Hudson River Park Friends returned to Pier 62 and Pier Sixty in Hudson River Park to host its 25th Anniversary Gala, celebrating all that the four-mile-long oasis provides to millions of New Yorkers each and every day.
Hudson River Park has helped lead the transformation of Manhattan’s West Side and has reinvented the river’s edge as an accessible place for nature, open space, recreation, relaxation and play. The evening raised $2.75 million to support the Park’s 400+ free events and programs, the maintenance of its landscapes and gardens and the future care of new park areas including Gansevoort Peninsula and Pier 97.
Hosted by comedian and The Daily Show correspondent, Ronny Chieng; the Gala began with cocktails by the Carousel at Pier 62. Guests were then led to Pier Sixty where they enjoyed dinner and the evening’s program. The evening honored Susanna Aaron, who was recognized for her tireless advocacy on behalf of Hudson River Park and for giving a stronger voice to neighborhood park lovers. Turner Construction Company was honored for their commitment to the built environment and the sustainable development of the far West Side.
Former New York State Governor George E. Pataki received the Park’s Legacy Award. As governor, Pataki put in place a cutting-edge environmental agenda, creating over 60 new state parks, preserving over 1,000,000 acres of open space, passing the first-ever green building tax credit and putting in place record-setting policies to encourage alternate energy. Pataki also implemented the first multistate CO2 cap and trade program and the regional greenhouse gas initiative, which currently has 14 states participating. Governor Pataki signed the Hudson River Park Act into law in 1998.
“It’s hard to believe that 25 years has passed since we first began turning the dream of Hudson River Park into the magical place that it is today,” said Connie Fishman, Executive Director, Hudson River Park Friends. “A whole generation of children has grown up with the Hudson riverfront as their playground. Both the government and the private sector should be congratulated on their commitment to this unique public/private partnership that has reinvented the waterfront on Manhattan’s West Side.”
Auctioneer Lucas Hunt led the evening’s live auction, which featured unique experiences including a foodie and wine lover’s dream come true, a getaway to the 2024 Masters Tournament, a captivating journey in the heart of Mexico City with an exclusive tour of the ZONAMACO art fair and a private Dinner Party and a show afterparty at City Winery. Guests then danced the night away to an unforgettable performance by Parliament-Funkadelic, featuring George Clinton.
Other notables in attendance included: Martha Stewart, Board Chair of Hudson River Park Friends Diana L. Taylor, New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, New York State Representative Tony Simone, New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher and NYS Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid and others.
The funds raised during the evening will go to the Park’s 400 free annual programs in marine science education, environmental stewardship and sustainability, dance, music, fitness and more. Hudson River Park is NOT a City-run park, so the maintenance of its 550 acres, including new park areas coming online this year such as Gansevoort Peninsula, Pier 97 and the Pier 26 Science Play Area, is funded by private donations.
Gala Chairs for the event included Diana L. Taylor and Michael R. Bloomberg, Sarah and Sean Lambert, Erica and Sam Martini, Lee and Justin Sadrian and Zara and David Tisch.
The 2023 Host Committee includes: Emma Bloomberg and Jeremiah Kittredge, Anthony Borelli, Kaija and Peter Braus, Steven Charno, Valerie and Tim Doherty, William Floyd, Meredith Guelbert, Larry Keigwin and Christian Keesee, Meryl and Joey Levin, Sam Lush, Matthew J. Lustig of Lazard, Lauren Nanna and Robert Martin, Stephanie Nelson and Tom Connolly, David Orowitz, Abby Pogrebin and David Shapiro, Gregory D. Podolak, Megan and Ben Shaoul, Hilary Spann, Ron Treveloni, Caroline and Jacob Werner, Daniel J. Williams of Citi Private Bank, Rob Wiesenthal and Randy Williamson.
Special thanks to the 2023 River Sponsors: Blade, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Citi, Clarkson Square Partners, and to the 2023 Park Sponsors: Born Kickers, Cozen O’Connor, Jones Lang LaSalle, Saxe Doernberger & Vita P.C., Terminal Warehouse, TSIB, Warburg Pincus, Wells Fargo and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.