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Park-lovers convene for cocktails

Park-lovers convene for cocktails
Tavern off the green: Tanya Rynd, a partner at Superfine, and Chris Martin, who works for the Dumbo Business Improvement District, came out to support their neighborhood park.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Park stewards had some fun inside for a change on Monday night.

On top of coming up with cash, organizers of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s annual cocktail party and fund-raiser aimed to bring some new blood in through the doors of the Dumbo venue.

“Our park was founded by community advocates 25 years ago,” said Rachel Fletcher, a spokeswoman for the conservancy. “We’re looking to find people to pick up the baton.”

The event convened the conservancy’s Currents Council, which focusses on attracting young scions and civic activists to get involved with funding and running the sprawling green space beneath Brooklyn Heights.

“We are the young professionals group,” said Hilary Tholen, a Currents member. “It’s the next generation of supporters for the park.”

The mixed-drink sipping action took place at the bar Superfine on Front Street.

About 150 people turned out for the occasion, paying between $25 and $40 for admission. A raffle featured prizes donated by local businesses including Lassen and Hennigs, Brooklyn Heights Cinema, and Noodle Pudding.

Organizers said bringing people out to a watering hole under the Manhattan Bridge was a good way to keep them thinking about the park during its hibernation phase.

“We wanted to engage our constituents during the non-park, colder months,” said Tholen. “It was really fun.”

The conservancy funds programming at the waterfront park, provides volunteers to assist with its upkeep, and fishes for donors to help cover the park’s big projects. Its programs include movie screenings, fitness classes, and concerts, as well as fun one-offs like its recent snow-sculpting contest.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), whose district includes the park, is pushing a bill to skim a fifth of the money raised by posh park conservancies such as the Prospect Park Alliance and redistribute it to greenswards in poor areas that have no such support. But Brooklyn Bridge Park is privately funded and outside the purview of the city’s parks department, so it, and the Conservancy, would not be affected should the law pass.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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