A jubilant crowd of Greeters and friends filled the fourth floor of Sardi’s restaurant on May 9, 2017. For over 90 years, the legendary Sardi’s, located in Times Square, has paid tribute to show business by lining the walls with caricatures of celebrities –1500 at last count.
The guests came to celebrate Big Apple Greeter’s unwavering support of New York City for the past 25 years. They also came to honor two outstanding Big Apple Greeter champions: Fred Dixon, President & CEO of NYC & Company, and Ruth W. Messinger, former Manhattan Borough president, who along with the late Lynn Brooks, was our first cheerleader and benefactor.
Board Chair Christopher P. Boylan started the evening being playful and mysterious: “We have a special treat before we call up the speakers.” As it turned out, “special” was an understatement. Julie Reiber from the Tony Award Nominated play, COME FROM AWAY, sang a heart-rending song from the show. Although most of us were standing, Julie’s performance still earned a standing ovation!
The first honoree, Ruth Messinger, talked about Lynn Brooks as a “force of nature” whose brilliant idea was to improve the worldwide image of New York City in the 1990s. “This powerful and affirmative program is still going strong, while most non-profits just don’t last. I have no doubt you’ll be around for another quarter century.”
The second honoree, Fred Dixon, said “The need for Big Apple Greeter is as great as it ever was – it is so important to support this organization.” He then called Kelly Ann Curtin, a colleague at NYC & Company, to come up and share the award with him.
Throughout the evening, Board Chair Christopher thanked Board Members, Sponsors, Donors, Supporters, Big Apple Greeter’s Executive Director Alicia Pierro and Director of Programs and Volunteers Gail Morse. He also praised the volunteers for their unbridled love of the city and its visitors. Chris then thanked Big Apple Greeter’s first Board Chair Joel Epstein for introducing Ruth, and member of our first Board, Charlie Flateman, for introducing Fred.
The evening ended with wonderful raffle prizes representing each borough. The grandest prize of all was a pair of Delta round-trip business class tickets to Europe worth $9400.00! In true theatrical tradition, all raffle winners were given thunderous applause.