Park is one of actor’s favorite places; Adopted Dog Abandoned in Dog Run Once
Actor Justin Theroux would just like to take his wife, actress Jennifer Aniston, to Washington Square Park. Theroux stars in the upcoming & much anticipated film, The Girl on the Train, based on the best-selling book, and is currently known for his role on the HBO show, The Leftovers.
The one thing most people don’t know about the actor? He is a steadfast Washington Square Park fan and has been for years. In a number of interviews, he mentions the park and he previously lived right off it and may still live nearby when in NYC. Jennifer Aniston, of course, starred on Friends (1994-2004) and in other feature films and is now married to Theroux.
I will admit to a long-running Friends addiction (having become a fan when it was in reruns and have since binge-watched on Netflix) and I can continuously watch it – and now you can too ! All ten seasons are available on Netflix. (Trust me it is addictive!) Even tho’ the apartment where many of the scenes take place is based in Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is only seen once in awhile when a shot of the Arch pops up.
They never mention the park by name either… oh, maybe once… but it is surprising it doesn’t appear in the show more often.
Theroux, a fierce New Yorker, is featured in the October issue of ELLE and he mentions Washington Square Park twice and a dog he rescued from the dog run (awww…):
ELLE: You’re covered in ink. Can you tell me about one memorable tattoo?
JT: I have one on my side with my dog’s name, Puma, underneath it. She was this white pit bull I found in Washington Square Park. She got dumped in the dog run – abandoned, all busted up. She was my first real project of a dog. She was like my shadow.
ELLE: Were you devastated when she died?
JT: I cried like a nine-year-old. There was nothing macho about it. She was kind of the mayor. She was sick, and it was like being with the queen on her deathbed. She literally took visitors for, like, three weeks straight. People would come by and pay their respects.
and then at the end of the piece…
ELLE: When do you miss your anonymity?
JT: It’s a luxury problem, but I would love to walk around New York with my wife. Take her to Washington Square Park.
ELLE: what would happen if you just did that?
JT: It would turn into a shit show. It would not be fun.
Is everyone a paparazzi now?
I disagree with Theroux here. I think if he could get into the park (and putting aside that whole everyone-is-a-paparazzi-with-a-camera now thing), people within the park – yes, they might want selfies, etc. IF they recognized them – but there is often so much going on that they might be able to do it, sit on a bench off to the side. Worth a shot, no? The (paid) paparazzi can’t be everywhere. (Can they?)
Anyway, there was an interesting article that appeared in the New York Times in 2003 about the home Justin Theroux had off Washington Square Park. He was a dumpster diver!
When Mr. Theroux went looking for apartments in 2001, he found it hard to impart this concept of home to real estate agents. The things he wanted were precisely the things people got rid of in order to sell. If you search for ”obsolescence” or ”decay” in any week’s real estate ads, you will likely come up empty. Conversely, the usual real estate catnip, like Sub-Zero refrigerators and new white walls, meant little to him.
”I wanted old plaster walls and door frames painted 30 times,” he said. ”I wanted a fixer-upper that I wouldn’t have to fix up.” On his deck, he pointed to an old wooden door propped against a wall, its pale paint blistered and cracked. ”That’s my favorite color in the world,” he said. ”Hospital green. It makes me feel like I have croup.”
For all of Mr. Theroux’s reverie for his old digs, and the accrued detritus that filled them, most of the furnishings in the new apartment are holdovers from the old place. Sadly, a seat that he said came from the old Fillmore East did not survive the move. He also missed the old apartment’s floor, which was a long time between coats of varnish. ”It creaked and smelled,” he said. ”It was perfect.” He bought the new place, near Washington Square Park, for $600,000 shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
Washington Square Park: a past and present “hangout point”
And in Details Magazine from August 2014 (could not find link), he took the writer to the park:
Theroux’s Manhattan tour winds down at Washington Square Park, a past and present “hangout point,” where he commandeers a bench by the fountain as a tall guy strolls by wearing a sandwich-board sign advertising himself as a six-foot-seven Jew who’ll rap for you. “I don’t know about that,” Theroux says about him. “Looking a little goy in the back.” He obliges a pair of middle-aged female tourists who request a photograph with him and then congratulate him on his upcoming wedding. Such exchanges are still jarring to him, but, he says, “there are worse things than people being kind.” He’s still pivoting, still adjusting to all these new slashes in his life. “There’s a huge distinction,” he notes, between wanting to act and wanting to be a famous actor. Or between wanting to be a famous actor and wanting to wear that even stranger suit: that of a celebrity, known more for existing than for a body of work. …
Sinking low, he settles onto the bench. “I still think a long, slow road is always the better road,” Theroux says as he surveys the park that’s been his refuge for more than 20 years. “Or at least for me it’s been the better road.”
The Girl on the Train opens nationwide October 7th.
I was the publicist for the band The Rembrandts who later sang (but did not write) the Friends’ theme song, “I’ll be there for You.” Prior to that, they were a critics’ darling and received rave press. They were considered alternative-rock. I think they had mixed reaction to having done the Friends’ theme song as it did not help their image as credible musicians and singer-songwriters – and they really were!
Bonus: The Rembrandts, “That’s just the way it is Baby” (pre-Friends’ theme song fame) (Not the best video but listen to the song):