April 6, 2023
Madison Square Park Conservancy’s “Party in the Park”
It was an amazing night under the stars, the 2023 Party in the Park organized by the Madison Square Park Conservancy was a resounding success, bringing together community leaders, artists, and supporters to celebrate and recognize this year’s Honorees: Leslie Spira Lopez and Daniel R. Garodnick. The event, held on March 28th, presented a unique opportunity to showcase the splendid park and its significance to the community.
Leslie Spira Lopez, the esteemed CEO and President of Kew Management, a longstanding Conservancy Trustee, and valued neighbor of the NoMad community, has played a crucial role in enriching Madison Square Park. In her own words, “The park is a hidden gem that is the anchor of our community. There is so much to love about Madison Square Park; it’s hard to choose a favorite aspect. Whether you stumble upon it or go there as a destination, entering the park takes you to another place. It is a magical 6.2 acres of Manhattan that has transformed its surroundings since being revitalized by the Conservancy 20 years ago.” Her exceptional guidance and enthusiasm have been instrumental in making the neighborhood the outstanding place it is today.
Daniel R. Garodnick, Chair of the City Planning Commission and Director of the New York City Department of City Planning, was honored alongside Leslie at the gala. Dan has a distinguished career as a public servant that started long before his current appointment by Mayor Eric Adams. His love for parks is evident from his previous role as the President and CEO of the Riverside Park Conservancy, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for the 6-mile park on the Upper West Side. His experiences have shaped not only his dedication to New York City but also his profound appreciation for how much local parks mean to our neighborhoods.
The night also featured a celebration of 2023 artists Shahzia Sikander, whose Havah…to breathe, air, life, is currently on view in the park, and Sheila Pepe, whose My Neighbor’s Garden will debut in the Park this June. Having art in Madison Square Park adds to its uniqueness engaging visitors in a meaningful way. The presence of art in the park creates a dynamic and interactive experience that stimulates the senses, sparks the imagination, and fosters a sense of community.
Party in the Park provided a unique dining experience from three renowned chefs who are lucky enough to call the park their backyard. The night commenced with a cocktail hour, provided by the Union Square Hospitality Group, where guests could peruse the items available for auction and socialize with other attendees while enjoying drinks and light bites. The dinner began with a basket of fresh breads alongside a Madison Square Park Spring Salad curated by Mark Strausman of Mark’s Off Madison. Michael Berardino, head chef of La Pecora Bianca, served a delectable Braised Beef Spezzatino atop a bed of spring herb gremolata and polenta taragna. The caramelized green apple bavarois by John Doherty Chef/Owner of Blackbarn was a perfect conclusion to the exquisite meal.
The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s gala was not only a celebration of the park’s Honorees, but it also marked the launch of the new NOMAD Magazine, an interactive quarterly digital publication produced by the NoMad Alliance. The digital publication aims to highlight the history, culture, and people of NoMad and its surrounding areas. At the gala, guests were able to browse through a copy of the inaugural issue, which featured a profile on Honoree Leslie Spira Lopez as well as an article on the history of Madison Square Park.
The NoMad Alliance also celebrated the Honorees of the event with congratulatory messages on taxi tops throughout the NoMad neighborhood. The launch of this new quarterly magazine was met with enthusiasm and excitement from attendees.
The ”Party in the Park” and its related silent auction helped to raise over $1 million in support of Madison Square Park Conservancy. The wide range of notable attendees added to the festive ambiance, and the auction helped raise over $60,000 for the park. The total amount raised is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s team and the generosity of the community. The auction was a highlight of an unforgettable evening that celebrated the park, its history, and the many contributions to the community made by this year’s Honorees. It’s never too late to support the park, so please consider making a donation to Madison Square Park Conservancy here. Supporting the park is vital to maintaining the beautiful space and ensuring that it continues to be a source of joy and inspiration for years to come.