2002 Parks and Preservation Award
June 6, 2002
GOVERNOR HONORS BETTE MIDLER WITH PARKS
Nearly $1 Million in Grant Money for New York City Parks
George E. Pataki today honored Bette Midler with the 2002 Parks and Preservation
Award, which recognizes an individual, family or organization that has demonstrated
outstanding commitment and generosity to New York's parks and historic sites.
Governor also announced that the New York Restoration Project would receive two
grants -- a $400,000 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act award toward construction
of a boathouse to be included in a new park along the Harlem River and a $350,000
Environmental Protection Fund award to help acquire 49 community gardens throughout
the city. Additionally, Fort Washington Park is receiving a $200,000 Bond Act
Greenway grant for the revitalization of the Fort's waterfront with the rebuilding
of a portion of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail.
Midler's tireless efforts to protect urban green space have dramatically enhanced
the cityscape for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike," Governor
Pataki said. "Through her efforts, Bette has fostered investment and successful
partnerships within the community to open up and beautify precious parklands and
waterfronts. Under her stewardship, the New York Restoration Project has made
tremendous strides in preserving valuable public spaces that improve the quality
of life for all New Yorkers and she is much deserving of this award."
Midler said, "As a New Yorker, I'm so proud to see our parks become ever
cleaner, safer and more beautiful. I thank Governor Pataki and Parks Commissioner
Bernadette Castro for their solidarity with the issues of parks preservation and
their generous support of the work of The New York Restoration Project. Working
together, in public/private partnership, we New Yorkers can make this State a
model for the innovative and effective preservation of public parks and gardens."
year's award recognizes the exceptional leadership and generous support that Ms.
Midler has shown as founder of the New York Restoration Project, a not-for-profit
organization dedicated to revitalizing and maintaining parklands, gardens and
public spaces in New York City. It was presented at a ceremony in Fort Washington
Park, near the Little Red Lighthouse, along the Hudson River. The gala picnic
dinner benefitted the New York Restoration Project and its various initiatives
throughout the metropolitan area.
Midler established the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) in 1995. NYRP works
through a public/private partnership that helps protect public resources and open
spaces. Over the last seven years, the organization has reclaimed 200 acres of
parkland throughout the city, removed 75,000 tons of debris, created a new park
and floating boathouse on the Harlem River, served thousands of students with
environmental education programs, helped protect 114 community gardens, purchased
and maintained nearly half the sites and assisted with beautification efforts
along the Henry Hudson Parkway.
Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro said, "Bette Midler has shown herself
to be a champion of creating and protecting precious green space for the benefit
of New Yorkers. Her steadfast support and passionate advocacy of parks and public
spaces has led to significant parkland and waterfront improvements in neighborhoods
across the five boroughs. I commend the Governor for honoring her contributions
and offer my heartfelt gratitude for the success of her efforts in beautifying
this magnificent city."
The Parks and Preservation Award was first
presented in 1996. Previous recipients include Frances Reese, Laurence S. Rockefeller,
Stanford Lipsey, Virgil Conway and John Cronin, David Rockefeller and Anne Perkins
Cabot and Samuel F. Pryor, III.
are 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities across the five boroughs.
State Parks operates seven waterfront State parks in the city and New York City
Parks manages more than 28,000 acres.
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, "Northern Manhattan's parks are some
of the most special parks in the entire city. The dedicated crews from the New
York Restoration Project are helping to ensure that these parks will remain safe
and beautiful places for neighbors and all New Yorkers to enjoy."
Governor has more than doubled the number of State parks in New York City over
the last seven years, working to preserve natural resources and open up access
to waterfronts in the five boroughs, creating Hudson River Park in Manhattan,
Brooklyn Bridge Park and East River State Park in Brooklyn, and Gantry Plaza State
Park in Queens as well as adding acreage at Bayswater State Park and other park
properties in the city.
1995, New York City has received nearly $15 million in Bond Act, Environmental
Protection Fund and Land & Water Conservation Fund grants for the funding
of 88 projects.