Seeing Stars, Part II: NYRP Picnic

Last week I attended the New York Restoration Project’s eighth annual spring picnic as the guest of Lady Jane Salon co-founder Maya Rodale.

Founded in 1995 by actress-songstress and all ’round uber talent, Bette Midler, NYRP carries out the Divine Miss M’s vision of a cleaner, more beautiful New York for all residents regardless of zipcode. The organization “restores, develops, and revitalizes underserved parks, community gardens, and other open spaces in New York City.”

As a city resident, Ms. Midler, I heart you! 

Held at beautiful Fort Tryon Park, a NYRP recipient, the evening rolled out with cocktails and marvelous munchies at the New Leaf Restaurant. Afterward, guests retired to the dining tent where we were treated to a delicious barbecue dinner by BLUE SMOKE. Emcee Judy Gold had us rolling in the aisles, which given the quantity of barbeque I put away was pretty painful.

Throughout the night, trees were adopted, jokes cracked, and yes, songs sung. Living legend Tony Bennett favored us with a classic song, and Ms. Midler ended by leading us in a sing-a-long that included her unique version of “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Other celebrity attendees included Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Nina and Tim Zagat, Cynthia and Dan Lufkin and O Magazine editor-at-large and Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King (See photo op).

Pardon my "dear in the headlighhts" look. Hope cozies up to the camera with Oprah BFF, Gayle King. Photo courtesy of Narda Ducheine.
Pardon my deer in the headlights look. Hope and Oprah BFF, Gayle King, cozy up to the camera. Photo courtesy of Narda Ducheine.

The Divine Miss M definitely put the “fun” back in fundraiser. To heck with rushing home to tune into American Idol and learn the fate of Adam Lambert. Though the evening ended at 9:00, I could have danced all night.

 But the celebs needed their beauty sleep and well, it was a “school” night.

To learn more about the NYRP and opportunities for volunteering, visit the organization’s web site at

Divinely Yours,