NYRP Celebrates Renovation of La Casita Community Garden in East Harlem

The Geraldine Stutz Trust Funds Garden Renovation

NEW YORK, NY, September 30, 2014 - New York Restoration Project (NYRP), the Bette Midler-founded non-profit that transforms open spaces in under-resourced communities, is celebrating the completed renovation of its La Casita Community Garden in East Harlem. Accompanied by NYRP Founder Bette Midler, Executive Director, Deborah Marton, representatives from the garden sponsor, The Geraldine Stutz Trust, local community members, and elected officials, NYRP will officiate a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of the public garden. The renovation, which includes a raised stage for performances; a chalkboard and projection screen for educational activities; added seating to the front and back to accommodate visitors, and more, will enhance the space as a community resource. As one of nine NYRP community gardens in a network of green spaces in East Harlem, La Casita will strengthen the social and environmental resilience in this area.

The renovation of the space was put to motion through NYRP’s ongoing garden adoption campaign, Gardens for Great New Yorkers, which presents individuals with the opportunity to sponsor the transformation and long-term maintenance of NYRP gardens in under-resourced communities throughout New York City. Funded by generous support from The Geraldine Stutz Trust, the Trust aims to remember Geraldine Stutz's significant contribution to the fashion industry, her love of theatre as well as her passion for gardening. A fashion retail groundbreaker, Stutz served 29 years as president of Henri Bendel, the upscale women's store.

“There’s no better way to honor Geraldine, who was not only a dynamic figure in the world of fashion, but a passionate gardener,” said Emma Turner, Geraldine’s step-daughter and President of the Trust. “To support the work of NYRP through the transformation of the La Casita garden is a wonderful way to pay tribute to Geraldine and her love for green spaces, and the joy they bring to New Yorkers.”

“Fashion darling Geraldine Stutz was an icon of style and her joie de vivre will be lovingly remembered by the La Casita garden.” said Bette Midler, NYRP Founder. “Filled with vibrant flowers, La Casita will carry on her legacy, and continue to help this neighborhood flourish as a beautiful open space where community members can share in her love for gardening.”

La Casita Community Garden, established in 1990, is primarily used by the community as an event and gathering space. To that end, the garden features a raised, round stage where performances can be held; a new grill and picnic tables for barbecuing; a shaded seating area; and two sheds for storage. The backdrop of the stage is a chalkboard that can be used by the local elementary school for an outdoor classroom or even as a movie projection screen.

Honoring Geraldine Stutz, many of her favorite plants were incorporated into the design. Beautifully accenting the existing river birches lining both sides of the garden, the flowers are commonly favored by hummingbirds, and include lilies, rhododendron, hosta, phlox, and hay-scented fern among others.

The garden is situated near several New York City Housing Authority public housing properties, including the Jefferson and Wagner Houses, and directly behind the Joseph C. Lanzetta School (P.S. 96).

“Healthy green spaces directly impact quality of life—from public health and safety to happiness and civic engagement,” said Deborah Marton, NYRP Executive Director. “Every one of our adopted gardens strengthen the community it serves and, ultimately, fortifies the city as a whole.”

About New York Restoration Project (NYRP)

Founded by Bette Midler in 1995, NYRP is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming open space in under-resourced communities to create a greener, more sustainable New York City. Unlike traditional conservancies that care for a specific place, NYRP is the only New York City conservancy that works citywide, bringing private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support. NYRP is also the leading private partner of the City of New York in MillionTreesNYC – an initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout New York City’s five boroughs. To learn more, please visit



Anne Tan-Detchkov | PR Officer, NYRP

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | (212) 333-2552