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Thursday, May 26, 2011

NYRP Spring Picnic

Last night my boss invited the design girls to the 10th annual New York Restoration Project Spring Picnic. Everything about the evening was wonderful, including the weather. 

I wore my new summer dress which was perfect for the event! My new platforms also arrived in the mail an hour before we left. Talk about perfect timing! Of course I had a back up just in case! 

The New York Restoration Project Spring Picnic was held at the Gracie Mansion. I had never been to the Gracie Mansion before and it was a pleasure to get the opportunity to visit under such special circumstances. I believe Mayor Bloomberg is the first mayor not to reside in Gracie Mansion during his term. The mansion was open for viewing for the guests during cocktail hour. 

In 1799, a prosperous New York merchant named Archibald Gracie built a country house overlooking a bend in the East River, five miles north of the City. Financial failure forced Gracie to sell his house to Joseph Foulke in 1823, and in 1857, the house came into the possession of Noah Wheaton. The City of New York appropriated the estate in 1896, incorporating its 11 acres of grounds into the newly-formed Carl Schurz Park.

After decades of use as a concession stand and restrooms for the park, Gracie Mansion was restored and became the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. When it moved to a larger building, Gracie Mansion became a historic house museum run by the Parks Department. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced City authorities to designate it as the official residence of the Mayor, and in 1942, Fiorello H. La Guardia 
moved in.

The house was enlarged in 1966 with the addition of the Susan E. Wagner Wing, which includes a grand ballroom and two intimate reception rooms. The Gracie Mansion Conservancy was established in 1981, and under its guidance, the first major restoration was undertaken between 1981 and 1984.

In 2002, the interior and exterior were again restored, and the house was transformed into the "People's House" with increased accessibility to the public and to City agencies. It has also been used to accommodate visiting officials and dignitaries, such as former guests First Lady Rosalynn Carter and President Nelson Mandela.

The Gracie Mansion Conservancy is a private not-for-profit corporation established in 1981 to preserve, maintain and enhance Gracie Mansion - one of the oldest surviving wood structures in Manhattan and a member of The Historic House Trust. The Conservancy's mission is to raise funds to restore the historic structure and acquire furnishings that illustrate the rich history of New York; improve the surrounding landscape and gardens; and provide educational services, including publications and tours

After cocktail hour, everyone was seated at their designated table and the first course was served. While dinner was being served, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sherri Shepard from The View, Bette Midler and the comedian Judy Gold entertained the crowd. 

 During dessert, Bette Midler and Judy Gold, who was extremely hilarious, held a live tree auction auctioning off $2,500.00 trees to be planted around New York City. Bette walked around to each table and announced how many trees each table was going to donate. It was pretty impressive. I believe our table was one of the most, donating 15 trees to the New York City Parks and Recreation. It was a beautiful event, once which I was honored to be a part of. 

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