An emotional Tracy Morgan returned to the Bed-Stuy Marcy Houses where he grew up on Tuesday to unveil a refurbished playground and remind the neighborhood he hasn’t forgotten about his roots.
“I’m glad I’m a part of giving the next generation a chance — not a second chance, but a chance — to come here and play and get away from the nonsense going on in the world,” Morgan said while fighting back tears at a Marcy Playground ribbon cutting.
“The Last O.G.” actor teamed up with TBS, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the borough parks commissioner Martin Maher and others to transform the playground’s basketball courts. TBS shelled out $215,000 through the Adopt-A-Park program to provide a colorful ground mural with Timberlands and “Brooklyn” stretching between four new backboards and nets.
“This is us; this is for the kids,” Morgan, of “Saturday Night Live” fame, said before literally getting down on his knees to kiss the ground. “I played ball in this park. I cut my thumb in this park.”
Morgan may be a comedian, but his passion for this project — and that thumb injury from his youth — is no joke.
“I don’t care where you go in the world, if you can’t give love back home it ain’t real,” Morgan said after the ribbon cutting.
The actor recalled playing ball at Marcy Playground often as a kid, but a particular memory still stands out in his mind: “I was a point guard. I was one of the nicest in the world. I crossed over, crisscrossed somebody and I tripped. I tripped and I cut my thumb on a Heineken bottle,” he explained, flashing up his left thumb. “Then, I became an alcoholic.”
Morgan — called one of Bed-Stuy’s “most famous sons” by Adams — opened the courts up to residents of the NYCHA’s Marcy Houses and beyond so they too could create their own new memories. It was an opportunity Morgan said “means the world” to him.
A line stretching nearly a half a block long grew as word spread that the actor was back in the neighborhood. More than a dozen NYPD officers patrolled the park and others were scattered on neighboring building roofs to patrol the area.
While Morgan ducked out during the “block party” portion of the event — which included free bites from Sweet Chick and Monty’s Pizza, games and sounds by DJ Bobbito Garcia — the comedian pleased the crowd with small talk through the park’s fence. Morgan seemed right at home to the residents who greeted him like an old friend.
Morgan returned to TV this April with his Brooklyn-set series “The Last O.G.,” which filmed in his old neighborhood. A spokeswoman from TBS added that the funding of the park refurbishing was a way for the network to repay a borough that “was so kind” to them while shooting the series.
“This is a safe place,” Morgan said. “Kids are gonna play in here all summer. Oh my god, man … This is important to me. I don’t care what nobody else thinks.”
“The Last O.G.” airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.