Newark (/?nu?.?rk/ or also locally /n??rk/) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Jersey and the seat of Essex County. As one of the nation's major air, shipping, and rail hubs, the city had a population of 277,140 in 2010, making it the nation's 67th most-populous municipality, after being ranked 63rd in the nation in 2000. For 2015, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated a population of 281,944, an increase of 1.7% from the 2010 enumeration, ranking the city the 70th largest in the nation. Newark is the second largest city in the New York metropolitan area, located approximately 8 miles (13 km) west of lower Manhattan.
Settled in 1666 by Puritans from New Haven Colony, Newark is one of the oldest European cities in the United States. Its location at the mouth of the Passaic River (where it flows into Newark Bay), has made the city's waterfront an integral part of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Today, Port Newark-Elizabeth is the primary container shipping terminal of the busiest seaport on the American East Coast. In addition, Newark Liberty International Airport was the first municipal commercial airport in the United States, and today is one of its busiest.
Several leading companies have their headquarters in Newark, including Prudential, PSEG, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Audible.com, IDT Corporation, and Manischewitz. A number of important higher education institutions are also located in the city, including the Newark campus of Rutgers University (which includes law and medical schools and the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies); the New Jersey Institute of Technology; and Seton Hall University's law school. The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey sits in the city as well. Local cultural venues include the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Symphony Hall, The Prudential Center and the Newark Museum.
Newark is divided into five political wards; the East, West, South, North and Central wards and contains neighborhoods ranging in character from bustling urban districts to quiet suburban enclaves. Newark's Branch Brook Park is the oldest county park in the United States and is home to the nation's largest collection of cherry blossom trees, numbering over 5,000.