Earlier this week, Hudson River Park held its first virtual “UnGala,” an at-home celebration of Hudson River Park, and 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. The event featured New Yorkers such as 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 paying 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.”
Hudson River Park has partnered with CharityBuzz to host an online auction. Auction highlights included:
Meet Shantell Martin During Live Painting Performance & Take Home the original artwork
2 Night Stay & 2 Tickets to Wimbledon June 28-30, 2021 in London
Private After-Hours Tour for 5 at The Whitney Museum of American Art led by Adam Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney
Hudson River Park Friends Board of Directors: Michael E. Novogratz (Chair), Scott M. Lawin (Vice Chair), Justin Sadrian (Vice Chair), Samuel F. Martini (Treasurer), Susanna Aaron (Secretary), David Amsterdam, Cathy Blaney, Anthony Borelli, Peter Braus, Ben Brown, David Chang, Jennifer Cohan, Walter Haydock, Douglas Heitner, Shari Hyman, David Juracich, Paula Madoff, Joshua Rahn, Joseph B. Rose, Ben Shaoul, Martha Stewart, Diana L. Taylor, David Tisch, Nat Turner, Mark Van Zandt, Román Viñoly, Greg Wasserman, Daniel J. Williams and Madelyn Wils.
Honorary Committee: Kristin Davis, Éric Ripert, Susan Sarandon, Jake Shears
UnGala Auction Committee: Stefania Bethlen (Auction Co-Chair), Jarred Snyder (Auction Co-Chair), Cathy Blaney, Lauren Tsuchiya Brooten, Jean Kogut and Greg Wasserman
Gala Underwriters, Patrons and Stewards: Bloomberg Philanthropies; Erica and Sam Martini; Sukey and Michael Novogratz; Citi; Walter Haydock; Lee and Justin Sadrian; Susanna Aaron and Gary Ginsberg; Brookfield Properties; Edison Properties; Sarah and Sean Lambert; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; RXR; Suwattana and Román Viñoly.