the light at the T-intersection; take a left at the very close next light; park along the road(s) of the park. 


Geology:

This park perches atop the Palisades. Woodcliff Lake, the largest in the county, provides fishing and is home to two island bird sanctuaries.


History:

1906 James J. Braddock, one of seven children, born in a small flat in New York City to Irish immigrants.

The family relocated across the Hudson River to West New York, Hudson County, New Jersey where young Jim attended Saint Joseph's Parochial School. There he got into a lot of fights and he quit school.

1910  -- North Hudson Park established.  

1919 to 1923 Braddock worked a series of low-level jobs.

1923 Braddock narrowly lost his first amateur bout to Tommy Hummell (member of the Fort Lee police department).

1926 Braddock turns pro. Braddock had victories over fighters like Jimmy Slattery and Pete Latzo.

1929 Braddock lost the decision in a bout with light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran.

1929 the Loughran defeat and the stock market crash combined to bring Braddock down financially. He had to struggle to put food on the table for his young family.

1934 he scores upset wins against Corn Griffin and John Henry Lewis. Now he was entitled to fight for the heavyweight championship.

1935 (June 13) --  Braddock (a 10 to 1 underdog) was able to defeat heavyweight champion Max Baer. Some described it as, "the greatest fistic upset since the defeat of John L. Sullivan by Jim Corbett".

1937 --Braddock lost his heavyweight title two years later in an 8 round KO to "The Brown Bomber", Joe Louis.

1938 Braddock defeated Tommy Farr, after which he retired from boxing.

1964 inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame.

1991 inducted into Hudson County Hall of Fame.

1999 (Feb. 10) --  A new organization in Hudson County, called Save North Hudson County Park, formed to fight the proposed building of a new high school in North Hudson County Park. ("Save North Hudson Park"; Dennis W. Schvejda; February 10, 1999; http://www.gsenet.org/library/11gsn/2000/gs00210-.php)

2001 inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

(Source: James J. Braddock Official Website: http://www.jamesjbraddock.com/)


Habitats:

Woodcliff Lake, the largest in the county, provides fishing and is home to two island bird sanctuaries. Also has the highest ground in the county.


Facilities:

Ballfields, tennis courts, hand ball court, lake with seven water fountains and a walkway around it, views of New York City, Palisades, and the Hudson River, bike path, bocci ball courts, picnic area and a football stadium (Home of the Bruins).  

12/15/2004.  They are currently working on the J. J. Braddock Interpretive Center.  It is supposed to open up in the spring of 2005.  It will have two classrooms, two all purpose rooms, and public toilets.  There will be an observation deck on the upper level.  In short it will be an educational facility and a community center. 


Trails:

12/15/2004.  For an urban park, this is a big one.  The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Boulevard East goes right through the park.  A lot of the area is lawn.  But there are small pieces or slices of woods here and there.  You can walk around and investigate the various woods.  There is a small woods plot by the North Bergen Preschool Center, which is adjacent to the football stadium).  There are quite a few sycamores, but mostly there are oaks.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, * = blooming on date of field trip, 12/15/04.


Trees:
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Catalpa sp. (catalpa)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Picea sp. (abies)? (spruce)
Picea pungens var. glauca (blue spruce)
Pinus sp. (Austrian pine)?
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (willow)

Shrubs:
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa rugosa (wrinkled rose)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Herbs:
Allium vineale (garlic mustard)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster spp. (aster)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Trifolium spp. (clover)

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Grasses:
Eleusine indica (goose grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)