New York Restoration Project (NYRP), the Bette Midler-founded non-profit that has spent over two decades transforming open spaces in New York’s under-resourced communities, has teamed up with longtime supporter and board member, Michael Kors, to design the first ever solar-powered community garden in New York City.

Martha Hunt and Michael Kors
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Located in Brooklyn, the NYRP-developed Essex Street Community Garden was brought to life yesterday when the renowned fashion designer and his team rolled up their sleeves to plant, paint and beautify the space. Kors and his staff were also joined by Martha Hunt and Freja Beha Erichsen. Level Solar donated the solar panels, engineering and installation expertise to complete the project on the park’s covered canopy.

“I’ve always been a big believer in bringing a little nature to the city,” said Michael Kors. “NYRP has created a fabulous ecosystem that not only creates a safe, green space in this urban neighborhood but also lets people get their hands dirty and make a difference in their community. There’s nothing better than spending a beautiful day making something beautiful.”

“Because of the generosity of our trustee Michael Kors, we created a nationally unique, 21st century community garden for the East New York, Brooklyn neighborhood,” said Deborah Marton, New York Restoration Project Executive Director. “With the help of our partners at Level Solar, we installed photovoltaic panels on the roof of our shade pavilion that take the Essex Street Community garden off the grid, providing power for a family movie night or to charge a phone if there’s a power outage.”

This will be the first time a community garden in NYC’s five boroughs has been 100% solar powered. When the park opens later this summer there will be charging stations, Wi-Fi, solar powered security lights, and electricity for all public events and activities taking place in the gardens for the local community.

Richard Keiser, CEO of Level Solar said, “We are honored and excited to partner with Michael Kors and NYRP on this important community project. Bringing clean energy to the Essex Street Community Garden is a great example of how solar energy can benefit New York City residents of all income levels, and the broader New York community.”

Up next, NYRP will be hosting its annual Spring Picnic on Monday, June 19th. Bette Midler and friends will celebrate on the banks of beautiful Sherman Creek Park for this year’s soiree. The site is the future home to NYC’s only science focused Education Pavilion. There will be dinner, dancing and fabulous food. Click here for details!

More information can be found by visiting NYRP.org.

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