New York Restoration Project (NYRP), founded by award-winning singer, entertainer, actress and green activist Bette Midler, celebrated over two decades of transforming and beautifying New York’s urban environment with its annual benefit, Hulaween. The sold-out evening, which raised two million dollars for NYRP, saw one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, transformed into A Garden of Earthly Delights. Bosch’s famous painting was brought to life from the minute partygoers walked in the door – where they were greeted by goblins wearing elaborate papier-mâché masks, tap-dancing skeletons and an enormous spider that adorned the Cathedral’s front entryway and served as the perfect backdrop for cocktail hour.
Among the hundreds of NYRP supporters who attended the event were The Cast of Hello, Dolly!, Dita Von Teese, Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber, DJ Runna, Ben Platt, Michael Feinstein, Molly Gordon, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Carolyn Murphy, Jodi Lyn O’ Keefe, David Barton, Sophie Von Haselberg, Margo and James L. Nederlander, and many, many more!
(Photo Credit: Mia McDonald – Bette Midler, Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Kors, Lance LePere)
The event’s MC, comedian Judy Gold (in costume as tennis player Bobby Riggs alongside partner Elysa Halperin’s Billie Jean King), kicked off the night before introducing the lady of the hour, NYRP Founder Bette Midler. The Divine Miss M surprised the excited crowd by welcoming Hello, Dolly! co-star David Hyde Pierce and members of the cast’s ensembleto the stage for a rousing parody – “Hello Dollars” – which was a nod to the evening’s generous donors and received a standing ovation. As the festivities continued, the legendary Jon Bon Jovi, who was wanted dead or alive in his black and white prison stripes, took the stage to perform a mix of Bon Jovi hits and Halloween classics that included “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “The Monster Mash.”
This year’s honorees were Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman – Alphabet, Inc., and David Evans Shaw, Managing Partner, Black Point Group, both of whom exhibit exemplary environmental stewardship and the ability to affect innovative change.
(Photo Credit: Mia McDonald
– Dita Von Teese, Ben Platt, Bernadette Peters)
The costume judge, fashion designer Michael Kors, came clad in an apple suit to represent the serpent from the story of Adam & Eve.The fashion iconjudged the star-studded crowd for best costume winners, and the incredible well thought out and often handmade costumes were acclaimed as the best ever!. Notable winners included Susanne Bartsch dressed as an otherworldly milkmaid, and a Kellyanne Conway Inauguration Day doppelganger with a full fleet of security.
This year’s theme was brought to life by Douglas Little, who transformed the cathedral into a dreamlike landscape that exuded a spooky, romantic elegance. Each table showcased an arrangement of deconstructed seasonal produce and greenery with the deep autumnal tones and rich textures providing an unforgettable ambiance for those seated around them; at which guests indulged in specialty spooktails and a dinner menu inspired by the flora and fauna from the Bosch painting.