By Paul Lomax
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Last night in Washington Heights Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the Fort Tryon Park Trust in honoring Hollywood star Bette Midler for her work through the non-profit New York Restoration Project that has rejuvenated the parks of Northern Manhattan.
Midler was presented with a silver tree spade, designed by Miguel Lopez-Castillo and fabricated by the artist at The Green Foundry in Maine.
Michael Bloomberg presented the spade, accompanied by NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Fort Tryon Park Trust Board Chair Joseph Pierson, and Vice Chair Edith Kean.
"Miss Midler has done so much for this park and all the uptown parks, so it's just fantastic that Mayor Bloomberg could be a part of Miss Midlers' special occasion," said Jennifer Hoppa, Northern Manhattan Parks Administrator for the Parks Department.
The evening began with cocktails at the New Leaf Cafe where Mayor Bloomberg took to the podium to praise Midler's work in revitalizing uptown parks, encouraging investment in the local area and galvanizing resources to improve Fort Washington Park and Swindler Park in Sherman Creek to name just a few.
Dinner was then served at the David Rockefeller Linden Terrace where over a hundred guests enjoyed garden salad followed by Filet Mignon and chocolate dessert.
The Fort Tryon Park Trust was formed in 1998 to forward the preservation and to maintain the 67-acre, Olmsted Brothers-designed park.
"I'm so thrilled to be here tonight," added Jo-Anna Robinson, 29, a photographer from Australia. "I'm a huge fan of Bette Midler and this is such a wonderful event. Every time I visit New York I always go to the New Leaf Cafe for brunch and then take a walk through this fabulous park."
Matthew Parker, 29, a local singer, actor and model, said he often comes to Fort Tryon Park to "escape the hustle and bustle of Manhattan."
Anne Straton, 34, who attended the dinner and cocktail gala accompanied by her 72-year-old mother Suzanne, said, "It's truly fantastic what Miss Midler has done for Fort Tryon park."