Fiesty former Texas governor Ann Richards remembered with NY garden dedicated by Bette Midler & Liz Smith
BY SHELBY HODGE 5.13.14 | 9:33 am
The day after 9/11, former Texas Gov.Â Ann RichardsÂ took up residence in New York City where she was the toast of the town with a posse of admirers includingÂ BetteÂ Midler and famed gossip columnist and native TexanÂ Liz Smith. When Richards died in 2006, the two started working on a memorial garden in honor of the feisty two-term governor.
The garden, formed under the auspices of Midler’sÂ New York Restoration Project,Â was dedicated last week in ceremoniesÂ hosted by the duo along with native TexanÂ Emily ConnorÂ and New York socialiteÂ Elizabeth Peabody.
Among the heavyweights who helped finance the initial stage of the Ann Richards Memorial Garden inÂ Thomas Jefferson ParkwereÂ HillaryÂ andÂ Bill Clinton, former New York MayorÂ Michael Bloomberg, Lily TomlinÂ andÂ Jane Wagner, Yoko Ono LennonÂ andÂ Holland Taylor.Â You might recall that Taylor wrote and starred inÂ AnnÂ on Broadway. Connor, who co-produced the play, has been instrumental in fundraising for the project from the beginning.
The dedication introduced Phase 1 of the garden, located on the grounds of the Manhattan Center for Science & Mathematics. The 40 cherry blossom trees and numerous shrubsÂ that were unveiled can be seen fromÂ FDR Drive. The plan includes the addition of 22 more trees and additional shrubs with completion of the project expected in 2016.
Those attending the dedication includedÂ Kate Hathaway, mother ofÂ Ann HathawayÂ and a co-producer ofÂ Ann;Â Ellen Levine, editorial director of Hearst Magazines; Dr.Â Richard Levine, who co-wrote Richards’ bookÂ I’m Not Slowing Down; and significant donorsÂ Riki KaneÂ andÂ Bob Larimer, founders of the wine accessory companyÂ Metrokane.