A small town with an old-school industrial feel is perhaps the best way to describe Orange, New Jersey. Orange apartments for rent are located within the 2.2-square-mile township, which has origins in Connecticut's New Haven colony and eventually derived its name from England's ruling house, the House of Orange, in 1780.
This area's network of rivers, canals, railroads and trolley cars made it ideal for industries of many kinds from the outset. The region's hemlock trees provided tannic acid for the tanning industry, allowing shoe factories to thrive, while hatters also flourished in the area, creating a wealthy class of industrialists and a solid immigrant working class culture.
Today, the 30,134-person city is known for its Spanish, Mexican, Creole, West Indian and Italian culinary offerings, but also has a thriving arts community.
Once the hat-making capital of the United States, Orange was where the Philadelphia founder of Stetson fedoras created the "No-Name Hat Company" with his brothers before moving on. The city continues to capitalize on the strengths that have long made it an ideal place for residential and commercial development - its small size, dense population and centrally located municipality. The city's efficient transportation network of buses, trains and highways also makes this area suited to even more development in the future.
The historic Seven Oaks community offers quiet suburban charm with large, Victorian homes on tree-lined streets, while the Valley Arts and Central Districts offer a taste of urban living with restaurants, public transportation and downtown entertainment within walking distance of the high-rise apartments and condos.
The city officially became a township in 1982, which made it eligible for National Revenue Sharing Funds. It was also named a State Urban Enterprise Zone in 1985, which created a number of tax breaks and incentives for development.
Orange remains an industrial hub, with some of the oldest industrial buildings still used for commercial printing, photographic processing, light assembly and manufacturing businesses. However, the area's well-connected transportation system makes commutes to nearby metropolises Newark, Elizabeth and Jersey City easy for people with apartments in Orange.
This small township has just one school district, but is part of the 31 Abbott Districts across New Jersey.
Orange is a quaint alternative to living in the larger nearby cities (it's only a 25-minute train ride from New York City's Penn Station), and those looking for rentals in Orange can expect to pay between $700 and $1,400 per month. In 2009, the median gross rent was $933, but all rents vary based on the apartment's location, size and condition.
The median household income was $40,912 in 2009, according to city-data.com, but residents of Orange can enjoy a 3.5 percent sales tax rate, compared with the state's 7 percent rate, thanks to the township's inclusion in the Urban Enterprise Zone.
Orange may be mainly an industrial center, but it maintains a charming downtown with a strong community feel. Residents can enjoy a number of recreational sports leagues in the Olmsted-designed Monte Irvin Orange Park, which includes soccer and softball fields, a lighted basketball court, a jogging path, playground and fishing pond.
Restaurant Week offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy Orange's vast array of high-quality ethnic cuisine, from Brazilian barbecue to soul food.
In the Valley Arts District, a 15-block area that spans Orange and the neighboring town of West Orange, artsy types can find music and poetry festivals, art shows and programs, and galleries. The Luna Stage also hosts performances by the Luna Stage Theater Company and many other acts.
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