On The Avenue

Girls! Girls! Girls!

by Ben Diamond Photographed by Vlasta Pilot/BFA.com
Friday, May 26, 2017

It was all about the girls at The Bowery Hotel on Wednesday night as The Lower East Side Girls Club (LESGC) celebrated its 20th anniversary. “I live on the Lower East Side with my family, and what I think is so important is that it opens its doors to my neighborhood, so it holds a special place in my heart. It teaches girls to use their brains, to be creative, to think outside the box, and not be so obsessed with pop culture,” said event co-chair Natalie Kates.

The gala honored actress Rosario Dawson, who has been deeply involved with the organization.

“It’s a space of art and creativity, where science meets fashion meets space exploration meets welding meets activism meets healthy foods. It’s a wonderful microcosm of the ideal world, and we’re raising our girls with the expectation that that’s what they should always have going forward,” she said.

Guests marveled over the organization’s stunning successes over the past two decades. “We actually built a $20 million dollar building on Avenue D,” said LESGC founder and executive director Lyn Pentecost. “To be able to create a brand new institution in new york at this time is quite a miracle. People are building like crazy, but it’s all high end real estate or commercial. We actually managed to build an agency that services a low income population.”

Also honored were General Electric Vice Chair Beth Comstock, Refinery29 Creative Director Piera Gelardi, TV and radio personality Nessa and ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling.

The night’s real stars, though, were the girls whose lives had been changed by the LESGC. The evening’s crowning moment was performance by some of the club’s members, who sang and danced in homemade prom dresses for the gala’s attendees.

“The girls club gave me the inspiration and the strength to be an amazing woman even in a male-dominated industry, and inspired me to inspire other girls to follow in my footsteps. I’m so fortunate that my daughter has had the same kind of opportunities going to the girls club,” said alumnus Marlena LaMar.


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by Ben DiamondPhotographed by Ben Diamond