Get To Know The Women’s Committee of The Central Park Conservancy

Central Park, often referred to as the “green heart” of New York City, is a haven where the relentless energy of the city momentarily gives way to the tranquility of nature. In this urban oasis, the Central Park Conservancy plays a vital role in preserving and enhancing this iconic gem. Among its dedicated arms, the Women’s Committee shines as a formidable and inspiring force, deeply committed to the preservation and enrichment of Central Park.

The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy recently convened near the renowned Bethesda Fountain for their annual Fall Luncheon. The event was skillfully co-chaired by a dynamic team, including Michele Brazil, Rankia Cohen, Stephanie Hessler, and Nicole Nunag. Together, they celebrated the accomplishments of Betsy Smith, the President of the Central Park Conservancy, along with her dedicated staff, Jenny Price, and the outstanding members of the Women’s Committee. It was a moment to acknowledge the achievements of yet another successful year of events contributing to Central Park’s preservation and care.

This year’s Fall Luncheon brought together more than 200 enthusiastic members of the Women’s Committee. Among them were passionate advocates and contributors to the cause of Central Park, including Suzie Aijala, Enrica Arengi, Heather McAuliffe, Bonnie Comley, Sylvia Hemingway, Jahanaz Jaffer, Sharon Jacob, Elaine Textor, Stephanie Hessler, Ji Park Kwak, Julie Kim, Jackie Keber, Barbara Cirkva Schumacher, Charlotte Snyder, Patricia Shiah, Michele Brazil, Lauren Gilbertson, Karen May, Mara Siegler, Fe Fendi, Gillian Miniter, Sarah Brown, Yana Blackwelder, Natasha de Mallmann, Suzanna Bowling, Reem Sharaiha, Barbra Pasternack, Laurie Beard, Margo Nederlander, Stephanie Franken, Preeti Salvi, Adrienne Israel, Sarah Gronningsater, Cara Raleigh, Evette Ferguson, Gita Shaari, Ruth D. Hunt, Jerry Ann Woodfin-Costa, Nicole Nunag, Rankia Cohen, Michelle Friedman, Valerie Tornambe, Lisa Abramson, Lisa Berg, Genevieve Bolger, Aileen Bruner, Denise Tavani, Gretchen Matthews, Paula Giblin, Tatiana Perkin, Ngan Shulman, and Cynthia Chapman, among others.

The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, established in 1983, has a rich history dating back to a time when Central Park had fallen into a state of disrepair. Despite being a historic green space, the park had suffered from neglect and a lack of funding. This dire situation galvanized a group of passionate women who were deeply committed to preserving the park’s natural beauty and historical significance. They decided to take action, and thus, the Women’s Committee was born.

The committee’s primary mission was clear from the outset: to raise awareness and funds for the restoration, maintenance, and development of Central Park. Over the years, they have made significant contributions to the park’s rejuvenation, focusing on restoration and beautification projects that have breathed new life into its landscapes, monuments, and structures.

With a robust membership of 1,000 passionate and committed individuals, the Women’s Committee has played a pivotal role and has been the backbone of invaluable support for Central Park. Their tireless efforts have extended far beyond just moral support, as they’ve been instrumental in generating critical funds that fuel the day-to-day operations of this iconic urban oasis.

One of their most notable endeavors was the restoration of iconic landmarks like the Bethesda Terrace, a masterpiece of architecture and a beloved gathering spot within the park. The Terrace, with its majestic Minton tiles, intricate carvings, and stunning views of the Lake, is a testament to the committee’s dedication to preserving the park’s historical and architectural treasures.

The Conservatory Garden, a beautifully landscaped oasis within Central Park, is another beneficiary of the Women’s Committee’s dedication to restoring the park’s beauty. With its vibrant flower displays, serene fountains, and meticulously maintained grounds, the Conservatory Garden is a testament to its commitment to creating spaces of timeless elegance and natural splendor.

Moreover, the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy has been instrumental in promoting educational initiatives, community engagement, and advocacy for the park. They have organized various programs and events aimed at increasing public awareness of Central Park’s historical and ecological significance. Their dedication to environmental conservation and education has helped make Central Park a recreational destination and an educational resource for the community.

In addition to their fundraising efforts, the Women’s Committee has also been actively involved in advocating for the park’s interests and ensuring that Central Park remains a cherished and vibrant part of New York City for generations to come. Their influence and advocacy have played a crucial role in securing the necessary resources and support for ongoing park maintenance and improvements.

The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy stands as a shining example of the positive impact that a dedicated group of individuals can have on their community. Through their tireless efforts, this committee has significantly improved Central Park, preserving its beauty and historical significance. Their commitment to education, community engagement, and advocacy for the park ensures that Central Park remains a vibrant and treasured part of New York City for generations to come. The Women’s Committee serves as an inspiring model for community-driven conservation and restoration efforts across the country.

Central Park is New York City’s 843-acre backyard, an essential space that welcomes over 42 million visitors annually. The City of New York has entrusted the Central Park Conservancy with the complete day-to-day care of this iconic public space, which requires dedicated expertise that we’ve honed during our 40-year history. Over 300 Conservancy employees tend to the Park’s complex maintenance, restoration, and architectural needs from horticulture, tree and turf care, trash management, visitor services, and much more, resulting from massive use.

In conclusion, Central Park and the Central Park Conservancy are living testaments to the transformative power of community engagement and dedicated individuals. The Women’s Committee’s work in preserving and enhancing this iconic green space is a testament to what can be achieved through passion, dedication, and a commitment to the community. Their legacy will continue to enrich the lives of those who visit Central Park and provide a source of inspiration for future conservation and restoration efforts. To learn more about the Women’s Committee or to make a contribution, please visit