The Friends of the High Line’s spring benefit drew a colorful mélange of donors and supporters to Hudson River Park’s cavernous—but intimately candlelit—Pier 57 last night.
The evening celebrated the community-fueled organization that has overseen the transformation of an abandoned rail line into an immensely popular elevated urban park. Cofounders Robert Hammond and Joshua David traded hearty hugs and handshakes over gin gimlets and champagne before the crowd was ushered into a dining hall, which boasted garlands of snapshots from the High Line’s history.
As guests nibbled on green-market-fresh fare, presenters Diane von Furstenberg, Amanda Burden, and Chelsea Clinton heaped praise on the 1.4-mile stretch of greenery nestled high above Manhattan’s streets. “Wherever I go in the world, people talk to me about the High Line,” said von Furstenberg, who together with husband Barry Diller—also in attendance—has contributed more than $35 million to Friends of the High Line. “And why did the High Line happen? Because the dreamers wanted it.” One such dreamer is Ethan Hawke—a former Chelsea resident (he recently decamped to Brooklyn) and one of the evening’s honorees. “It’s always fascinating when someone makes something beautiful when they don’t have to,” he said. “They could have easily torn the High Line down, and instead, they made something wonderful for the city.”