WEST RIDGE — West Ridge is one of Chicago's most diverse neighborhoods, a melting pot of religions, ethnicities and interests.
And Warren Park might be that melting pot's showcase.
On any given warm evening, the park at 6601 N. Western Ave. hosts a symphony of sports from around the world, everything from full-fledged cricket matches to pickup soccer games to softball leagues to youth baseball.
On Monday night, both organized and recreational sports were underway across the sprawling green park at the corner of Western and Pratt.
It's a place where longtime friends meet to talk, parents chit chat while their children play in an open field, and aging flag football players go to keep in shape.
Jim Weglarz, an Edgewater resident who plays flag football with friends, said he comes here to run sprints because other parks can't hold a candle to the vast green space Warren Park offers.
Nicole Griggs, who's lived in West Ridge over 30 years and regularly passes through the park, brought along her friend Denise Collins from Texas and her new 10-week-old puppy Mack to one of her favorite spots Monday night.
She insisted on strolling through the park with her Texan friend because it's one of the city's "best parks" — a "mini-nature walk," as she would call it.
Siti Hamida, 21, sat and enjoyed a styrofoam cup full of sweet corn from a local food vendor as she sat on a bench and waited as her husband and friends played a game of soccer on his day off from work.
She doesn't mind the waiting, she said, Warren Park is where she comes to walk alone to find "calm and peace," she said.
Check out our photos from an evening in Warren Park, an epicenter of cultural diversity, community recreation and "a place to find calm and peace," as one resident said.
Basketball games were happening across the park. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Hamzah Patel, who lives in nearby North Park, also plays with the Illinois Premier League Cricket Conference and was born and raised in Chicago. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Athletes who are members of the Illinois Premier League Cricket Conference practice before a game. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Jill Brunner's 8-year-old son Devon is part of the Warren Park Youth Baseball League that meets in the fall to keep baseball skills sharp among players. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Eight-year-old Baxter Wunar also plays in the Warren Park Youth Baseball League. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A little girl, surrounded by teams practicing soccer, tries to show off her skills. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A game of volleyball underway. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Edgewater resident Jim Weglarz cools down after a series of 80-yard sprints across a field in preparation for his flag football team. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Siti Hamidah, 21, came to watch her husband play soccer ("football" as she puts it) with a group of friends during their off-day from work.
Friends from Malaysia and Thailand play a game of chinlo. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A torn ball found in the park shows it was put to good use. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A dog and his owner play a game of fetch in one of many wide open fields. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Friends watch as a basketball swooshes through the hoop. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A jogger out enjoying the park's many paths. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Razvan Marcu and his dog Ace get a drink at a water fountain. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Friends goof off in the park. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Nearly a year old, 11-month-old baby Adrian Horopciuc and father George, who is from Romania, spent some time at the park with longtime friend Razvan Marcu and his dog Ace. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Ten-week-old Mack ferociously stares down another dog. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A man pushes a cart full of sugary frozen desserts near the park's playground. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
A friendly squirrel appears to be no stranger to human visitors. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
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