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“It’s the city’s backyard,” Sarah Jessica Parker said at a benefit event today, Feb. 10, for the Central Park Conservancy in a pre-recorded interview with CBS Sunday Morning contributor Alina Cho.
“One of my first memories of Central Park as a New Yorker, not just a visitor, was actually driving down Central Park West to go to an audition. Central Park was on my left, this vast, massive green space. This was 1977, the park was very different then, but it was something I had never seen. I’d lived in a city, but we didn’t have massive green spaces like that for the community.”
The virtual Galentine’s Celebration event — which featured a Valentine’s Day-themed floral arrangement and craft demo — was a fundraiser for the Central Park Conservancy’s Playground Partners, a program of its Women’s Committee. With a staff of over 300, the Conservancy is responsible for all aspects of the Park’s stewardship, including day-to-day maintenance and continued restoration projects. The $275,000 raised during the event will support the daily care and cleanliness of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds.
“To New Yorkers who don’t have access to their own recreational space to be restored or find calm and tranquility,” continued Parker, “to meet a friend or watch their children learn to walk or ride a bike, to see birds, to meet somebody for the first time, to find a friend; it’s been such a source of comfort, a beacon. It’s been shelter for so many.”
Central Park has been the backdrop of countless film and TV projects, including the iconic season three finale of Sex and the City, where Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw falls into the pond next to the Central Park Boathouse.
“We could only do one [take],” Parker recalled, laughing. “That was a Richard Tyler dress that they had loaned us, there was one of those dresses and that was it. So, we shot the scene up to that moment, did coverage up to that moment, that was one of the great memories I have, among many.”
The HBO hit comedy recently announced a reboot, starring Parker, titled And Just Like That. The actress shared that the sequel series, which is set to begin filming in the spring, was born during the pandemic.
“We weren’t planning it,” Parker said, “[Showrunner] Michael Patrick King and I hadn’t discussed it. It actually happened during shelter in place, I was listening to a podcast and it occurred to me that Michael Patrick and I had never talked about our experience working and producing the show. We started talking about maybe doing a podcast and as we were talking about that we just realized ‘Why are we doing a podcast? Should we maybe think about a new chapter?'”
Parker continued to note that, as always, New York City was at the center of their inspiration. “This city was experiencing something so unimaginable, so unique. New York shut down in a way that also affects lots of other people because it’s the center of finance, it’s the center of culture (arguably) and its silence was deafening.”
The Galentine’s luncheon, which was hosted by actress Ali Wentworth, ended with a pre-recorded interview of actor Michael J. Fox and his wife, actress Tracy Pollan, sharing their love for the park.
“I always enjoy the park,” said Fox, who regularly walks the family dog, Gus, through the gardens. “It’s part of our living space. We’re so blessed to live next to this park, it’s crazy how lucky you are to be able to do that.”
The Michael J. Fox Foundation also hosts an annual Parkinson’s fundraiser walk through Central Park.
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