Elizabeth, originally called "Elizabethtown" and part of the Elizabethtown Tract, was founded in 1664 by English settlers. The town was not named for Queen Elizabeth I as many people may assume, but rather for Elizabeth, wife of Sir George Carteret, one of the two original Proprietors of the colony of New Jersey. She was the daughter of Philippe de Carteret II, 3rd Seigneur de Sark and Anne Dowse. The town served as the first capital of New Jersey. During the American Revolutionary War, Elizabethtown was continually attacked by British forces based on Manhattan and Staten Island, culminating in the Battle of Springfield which decisively defeated British attempts to gain New Jersey. After independence, it was from Elizabethtown that George Washington embarked by boat to Manhattan for his 1789 inauguration. There are numerous memorials and monuments of the American Revolution in Elizabeth.
On March 13, 1855, the City of Elizabeth was created by an act of the New Jersey Legislature, combining and replacing both Elizabeth Borough (which dated back to 1740) and Elizabeth Township (which had been formed in 1693), subject to the results of a referendum held on March 27, 1855. On March 19, 1857, the city became part of the newly created Union County. Portions of the city were taken to form Linden Township on March 4, 1861.
The first major industry, the Singer Sewing Machine Company came to Elizabeth and employed as many as 2,000 people. In 1895, it saw one of the first car companies, when Electric Carriage and Wagon Company was founded to manufacture the Electrobat, joined soon by another electric car builder, Andrew L. Riker. The Electric Boat Company got its start building submarines for the United States Navy in Elizabeth, New Jersey, beginning with the launch of USS Holland (SS-1) in 1897. These pioneering naval craft [known as A-Class] were developed at Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth between the years 1896–1903. Elizabeth grew in parallel to its sister city of Newark for many years, but has been more successful in retaining a middle-class presence and was mostly spared riots in the 1960s.
On September 18, 2016, a backpack holding five bombs was discovered outside NJ Transit's Elizabeth train station. One bomb detonated accidentally when a bomb squad robot failed to disarm the contents of the backpack; no one was hurt. Police were initially unsure if this event was related to bombs in Seaside Park, New Jersey and Manhattan that had exploded the previous day. On September 19, police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old Afghan-born naturalized U.S. citizen, for questioning in connection with all three incidents; the FBI considered Rahami, whose last known address was within 0.5 miles (0.8 km) of the train station, to be armed and dangerous.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 13.464 square miles (34.873 km2), including 12.319 square miles (31.907 km2) of land and 1.145 square miles (2.966 km2) of water (8.51%).
Elizabeth is bordered to the southwest by Linden, to the west by Roselle and Roselle Park, to the northwest by Union and Hillside, to the north by Newark (in Essex County). To the east the city is across the Newark Bay from Bayonne in Hudson County and the Arthur Kill from Staten Island, New York.
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Elizabethport and Great Island.
The borders of Elizabeth, Bayonne, and Staten Island meet at one point on Shooters Island, of which 7.5 acres (3.0 ha) of the island is owned by Elizabeth, though the island is managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The city of Elizabeth has several distinct districts and neighborhoods.
Midtown also occasionally known as Uptown, is the main commercial district and a historic section as well. It includes the First Presbyterian Church and St. John's Episcopal Church, and its St. John's Episcopal Churchyard. The First Presbyterian Church was a battleground for the American Revolution. Located here are also the 1931 Art Deco Hersh Tower, the Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, and the Ritz Theatre which has been operating since 1926. Midtown/Uptown includes the area once known as "Brittanville" which contained many English type gardens.
Bayway is located in the southern part of the city and borders the City of Linden. From US 1&9 and Allen Street, between the Elizabeth River and the Arthur Kill, it has maintained a strong Polish community for years. Developed at the turn of the 20th century, many of the area residents once worked at the refinery which straddles both Elizabeth and Linden. There are unique ethnic restaurants, bars, and stores along Bayway Avenue, and a variety of houses of worship. Housing styles are older and well maintained. There are many affordable two to four-family housing units, and multiple apartment complexes. The western terminus of the Goethals Bridge, which spans the Arthur Kill to Staten Island can be found here. A small section of the neighborhood was isolated with both the completion of the Goethals Bridge in 1928 and the construction of the New Jersey Turnpike in the 1950s. This section known as "Relocated Bayway" will soon be a memory and piece of history as many of the residents have been relocated themselves to make way for the expansion of the Goethals Bridge.
Downtown / E-Port (a.k.a. The Port and Elizabethport) is the oldest neighborhood in Elizabeth and perhaps the most diverse place in the city. It is a collection of old world Elizabeth, new America, and a mix of colonial-style houses and apartment buildings that stretch east of 7th Street to its shores. The name derived from its dependency of businesses catering to seagoing ventures. It was a thriving center of business between approximately the 1660s through the middle of the 20th century. This area has had a great deal of improvement in the last fifteen years. Many homes have been refurbished or replaced with new, more ornate constructions. Housing projects that stood for years along First Street were demolished and replaced with attractive apartment complexes for those with low to moderate incomes. New townhomes on the waterfront have been developed, and new two-family homes are currently under construction. The area formerly had three neighborhoods called Buckeye, New Mexico and Diamondville.
It is the former home of the Singer Manufacturing Company, makers of Singer sewing machines, which constructed a 1,400,000-square-foot (130,000 m2) facility on a 32-acre (13 ha) site in 1873. Shortly after it opened, the factory manufactured the majority of all sewing machines. With 6,000 employees working there in the 1870s, it was the largest number of workers at a single facility at the time of its construction. The company moved out in 1982.
The Elizabeth Marina, which in the past was filled with trash and debris along its walkway, was also beautified and many celebrations are held year round, from a Hispanic festival in the late spring to the lighting of a Christmas tree in the winter. Living conditions in this area continue to improve year after year. Historically, there was a Slavic community here, centered by a church (Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine) and a Lithuanian (Sts. Peter and Paul, R.C.) and Polish (St. Adalbert) Roman Catholic Church still stands in the neighborhood. St. Patrick Church, originally Irish, dominates the 'Port and had its cornerstone laid in 1887.
Elmora is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the western part of Elizabeth. The main thoroughfare, Elmora Avenue, boasts some of the best restaurants, shops and boutiques. A few of the city's most luxurious high-rise building complexes, affording views of the New York skyline, dot the edge of this neighborhood and are convenient to the Midtown NJ Transit Train Station. The neighborhood area forms a "V" from its approximate borders of the Central RR tracks to Rahway Avenue.
The northwestern part of Elmora is known as Elmora Hills. It is a strongly middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood. Originally called Shearerville, the name Elmora came from the developers of the area, the El Mora Land Company. This area was annexed from Union, returning to Elizabeth in the early part of the 20th century. This was done to increase the city's tax base as major improvements to infrastructure were necessary at the time.
Frog Hollow is a small community of homes east of Atlantic Street, west of the Arthur Kill, and south of Elizabeth Avenue. Its name is derived from the excellent frog catching in its marshes as well as the excellent oyster and fishing of the past. The area expanded east and includes the area formerly known as Helltown. Helltown included many of the docks and shipyards, as well as several drydocks. The area's developer was Edward N. Kellogg, who also laid out the neighborhood in Keighry Head. Frog Hollow contains older-style, affordable homes, rentals, and some quality restaurants in a working-class community. The statue honoring former Mayor Mack on Elizabeth Avenue is a landmark in the community. Frog Hollow is also convenient to the Veteran's Memorial Waterfront Park.
Its name is attributed to James Keighry of the Isle of Kerry, Ireland. He was a notable resident who owned a business facing the square formed at the junction of Jackson, Madison, Chestnut and Magnolia Avenues. The approximate borders of this neighborhood extended north from East Grand Street to Flora Street and from Walnut to Division Street. Developed by Edward N. Kellogg, many of the streets were named after family and friends. Keighry Head is located close to Midtown, containing affordable one and two-family homes, and apartment houses, convenient to the Midtown shopping district, and transportation.
The North End, also known as "North Elizabeth", is a diverse working-class neighborhood. The borders are approximately the Arch north to the city line between North Broad Street and US 1&9. It was developed mostly in the 1920s for workers in the Dusenburg automobile plant (later Durant Auto, Burry Biscuits and Interbake Foods). The area was heavily settled by the Irish and then Portuguese. The North End has easy access to New York and Newark via its own NJ Transit train station, Routes 1&9 and the NJ Turnpike. The neighborhood also has Crane Square, the Historic Nugents Tavern, and Kellogg Park and its proximity to Newark Airport. There is currently a plan in place to develop the former Interbake Foods facility into shopping and residential townhouses and condominiums. This community contains many larger one and two-family homes that have been rebuilt over the past decade. North Elizabeth also features many well-kept apartment houses and condominium units on and around North Avenue that are home to professionals who work in New York or the area. The only Benedictine women's community in New Jersey is located at Saint Walburga Monastery on North Broad Street.
Peterstown (also known as "The Burg") is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the southeastern part of the city. Its borders run west of Atlantic Street to South Spring Street from 1st Avenue to the Elizabeth River. Its name is derived from John Peters, who owned most of the land with George Peters. They divided the land and developed it during the end of the 19th century. The area of Peterstown was once predominantly occupied by its earliest settlers, who were German, and during the 1920s was gentrified by newly immigrated Italians. Peterstown has clean, quiet streets and has many affordable housing opportunities with a "village" feel. The area contains the historic Union Square, which is home to produce stands, meat markets, fresh fish and poultry stores. Peterstown is also home of the DeCavalcante crime family, one of the most infamous Mafia families in the United States.
The Point, formally known as the Crossroads, is centrally located and defined by New Point Road and Division Street. It is close to Midtown and contains many new affordable two-family homes, apartment houses and is undergoing a transformation. The former Elizabeth General Hospital site is currently being demolished and awaiting a new development.
Home to St. Mary's and the "Hilltoppers", this area once was lined with mansions. Its approximate borders were South Broad Street to Grier Avenue and Pearl Street to what is now US 1&9. During its development in the 1860s it was the most fashionable area of the city to live. It is now a quiet middle class community experiencing a re-development with many new condominiums.
Developed by Edward J. Grassman, Westminster got its name from the city's largest residential estates of the Tudor style and was inhabited by many residents who traced their ancestry to England. This neighborhood borders Hillside with the Elizabeth River running its border creating a dramatic splash of greenery and rolling hills off of North Avenue, near Liberty Hall. Residents use this area for recreation, whether it is at the newly christened Phil Rizzuto Park area, or for bird watching or for sunbathing by the river. It is one of the more affluent areas of Elizabeth.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Elizabeth has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 124,969 people, 41,596 households, and 29,325 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,144.1 per square mile (3,916.7/km2). There were 45,516 housing units at an average density of 3,694.7 per square mile (1,426.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 54.65% (68,292) White, 21.08% (26,343) Black or African American, 0.83% (1,036) Native American, 2.08% (2,604) Asian, 0.04% (52) Pacific Islander, 16.72% (20,901) from other races, and 4.59% (5,741) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 59.50% (74,353) of the population. The city's Hispanic population was the tenth-highest percentage among municipalities in New Jersey as of the 2010 Census.
There were 41,596 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 22.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% 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 3.43.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.2 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 96.8 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $43,770 (with a margin of error of +/- $1,488) and the median family income was $46,891 (+/- $1,873). Males had a median income of $32,268 (+/- $1,205) versus $27,228 (+/- $1,427) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,196 (+/- $604). About 14.7% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 18.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 120,568 people, 40,482 households, and 28,175 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,865.5 inhabitants per square mile (3,809.5/km2). There were 42,838 housing units at an average density of 3,505.2 per square mile (1,353.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.78% White, 19.98% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 2.35% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 15.51% from other races, and 5.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 49.46% of the population.
The nation where the highest number of foreign-born inhabitants of Elizabeth were born was Colombia, which was the birthplace of 8,731 Elizabeth residents as of the 2000 Census. This exceeded the combined total of Mexico and Central America of 8,214. It also far exceeded the next highest single nation count of Cuba at 5,812. The largest number for a non-Spanish speaking country and third highest overall was immigrants from Portugal numbering 4,544. The next largest groups were Salvadoran immigrants numbering 4,043, Peruvians 3,591 and Dominican immigrants, of whom there were 3,492.
There were 40,482 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.45.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,175, and the median income for a family was $38,370. Males had a median income of $30,757 versus $23,931 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,114. About 15.6% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 17.2% of those age 65 or over.
Since World War II, Elizabeth has seen its transportation facilities grow; the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is one of the busiest ports in the world, as is Newark Liberty International Airport, parts of which are actually in Elizabeth. Elizabeth also features Little Jimmy's Italian Ices (since 1932), the popular Jersey Gardens outlet mall, Loews Theater, and the Elizabeth Center, which generate millions of dollars in revenue. Companies based in Elizabeth include New England Motor Freight.
Together with Linden, Elizabeth is home to the Bayway Refinery, a Phillips 66 refining facility that supplies petroleum-based products to the New York/New Jersey area, producing approximately 230,000 barrels (37,000 m3) per day.
Celadon, a mixed-use development containing 14 glass skyscrapers, offices, retail, a hotel, boardwalk and many other amenities is proposed to border the east side of the Jersey Gardens mall, directly on the Port Newark Bay. Groundbreaking was scheduled for the summer of 2008 on the ferry, roads and parking, and construction will continue for at least twelve years.
Portions of the city are covered by the Urban Enterprise Zone, which cuts the sales tax rate to 3½% (half of the 7% charged statewide) and offers other incentives to businesses within the district. The Elizabeth UEZ has the highest business participation rate in the state, with approximately 1,000 businesses participating in — and benefiting from — the program. The UEZ has helped bring in more than $1.5 billion in new economic development to the city and has brought in over $50 million in sales tax revenue that has been reinvested in funding for additional police, streetscape and other infrastructure improvements.
The City of Elizabeth is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government. The city government of Elizabeth is made up of a Mayor and a City Council. The Elizabeth City Council is made up of nine members, who are elected to serve four-year terms of office on a staggered basis with elections held in even years. The three Council members elected at-large and mayor come up for election together in leap years and two years later the six members who are elected from each of Elizabeth's six wards are all up for election.
As of 2017, the city's Mayor is Democrat Chris Bollwage, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth who is serving his seventh term as Mayor, serving a term of office that ends December 31, 2020. City Council members are Council President Nelson Gonzalez (Second Ward; D, 2018), Carlos Cedeño (Fourth Ward; D, 2018), Frank Cuesta (at-large; D, 2016), William Gallman Jr. (Fifth Ward; D, 2018), Manny Grova Jr. (at-large; D, 2016), Kevin Kiniery (Third Ward; D, 2018), Frank O. Mazza (Sixth Ward; D, 2018), Patricia Perkins-Auguste (at-large; D, 2016) and Carlos L. Torres (First Ward; D, 2018).
Elizabeth is located in the 8th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 20th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Elizabeth had been split between the 10th Congressional District and the 13th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 20th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Raymond Lesniak (D, Elizabeth) and in the General Assembly by Jamel Holley (D, Roselle) and Annette Quijano (D, Elizabeth). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members. As of 2014, Union County's Freeholders are Chairman Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term ends December 31, 2014), Vice Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh (D, Roselle, 2015), Bruce Bergen (D, Springfield Township, 2015), Linda Carter (D, Plainfield, 2016), Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2014), Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2016) Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2016), Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2015) and Vernell Wright (D, Union, 2014). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2015), Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (D, Union, 2016) and Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2014). The County Manager is Alfred Faella.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 44,415 registered voters in Elizabeth, of which 24,988 (56.3% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 2,430 (5.5% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 16,985 (38.2% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 12 voters registered to other parties. Among the city's 2010 Census population, 35.5% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 47.8% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 24,751 votes (80.8% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 5,213 votes (17.0% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 166 votes (0.5% vs. 0.8%), among the 30,640 ballots cast by the city's 50,715 registered voters, for a turnout of 60.4% (vs. 68.8% in Union County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 23,524 votes (74.3% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 7,559 votes (23.9% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 202 votes (0.6% vs. 0.9%), among the 31,677 ballots cast by the city's 48,294 registered voters, for a turnout of 65.6% (vs. 74.7% in Union County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 18,363 votes (67.2% vs. 58.3% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 8,486 votes (31.0% vs. 40.3%) and other candidates with 144 votes (0.5% vs. 0.7%), among the 27,334 ballots cast by the city's 45,882 registered voters, for a turnout of 59.6% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 63.2% of the vote (7,804 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 35.5% (4,379 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (163 votes), among the 13,592 ballots cast by the city's 49,515 registered voters (1,246 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 27.5%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 10,258 ballots cast (66.8% vs. 50.6% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 4,386 votes (28.6% vs. 41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 376 votes (2.4% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 131 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 15,355 ballots cast by the city's 46,219 registered voters, yielding a 33.2% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).
The Elizabeth Police Department was established in May 1858.
The Elizabeth Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services to the city of Elizabeth. The Elizabeth Fire Department was established as a volunteer organization in 1837 when Engine Company # 1 was organized. In 1901, the volunteer department was no longer adequate and the department reorganized into a paid department on January 1, 1902.
The department is part of the Metro USAR Strike Team, which consists of nine North Jersey fire departments and other emergency services divisions working to address major emergency rescue situations.
Emergency medical services are provided by the Elizabeth Fire Department's Division of Emergency Medical Services. This is a civilian division of the fire department and handles approx 20,000 calls a year. The division is made up of an EMS chief, 5 supervisors, 28 full-time emergency medical technicians, and approximately 12 per-diem EMTs. The division, at its maximum staffing, aims to operate five ambulances and a supervisor on days (7am-7pm) and three ambulances and a supervisor on nights (7pm-7am).
The city's public schools are operated by Elizabeth Public Schools, serving students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
As of the 2011–12 school year, the district's 34 schools had an enrollment of 23,386 students and 1,846.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.67:1.
With 5,300 students, Elizabeth High School was the largest high school in the state of New Jersey and one of the largest in the United States, and underwent a split that created five new academies and a smaller Elizabeth High School under a transformation program that began in the 2009–10 school year. The school was the 294th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 322 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2010 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after being ranked 302nd in 2008 out of 316 schools. Before the 2008–09 school year, all of the district's schools (except high schools) became K–8 schools, replacing the middle schools and elementary schools. SchoolDigger.com ranked Elizabeth 449th of 558 districts evaluated in New Jersey.
These and other indicators reveal a seriously declining performance standard in the city's schools. Data reported by the state Department of Education showed that a majority of students in a majority of the Elizabeth public schools failed basic skills tests.
In the 2008–09 school year, Victor Mravlag Elementary School No. 21 was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive. For the 2006–07 school year, William F. Halloran Alternative School #22 was one of four schools in New Jersey recognized with the Blue Ribbon Award. William F. Halloran Alternative School #22 earned a second award when it was one of 11 in the state to be recognized in 2014 by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.
Elizabeth is also home to several private schools. The coeducational St. Mary of the Assumption High School, which was established 1930, and the all-girls Benedictine Academy, which is run by the Benedictine Sisters of Saint Walburga Monastery, both operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. The Newark Archdiocese also operates the K–8 schools Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy and St. Genevieve School.
Following the closure of Saint Patrick High School by the Newark Archdiocese in June 2012 in the face of increasing costs and declining enrollment, administrators and parents affiliated with the defunct school opened an independent non-denominational school located on Morris Avenue in Elizabeth called "The Patrick School" in September 2012.
The Benedictine Preschool, operated by the Benedictine Sisters, is housed at Saint Walburga Monastery.
The Jewish Educational Center comprises the Yeshiva of Elizabeth (nursery through sixth grades), the Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy (boys, sixth through twelfth grades), and Bruriah High School (girls, seventh through twelfth grades).
Princeton University was founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey.
The Elizabeth Public Library, the free public library with a main library, originally a Carnegie library, and three branches had a collection of 384,000 volumes and annual circulation of about 115,000 in 2016.
Elizabeth is a hub of several major roadways including the New Jersey Turnpike / Interstate 95, Interstate 278 (including the Goethals Bridge, which carries Interstate 278 over the Arthur Kill between Elizabeth and Howland Hook, Staten Island), U.S. Route 1/9, Route 27, Route 28, and Route 439. Elizabeth's own street plan, in contrast to the more usual grid plan, is to a large degree circular, with circumferential and radial streets centered on the central railroad station.
As of May 2010, the city had a total of 153.78 miles (247.48 km) of roadways, of which 123.75 miles (199.16 km) were maintained by the municipality, 12.27 miles (19.75 km) by Union County and 11.80 miles (18.99 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 5.96 miles (9.59 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Elizabeth was once home to several smaller bascule bridges. The South First Street Bridge over the Elizabeth River, originally built in 1908, was replaced by a fixed span. The South Front Street Bridge (also over the Elizabeth River), built in 1922, has been left in the open position since March 2011. A study is underway to determine if the bridge can be rehabilitated. The bridge is notable in that it is the only remaining movable road bridge in Union County (movable railroad bridges still exist).
Elizabeth is among the U.S. cities with the highest train ridership. It is serviced by NJ Transit on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor Line. There are two active stations in Elizabeth. Elizabeth station, also called Broad Street Elizabeth or Midtown Station, is the southern station in Midtown Elizabeth. The other train station in Elizabeth is North Elizabeth station.
NJ Transit has planned a segment of the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link (NERL), designated as the Union County Light Rail (UCLR). The UCLR was planned to connect Midtown Station with Newark Liberty International Airport and have seven or eight other stations in between within Elizabeth city limits. A possible extension of this future line to Plainfield would link the city of Elizabeth with the Raritan Valley Line.
NJ Transit provides bus service on the 111, 112, 113 and 115 routes to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, on the 24, 40, 48, 59 and 62 routes to Newark, New Jersey, with local service available on the 26, 52, 56, 57 and 58 routes.
The Colombian airline Avianca operates a private bus service from John F. Kennedy Airport to Union City and Elizabeth for passengers on Avianca flights departing from and arriving to JFK.
WJDM at 1530 on the AM dial is licensed to Elizabeth. It features Spanish Christian programming.
News 12 New Jersey offers weather and news channels with coverage of the city.
Residents of Elizabeth can tune into the public-access television cable-TV channel at any time to view public information such as the city bulletin board, live meetings, important health information and tips. This service is provided by Optimum Local Programming. The service can be found on channel 18. The channel also has features such as the top ten ranked television shows, educational facts, quote of the day, gas price statistics, and tips for keeping the city safe and clean.
The city is the focal point of Elizabeth native Judy Blume's 2015 novel In The Unlikely Event, the backdrop for which was the crash of three commercial airliners in Elizabeth within a period of two months in 1951–52.
In the opening credits of The Sopranos, part of the city is shown.
Elizabeth is the hometown of Mary Dawn Dwyer Levov, the principal female character in Philip Roth's 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Elizabeth include:Asad Abdul-Khaliq (born 1980), starting quarterback for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 2000 to 2003
Luqman Abdullah (born 1981), FBI's "Most Wanted" drug kingpin
A. Bernard Ackerman (1936–2008), physician; a founding figure in the field of dermatopathology
Ryan Adeleye (born 1985), professional soccer defender who has played for Hapoel Ashkelon
Matthias W. Baldwin (1795–1866), inventor and machinery manufacturer, specializing in the production of steam locomotives, whose machine shop, established in 1825, grew to become Baldwin Locomotive Works
Stephen Bercik (1921–2003), politician; mayor of Elizabeth from 1956 to 1964
Benjamin Blackledge (1743–1815), educator and public official
Judy Blume (born 1938), author
Elias Boudinot (1740–1821), President of the Continental Congress; early U.S. Congressman
Todd Bowles (born 1963), former NFL defensive back with the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers; current Head Coach of the New York Jets, starting in the 2015 NFL season
David Brody (born 1930), historian; professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Davis
Hubie Brown (born 1933), former basketball coach; current television analyst
Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825–1921), first woman to be ordained as a mainstream Protestant minister in the U.S.
Robert Nietzel Buck (1914–2007), broke the junior transcontinental air speed record in 1930; youngest pilot ever licensed in the U.S.
N. J. Burkett (born 1962), news correspondent for WABC-TV
William Burnet (1730–1791), physician who represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress from 1780 to 1781
Arthur Leopold Busch (1866–1956), submarine pioneer who constructed the USS Holland SS-1
James G. Butler (1920–2005), trial lawyer who was known for winning many large verdicts for plaintiffs in civil litigation, including the first in a thalidomide case
Nicholas Murray Butler (1862–1947), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; a founder of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Elias B. Caldwell (1776–1825), Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States
Joan Carroll (1931-2016), actress, known for films such as Meet Me in St. Louis and The Bells of St. Mary's
Rodney Carter (born 1964), former NFL running back/3rd down receiver with the Pittsburgh Steelers
Al Catanho (born 1972), former linebacker in the NFL for the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins
John Catlin (1803–1874), acting Governor of Wisconsin Territory
Gil Chapman (born 1953), running back and return specialist for the University of Michigan and New Orleans Saints
Michael Chertoff (born 1953), United States Secretary of Homeland Security; was born and raised there
Abraham Clark (1725–1794), Member of the Continental Congress; signer of the Declaration of Independence
Amos Clark Jr. (1828–1912), politician and businessman who represented New Jersey's 3rd congressional district from 1873 to 1875.
Freddie 'Red' Cochrane (1915–1993), professional boxer in the welterweight (147 lb) division who became World Champion in 1941 in that class
Jim Colbert (born 1941), golfer and multiple winner on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour
Tom Colicchio (born 1962), restaurateur, chef, and judge on reality-TV program Top Chef
Joseph Halsey Crane (1782–1851), Congressional representative from Ohio
Elias Dayton (1737–1807), elected to the Continental Congress; served as mayor of Elizabethtown from 1796 to 1805; father of Jonathan Dayton
Jonathan Dayton (1760–1824), signer of the United States Constitution and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; born there; Dayton, Ohio is named for him
John De Hart (1727–1795), delegate to the Continental Congress; was born and lived there
DeCavalcante crime family, one of the biggest mafia families in the U.S., is based here
Tom DeSanto (born 1968), film producer
Thomas G. Dunn (c. 1921–1998), seven-term mayor of Elizabeth whose 28 years in office made him the longest-serving mayor of a U.S. city with more than 100,000 people
John J. Fay Jr. (1927–2003), member of the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate
Chuck Feeney (born 1931), businessman, philanthropist and the founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private foundations in the world.
Charles N. Fowler (1852–1932), represented 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1895 to 1911
Ron Freeman (born 1947), winner of the gold medal in the 4 × 400 m relay at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City; raised there and attended Thomas Jefferson High School
Stanton T. Friedman (born 1934), professional ufologist
Chris Gatling (born 1967), NBA player for the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers
William Halsey Jr. (1882–1959) "Bull" Halsey, World War II five-star Fleet Admiral
Alexander Hamilton (ca. 1755–1804), lived here as a young man upon first arriving in America
Kyrie Irving (born 1992), a McDonald's All-American basketball player; attended St. Patrick High School; plays professionally for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers
Raghib Ismail (born 1969), former NFL and CFL player
Horace Jenkins (born 1974), former NBA player for the Detroit Pistons
Phineas Jones (1819–1884), represented New Jersey's 6th congressional district from 1881 to 1883
John Kean (1852–1914), represented New Jersey in the United States Senate from 1899 to 1911; served two separate terms in the United States House of Representatives, from 1883 to 1885, and from 1887 to 1889, representing New Jersey's 3rd congressional district
James C. Kellogg III (1915–1980), Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Daniel Hugh Kelly (born 1952), stage, film and television actor; was born and raised there
Daniel C. Kurtzer (born 1949), United States Ambassador to Egypt from 1997 to 2001; United States Ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005
Chauncey D. Leake (1896–1978), pharmacologist, medical historian and ethicist
Jay Lethal (born 1985 as Jamar Shipman), professional wrestler in Ring Of Honor
William Livingston (1723–1790), signer of the United States Constitution; first elected Governor of New Jersey; lived there and built his home, Liberty Hall
Zenaida Manfugás (1932–2012), Cuban-American pianist, considered one of the first black pianists in Cuba
James P. Mitchell (1900–1964), served as United States Secretary of Labor from 1953 to 1961; ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New Jersey
Thomas Mitchell (1892–1962), Oscar and Tony Award-winning actor; was born there
Hank Mobley (1930–1986), hard bop jazz saxophonist
Don Newcombe (born 1926), pitcher who spent most of his career with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Marissa Paternoster (born 1986), artist, singer and guitarist in the bands Screaming Females and Noun
Elizabeth Peña (born 1959–2014), actress
Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838), Italian-born librettist and poet
Franklin Leonard Pope (1840–1885), telegrapher and inventor; lived there as a young man and befriended Thomas Edison
Ahmad Khan Rahami (born 1988), naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan and Elizabeth restaurant worker charged in the 2016 New York and New Jersey bombings.
Ron Rivers (born 1971), running back in the NFL for six seasons
Jon Rua (born 1983), actor, singer and choreographer who appeared in the Broadway hit Hamilton.
Jonal Saint-Dic (born 1985), NFL player with the Kansas City Chiefs
Debralee Scott (1953–2005), actress, known for her role in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Mickey Spillane (1918–2006), writer
Leo Steiner (1939–1987), co-owner of the Carnegie Deli
Edward Stratemeyer (1862–1930), creator of the Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew, he was born and resided there
William Sulzer (1863–1941), U.S. Congressman and impeached governor of New York
Craig Taylor (born 1966), former running back for three seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals
Dick Vosburgh (1929–2007), comedy writer and lyricist working chiefly in Britain
Bernie Wagenblast (born 1956), broadcaster and journalist
Mickey Walker (1903–1981), boxer; held the Welterweight and Middleweight titles; was born and raised there; ranked #10 on Sports Illustrated's list of The 50 Greatest New Jersey Sports Figures
Joe Weil (born 1958), writer and active member of the New Jersey poetry scene
Sam Woodyard (1925–1988), jazz drummer best known for his association with the Duke Ellington orchestra
Ribera, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Kitami, Japan, signed on June 12, 1969