Bette Midler, Elton John, Sting and Trudie Styler invite you to save the date - Monday, October 31 - for 'Hulaween' 2005.
Proceeds from Hulaween, the major fundraising event of the year for the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), supports their work reclaiming and rejuvenating under-resourced parks, community gardens, and open space throughout New York City.
On October 31, NYRP will host Hulaween 2005, a gala celebration of their Tenth Anniversary, where environmental activists Sting and Trudie Styler will be honored with the NYRP's annual "Wind Beneath My Wings" Award. The event will also celebrate Bette's 60th birthday with a special performance by Sir Elton John.
Renowned entertainer Bette Midler founded the nonprofit New York Restoration Project (NYRP) in 1995 with the belief that clean and green neighborhoods are fundamental to the quality of life and that every community in New York City deserves an oasis of natural beauty. Modeled on the Central Park Conservancy and other successful public-private partnerships, NYRP partners with individuals, community-based groups, and public agencies to reclaim, restore, and develop under-resourced parks, community gardens, and open space in New York City, primarily in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
When Ms. Midler moved to New York City with her family in 1994, she saw that many parks and open spaces, particularly in underserved communities, had become degraded and were drastically in need of cleanup and restoration. Taking matters into her own hands, she created NYRP to be the "conservancy of forgotten places," with a mission to revitalize neighborhood parks and open spaces that lacked financial and political resources. NYRP has since become an important catalyst for sustainable community development. We have made a measurable impact on economic and social revitalization and have become an effective and admired partner with public agencies seeking to reshape the urban environment.
Although New York City has the largest urban park system in the nation, it is woefully under-resourced. Its modest budget is inadequate to maintain the more than 28,000 acres of parkland, gardens, playgrounds, recreation areas, trails, and protected waterfront in the city. New York ranks last out of 19 major U.S. cities in the percentage of the municipal budget spent on parks and recreation, currently less than one-half of one percent. Since the late 1980s, the workforce of the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation has been reduced by over one-third.
According to New Yorkers for Parks, a nonprofit advocacy group, New York City's "celebrity" parks, including Central Park, Bryant Park, and Madison Square, are somewhat insulated from the City's current budget woes because of generous private support. But too many neighborhood parks continue to be in jeopardy, and the impact of the chronic under-funding and under-staffing of this city agency is of grave concern.
Illegal dumping, litter, graffiti, and vandalism become all-too-familiar sights in parks and open spaces that are not regularly maintained. Without change, the communities that border these natural resources face crime, drugs, and social and economic difficulties that are magnified by this decay and neglect. Public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly effective models to address these issues. In New York City, many environmental organizations like NYRP are augmenting finite Parks Department funding with private donations to restore and revitalize under-resourced parkland.
NYRP strives to ensure that parks and open spaces in less privileged neighborhoods are the "Central Park" of those communities, where recreational, educational, and environmental programs become part of the fabric of the neighborhood. We bring these spaces back to life and give them back to the public, promoting a sense of ownership and civic pride in forgotten communities. NYRP is now one of the leading partners of the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation.
In just under a decade, and in partnership with city, state, and federal agencies - notably the AmeriCorps program - NYRP has accomplished a great deal. We have removed over 80,000 tons of garbage from project sites; reclaimed more than 400 acres of under-resourced and abandoned parkland along the banks of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers; rescued scores of community gardens from commercial development, served over 5,000 at-risk urban youngsters with free recreational and environmental education programs, which take place in the open spaces we have restored; and created the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse and Swindler Cove Park, a magnificent five-acre public park on the site of what was once an illegal dumping ground.
For more information visit the NYRP website using the link below.