Last night, Hudson River Park held its first virtual “UnGala” raised over $1 million to support the Park’s operations, horticulture maintenance and public programming, including its 550+ year-round educational, environmental, sustainability and cultural programs.
Hosted by Jenna Bush Hager, the evening kicked-off with Martha Stewart demonstrating how to mix the perfect “Marthatini” at home. Shaking up the Belvedere delight she paid homage to her favorite hero – James Bond.
Then the night moved on to feature our own hometown heroes out to make a difference in New York City despite the odds. Julianne Moore, Andy Cohen, Lea DeLaria, Diana Taylor, David Chang, Charlotte Groeneveld-Van Haren, Mike Novogratz and New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Hon. Kathy Hochul paid tribute to Hudson River Park and to the essential operations and maintenance workers who have been keeping the Park safe, clean and beautiful each and every day in the face of a global pandemic. The evening concluded with a moving performance by David Broza, who sang an acoustic version of “East Jerusalem/ West Jerusalem.”
“This year’s UnGala is especially important to Hudson River Park and to Friends as an organization. When the pandemic shut everything down in mid-March, we were forced to cancel all of our fundraising events for spring and summer, and had to make a decision about our in-person fall Gala shortly thereafter,” said Connie Fishman, Executive Director Hudson River Park. “We reduced our budget for 2020 by nearly two-thirds as a result. That means less money for Park programs, horticulture and maintenance at a time when New Yorkers need Hudson River Park more than ever for their mental and physical health and that critical connection to nature that all humans need. We’re so grateful to our donors and community supporters for helping us through this critical time.”
“As I run up and down the Park, I see people walking and running – there was just a kids’ class with two guitar players and a bunch of three-year-olds dancing in circles,” said Mike Novogratz, Chair of the HRPK Friends Board of Directors. “There’s soccer going on and kayakers on the water: this is the perfect time of year to enjoy the Park. Your donations fund the flowers; they fund the maintenance; they fund clean-ups and programming in the Park. What makes this Park so vibrant is your participation. The City is in a tough situation. Budgets are tighter and your money is going to be a lot more important this year.”
One of the longest riverfront parks in the nation, Hudson River Park is Manhattan’s west side backyard. Running from Chambers to W 59th Street, it has transformed four miles of decaying industrial piers and wharves into a 550-acre urban recreational paradise. Hudson River Park attracts millions of visitors to its myriad sports facilities, educational, environmental and cultural programs, imaginative playgrounds, lively dog parks and lush green lawns, waterfront esplanade and the Hudson River Greenway bike path. Hudson River Park is NOT a city park and relies on private donations and community support for its daily maintenance, operations and public programming For more information about the Hudson River Park, please visit hudsonriverpark.org
Photos Courtesy Getty – Hudson River Park Un-Gala