It’s turning into a break-out-the-Champagne kind of week for downtown Red Bank.

First came news last week that Tiffany & Co plans to open one of its high-end emporiums on Broad Street.

Now there’s a poll released Monday by Monmouth University and New Jersey Monthly magazine that finds Red Bank is the ‘best downtown’ in Central Jersey.

The poll of 801 adults found that six percent considered Red Bank the best downtown in the state, tied with Newark. In the central swath of the state, Red Bank won the ‘best’ designation from 28 percent of respondents, widely outpolling Princeton, New Brunswick and six other towns.

From the release:

The poll asked downtown visitors to assess what attracts them to a downtown area and
found that good dining options and a pleasant atmosphere are more important than having
traditional infrastructure. Specifically, 71% of New Jersey downtown visitors name good
restaurants as a very important factor in getting them to visit a downtown area. A majority also
name nice landscaping (59%) and unique, locally-owned shops (54%) as very important qualities
for a downtown area to have. Fewer visitors say that interesting buildings or architecture (38%)
and live theaters or nightclubs (28%) are essential elements to creating an attractive downtown

Newark was ranked tops in the northern part of the state and Atlantic City the best in the southern, according to the report.

The poll found disparities in preferences by race, ethnicity and income. African-Americans and Hispanics were far more likely than Caucasians to prefer a dowtown in one of the state’s five largest cities Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Paterson and Camden, the Monmouth U press release says. And…

[N]early one-third (31%) of the state’s top earners – those making more than $100,000
per year – name one of the 5 bedroom communities of Ridgewood, Princeton, Red Bank,
Westfield and Haddonfield as their top downtown. This compares to just 1-in-10 (10%) of those
earning below $50,000 who choose one of these five towns as their favorite downtown area in
the state.

The poll also uncovered a smattering of data about how respondents use downtowns, and what appeals to them.

Fully 6-in-10 New Jerseyans who have a downtown area in their backyard say they shop or
dine there on a weekly basis. This includes 33% who do so several times a week and 27% who
visit their downtown about once a week. Among all New Jerseyans, 4-in-10 say they visit any
downtown in the state at least weekly.

Full disclosure: the publisher of redbankgreen is a freelance contributor to New Jersey Monthly. He had no involvement in the poll.

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