Category Archives: NYRP


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Toronto’s ravines are in dire health. Bette Midler’s NYRP may provide an example to get them back to health

The Star
Toronto’s ravines are in dire health.
By PATTY WINSA, Data Reporter
Mon, Dec. 31, 2018

Bette Midler gardening

In 2007, then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg planted a Carolina Silverbell on a street corner in the Bronx to launch MillionTreesNYC, a 10-year plan with an ambitious goal to plant nearly 10 times as many trees as had been planted by the city in the previous decade.

Standing beside Bloomberg was Bette Midler, who was lending star power and more than $30 million (U.S.) to the effort through New York Restoration Project, a non-profit she founded in 1995 to create green spaces in densely populated areas of the city that lack adequate municipal support, according to the organization’s website. Read More

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Bette Midler’s NYRP: The hidden power of community gardens (very interesting too)

The Architects Newspaper
The hidden power of community gardens
November 13, 2018

Bette Midler and Executive Director Deborah Marton
Bette Midler and Executive Director Deborah Marton

As a follow-up to my conversation with Commissioner Silver, I contacted Deborah Marton to speak with her about the New York Restoration Project’s work with under-served communities in New York. The group’s mission states:

New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is a non-profit organization driven by the conviction that all New Yorkers deserve beautiful, high-quality public space within ready walking distance of their homes. Since our founding in 1995 by Bette Midler, NYRP has planted trees, renovated gardens, restored parks, and transformed open space for communities throughout New York City’s five boroughs. As New York’s only citywide conservancy, we bring private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support, fortifying the City’s aging infrastructure and creating a healthier environment for those who live in the most densely populated and least green neighborhoods. Read More

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bette Midler Tells AD About the Importance of Community Gardens (and Her Personal Garden Too!)

Bette Midler Tells AD About the Importance of Community Gardens (and Her Personal Garden Too!)
Posted June 22, 2018

Bette Midler, AD

Bette Midler joined Michael Kors as she enthusiastically lent her voice in support of the opening of Essex Street Community Garden in the heart of Brooklyn. “I’m screaming, and I’m going to lose my voice,” the Grammy winner exclaimed to the crowd as a series of elevated subway cars thundered overhead. “And we definitely don’t want that.” For nearly three decades Midler has been a champion of public green spaces through her nonprofit New York Restoration Project, which has helped develop more than fifty urban gardens throughout New York’s five boroughs. And in her private life, the singer’s passion for homegrown food has led her to cultivate a wide variety of vegetables in her own garden, which boasts as many as 20 kinds of peppers. Here, she shares with us some of her knowledge about both public and private gardening and preserving a cause that’s very important to her.

Architectural Digest: How long has this been a passion of yours?

Bette Midler: When I came back to New York in 1994, the place was a train wreck. Giuliani had just been elected, and there seemed to be a shift. I started picking up garbage along the West Side Highway. At that time there was no development along the West Side Highway at all, and they had been fighting over the waterfront since World War II. Somehow I started picking up garbage—and I’m not taking credit for this—but I will say that a lot of stuff started happening. I started this organization with a friend of mine in 1995 and we’ve been going ever since. These gardens are just part of what we do. We have 52 community gardens, but that’s just a little part of what we do. We teach children, we build parks, we’ve renovated parks—not community gardens. They’re two entirely different things. We have real estate all over town. These gardens we own, but we help the park department. We were instrumental in planting a million trees here in the city. That’s what we do.

AD: I actually just saw an old episode of the Simpsons that showed you picking up trash and chasing down litterbugs.

BM: That’s my favorite thing ever. It’s genius. They play it a lot and it’s my favorite thing.

Architectural Digest: Why do you think having garden space is important for everyone? Read More

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Trees Grow in Brooklyn, Thanks to Michael Kors and Bette Midler

The Cut
Trees Grow in Brooklyn, Thanks to Michael Kors and Bette Midler
By Emilia Petrarca
JUNE 22, 2018

It was hard to hear Bette Midler singing as the JMZ train thundered past the Essex Street Community Garden in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon. But the show must go on.

Midler had a job to do. She was there to help her longtime friend Michael Kors and his husband, Lance LePere, cut the ribbon for the newly restored green space, which they helped bring to life in partnership with the New York Restoration Project (NYRP). To celebrate, Kors hosted a block party on the summer solstice with live music, food trucks, and face paint.

“New York is our home and an unending source of inspiration for our work,” said Kors in a statement. “We’re honored to be able to help Bette and her colleagues at NYRP. Their work helps improve the lives of everyone in New York City by bringing a little nature to the urban environment and creating safe, healthy spaces where local communities can connect.”

“In the end, Michael and Lance wanted this garden to have something for everyone in the community and that’s really important because without the community, no space can thrive,” said Midler. “This garden has something for everyone. It has places to relax, a place to meet, a place to have fun: weddings, birthday parties, memorials, concerts, movies, whatever you can think of.”

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Bette Midler & NYRP: Essex Street Community Garden Grand Opening & Block Party

We had an incredible time at Essex Street Community Garden yesterday! Neighborhood gardeners, NYRP’s founder Bette Midler, Michael Kors, who sponsored the garden, and people from all over the neighborhood came out en masse! There were food trucks with pizza, tacos, and ice cream, face-painting for the kids, and the High & Mighty Brass Band killing it under the tent!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bette Midler And Michael Kors To Attend Grand Opening Of NYRP’s Essex Street Community Garden 6/21/18

Look To The Stars
Bette Midler And Michael Kors To Attend Grand Opening Of NYRP’s Essex Street Community Garden
June 20, 2018

On Thursday, June 21, New York Restoration Project, which has spent more than twenty years transforming open spaces in New York’s under-resourced communities to be safer, healthier, and happier, will be joined by its founder Bette Midler to celebrate the Grand Opening of Essex Street Community Garden with a Summer Solstice Block Party in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn.

Generous supporter of NYRP and the Essex Street Community Garden, Michael Kors, will help lead the festivities. The event – free and open to the public – will include a ribbon cutting-cutting, remarks by Bette Midler, Michael Kors, and NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton, and will commence with a block party on Fulton Street with food trucks, face painting, live music, and more.

The 3,200 square foot garden has been updated and renovated to include an off-grid solar system with low-voltage lighting and a vertical screen for projecting outdoor movies. The site is also able to support a local WiFi network. Eleven raised garden beds have been installed along with an irrigation system, which collects rainwater from the neighboring building’s roof in a large storage tank. The centerpiece of the garden is a large beautiful shade structure and a patio with permeable pavement. Community members grow everything from peppers and tomatoes to eggplant and oregano. A circular planter and seat wall is constructed of stone salvaged from the site. Essex Street Community Garden was established in 1996 by local gardeners and is located within a few short blocks of five different public schools.



Michael Kors and Lance Le Pere

New York Restoration Project believes nature is a fundamental right of every New Yorker, and we work to manifest that right by partnering with local communities, public agencies, and the private sector on a daily basis. We aspire to expand our footprint and impact in all five boroughs to make a safer, healthier, and happier city. Read More

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Bette Midler Wants Donald Trump to “Open His Eyes for Once”

Vanity Fair
Bette Midler Wants Donald Trump to “Open His Eyes for Once”
JUNE 13, 2018 6:35 PM

Just a few days after Donald Trump skipped a G7 session on the environment, one of his former Twitter targets was out in New York to advocate for it. Bette Midler, whose nonprofit, New York Restoration Project, cleans up parks and gardens throughout New York City, hosted the organization’s 17th annual Spring Picnic gala at Harlem’s Rodale Pleasant Park Community Garden on Tuesday. And maybe it’s the early summer weather, or her imminent return to Broadway as the fearlessly optimistic star of Hello, Dolly!, but Midler was in a more conciliatory mood than Trump usually is.

“Holy cow, I could go off. I’m saying nice things tonight, so I’m biting my tongue,” Midler said when asked what she would say to Trump to persuade him on the environment. “I will say: no administration lasts forever. That’s the only positive thing about all of this.”

Midler’s and Trump’s Twitter sparring goes back to 2012, when he devoted no fewer than five tweets to personally insulting her. Midler continues to keep up her end of the conversation, including this June 7 tweet:

Bette Midler
#Satan is jealous of #Trump.

10:52 AM – Jun 7, 2018

Midler, who fell in love with nature while growing up in Hawaii, is perplexed that the president and White House officials are ignoring the rise of natural disasters and studies stating that climate change is increasing the risk of extreme-weather events, including droughts, flooding, and heat waves.

“Something is going on. Some of the fires, the hurricanes, the snow storms, the gigantic floods, and natural disasters that happened all over the world show that things are not the way they were. He needs to open his eyes for once,” Midler said. “If you are old as I am—and I’m pretty old—you know that something has changed. We need leadership with an intellect, [that] has a vision, and believes that we have to accomplish in solving these problems.”

Blondie singer Debbie Harry, a supporter of the project, echoed Midler’s sentiments. She finds it “scary” that Trump doesn’t care about the state of the environment, and that business takes precedence over the natural world.

“He’s senseless, and I doubt he has any emotional depth of any sort,” said Harry, who led a sing-along of the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” with Midler during the gala’s dinner. “It’s tragic that he doesn’t care about the environment or anything else except himself. I find it unbelievable. What Bette is doing is helping everyone. The more green spaces we have, people are happier and feel better. He can learn a lot from her.”

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Video & Photos: Bette Midler’s 2018 Spring Picnic With A Little Help From Blondie’s Debbie Harry And John Pizzarelli – Lots Of Fun Had!

Bette Midler, NYRP, Spring Picnic, Banner


Once again, Bette Midler throws a fundraiser for the New York Restoration Project to restore and create parks and green spaces in NYC. Bette Midler, Michael Kors, Debbie Harry and Trudie Styler are just some of the celebs who are spearheading the efforts to bring nature to lower-income areas, to keep gardens from being sold to developers and to turn abandoned lots into beautiful public spaces for all of us to share. What an inspiration! But that’s our Bette!


Bette Midler, Debbie Harry, Spring Picnic 2018


Bette Midler, Debbie Harry, 2018, Spring Picnic


Bette Midler, Michael Kors, Spring Picnic, 2018


Bette Midler, Spring Picnic 2018

Bette Midler, Spring Picnic Performers, 2018


Bette Midler, Spring Picnic 2018

Bette Midler, Debbie Harry, Spring Picnic 2018

Bette Midler, Debbie Harry, Michael Kors, and Deborah Marton

Bette Midler, Debbie Harry, Michael Kors, and Deborah Marton



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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Susan Sarandon Does A Little Digging And Planting For Bette Midler’s NYRP

Times Ledger
Susan Sarandon returns home to Queens to plant trees
By Naeisha Rose
MAY 10, 2018

Susan Sarandon, Planting Trees

Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon came back to Queens to help plant trees in Jamaica Saturday.

The actress, who was born in Jackson Heights, appeared in collaboration with the New York Restoration Project, and NYC Film Green Saturday to plant 20 fruit trees she donated at NYCHA’s South Jamaica Houses in Jamaica.

In 2015, NYRP helped South Jamaica Houses grow a small garden into a large and vibrant community space through the Gardens for the City program, which lends materials, labor, and support to neighborhoods throughout the city. In the last three years, residents have grown tomatoes, sweet potatoes and kale and shared it with elderly residents living in the houses.

Sarandon complimented the South Jamaica House residents on their thriving garden and said she was sure the fruit trees were going to be well taken care of.

“I was born and raised in New York in Jackson Heights and I raised my kids here,” she said. “So I’m very proud to be a New Yorker, as are my kids, and the city has been so generous to the film and TV community, so it was a really easy thing to talk to people about offsetting their carbon footprint by planting trees. It excites me so much, everybody was enthusiastic about the project. In the future I look forward to showing everybody where the trees went and to be able to say more tree are being planted.”

Eleanor Ince-Roberts, a resident of the houses and the Green Committee captain, said she was thankful for Sarandon’s investment and that she has loved caring for the community garden.

“I want to teach others how to grow their own food because I believe your diet should be life-giving, not life-threatening,” she said.

NYRP Executive Director Deborah Marton said the organization hopes to expand its footprint and make a difference in all five boroughs to create a safer, healthier, and happier city.

“We’re here because we know everyone who lives in South Jamaica Houses believes in the power of green spaces to forge stronger communities,” she said. “At NYRP we know access to nature is a fundamental human right and that clean, safe and beautiful open spaces make for safer happier communities. Susan is here because she is an incredible advocate for NYC and social justice.”

Other donors to the NYC Film Green program include producer Ryan Murphy, and actors Ben Stiller, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.

Singer, actress Bette Midler founded New York Restoration Project in 1995 to plant trees, revive public gardens and bring green back into city life.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

OPINION: Community garden members seek to save towering willow – NYRP

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
OPINION: Community garden members seek to save towering willow
By Raanan Geberer
Sept 15, 2017


Members of a community garden in Weeksville are seeking to raise money to ensure the survival of a portion of their garden which, because of a fluke of the city’s tax and legal systems, now belongs to a private owner who has slated it for development.

The Imani Community Garden, at 87-91 Schenectady Ave., was built on three lots. The middle lot, the one in question, is important to gardeners because it contains an 80-foot-high, 80-year-old willow tree, which would be destroyed if the new owner decided to build on the site. It also contained a chicken coop and a chicken run until recently, although these have been moved to a side lot.

According to advocates for the garden, Imani was established by a local church-affiliated nonprofit on what were then three vacant lots. In 2001, as part of its policy of buying local community gardens to save them from development, Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project bought the two side lots but, because of an error, failed to realize that there was a third lot on the garden property.

According to Greg Todd, facilitator at the garden, the church-affiliated group paid property taxes on the middle lot from 1980 to 2001 and never applied for a tax exemption, even though they could have done so. By 2003, the directors of the original organization had died or moved on, and no one responded to the city’s request for taxes on the lot.

By 2015, back taxes totaled about $11,000, and the city sold the lot at a foreclosure auction to investor Herman Stark for $365,000. Stark, in turn, sold it to developer Mendy Deutsch last year for $500,000. Deutsch has agreed to a swap with one of the other two lots, a deal that would save the willow tree. However, according to Todd, Deutsch wants $200,000 to do the swap.

The garden is holding a fundraiser at the Brooklyn Ethical Culture Society, 53 Prospect Park West, on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. with $20 admission. If and when the garden raises enough funds for the land swap – or to buy the middle plot outright – the garden would donate the plot to the New York Restoration Project, so the three plots would now have the same owner and the garden could continue within its original footprint.

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