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With approximately 46 parks, there is always a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy in Elizabeth. Its main parks include Warinanco and Mattano parks, both belonging to the county system, and the majestic Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park. The city’s most extensive park is Warinanco Park, a county park designed by the noted landscape architect Frederick Olmstead, who also designed New York’s Central Park. It is truly a park for all seasons, with winding trails, huge trees, flower gardens, an ice skating rink, track, fitness course, tennis courts and football, soccer and baseball fields. In the spring, cherry blossoms sprout and turn the park into a colorful place that must be seen. Azaleas, tulips and magnolias surround the park. Also, a winding waterway with various birds and waterfowl crosses through the park.


At the eastern end of town is the Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park, which Mayor Bollwage dedicated in 1993. The park fronts the Kill Van Kull waterway, which flows into the New York Harbor. The boardwalk recreation area contains a fishing pier, tables for chess, bike racks and benches. There is a city-run marina that has slips and dry-docking facilities for more than 60 privately owned pleasure and fishing boats.

At Mattano Park, there are more ball fields, playgrounds and a water spray feature for children in the summer. There are beautiful views of green fields and the Elizabeth River. Union County’s Phil Rizzuto Park borders Elizabeth/Union/Hillside in honor of the late New York Yankee Hall-of-Fame baseball player. The park is a 10.4-acre multi-use facility that also contains a “Boundless Playground” area, which allows children with disabilities to play alongside their peers.

The city has a number of recreation centers open to the public throughout Elizabeth, including the Thomas G. Dunn Sports Center and the YMCA on Madison Avenue. Elizabeth is within easy driving distance of several public golf courses in Union County, including Ash Brook and Galloping Hill. During the off-season, Galloping Hill is transformed into a winter wonderland, offering sledding, cross-country skiing and iceskating.

The city of Elizabeth has served as a backdrop for a number of famous movie productions, including “The Wrestler,” with Academy Award Nominee Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. Many music videos have used the city as a backdrop. TV shows such as “The Sopranos” have used the city for filming episodes.

Elizabeth’s Department of Recreation boasts a wide-array of programs that makes it one of the best in the state. Every kind of sport imaginable is offered: from youth sports leagues to tennis instruction, to basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, swimming and boxing. There are also day camps and ceramic and flower classes. The department runs two in-ground pools and six fountain sprinkler systems from July 4th until Labor Day.

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