Mega talent Bette Midler and designer Michael Kors, joined by his husband Lance LePere, reminded New Yorkers Thursday night that wonderful gifts to humanity can come in small packages. Honoring the summer solstice, the trio joined New York Restoration Project (NYRP) Executive Director Deborah Marton in a ribbon-cutting for the newly restored green space, called the Essex Street Community Garden.
Attending an old-fashioned, New York block party, the global citizens celebrated the 3,200-square-foot green space is the first New York community garden that is entirely solar-powered, featuring Wi-Fi, a projection screen, and greenery that was planted by Kors and other community members themselves. The garden, one of 52 that NYRP installed around the city, will be an intended haven for weddings, yoga classes, movie screenings, and more celebrations to come, bringing together locals into a shared space, writes CR Fashionbook.
The activist and philanthropy players have worked with NYRP for the last 21 years, after Midler brought Kors and LePere into the organization.
"I've been a lifelong fan and longtime friend of Bette, and I find the work she has done with NYRP endlessly inspiring," Kors tells CR. "I'm the ultimate city guy, but sometimes a little bit of nature is exactly what I need to refuel and relax—and that feeling is something every New Yorker should be able to experience, no matter where they live. What I love about these gardens is that they really bring the community together."
The garden projects not only strengthen community bonds and cultivate creativity, they are known to reduce crime in significant ways.