According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 5.184 square miles (13.428 km2), including 4.601 square miles (11.917 km2) of land and 0.583 square miles (1.510 km2) of water (11.25%).
The borough borders Alpine, Bergenfield, Cresskill, Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, and The Bronx in New York City, across the Hudson River.
Tenafly's street plan and overall development were largely determined by its hills and valleys. The eastern part of the borough is referred to as the "East Hill" for its higher elevation in relation to the rest of the borough. There, the terrain rises dramatically to the east of the downtown area, terminating at the New Jersey Palisades, overlooking the Hudson River. Nearby is the Tenafly Nature Center, located at 313 Hudson Avenue.
The 2010 United States Census counted 14,488 people, 4,766 households, and 3,956 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,148.6 per square mile (1,215.7/km2). The borough contained 4,980 housing units at an average density of 1,082.3 per square mile (417.9/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 69.31% (10,041) White, 0.88% (128) Black or African American, 0.03% (5) Native American, 26.22% (3,799) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 1.23% (178) from other races, and 2.33% (337) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 5.36% (776) of the population. Korean Americans accounted for 15.4% of the population in 2010.
Out of a total of 4,766 households, 49.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.7% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.0% were non-families. 15.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.36.
In the borough, 31.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 20.2% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.8 years. For every 100 females the census counted 93.4 males, but for 100 females at least 18 years old, it was 87.6 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $125,865 (with a margin of error of +/- $23,612) and the median family income was $140,100 (+/- $26,372). Males had a median income of $102,645 (+/- $7,373) versus $60,871 (+/- $9,308) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $60,557 (+/- $5,176). About 1.8% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.4% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 13,806 people, 4,774 households, and 3,866 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,993.4 people per square mile (1,156.3/km2). There were 4,897 housing units at an average density of 1,061.8 per square mile (410.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 76.79% White, 0.96% African American, 0.09% Native American, 19.08% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.40% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.65% of the population. 11.1% of residents reported that they were of Irish, 8.7% Russian, 8.6% Italian, 7.9% American, 7.8% German and 6.2% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. Among residents, 64.0% spoke English at home, while 8.7% spoke Korean, 5.0% Spanish, 4.5% Chinese or Mandarin and 3.1% Hebrew.
There were 4,774 households out of which 43.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.6% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.0% were non-families. 16.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the borough the age distribution of the population shows 28.3% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.
2007 estimates state that the median income for a household in the borough was $109,887, and the median income for a family was $124,656. Males had a median income of $92,678 versus $61,990 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $62,230. About 2.3% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
Tenafly is governed under a special charter granted by the New Jersey Legislature. This charter retains most aspects of the Borough form of government, with the addition of initiative, referendum, and recall features. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office, and is eligible for re-election. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. As the legislative body, the Borough Council adopts ordinances and resolutions, decides on appropriations, approves appointments made by the Mayor, determines policy, and establishes the functions of the various departments of the local government. Each Council member is chairperson of one of six standing committees. The Mayor presides over Council meetings, but only votes in case of a tie, and can cast a veto which can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the Council.
As of 2016, the Mayor of Tenafly is Independent Peter Rustin, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the Tenafly Borough Council are Council President Mark Zinna (D, 2017), Anthony Barzelatto (D, 2018), Maxim Basch (D, 2016), Shama Haider (D, 2018), Daniel Park (D, 2016) and Paul Stefanowicz (D, 2017).
Tenafly is located in the 9th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 37th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Tenafly had been part of the 5th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's Ninth Congressional District is represented by Bill Pascrell (D, Paterson). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 37th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Loretta Weinberg (D, Teaneck) and in the General Assembly by Valerie Huttle (D, Englewood) and Gordon M. Johnson (D, Englewood). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Bergen County is governed by a directly elected County Executive, with legislative functions performed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. As of 2015, the County Executive is James J. Tedesco III (D, Paramus; term ends December 31, 2018). The seven freeholders are elected at-large in partisan elections on a staggered basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year, with a Chairman, Vice Chairman and Chairman Pro Tempore selected from among its members at a reorganization meeting held each January. Bergen County's Freeholders are Freeholder Chairwoman Joan Voss (D, 2017; Fort Lee), Vice Chairman Steve Tanelli (D, 2015; North Arlington) Chairman Pro Tempore John A. Felice (R, 2016; River Edge), David L. Ganz (D, 2017; Fair Lawn), Maura R. DeNicola (R, 2016; Franklin Lakes) Thomas J. Sullivan Jr., (D, Montvale, 2015; serving the unexpired term of office that had been occupied by James Tedesco before he was sworn in as County Executive) and Tracy Silna Zur (D, 2015; Franklin Lakes). Countywide constitutional officials are County Clerk John S. Hogan (D, Northvale), Sheriff Michael Saudino (R) and Surrogate Michael R. Dressler (D, Cresskill).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 8,709 registered voters in Tenafly, of which 3,082 (35.4% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,445 (16.6% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 4,181 (48.0% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 60.1% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 87.3% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 3,694 votes (58.8% vs. 54.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 2,489 votes (39.6% vs. 43.5%) and other candidates with 62 votes (1.0% vs. 0.9%), among the 6,281 ballots cast by the borough's 9,322 registered voters, for a turnout of 67.4% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 4,285 votes (63.3% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 2,376 votes (35.1% vs. 44.5%) and other candidates with 54 votes (0.8% vs. 0.8%), among the 6,773 ballots cast by the borough's 9,002 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.2% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 4,195 votes (61.3% vs. 51.7% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 2,569 votes (37.5% vs. 47.2%) and other candidates with 53 votes (0.8% vs. 0.7%), among the 6,848 ballots cast by the borough's 8,871 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.2% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 57.3% of the vote (2,046 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 42.2% (1,505 votes), and other candidates with 0.5% (18 votes), among the 3,667 ballots cast by the borough's 8,800 registered voters (98 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 41.7%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 2,454 ballots cast (55.8% vs. 48.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 1,701 votes (38.7% vs. 45.8%), Independent Chris Daggett with 189 votes (4.3% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 17 votes (0.4% vs. 0.5%), among the 4,401 ballots cast by the borough's 8,782 registered voters, yielding a 50.1% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
The Tenafly Public Schools serve students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's six schools had an enrollment of 3,605 students and 282.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.77:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are four elementary schools —
Malcolm S. Mackay Elementary School (387 students; in grades K-5), Ralph S. Maugham Elementary School (384; K-5), J. Spencer Smith Elementary School (365; K-5) and Walter Stillman Elementary School (394; PreK-5) — Tenafly Middle School (844) for grades 6-8 and Tenafly High School (1,231) for grades 9-12. Students from Alpine attend Tenafly High School as part of a sending/receiving relationship.
The United States Department of Education awarded Tenafly High School the National Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence at a special assembly to the Tenafly High School community on September 20, 2005. Tenafly was the only high school in New Jersey and one of 38 public high schools in the U.S. to receive the 2005 Blue Ribbon School Award.
The school was the third-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 328 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2012 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after also being ranked third in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. Schooldigger.com ranked the school as tied for 26th out of 376 public high schools statewide in its 2010 rankings (unchanged from the 2009 rank) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the language arts literacy and mathematics components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
Public school students from the borough, and all of Bergen County, are eligible to attend the secondary education programs offered by the Bergen County Technical Schools, which include the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, and the Bergen Tech campus in Teterboro or Paramus. The district offers programs on a shared-time or full-time basis, with admission based on a selective application process and tuition covered by the student's home school district.
Academy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which operates under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, was recognized in 2012 by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program of the United States Department of Education, one of 15 private and public schools in the state to be honored that year.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 64.55 miles (103.88 km) of roadways, of which 54.71 miles (88.05 km) were maintained by the municipality, 6.85 miles (11.02 km) by Bergen County, 1.50 miles (2.41 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.49 miles (2.40 km) by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.
County Route 501, U.S. Route 9W and the Palisades Interstate Parkway all pass through Tenafly.
The Palisades Interstate Parkway runs above the Hudson River from Englewood Cliffs north towards Alpine. There are no exits on the parkway in Tenafly; the nearest interchanges are Exit 1 in Englewood Cliffs to the south, and Exit 2 in Alpine in the north.
U.S. Route 9W adjoins and runs parallel to the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
Local and express bus service to and from New York City is available via NJ Transit bus route 166 to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
Rockland Coaches provides service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Route 14ET from Montvale, the 9/9A/9T/9TA from Stony Point, New York and the 20/20T routes from West Nyack, New York.
Saddle River Tours/Ameribus offers service on the 20/84 routes to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station.
From the mid 1850s until September 1966, Tenafly was served by rail along the Northern Branch, originally to Pavonia Terminal, and later to Hoboken Terminal. CSX now provides freight service along the line. The former Tenafly Station, currently a restaurant, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979; it is one of four surviving stations on the Northern Branch.
The Northern Branch Corridor Project, a proposal by New Jersey Transit to extend the Hudson Bergen Light Rail for nine stops and 11 miles (18 km) northward from its current terminus in North Bergen to two stations in Tenafly, the last of which would be a new terminus near the Cresskill town line, met with mixed reactions. Many residents and officials believed that the negative impact on the borough in terms of traffic and noise outweighed the benefits. In November 2010, voters rejected the plan to re-establish rail service to the town by a nearly 2-1 ratio in a non-binding referendum, with all of the borough council candidates opposing the restoration of commuter train service. There is continued resistance to New Jersey Transit's preferred alternative as described in the plan's December 2011 announcement. Despite local opposition, officials in Bergen County asked the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to support the proposal. In 2013, New Jersey Transit announced that the line would end in Englewood, after Tenafly officials estimated that as much in $8 million in commercial property valuation would be lost and residents raised strong objections.
Historic locations in Tenafly include:Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, home of the women's rights activist from 1868 to 1887. Stanton unsuccessfully attempted to vote in the borough in 1880.
Roelof Westervelt House, 81 Westervelt Avenue.
Christie-Parsels House, 195 Jefferson Avenue.
Sickles-Melbourne House, 48 Knoll Road.
Tenafly has a Bowtie Cinemas movie theater, located on Railroad Avenue, with four viewing screens.
Clinton Inn Hotel, located on Dean Drive. It has 119 hotel rooms, banquet/meeting rooms, a fitness center, and Palmer's Crossing Restaurant and Bar.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Tenafly include:Edie Adams (1927–2008), entertainer.
Hiroaki Aoki (1938–2008), founder of Benihana Japanese restaurant chain.
Mark Attanasio (born 1957), investment banker and owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Peter Balakian (born 1951), Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author.
Jesse Barfield (born 1959), Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees outfielder, lived in Tenafly during part of his career as a Yankee.
Mike Becker (born 1943), contract bridge player and official.
Gregg Berhalter (born 1973), member of the United States men's national soccer team.
Yogi Berra (1925–2015), player and manager for the New York Yankees.
Big Bank Hank (born Henry Lee Jackson, 1957–2014), old school rapper and manager who was a member of The Sugarhill Gang, the first hip hop act to have a hit with the 1979 cross-over single "Rapper's Delight" .
Albert Burstein (born 1922), former member of the New Jersey General Assembly who served as Majority Leader of the Assembly before being appointed to serve on the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Orestes Cleveland (1829–1896), Mayor of Jersey City 1864–1867; 1886–1892, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 5th congressional district from 1869–1871.
Hope Davis (born 1964), actress.
Jimmy Dean (1928–2010), singer turned breakfast meat entrepreneur.
Clifford Demarest (1874–1946), organist and composer.
Tate Donovan (born 1963), actor.
Victor Farris (1910–1985), inventor and businessman who has been credited with invention of the paper milk carton.
Fat Joe (stage name of Joseph Antonio Cartagena, born 1970), rapper.
Siggy Flicker (born 1967), cast member on the seventh season of Bravo's reality television series The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Reuven Frank (1920–2006), former NBC News president and pioneer of Vietnam War-era news coverage.
Ralph Fuller (1890-1963), cartoonist best known for his long running comic strip Oaky Doaks.
Richard A. Gardner (1931–2003), child psychiatrist who coined the term "Parental Alienation Syndrome".
Alan Geisler (c. 1931–2009), food chemist best known for creating the red onion sauce most often used as a condiment topping on hot dogs sold by street vendors in New York City.
Alexander Gemignani (born 1979), Broadway performer.
Alexie Gilmore (born 1976), actress who starred in the short-lived television series New Amsterdam.
Lesley Gore (1946–2015), singer.
Rusty Hamer (1947–1990), actor.
Ed Harris (born 1950), actor.
Jon-Erik Hexum (1957–1984), actor.
Jay Huguley (born 1966), TV, film and theater actor, best known for starring as Whit Peyton in Brothers & Sisters.
John Huyler (1808–1870), represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1857–1859.
Ron Insana (born 1961), CNBC anchor and senior analyst.
Margaret Josephs (born 1967), fashion designer, entrepreneur and television lifestyle expert who is the owner, founder and designer of a lifestyle brand called Macbeth Collection.
Ross Levinsohn (born c. 1964), interim CEO of Yahoo!.
Shlomit Levi (born 1983), Yemeni-Israeli singer who is a former touring member of the folk metal group Orphaned Land.
Sarah Lewitinn (born 1980) alias Ultragrrl, author, Spin assistant editor, blogger, downtown socialite.
Charles S. Lieber (1931–2009), clinical nutritionist who established that excess alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis of the liver, even in subjects with an adequate diet.
Baby M (born 1986), subject of noted custody case between the egg donor/surrogate mother and the child's biological father.
Tino Martinez (born 1967), first baseman who played for the New York Yankees.
Don Mattingly (born 1961), New York Yankees.
Gil McDougald (born 1928), American League Rookie of the Year winner in 1951, who played his entire career with the New York Yankees, appearing in 53 World Series games.
Lea Michele (born 1986), actress best known for starring in the Fox TV show Glee as Rachel Berry.
Edward Miguel (born 1974; class of 1992), Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Glenn Miller (1904–1944), bandleader.
Frank C. Osmers, Jr. (1907–1977), represented New Jersey's 9th congressional district from 1939–1943 and 1951–1965.
Barbara Pariente (born 1948), former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
Carol Potter (born 1948), stage and television actress best known as Cindy Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210.
George Price (1901–1995), cartoonist best known for his work for The New Yorker.
Tom Rinaldi, reporter for ESPN and ABC
Adam Rothenberg (born 1975), stage and movie actor, Mad Money.
Steve Rothman, (born 1952), Congressman.
Mira Sorvino (born 1967), actress who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite.
Paul Sorvino (born 1939), actor.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902), leading figure in the early women's rights movement.
Lori Stokes (born 1962), morning anchorwoman for WABC-TV.
William Lee Stoddart (1868–1940), architect noted for hotels of the pre-World War II era.
George Tanham (1922–2003), international security expert who was an executive with the RAND Corporation.
Thomas D. Thacher (1881–1950), one-time Solicitor General of the United States.
Huyler Westervelt (1869–1949), pitcher who had a 7-10 record in his single MLB season with the New York Giants.
Jacob Aaron Westervelt (1800–1879), shipbuilder in the mid-19th century and Mayor of New York City (1853–1855).
Tracy Wolfson (born 1975), sportscaster for CBS Sports.
Sofie Zamchick (born 1994), folk-pop singer-songwriter and actress, best known as the voice of Linny the Guinea Pig on the animated children's television series, Wonder Pets.