Bette Midler‘s New York Restoration Project celebrated 15 years with its ninth annual spring picnic in Manhattan’s Fort Washington Park. The acclaimed actress, who arrived with date Nathan Lane in tow, is proud of what her project’s accomplishments.
“The New York Restoration Project is a conservancy of forgotten places. We are an open-space and greening organization,” says Midler. “We’ve been cleaning parks and community gardens and designing open spaces for the New York City public for over 15 years. I’m very proud of this organization.”
Nathan Lane just loves a walk in the park.
Lane: I’m here as a supportive friend.
Midler: He’s been great.
Lane: And I’ve emceed before here and it’s a great, great project and they do really terrific work.
George Whipple: Tell me about this park that I’ve never been to. Have you been up here before?
Lane: No, I don’t get up this way much anymore.
Midler: This is the upper, upper, upper, upper, upper, Upper West Side.
Whipple: But this is totally awesome. What’s your reaction?
Lane: Well, it’s beautiful. It’s great to, uh — that’s the park in a nutshell. You’re always running into some place that you’ve never been before. And you think, “My God, I never knew this existed.”
Midler: “I discovered this myself.” That’s what you think. You think, “Oh, look what I’ve found.” Yeah, it’s great.
Actress America Ferrera enjoyed the scenery and was there to support the cause.
“I love New York City and I think that one of the most wonderful things about being a New Yorker is that you get to live in the biggest city in the world and then there are these wonderful little havens,” says Ferrera. “You know, I just want to do my part in making sure that we educate New Yorkers about how everyone can help keep it this way.”
The New York Restoration Project was also very involved in saving the city’s community gardens.
“We are in the community garden business so we plant, uh, fruits and vegetables for all sorts of people in underserved neighborhoods,” says Midler. “And these community gardens are a real resource for people who don’t have any access to fruits and vegetables, fresh fruits and vegetables, in their neighborhoods. Some bodegas don’t really carry them, most bodegas don’t carry them. They carry, like, native foods but they don’t carry, like, things that are good for the kids. So we’re trying to fight obesity, childhood asthma. We’re doing all of this stuff with through open space and recreation.”
Come on up to Fort Washington Park, because it’s one heck of a beautiful place.