Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and Disney announced today that a newly renovated Community Garden and playground will be officially opened at 105 East 103rd Street in East Harlem from 5PM – 7PM, with a ribbon cutting at 6:15PM.
Attending along with Miss Midler will be Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President; Dave Davis, General Manager, WABC-TV; Russell Hampton, President, Disney Publishing Worldwide; Amy Freitag, Executive Director of NYRP; Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito;103rd Street Garden Coordinator Robert Cruz, and members of the Community Garden and the surrounding neighborhood.
“We are thrilled with the work that Disney has done to make this garden a vital part of the neighborhood,” said Bette Midler, Founder of NYRP. “We applaud the ongoing commitment that Disney has to underserved communities. Like NYRP, they recognize that each time they help create a beautiful oasis in a neighborhood, they invest in the future of the whole city.”
The 103rd Street Community Garden is one of 52 New York City community gardens NYRP owns and/or manages across the city’s five boroughs. In keeping with NYRP’s mission to focus on the diverse cultures of each neighborhood it is in, NYRP has worked side by side with the local community to develop a plan for the garden site that is consistent with its needs. In addition, teachers and students from the East Harlem School participated in the design process. Disney employee volunteers worked hand-in-hand with NYRP staff to build the garden. With the valuable input of everyone involved, NYRP is proud to open the space as a beautiful, functioning community garden and public resource.
“Disney is committed to providing play spaces for kids and families,” said Leslie Goodman, Senior Vice President, Disney Corporate Citizenship. “We are proud to support New York Restoration Project, a relationship that dates back more than a decade.”
Activities for the opening will include a live set of Latin, soul, Caribbean, and Hip Hop & Rock music by East Harlem native DJ TedSmooth who also happens to be NYRP’s garden coordinator at the La Casita Community Garden on 119th Street. Volunteers from The Children’s Aid Society of East Harlem will run skill clinics and games on the basketball court for local youth, and throughout the evening, the East Harlem Café will be serving light desserts.
NYRP representatives will present free seeds to community members provided by Seeds of Change, and the event will conclude with a live performance by Coco Rico, a local Latin music group, playing a wide array of salsa, mambo, bolero, and Latin jazz.
In May of 2011, the 103rd street garden of New York City became one of the 13 communities to benefit from a KaBOOM! playground, supported by Disney. These KaBOOM! playgrounds are part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living, a multimedia initiative designed to partner with parents in their quest to raise healthy, happy kids by reinforcing their work and inspiring kids to make healthy lifestyles fun!
Each innovative play space includes a playground and a vegetable garden so kids can have fun getting active, growing healthy food, and learning about nutrition. The vegetable garden will help teach children how to make healthy food choices, as they trace food from seed to plate and learn how to care for and cook the food they eat every day. Teachers and students from the nearby East Harlem School who were involved in the planning period for the 103rd Street garden have received a special invitation to the opening of the garden, and their own original drawings and design ideas for the garden will be on display.