Meet the 2019 Alliance Gala Honorees
September 17, 2019
Pick out your party outfit—on Saturday, October 5, Prospect Park Alliance hosts its annual Gala at Bartel Pritchard Square. More than just a fun Saturday night of dining and dancing in the park, the Gala is the Alliance’s most important fundraiser of the year and raises critical funds to sustain, restore and advance Prospect Park. This year at the Gala, the Alliance will honor three Brooklynites who have devoted much of their lives and work to Brooklyn’s most vital green space: longtime Alliance supporters Lorraine and Gordon DiPaolo, as well as iconic New York City journalist Pete Hamill.
Longtime Brooklynites Lorraine and Gordon DiPaolo live just a stone’s throw from the park, by Grand Army Plaza. And if their names ring a bell, it might be because they have generously provided the matching sums during the Alliance’s annual spring and summer fundraisers for years, encouraging thousands of dedicated park supporters to give back to the park. The DiPaolos have always recognized the value in this cherished public space, believing firmly that as neighbors to the park and natives of Brooklyn, it is their duty to make sure the park is supported.
A born-and-bred Brooklynite, Pete Hamill has made his career as a journalist at countless New York City publications, and as an author, notably of his lauded memoir, A Drinking Life (1994). Hamill shares with Lorraine and Gordon a love of Prospect Park, having grown up exploring the woodlands and hanging out as a teenager at what he called “the totes,” short for totem poles—the way Hamill and his friends referred to Standford White's columned entrance at Bartel Pritchard Square. His family lived in various locations during his childhood, never further than two blocks from the park. Says Hamill, "the park and the Public Library branch on 9th Street and 6th Avenue insured us that we might be poor but we were never impoverished!" Over the years, Hamill has written fondly of long walks through the park with his mother and siblings. For Hamill, the park’s hills and meadows have always been a home to return to, and we are grateful for the opportunity to honor his deep appreciation of Brooklyn’s Backyard.
c. Chasi Annexy