“Whatever did New York City do with itself before God created Bette Midler…?

New York Social Diary
The New York Restoration Project Spring Picnic
by Liz Smith
June 5, 2012

BETTE MIDLER‘S gigantic gift to New York City in the matter of her organization’s revitalizing the parks and public places of the five boroughs, brought in over $900,000 from pre-sales and a live auction at the beautiful Fort Tryon Park up on the Hudson last Thursday night.

It was a green festival with many diverse personalities showing up to support the comic genius of our time as she picks up garbage and makes things gogeous. Bette knows from “beautiful” because she grew up poor in the beauty of Hawaii. And her fellow comic Judy Gold noted that Bette might have to issue her real birth certificate to go on doing good works against the whims of Donald Trump. (Big laff from the VIP crowd!)

The New York Restoration Project is multi-faceted. Along with this annual picnic and Bette’s infamous Hula-ween party at the Waldorf, millions are raised to keep New York from falling apart. For instance, near Fort Tryon is the 11-year-old New Leaf cafe which is a gala meeting place for picky eaters as well as a wedding and party spot with growing popularity. The Project rents this from the Parks Departent of the City.

Bette’s easy informality and charm and willingness to “get down” and say hi to anyone who will help the Restoration Project is legend. She had applauding her co-workers and helpers – actor Adrian Grenier whose reading was slightly interrupted by a passing airplane … the great actress Susan Sarandon … my costar from the latest “Smurfs” movie, fashion’s Tim Gunn … designer Michael Kors … theater’s new parents of twins, Margo and Jimmy Nederlander … the Central Park society star Gillian Miniter … philantropist shrinks Elizabeth Peabody and Jane O’Keefe … decorator/philanthropist Mica Ertegun … philanthropist Anne Ziff … archaeologist Iris Love, who volunteered to dig for Bette anywhere she was needed … and others.

The dinner was utterly divine thanks to Glorious Foods’ Sean Driscoll. He said Bette wanted a “crunchy” menu so he offered gaspacho with croutons, a star-shaped pastry with creamed chicken to die for and a pineapple coconut sherbert.

Everyone went home sated and the Restoration Project picked up our garbage after us. Whatever did New York City do with itself before God created Bette Midler to make up for our untidyness?

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