On January 26, members of Hudson River Park Friends gathered at Current to attend the Playground Committee Annual Luncheon. The committee raises funds for Hudson River Park, which runs from 59th Street to Chambers Street on the West Side, and (to many people’s surprise) is not government-funded. The funds they raise go toward play areas, recreational sport fields, environmental education programs, and various free or low-cost events ideal for children and families. At the luncheon, committee members and Friends of the park participated in a silent auction.
Lauren Silverstein, president of the Hudson River Park Friends Playground Committee, said a large portion of money was also raised from ticket sales to attend the luncheon. Along with raising funds, she said Hudson River Park Friends’ “ultimate goal is to fundraise for the playground and program set.” While the committee strives to improve Hudson River Park’s playgrounds, they also want to implement areas where children can learn about environmental conservation. The luncheon is one of the Playground Committee’s two annual events—the other being a backyard BBQ—where members come together to raise money.
One of the members in attendance was Martha Stewart, who’s a longtime supporter of the park. She spoke during the event, introducing Lydia Fenet, a Christie’s auctioneer who received the Playground Committee Champion Award. Fenet, who has a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 10-month-old, said “the nicest thing about the park is it gives you a place to run into people,” whereas, in normal apartment buildings, people tend to be sequestered. She called the work of the Hudson River Park Friends a “love letter to New York.”
Jenny Mollen Biggs is also a fan of the park, and spoke—or really, did a bit—as well. With her baby nurse in tow as her date, Mollen Biggs joked onstage that the mom who was “stealing her away” better watch out. She said it would be “hard to live in a city like this without a park,” and that as an L.A. transplant, it was difficult to transition to a less-green city.
Malin Akerman said that outdoor recreation help kids’ grades improve, and the specific programming Hudson River Park Friends funds educates on environmental issues as well. “It’s so important for kids to get outside,” Malin Akerman said. “They have fun, and they’re getting healthy because of it.”
Find out more about Hudson River Park Friends at hudsonriverpark.org!