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STAR-STUDDED FRIENDS OF HUDSON RIVER PARK GALA FLOWS WITH SUBAQUATIC FUN AND SUPPORT FOR NEW YORK’S WATERFRONT TREASURE
HOSTED BY GRAMMY AND EMMY AWARD WINNING ENTERTAINER HARRY CONNICK, JR. AND FEATURING A PERFORMANCE BY THE GRAMMY AWARD WINNING CEELO GREEN, THE EVENT HONORED MATTHEW BRODERICK, PAULA MADOFF AND ASSEMBLYMAN RICHARD GOTTFRIED FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO NEW YORK’S PARK FOR PLAY......
NEW YORK(SMI-WIRE,10.13.16)Hudson River Park’s Pier Sixty and Pier 62 were transformed into a festive and fun-filled waterside wonderland for the 18th Annual Friends of Hudson River Park Gala (#HRPGala) last night. The sold-out event raised $3.1 million – an increase over the $2.6M in 2015. Funds raised through the Gala benefit the city’s premier riverfront Park, which, unlike city and state parks, receives no government funding for its maintenance, security and operations. This spectacular annual event helps ensure the Park’s vibrant future and continued growth.
The evening began with riverfront cocktails on Pier 62 as the sun set and stars twinkled above the enchanting Hudson River Valley Animal Carousel. Guests tossed out lines in hopes of reeling in the biggest catch (and release) as they tried their hands at Big City Fishing while a boat parade glistened down the Hudson to a special soundtrack by DJ Lina Bradford. The Cobra Performing Arts Marching Band then led a guest procession to dinner at Pier Sixty’s Chelsea Piers.
Grammy and Emmy Award winning entertainer Harry Connick Jr. served as the evening’s host, welcoming guests to the festivities and honoring dedicated and steadfast Park supporters Tony Award-winning actor Matthew Broderick, Friends of Hudson River Park Board Member Paula Madoff, and NYS Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who has been a long time Park champion since its inception in 1998 when he co-authored the Hudson River Park Act.
Notable New Yorkers and celebrities sparkled in support of Hudson River Park at last night’s soiree. Sarah Jessica Parker lit up the party along with Martha Stewart, who was honored at last year’s Friends of Hudson River Park Gala. Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York’s Ryan Serhant with his wife Emelia continued to advocate for our West Side playground, along with renowned food personalities Anthony Bourdain and David Chang, who were also in attendance.
Designed by visionary event stylist Raúl Àvila, creator of several opulent Met Galas, Hudson River Park’s Pier Sixty was transformed into a subaquatic wonderland celebrating natural riches above and below the surface of the Hudson River. Blue chiffon “waves” rippled across the ceiling and swirled past columns that nestled indigenous plant life, oysters and other essential aquatic life that the Park itself helps to sustain in the Hudson’s delicate estuary environment.
A live auction allowed eager bidders to procure one-of-a-kind auction items such as a Bloomingdale’s shopping date with Sarah Jessica Parker, dinner in your home with David Chang and Martha Stewart, as well as a private cocktail party aboard the Grand Banks Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Hudson River Park hosted by Anthony Bourdain. Martha Stewart and Sarah Jessica Parker each graciously matched their donation for a second guest experience, doubling the proceeds for the Park on the spot. After dinner, the doors were flung open to reveal a sparking after-party on the Chelsea Piers’ waterfront terrace, capped off with a performance by Grammy award winning singer/songwriter/producer CeeLo Green and DJ sets by Bill Coleman.
“Once again, the annual Friends of Hudson River Park Gala has been a very special and transformative fundraising event,” said Gregory Boroff, Executive Director, Friends of Hudson River Park. “Tonight was a celebration of the truly extraordinary riches that abound throughout Hudson River Park, and a demonstration of commitment from our philanthropic supporters that this essential urban oasis—New York’s Park for Play—will continue to flourish and grow for generations to come.”
Friends of Hudson River Park also took an opportunity at the Gala to announce significant donor contributions and partnerships that are crucial to the Park’s continued growth and sustainability. Among those highlighted were J.M. Kaplan’s generous funding to aid in the development of Hudson River Park’s digital initiatives in honor of the late Richard Kaplan, an avid Park advocate who will be receiving an honorary bench in remembrance of his dedication to the community.
The collective Board of Directors of Friends of Hudson River Park sponsored the treasured Habitat Garden, helping to launch the newly created endowment program Garden Guardians, which ensures the Park’s display gardens, wildlife habitats, lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers will continue to flourish in their gloriously diverse and uniquely beautiful landscapes. This botanical beauty serves as a welcome respite to millions of visitors every year, making Hudson River Park a prized destination and incomparable natural resource.