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A Sinatra Serenade in Central Park

City Parks Foundation throws its largest and most successful fundraising event yet

When it comes to money, Frank Sinatra once said, “If you’ve got it, give it away.” His words were the theme of last night’s fundraiser for the City Parks Foundation (CFP) in New York City. The nonprofit conservancy group raised more than $1 million—the most in its history—by staging 13 Sinatra–inspired duets and solo performances. The clear skies and warm breeze made for a lovely evening as John Legend, Andrew Bird, Bettye Lavette and others took Central Park’s outdoor stage at Rumsey Playfield and entertained an enthusiastic audience. John Pizzarelli and The Swing Seven provided the accompaniment for the evening’s acts, and Legend’s soulful rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight” was a particular crowd pleaser. Donations will go to benefit Central Park’s SummerStage, a public program that presents free arts, education and sporting events across 17 local parks and all five boroughs of New York City. “The hope is that people will get to know their park a little bit better, get to know one another and take an active interest in keeping it beautiful,” says James Burke, director of arts and cultural programs for CFP. This summer, the group is sponsoring more than 115 music, dance and theater events. For a complete schedule, visit SummerStage.org.