On March 7, 2007, some 350 guests — including many from Garden Design — gathered at DelGreco & Company's 59th Street showroom to celebrate the partnership between the New York Restoration Project and Del Greco's exclusive outdoor furniture showroom. On hand for the festivities was The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler herself, founder and director of the eleven-year-old, non-profit NYRP, who toasted Joe DelGreco's generous offer to give 3% of his 2007 profits to the NYRP. Founded with the goal of revitalizing neglected neighborhood parks in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout the boroughs of New York City, the NYRP has also saved more than 100 community gardens from commercial development, and offers free in-school and after-school environmental education programming to more than 7000 students from high-poverty Title I schools.
Says Joe DelGreco, "Imagine if every small business in the city of New York did something like this how we could change the city and make it so much better. Already good things have begun to come from this."
At the event, Ms. Midler also put out the word again for her Million Tree Initiative. To date the NYRP has planted some 100,000 trees, mostly in Swindler Cove Park, a new five-acre public park on the Harlem River shore, where the NYRP built the first community rowing facility on the Harlem River in more than 100 years. Working in close conjunction with the city, and forming strong partnerships with members of the business community such as Joe Del Greco, the NYRP is energetically at work to raise the funds and develop a comprehensive plan to place 900,000 more trees throughout New York City, chosen from the approved tree list compiled by the New York Parks Department.
Photo: Garden Design Publisher Diane Turner, Bette Midler, Virginia Sloane, president of the Heckshcere Foundation for Children, which funded a children's garden in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Garden Design Executive Editor, Joanna Fortnam.