More than a 1000 attended Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project “Hulaween” benefit, filling the grand ballroom of the Waldorf=Astoria on Halloween night to its gilded rafters. Midler and Willie Nelson sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” as a duet. Stevie Nicks making a rare public appearance entertained with a 45 minute set of her hits. Joy Behar acted as auctioneer and she and Ms. Midler “sold” trees to the audience, ranging in price from $100 for saplings to $2500 for mature flowering trees that will be planted along Harlem River Drive. Midler also announced that it is her dream to plant ONE MILLION trees in New York City (so far NYRP has planted more than 100,000 trees). The generous audience at the Waldorf will help the NYRP on its way. The evening raised $1.2 million.
Each year the NYRP gives the “Wind Beneath My Wings” Leadership Award to those who have seen a need in the worldwide community and who have used their time, talent and resources to fulfill that need. In 1985 Willie Nelson, along with John Mellencamp and Neil Young established Farm Aid embarking on the fight to save family farms. Nelson said: “The fight to save family farms isn’t just about farmers.It’s about making sure that there is a safe and healthy food supply for all of us. It’s about jobs, from Main Street to Wall Street. It’s about a better America.” It’s also about the food supply being accessible to everyone.
Event co-chairs were Patricia and Ray Chambers, Glenn Close and David Shaw, Peggy and Millard Drexler, Grace Hightower and Robert De Niro, Cynthia and Dan Lufkin, Bunny Lambert Mellon, Andre Leon Talley and Carmen and John Thain.
NYRP reclaims, restores, and develops under-resourced open spaces in New York City’s five boroughs. As “the conservancy of forgotten polaces,” NYRP rescues public parks and community gardens that are most threated by the challenges facing underserved communities. Since 1995 NYRP has steadily “cleaned and greened” some of New York City’s most blighted public areas by removing more than 850,000 tons of garbage and debris from project sites. It has created Swindler Cove, a beautiful new park, out of an illegal dump on the Harlem River,; saved and revitalized more than 100 Community gardens; taught hundreds of at-risk children about the environment, built the first boathouse on the Harlem River in over 100 years; and transformed acres of parkland from scary to merry.
Among the glittering crowd enjoy the Midler revelries were Anne Bass and Julian Lethridge, Grace Hightower and Robert De Niron, Cindy Sherman, Holland Taylor, Brice Marden, Donald and Catie Marron, Rachel Roy and Damon Dash, Ellen and Dr. Richard Levine, Daryl and Steve Roth, Princess Astrid of Lichtenstein, Patricia Duff, Christy Ferer, Senator Bob Kerrey, Harvey Fierstein, Annie (Mrs. Willie) Nelson, Martha Stewart, Frederic Fekkai, Brook and Dan Neidich, Marcia Diamond, Martin von Haselberg.