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You can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

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Physical Therapy Metuchen, NJ  Sciatica Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Physical Therpy For Injuries and Pain in Metuchen, NJ

If there's one universal truth in life, it's that it can be unpredictable. Everyone experiences unexpected events that throw us off. While some surprises may only affect our bank accounts, such as home expenses, others can cause physical harm, such as car accidents that result in long-term pain and discomfort. Many Americans suffer from chronic neck and back pain - according to research, half of Americans over 18 develop musculoskeletal injuries that last longer than a year. These injuries often cause a range of mobility issues that make everyday tasks seem hard to do. Unfortunately, many people with chronic pain turn to addictive medications and invasive surgeries for relief, which tends to lead to further complications.

However, if you are experiencing chronic pain or mobility issues, there's good news: Safer and more effective options are available to you. Physical therapy in Metuchen, NJ is one of the best solutions for eradicating pain, maximizing mobility, improving range of motion, building muscle strength, and helping you regain control of your body. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists and trainers offer customized programs designed for your body and address your pain symptoms. That way, you have the best possible chance of reclaiming a normal, active life, without surgery or harmful pills.

With the incorporation of therapeutic exercises and manual therapy as well as newer techniques and modalities like AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmills and DRX9000 Spinal DecompressionMachines, our physical therapy services can help address conditions such as:

  • Sciatica Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Wrist Pain
  • TMJ Pain
 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Service Areas

When it comes to physical therapy in New Jersey, few clinics can match the care, compassion, and effective treatment options that NJ Sports Spine & Wellness can provide.

Why is Physical Therapy in Metuchen, NJ So Important for Wellness?

Physical therapy can provide numerous benefits, such as pain reduction, enhanced joint and body movement, improved range of motion, proper alignment, and more. While the main goal of physical therapy is to restore function and facilitate a return to regular activities, these outcomes usually result from a broader rehabilitation process, wherein many patients learn a brand-new way of moving.

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists work closely with patients to understand their unique goals, preferences, and abilities. Based on their findings, they create a customized treatment plan that caters to the patient's specific needs.

Here are just a few specific examples of why physical therapy is crucial when recovering from an injury:

  • Physical therapy helps restore function and mobility after illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Physical therapy promotes healing and pain management by utilizing therapeutic modalities and exercises.
  • Physical therapy helps patients suffering from neurological conditions improve their independence.
  • Physical therapy helps seniors avoid falls by improving balance.
  • Physical therapy can improve flexibility and strength to enhance sports and physical activity performance.
  • Physical therapy facilitates injury prevention through education and analysis of proper body mechanics.
 Shoulder Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Whether you're searching for long-term pain relief or need to improve your strength and balance as you age, physical therapy from NJSSW can help.

Now that you understand why physical therapy is crucial for recovery and wellness, let's take a closer look at some of the most effective treatments at our physical therapy clinic in New Jersey.

 Wrist Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

The DRX9000: Relief from Chronic Back and Neck Pain

Are you sick of living day-to-day with long-lasting neck or back pain? Have you searched high and low for a safe and effective alternative to surgery? The DRX9000 may be the answer you're looking for.

Beloved by high-level athletes and even celebrities, this advanced medical device employs non-surgical spinal decompression therapy to treat painful conditions such as:

  • Bulging Discs
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Arm Pain from Nerves in Your Neck

The DRX9000 is a device that has been approved by the FDA for treating herniated discs through spinal decompression therapy. This therapy works by applying equal amounts of pressure on your vertebral columns, which stretches your spine and creates a gap between spinal discs. This gap allows for better nutrient flow through your spine, which can help heal injuries gradually with regular treatment sessions. The DRX9000 also utilizes servo motors that rely on nested closed-loop feedback to customize therapy to your unique needs. By using DRX9000, you can often speed up your recovery by addressing your spinal disc issues ASAP.

No Harmful Medications Needed (Do we really need this paragraph or could we just mention it int he beginning about how it is a non-pharmaceutical method)

Perhaps the most significant advantage of the DRX9000 is that it provides a non-pharmaceutical method for relieving pain. With the opioid epidemic affecting the entire nation, many patients are reluctant to take prescription painkillers. The DRX9000 offers a secure and non-addictive alternative for pain relief that does not require medication.

During the course of the treatment, the patient will lie down on a specially designed table that is connected to the machine. The table will then be gently stretched as the machine creates negative pressure within the affected disc. This process will be repeated over a series of sessions, typically ranging from 20 to 30 sessions, depending on the patient's specific condition.

The DRX9000 treatment is considered to be safe and effective for many patients. It is designed to be gentle on the body, and patients usually experience little to no discomfort during their sessions. The machine is also equipped with advanced safety features, including sensors that can detect any sudden movements and stop the machine if necessary.

Expedite Rehab and Training with the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill boasts NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a highly accurate air calibration system that leverages your actual body weight to achieve exceptional results in rehab and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows you to move freely and without pain, as it uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight by up to 80% in precise 1% increments. This process helps foster improved muscle strength, balance, function, range of motion, and overall fitness.

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

AlterG®'s state-of-the-art treadmill provides an entire range of benefits, such as mimicking natural movement and rhythm without the contrived feel of hydrotherapy or harnesses attempting to imitate real-life strides and motions. Additionally, it's beneficial for speeding up recuperation after orthopedic injuries or surgeries by enabling early mobilization and retaining strength. Furthermore, it's excellent for sports recovery since athletes can utilize it to maintain their physical fitness.

Some of the numerous benefits of using the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill include:

  • Accelerated Recovery Time
  • Relief from Impact-Related Pain and Discomfort
  • Customized Programs Suited to Your Needs
  • Effective Solution for All Ages
  • Safe and Controlled Environment
  • Improves Motivation and Confidence
  • Used by Elite Athletes and Celebrities

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a revolutionary piece of equipment that has transformed the field of physical therapy. With its list of unique features and superhero-worthy benefits, this anti-gravity treadmill is a game-changer that can help you achieve your fitness and recovery goals while also minimizing the risk of injury.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ
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Physical Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Experience Optimized Healing with LiteCure Low-Level Laser Therapy

After reading the headline above, you might be asking yourself, "Are lasers really used for physical therapy in cityname, state?" The answer to your question would be a resounding "Yes!" This advanced type of laser therapy harnesses the power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM), which is revolutionizing how patients heal and deal with pain.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a medical process that utilizes targeted light to activate the body's natural healing mechanisms. By penetrating deep into the tissue, photons interact with mitochondria (the cellular powerhouses in your body) to increase energy production. This interaction triggers a biological cascade that leads to increased cellular metabolism. As a result, PBM can reduce pain, accelerate tissue repair, and enhance overall well-being.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive and painless treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It works by penetrating the skin and tissues to promote cellular activity and increase blood flow, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and accelerate the healing process.

LLLT has been shown to be effective for a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis, neuropathy, and more. It is a safe and gentle treatment option that can aid in regaining function and mobility from injuries, accidents, surgeries, and other conditions. That makes it a viable and trustworthy addition to your personalized physical therapy plan from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness.

LLLT has shown promising results for challenging conditions that other treatments can't match. Some of the most common conditions treated include:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Pain from Tendinopathy
  • Osteoarthritis Pain
  • Swollen Joints
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Pain from TMJ
  • Achilles Tendon Injury Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis Pain
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If you're slogging through life and suffering from one or more of the conditions above, you should know that there is hope for pain relief. Contact NJ Sports Spine & Wellness today to find out if low-level laser therapy is right for you.

Freeze Away Pain and Swelling with Ice Compression Therapy

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

Understanding the Powerful Benefits of Ice Compression Therapy

 Sciatica Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

The "cold" component of ice compression therapy helps nullify nerve-ending sensitivity, which provides pain relief. The extra compression gives you even more pain relief by reducing swelling and pressure on limbs and other body parts.

By improving lymphatic flow and enhancing blood circulation, compression therapy can help reduce swelling and edema, thereby improving your recovery process and simultaneously reducing pain and discomfort.

The concurrent use of cryotherapy and compression can enhance the body's innate healing mechanisms by reducing inflammation, mitigating tissue damage, and stimulating tissue repair.

Game Ready's combination therapy has been shown to be effective in improving joint flexibility and range of motion by promoting tissue healing. This treatment can be a great option for those looking to alleviate discomfort and improve overall joint health.

 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Whether you're recovering from surgery or you're trying to manage chronic pain in your back or joints, ice compression therapy may be the advanced treatment you need. Contact NJSSW today to learn more about how this treatment can help you live an active life free of pain.

NormaTec Compression Therapy:

A Non-Invasive Option for Enhanced Recovery

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

What Makes NormaTec Compression Therapy Best for Physical Therapy in Cityname, State?

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

NormaTec's compression therapy devices have undergone continuous refinement and improvement since their inception. The adjustable settings of their system enable users to regulate the intensity, duration, and pattern of compression, thereby enabling our skilled providers to tailor treatment to suit the specific requirements and comfort levels of each patient.

 Shoulder Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

Experience Holistic Wellness with Cupping Therapy in New Jersey

In the realm of holistic wellness, cupping therapy is a venerable and time-honored practice that has proven to be an effective technique for managing pain and enhancing blood flow. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we recognize the diverse benefits of cupping therapy, which we offer at both our Matawan and Marlboro, NJ locations.

This ancient technique creates suction on your skin using specialized cups that help promote blood flow, muscle relaxation, and pain relief.

Why is Cupping Therapy Helpful for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

 Wrist Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we believe that incorporating holistic treatments into physical therapy can greatly benefit our patients. As part of our efforts to alleviate stress and manage chronic pain or conditions, we offer cupping therapy as one of those holistic treatments. This modality has been proven effective and offers numerous benefits for physical therapy, which include:

Cupping therapy can help release muscle tension and relieve back pain. The suction from the cups releases fascial restrictions, decreases muscle tightness, and relieves muscle knots, providing relief from pain caused by muscular tightness or strain.

Our skilled practitioners and physical therapists use modern cupping devices and techniques to create consistent suction on the skin, which stimulates blood flow and encourages oxygen-rich blood to flow into muscles and tissues. This improved circulation can reduce inflammation, remove toxins, and promote healing.

Cupping therapy can relieve back pain by improving circulation, reducing muscle tension, and increasing lymphatic drainage. It's a natural and non-invasive approach that can improve mobility and quality of life.

Cupping therapy uses a gentle suction and pulling sensation that helps ease back pain and reduces stress by creating a calming effect on the body and mind, promoting physical and mental healing.

Reclaim Your Mobility with Physical Therapy in Metuchen, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we always prioritize your well-being and offer comprehensive care tailored to your needs. With customized physical therapy tailored to your specific needs, we provide a drug-free, non-invasive, and highly effective treatment path for pain relief and recovery. From tried-and-true techniques to cutting-edge treatments, we're New Jersey's top choice for innovative physical therapy.

Take the first step towards a pain-free, vibrant life by contacting our office today. It all starts by scheduling your initial consultation. With our highly-trained and licensed specialists by your side, you can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Metuchen, NJ

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Latest News in Metuchen, NJ

Edison, Metuchen Among Top School Districts In NJ, New Ranking Says

EDISON, NJ — Edison Township Public Schools and Metuchen School District maintained their high grades in the latest school rankings released this week, according to Niche’s 2024 Best Schools and Districts.According to the latest ranking, Edison Schools ranked 2nd in Middlesex County at rank 1 and was placed 31st in the state, while Metuchen was ranked 4th in the county and 4...

EDISON, NJ — Edison Township Public Schools and Metuchen School District maintained their high grades in the latest school rankings released this week, according to Niche’s 2024 Best Schools and Districts.

According to the latest ranking, Edison Schools ranked 2nd in Middlesex County at rank 1 and was placed 31st in the state, while Metuchen was ranked 4th in the county and 44th in NJ.

These rankings and grades, published annually for the past nine years, compare schools and districts across the United States by combining feedback from parents and students with hard data on schools, teachers, and student performance.

EDISON

Edison School District, which serves about 16,268 students, has an overall "A" grade from Niche.

Here's how they were graded on various metrics:

The lowest grades the district received were in food, resources and facilities. Edison has launched a $100 million project to address the overcrowding in the school district. The project includes adding a classroom to J.P Stevens High School, a gym addition to Herbert Hoover Gym, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, a new auditorium to Edison High School and more.

The district also ranked 23rd in NJ for having the best teachers.

The average graduation rate in the school district is 94 percent, with 64 percent of students proficient in reading and 44 percent in math, according to Niche.

The average teacher's salary in the district is $84,238 and the student-teacher ratio is 15:1.

METUCHEN

Metuchen School District has an overall "A" grade from Niche. The district serves about 2,276 students.

Here's how they were graded:

The average graduation rate in the school district is 95 percent, with 65 percent of students proficient in reading and 44 percent in math, according to Niche.

The average teacher's salary in the district is $71,347 and the student-teacher ratio is 15:1.

The rankings differ from others that rely almost exclusively on test scores and academic performance in that it also includes input from students, alumni and parents, as well as quantitative data from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate teachers, resources and facilities.

Have a correction or news tip? Email sarah.salvadore@patch.com

$150K-Plus Salaries For Edison, Metuchen Superintendent, Admins

EDISON, NJ — School administrators in New Jersey are among the highest-paid in the country and it comes as no surprise they make upwards of $150,000.The state Department of Education recently released data that showed over 3,200 administrators made $150,000 or more during the 2022-23 school year — an increase after 2,556 did so the year prior.This also includes members from the Edison and Metuchen school districts.Patch pulled salary data that includes superintendents, principals and assistant principals, cur...

EDISON, NJ — School administrators in New Jersey are among the highest-paid in the country and it comes as no surprise they make upwards of $150,000.

The state Department of Education recently released data that showed over 3,200 administrators made $150,000 or more during the 2022-23 school year — an increase after 2,556 did so the year prior.

This also includes members from the Edison and Metuchen school districts.

Patch pulled salary data that includes superintendents, principals and assistant principals, curriculum directors and other employees in administrative positions within New Jersey schools.

Since the data is from the 2022-2023 school year, the list also includes former Edison Superintendent Bernard F Bragen, who was among the top 20 highest-paid school administrators in NJ.

The highest-paid Superintendent in New Jersey is Leigh Byron, of Trenton Stem-To-Civics charter school who makes $384,000 a year.

Here are the top earners in Edison and Metuchen, along with their current or most recent position and most recent salary. All data comes from the New Jersey Department of Education:

EDISON:

METUCHEN:

Why Are School Administrator Salaries Rising?

Back in 2011, then-Gov. Chris Christie implemented a $175,000 cap for superintendents. The Christie administration raised the maximum base pay for superintendents to $191,584 in 2017.

Then in 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that eliminated the cap for superintendent salaries but set guidelines for school-executive contracts to limit or standardize bonuses and other perks.

School executive pay has long been a controversial subject in both local school district budgeting and state policy. While administrative salaries are often a flashpoint for criticism in school policy, many districts struggled to maintain experienced superintendents when the position's pay was capped, according to a 2019 analysis from NJ Spotlight.

Superintendents, principals and other school leaders throughout the nation have faced intense scrutiny for COVID-19 management and from politically charged movements to overhaul or eliminate certain subjects and topics from the curriculum. But those obstacles have also fallen to teachers and other rank-and-file school employees. And New Jersey has faced a shortage of teaching candidates that preceded the pandemic.

(With reporting from Michelle Rotuno-Johnson, Patch Staff)

Have a correction or a news tip? Email sarah.salvadore@patch.com

Chinese-inspired restaurant, retro arcade coming to Metuchen, NJ

Metuchen’s Mayor Jonathan Busch sounded like a proud dad at a meeting last week when he was gushing about some new businesses coming soon to the Middlesex County town."Soon, the former pastry chef at Heirloom Kitchen will be opening Ram & Rooster, a Chinese-inspired new American eatery, and the retro video game arcade, Yestercades, will open here later this month,” the mayor ...

Metuchen’s Mayor Jonathan Busch sounded like a proud dad at a meeting last week when he was gushing about some new businesses coming soon to the Middlesex County town.

"Soon, the former pastry chef at Heirloom Kitchen will be opening Ram & Rooster, a Chinese-inspired new American eatery, and the retro video game arcade, Yestercades, will open here later this month,” the mayor told mycentraljersey.com.

On their Instagram the owner of Ram & Rooster says the concept is “an homage to my parents and a tribute to their heritage. We will be serving unique Chinese-inspired dishes in a multi/course tasting menu format.”

No word yet on a hard opening date, but soon. You’ll find them at 83 Central Avenue in Metuchen.

Then there’s Yestercades, which should be like a beacon to all 70s and 80s kids everywhere. If you hung around the arcades waiting with your quarters for Space Invaders to be free, this is your place.

It’s all the retro style cabinet video games, ones like Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, Pacman, Asteroids, Frogger, etc.. But it’s more than that. You may come across air hockey tables, pool tables, pinball machines, and the last time I was in the Somerville location they had leather sofas where you could sit and play the more modern home console games. They also have locations in Red Bank and Westfield.

You’ll find the new Yestercades at 442 Main Street in Metuchen. They told me they’re hoping to be open late this month or early February and that it will be announced on their Instagram.

That’s not all for the so-called Brainy Boro. Metuchen is also getting a Starbucks. Construction has already begun on a Middlesex Avenue location right across from Trailhead Park.

Mayor Busch reports their downtown is thriving.

A number of our retail establishments have become recognized as some of New Jersey’s best. Our downtown is the place to be…our downtown vacancy rate remains at a record low.

Sometimes it’s good to be the mayor.

Pac-Man Facts: 40 Easily Digestible Bits of Arcade-Game History

From his arcade-game fame to his own TV show and appearances on all kinds of collectibles, a look back at Pac-Man.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

Metuchen Previews Downtown Pocket Park on Main Street

Senator Patrick Diegnan and Assemblymembers Robert Karabinchak and Sterley Stanely are honored to secure state funding as part of New Jersey’s annual budget process for the construction of Metuchen’s newest park space.Metuchen is using the funds to convert the former Manasquan Bank drive through on Main Street into a pocket park on property the bank generously donated to the borough.A temporary space has already been created on the repurposed grounds, which have been landscaped, painted, sealcoated and augmented wit...

Senator Patrick Diegnan and Assemblymembers Robert Karabinchak and Sterley Stanely are honored to secure state funding as part of New Jersey’s annual budget process for the construction of Metuchen’s newest park space.

Metuchen is using the funds to convert the former Manasquan Bank drive through on Main Street into a pocket park on property the bank generously donated to the borough.

A temporary space has already been created on the repurposed grounds, which have been landscaped, painted, sealcoated and augmented with tables, chairs, and string lights.

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Borough officials and committee members will collaborate in the coming months on a design plan for a permanent space, which will be known as Thomas Mundy Peterson Park.

“With the help of a portion of a $250,000 grant from this year’s state budget made possible by our state legislative delegation, we will be engaging our planner to put together a comprehensive and collaborative plan to build the permanent iteration of this park, which will include input from the public,” Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch said Thursday during a ceremony formally opening the borough’s newest park space.

Busch expressed his deep gratitude to Manasquan Bank Chair, President, and Chief Executive Officer Jim Vaccarro for donating the property. Manasquan Bank has relocated its Metuchen branch from 442 Main Street to 429 Main Street.

Borough Administrator Melissa Perilstein and Borough Director of Special Projects Jay Muldoon were among many members of the mayor’s staff who Busch thanked for turning the pocket park vision into a reality.

Busch said Perilstein “navigated so many complications with grace and determination” and that Muldoon’s “perseverance with the variety of legal issues kept us all on track.”

The mayor also thanked Metuchen Downtown Alliance Director Dawn Mackey and the eight-member Pocket Park Advisory Committee for their vision, as well as the borough’s Department of Public Works for its enthusiastic efforts on the project.

“Downtown spaces like this help define communities,” Busch said. “People come to intimate spaces like these to get some shade, have meals or coffee with friends and, of course, they are places to have events. Whether you’re here during the day or you decide to enjoy your evening under these lights, this place is now a downtown focal point, a meeting area, a place to relax.”

Busch said Thomas Mundy Peterson Park will be named after Metuchen’s “most famous resident.”

Peterson was the first African American to cast a ballot in a U.S. election, exercising his right to vote on March 31, 1870, one day after the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Peterson was born in Metuchen in 1824, two decades after New Jersey became the first state in the union to end slavery.

“He eventually moved to Perth Amboy where his historic vote was cast,” Busch said. “It is incredible to think that Peterson lived through the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, he witnessed reconstruction and its ultimate demise, he watched Jim Crow laws ravage our nation and the Supreme Court’s shameful ‘separate but equal’ decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.”

With the naming of the park after Peterson, Busch said Metuchen honors his courage, patriotism, and everything for which his first vote stands.

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NJ Town Now Has One of the Best Main Streets in America After ‘Incredible' Turnaround

A Main Street makeover for a New Jersey town has caught the eye of the rest of the country.It's a big honor for the small town of Metuchen, which was just named among the winners of the Great American Main Street Award. The prize caps off a big turnaround for the town, which just seven years ago saw one in every five storefront vacant, victims of the Great Recession that left the downtown area on the ropes.Downtown Metuchen’s Main Street is just two blocks long, but it's now vibrant and booming. Pastry Lu’s is one o...

A Main Street makeover for a New Jersey town has caught the eye of the rest of the country.

It's a big honor for the small town of Metuchen, which was just named among the winners of the Great American Main Street Award. The prize caps off a big turnaround for the town, which just seven years ago saw one in every five storefront vacant, victims of the Great Recession that left the downtown area on the ropes.

Downtown Metuchen’s Main Street is just two blocks long, but it's now vibrant and booming. Pastry Lu’s is one of the new businesses that have filled nearly every empty space, and the co-owner said they are "absolutely" there to stay, and are planning on doing more locations with different businesses.

Ever since the town created a special improvement district nearly seven years ago — with an extra tax on downtown property, typically of maybe $1,000 a year or so — the downtown has seen a revitalization.

"When we say proud, we’re proud of who we are and we’re proud of our community for helping us get to where we’ve gotten," said Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch, addressing how the town has gotten the 22 percent vacancy down to just 4 percent in 2023.

Even he was caught by surprise by just how much the town was able to turn around in a relatively short time.

"I bet we could improve things, but the idea of going from 22 [percent] to 4, think about that. It’s just incredible," Busch said.

The town was one of three winners of the award, along with Danville, Virginia, and Florence, South Carolina.

Leaders especially praise the volunteers who help stage a dozen events a year at a plaza a block off Main Street, which is flanked by brand new apartments that bring more life downtown.

Borough workers put up the award signage on the marquee of the truly dusty and long-abandoned Forum Theater, which was once a vaudeville showcase. Now there are hopes to make it the center of a new arts district two blocks from the business district, thinking the water-stained walls can give way to a playhouse.

And across the street from the theater sits another small business that the town bet big on seven years ago, Angie Restaurant. That risk clearly has paid off, as new restaurants have popped up on side streets.

"You look around you — the bones are excellent. You’ve got a 100-year-old theater, Victorian homes and we’re at the hub of activity here," said Dawn Mackey, the executive director of the Metuchen Downtown Alliance.

Especially with a major mall just two miles away, the small town of just over 15,000 people is clearly punching above its weight with a great American Main Street. So how do they plan on celebrating? With a street party, of course, set for Juneteenth weekend — a week after downtown pride and a week before the Juneteenth celebration.

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