The borough was originally incorporated as the Borough of Woodcliff, on August 31, 1894, from parts of Orvil Township and Washington Township, based on the results of a referendum held three days earlier. The borough was formed during the "Boroughitis" phenomenon then sweeping through Bergen County, in which 26 boroughs were formed in the county in 1894 alone. The borough derives its name from the characteristics of its geography.
On March 1, 1910, after the creation of the reservoir, the name of the borough was changed to Woodcliff Lake, to match the name of the post office. Prior to the creation of ZIP codes as a way to uniquely identify addresses, United States Postal Service policy was that two post offices in a state could not have the same name, and there was already a "Woodcliff" in Hudson County. On January 1, 1956, and again on July 1, 1958, Woodcliff Lake exchanged sections of land with Park Ridge. On October 13, 1960, portions were exchanged with Hillsdale.
Woodcliff Lake has many historic houses and buildings, some dating from the 18th century. Many old buildings are also present, but are likely to have been modified through the years. The borough has seen intense development over the past 50 years, as virtually all areas available for construction have been developed.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 3.606 square miles (9.339 km2), including 3.405 square miles (8.819 km2) of land and 0.201 square miles (0.519 km2) of water (5.56%).
The borough is bordered by Montvale, Park Ridge, River Vale, Hillsdale, Saddle River, and small portions of Upper Saddle River. Woodcliff Lake is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Manhattan.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,730 people, 1,916 households, and 1,600 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,682.7 per square mile (649.7/km2). There were 1,980 housing units at an average density of 581.5 per square mile (224.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 90.30% (5,174) White, 0.82% (47) Black or African American, 0.00% (0) Native American, 6.47% (371) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 1.20% (69) from other races, and 1.20% (69) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.41% (310) of the population.
There were 1,916 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.4% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.5% were non-families. 15.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.28.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 17.1% from 25 to 44, 33.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.8 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 89.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $150,404 (with a margin of error of +/- $25,298) and the median family income was $172,019 (+/- $32,763). Males had a median income of $105,045 (+/- $11,151) versus $65,119 (+/- $22,660) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $62,925 (+/- $7,887). About 1.1% of families and 1.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.5% of those under age 18 and 1.9% of those age 65 or over.
Same-sex couples headed five households in 2010, an increase from the one household counted in 2000.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 5,745 people, 1,824 households, and 1,605 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,725.3 people per square mile (666.1/km2). There were 1,842 housing units at an average density of 553.2 per square mile (213.6/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.84% White, 0.87% African American, 0.03% Native American, 4.47% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. 2.33% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,824 households out of which 47.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 80.2% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.0% were non-families. 10.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the borough the population was spread out with 29.9% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $123,022, and the median income for a family was $133,925. Males had a median income of $90,000 versus $45,150 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $53,461. 1.5% of the population and 0.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.4% of those under the age of 18 and 2.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The borough was the world headquarters of Ingersoll Rand until the company moved in 2004, after which its property was taken over by the North American headquarters of BMW. The borough is also the corporate headquarters of Perillo Tours, which consists of an elaborate Italian revival where Richard Nixon had an office after his Presidency.
Tice's Corner Marketplace is a strip mall located on the site of the original Tice's Farms.
The Tri-Boro area consisting of Woodcliff Lake, Park Ridge and Montvale all participate in an annual Memorial Day Parade.
Wood Dale County Park is a Bergen County park covering 118 acres (48 ha) located on Prospect Avenue. It has a playground, a dog park, walking path, tennis courts, athletic fields, picnic areas and a lake for fishing and model boating.
Old Mill Pool is a public pool complex located on Werimus Road. It has a pool, water slide, playground and a picnic area.
Woodcliff Lake is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government 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. 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. The Borough form of government used by Woodcliff Lake, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2016, the Mayor of Woodcliff Lake is Republican Carlos Rendo, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Corrado Belgiovine (R, 2016), Jeanine Chiavelli (R, 2017), Jacqueline Gadaleta (D, 2018), Angela Hayes (R, 2016; appointed to serve an unexpired term), Thomas Panso (R, 2017) and Kristy Herrington (R, 2018).
In January 2016, the Borough Council appointed Angela Hayes to fill the vacant seat expiring in December 2016 that had been held by Carlos Rendo until he took office as mayor.
Jean Bae was chosen in September 2012 to fill the vacancy of Kenneth Baum, who had resigned from the Council earlier that month. Bae became the borough's first Asian-American councilwoman.
Controversy erupted in the borough in August 2008 when former Mayor LaPaglia described Councilmen Bader and Rosenblatt as "the temple twins", an apparent reference to their Jewish religion. The two councilmen demanded an apology, which LaPaglia would not give, denying anti-Semitic intent and stating that he is prone to colorful nicknames.
Woodcliff Lake is located in the 5th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 39th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Josh Gottheimer (D, Wyckoff). 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 39th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Gerald Cardinale (R, Demarest) and in the General Assembly by Holly Schepisi (R, River Vale) and Robert Auth (R, Old Tappan). 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 4,209 registered voters in Woodcliff Lake, of which 1,119 (26.6% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,024 (24.3% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 2,065 (49.1% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 73.5% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 101.9% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide; meaning that there were more registered voters as of the date accessed than those of legal voting age, which can happen when registered voters move out of the borough but aren't removed from the voter rolls).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,792 votes (56.1% vs. 43.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,374 votes (43.0% vs. 54.8%) and other candidates with 20 votes (0.6% vs. 0.9%), among the 3,197 ballots cast by the borough's 4,475 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.4% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,696 votes (49.9% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,646 votes (48.5% vs. 44.5%) and other candidates with 23 votes (0.7% vs. 0.8%), among the 3,396 ballots cast by the borough's 4,305 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.9% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,656 votes (49.7% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,638 votes (49.2% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 24 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 3,329 ballots cast by the borough's 4,108 registered voters, for a turnout of 81.0% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 73.1% of the vote (1,603 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 25.8% (567 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (24 votes), among the 2,258 ballots cast by the borough's 4,333 registered voters (64 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 52.1%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,362 votes (48.1% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 1,257 votes (44.4% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 160 votes (5.7% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 20 votes (0.7% vs. 0.5%), among the 2,831 ballots cast by the borough's 4,902 registered voters, yielding a 57.8% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
Woodcliff Lake is served by a volunteer fire department that was established in 1932 after residents became dissatisfied with fire protection paid for through Park Ridge. The WLFD consists of a chief, a deputy chief, two captains and three lieutenants in addition to the 30+ members. Woodcliff Lake Fire Department operates Squad 7, Squad 72, Truck 75, Rescue 76 and Marine 7 out of the fire house on Pascack Rd. The chiefs are assigned cars numbered after their radio designations 710 and 711. WLFD is a member of the Tri-Boro Mutual Aid along with Montvale and Park Ridge.
Together with Park Ridge and Montvale, Woodcliff Lake is one of the three municipalities that is part of the Tri-Boro Volunteer Ambulance Corps, founded in 1938 and provides EMS service to these three communities. Tri-Boro is a non-profit and full volunteer group which provides free emergency service to those in the community who need it at any time. The headquarters is located in Park Ridge near Mill Pond.
Woodcliff Lake's police department, located next to borough hall and the fire department, was founded in 1954.
The Woodcliff Lake Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its two schools had an enrollment of 1,126 students and 74.3 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 15.2:1. The schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Dorchester Elementary School with 496 students in grades Pre-K through 5 and Woodcliff Middle School which had 269 students in grades 6-8.
For ninth through twelfth grades, Woodcliff Lake and Montvale public school students attend Pascack Hills High School. The school is part of the Pascack Valley Regional High School District, which serves students from Hillsdale and River Vale at Pascack Valley High School. As of the 2014-15 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 845 students and 68.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.3:1. The Mayor and Council of Woodcliff Lake have passed resolutions supporting the withdrawal of the borough from the Pascack Valley Regional High School District, noting that the community contributes 28% of the district's spending, while accounting for 19% of the students attending the district's schools. Both Montvale and Woodcliff Lake, with substantial commercial property tax ratables, have a cost per student substantially higher than that paid by the other two communities, with Woodcliff Lake's cost of $28,521 nearly double the $14,840 paid by Hillsdale (on a per student basis).
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.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 45.94 miles (73.93 km) of roadways, of which 34.27 miles (55.15 km) were maintained by the municipality, 9.47 miles (15.24 km) by Bergen County and 2.20 miles (3.54 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The Garden State Parkway and County Route 503 pass through Woodcliff Lake.
The Garden State Parkway may be entered, southbound, or exited from, northbound, at exit 171. Due to the fact that not all movements are possible at that exit, exits 168 in Washington Township and 172 in Montvale are also used to access the borough.
Woodcliff Lake is served by NJ Transit at the Woodcliff Lake train station, located at Broadway and Woodcliff Avenues. The station offers service on the Pascack Valley Line, which runs north-south to Hoboken Terminal with connections via the Secaucus Junction transfer station to New Jersey Transit one-stop service to New York Penn Station and to other NJ Transit rail service. Connections are available at the Hoboken Terminal to other New Jersey Transit rail lines, the PATH train at the Hoboken PATH station, New York Waterways ferry service to the World Financial Center and other destinations and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service.
Rockland Coaches offers service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan on routes 11T/11AT and 45/46/47. Saddle River Tours / Ameribus provides service to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station on route 11C.
Tice Farms was a farm and roadside stand in Woodcliff Lake. Founded in 1808, it was a local landmark which attracted families from miles around, especially in the fall, when it was noted for pumpkins, apple cider, freshly baked donuts, and other fall products. Many people would make the drive to the area from New York City, causing massive traffic jams on autumn weekends. Beginning in the 1970s, the farm was increasingly squeezed by local land development, and Richard Tice, the head of the family, repeatedly sold land to accommodate development. BMW's North American headquarters are located on Chestnut Ridge Road, and is built, and currently being expanded on land once owned by the Tice family. The company is the town's predominant landowner. Tice Farms is now Tice's Corner, an upscale strip mall.
Van Riper's Farm, formerly located approximately across the street from Tice's, was founded in the late 18th century and known for its apple cider and annual turkey shoot. It was closed to make way for an A&P supermarket, which is known as the company's trademark store.
A small reminder of Woodcliff Lake's rural history is Fusco's Market, located on the corner of Werimus and Saddle River Roads. Nearby is the Old Mill Pond, which was established as the town's swimming pool around 1950 when the borough acquired the small, nearly silted-up mill pond near the headwaters of the Musquapsink Brook. Old Mill Pond has been renovated to include a partial sand beach along with a water slide, two diving boards, swimming lanes, and other water activities for kids.
Woodcliff Lake lacks its own public library; however, it offers its residents reimbursement if they pay for a library membership from a neighboring municipality with its own library.
The borough was originally assigned the ZIP code 07680. As part of post office consolidation in the early 1970s, it lost its postmaster (though not its post office) and was designated a branch of the Westwood post office, sharing the ZIP code 07675. Following longtime public protest, it regained its own ZIP code, 07677, in the late 1990s.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Woodcliff Lake include:Jack Antonoff (born 1984), guitarist for the band Fun.
Bruce Beresford-Redman, co-creator and executive producer of MTV's Pimp My Ride.
Jon Doscher (born 1971), film producer.
Fran Ganguzza (born 1959), film producer.
Steven M. Goldman, former Commissioner of Banking and Insurance of New Jersey (2006–2009).
Kerri Green (born 1967), actress who appeared in The Goonies.
Rick Hurvitz, co-creator and executive producer of MTV's Pimp My Ride.
Andrew Kissel (1959–2006), real estate developer who was found murdered at his rented Greenwich, Connecticut estate.
John L. Molinelli (born 1957), attorney who served as Bergen County Prosecutor from 2002-2016.
Joe Oriolo (1913–1985), producer of the Felix the Cat cartoons made in the 1960s, and co-creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Tom Papa, comedian, actor and host of The Marriage Ref.
Randolph Perkins (1871–1936), represented New Jersey's 6th congressional district from 1921-1936.
Gene Perla (born 1940), jazz bassist.
Brian Sella, guitarist for the acoustic punk band The Front Bottoms.
Some scenes from the fourth episode of The Jack and Triumph Show entitled, "Siri" were filmed on location at Tice's Corner Marketplace.