AN EVENING WORTH SAVORING: BIG APPLE GREETER’S SPRING BENEFIT, MAY 3RD
The Harvard Club was packed with a spirited crowd and a feeling that old friends were meeting again for the first time in years. Big Apple Greeter was honoring two special people at the top of their fields: Henry J. Stern, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner in the 1980s and 90s, and Richard Phillips, Big Apple Greeter of the Year.
Christopher P. Boylan, Co-Chair of Big Apple Greeter’s Board, remembered our late founder Lynn Brooks and gave heartfelt thanks to our Benefit Committee, our Board of Directors, our overachieving staff of two (Alicia and Gail), our immensely generous donors, and the core of Big Apple Greeter, our 350 volunteers.
Co-Chair Patrick W. Condren gave Richard Phillips the Greeter of the Year Award, noting that Richard has been a Greeter to over 1000 visitors since 2006.
Cristyne Nicholas, CEO, Nicholas & Lence Communications, said that her former boss, Henry Stern, had a fondness for giving everyone nicknames. He chose “StarQuest” for himself and “Chanticleer” for her. She thanked him for his personal guidance and for all he’s done for the city – such as acquiring a million dollars from Disney, which made the Great Lawn in Central Park even greater.
Adrian Benepe, nickname “A-Train,” presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Stern. “A-Train” explained, “You can’t reduce 40 years of service into a 5-minute speech.” But he shared wonderful stories. He said Henry Stern was the hardest working person in the city…ever. ”If I worked 90 hours, he worked 110.” “StarQuest” worshipped trees and cherished land. He added 2000 acres of park land to the city. He loved parks and nature because he grew up in a section of Inwood where greenery was scarce. His dog, Boomer the Wonder Dog, went everywhere with him and became the world’s most petted dog.
After the speeches, it became clear that Henry Stern had inspired love and devotion from everyone in the room who had worked for him or befriended him. These people weren’t just fans, they were Henry Stern fanatics. To use a nature metaphor, he is one of the most luminous stars in the history of New York City.
Thanks to our Benefit Committee for their support and hard work to make the evening a great success: Adrian Benepe, Garrett R. Bowden, Christopher P. Boylan, Patrick W. Condren, Kelly Ann Curtin, Cristyne Nicholas, Stuart Ruderfer, Edward Skyler, Parke Spencer, and Bradley Tusk. Thanks to our generous sponsors: NYC & Company, Civic Entertainment Group, Statue Cruises, Chris and Liz Boylan, The Janet Ross Fund, Next Act 2 Follow, and Barbados Tourism Marketing, Inc.