Hudson River Park Hopes to Entice New Members With Perks

By Mathew Katz on March 6, 2014 7:43am | Updated on March 6, 2014 11:08am

 The new "friendship drive" hopes to draw more people to volunteer events at Hudson River Park.
The new "friendship drive" hopes to draw more people to volunteer events at Hudson River Park.
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Friends of Hudson River Park

CHELSEA — Free mini-golf, discounted cocktails and gratis golf clubs are among the perks awaiting New Yorkers who sign up to be "friends" of Hudson River Park.

In exchange for a $50 donation, new members of the Friends of Hudson River Park will get a card that gives them deals and discounts in and around the park, including a free non-alcoholic drink at the Frying Pan boat bar, free club rentals at Chelsea Piers' Golf Club, 30 percent off cocktails at Anfora on Eighth Avenue and 20 percent off food and drinks at Desmond's Steakhouse on Seventh Avenue.

Members will also get to participate in special experiences in the park, ranging from group volunteer days to members-only games of kayabi, a sort of kayak dodgeball hosted by the New York Kayak Company and played on the Hudson River.

"We're looking to build a community partnership all around — experiences are the best way to get people activated," said Gregory Boroff, who took over the cash-strapped park's fundraising organization in August.

Boroff launched the ongoing "friendship drive" for the park this week, in the hopes that it will attract a more diverse group of supporters, not just high-dollar donors.

"We understand that not everyone can afford to make a donation, but they can sign on for volunteer events," Boroff said. 

Hudson River Park faces a deficit of more than $100 million to fix crumbling Pier 40. The Hudson River Park Trust is exploring several moneymaking options, including the sale of air rights to developments near the park.

This year, the Friends made a $1 million contribution to the park. By bringing in more donors, Boroff hopes to give even more next year. 

"The Trust is dealing with the long-term solutions for the park, and the Friends are there to do everything we can do raise funds and awareness to support operations in the park," he said.

The goal is to bring in all users of the park, which stretches from the Battery to 60th Street. It's a diverse group, Boroff said, but by hosting events for all members, the Friends hope to connect all of them.

 Kayabi — a kind of kayak-dodgeball — is one of the events that will be hosted for members of Friends of Hudson River Park.
Kayabi — a kind of kayak-dodgeball — is one of the events that will be hosted for members of Friends of Hudson River Park.
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Friends of Hudson River Park

"I think that the challenge for us is that the park is quite long, it’s quite large," Boroff said. "People go for boating, sporting activities, children play at different athletic leagues — our goal is to get all of these groups together."

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