On The Avenue

Bette Midler Hosts Out-of-This-World Party

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Aurora Rose/PMC
Friday, November 2, 2018
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Two days before the Halloween festivities officially kicked off, Bette Midler hosted her 22nd annual Hulaween extravaganza to benefit her New York Restoration Project


The event, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, honored Mica Ertegün and Darcy Stacom for their commitment to environmental stewardship. As in year’s past, Michael Kors judged the costume contest.


“One year a guy came as a disco ball. He fully covered his whole head, his suit, his shoes and he spun around the cocktail party,” said Kors on his favorite costume from years past. “The community comes together in these gardens,” continued Kors about the importance of NYRP. “It’s like [giving someone] a makeover. What Bette has done has made New York feel and look better.” The nonprofit seeks to create public spaces within ready walking distance of their homes. 


“We’re not small, but we’re intense. What we do is we serve the entire city,” said Midler about NYRP. “Our parks and gardens are in the outer boroughs where there are [very few] resources…we provide a way for people to meet each other. To get to know each other and to network. It’s been very successful.”


The evening, dubbed Hulaween in the Cosmos, also featured a performance by Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. “It’s an honor for me to come,” he said, emphasizing how being from New Orleans, he enjoyed the over-the-top theatrics of the event. “We have to take of all our public areas,” he continued, referencing NYRP.


The event was held just after the 25th anniversary of the classic Midler Halloween film, Hocus Pocus. “I don’t watch it regularly,” admitted Midler. “I hadn’t seen it in at least 20 years, but I watched it the other night…And I loved it! The first time I watched it, I was only watching myself. But everyone was great!”


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