New York Daily News
Bette Midler trash-talks Yanks: ‘Beaches’ star urges Bombers to pay for cleaning of Major Deegan
BY Heidi Evans
Tuesday, November 10th 2009, 4:00 AM
The Divine Miss M, who since 2004 has been paying to collect trash people throw from their cars along the Major Deegan Expressway, would love her hometown team to step up and “Adopt-A-Highway” in their own backyard.
“Come on guys!” Midler urged. “It’s a good thing, it’s not expensive, and it’s great branding for the Yankee organization.
“I have been trying to get to someone in the Yankee organization for years to do this,” Midler told the Daily News. “It’s time to pass the torch.”
Midler, who founded the New York Restoration Project in 1995, has been committed to making the city cleaner and greener.
Her crusade began when she returned to the city 14 years ago and was appalled at how New York’s public places seemed to be drowning in a sea of litter.
She began cleaning up Fort Tryon Park and Fort Washington Park in upper Manhattan, initially recruiting members of her family and friends. Those early efforts turned into the nonprofit New York Restoration Project’s grass-roots effort to plant 1 million trees across the city by 2017.
Midler was so irked by the filth along the grimy Major Deegan, she pays for cleanup crews to come twice a week instead of the standard once a week.
Adopt-A-Highway crews have filled 394 bags with fast-food wrappers, soda bottles and other garbage strewn between W. 168th St. and W. Fordham Road this year.
While there are waiting lists for people and companies that want to “adopt” prettier roads, such as the leafy Henry Hudson, or the Grand Central Parkway, the poor Major Deegan has no such luck.
“I’m thrilled to death that they [the Yankees] won, but would they please in their win fork over – it’s so cheap – like 25 grand for a whole year,” she added. “They could have flowers that say “Go Yankees!”
Greg Wooden, vice president of Adopt-A-Highway, said it would cost less than $2,000 a month, a mere pittance compared with the $252 million the Yankees fork over to A-Rod, and $189 million to Derek Jeter.
Midler is passionate about the subject, and belted out a plea to the Bronx Bombers. “Think of all the creative things you can do with your own stretch of highway,” she said. “Alex Rodriguez could really impress Kate Hudson with a mile of A-Rod Rhododendrons.
“A-Rod could split it with Derek Jeter. I hear his girlfriend wants an engagement ring, but if he’s not ready for that level of commitment, nothing says, ‘I love you’ like a mile of the Major Deegan planted with Jeter Junipers!
“And while I’m on the subject, a Matsui Japanese Maple would make a lovely MVT – Most Valuable Tree. Some Johnny Damon Dogwoods would be nice.”
A Yankees spokesman said they’re looking into the matter.