HUDSON SEXY PARK! The Hudson River Park’s Spring Gala at Pier 26 on Tuesday night was a smashing success. The event raised a cool $2.2 million — double what was expected, and quadruple the amount netted by last year’s gala. All the credit goes to the Friends of Hudson River Park, which has transitioned from the park’s lawsuit-filing watchdog to the Hudson River Park Trust’s new private fundraising arm. The Tribeca pier is slated to become an estuarium — a place to study the river’s natural habitat and species. But Tuesday night it was covered by a de rigeur white tent and was aswarm with financial heavy hitters. More than 800 attended the $1,000-per-plate affair, with some forking out even more for a serving of arctic char. Blake Beatty, the Friends new director of development, was feelin’ it — to put it mildly — after the mega-successful haul. “I raised $2.2 million tonight!” she gushed, a touch of gold glitter shimmering on her cheek. “We needed to beat the High Line, and we needed to bring the sexy back. I got a call from the High Line boys, and they said, ‘You’re taking our sexy,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I did.’ ” Beatty knows from sexy — in five years, she raised $350 million for the National 9/11 Memorial down at Ground Zero. “Martha Stewart just joined the board” of the Friends, Beatty said, adding that Aussie hunk Hugh Jackman and his wife are also getting involved. “This is really the Gold Coast of New York City — this is their escape,” Beatty said. “We got the big hitters, like Glenn Dubin,” she noted proudly. Jackman gave a videotaped speech at the gala. Mayor Bloomberg attended and gave Dubin, C.E.O. of Highbridge Capital Management, the event’s Leadership in Community Enrichment Award. Sporting a black cast on her foot, Diana Taylor, the mayor’s main squeeze and the Trust’s chairperson, gave remarks, as did Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president. The evening’s emcee was Gayle King, co-host of “CBS This Morning.” Douglas Durst, Friends co-chairperson, also spoke. It was good to see Rob Balachandran, the Trust’s former president, who is now working in title insurance. He hooked us up for a quick interview with his ex-boss, former Governor George Pataki, who was towering over the crowd. As government funding for the park has dwindled under Governors Spitzer, Paterson and Cuomo, the former G.O.P. gov — always a major funder of the project — is looking more than ever like the park’s true champion. Pataki recalled how, upon seeing the Lower West Side’s rundown piers, he knew it was the perfect place for a park. Asked what he thought of the idea currently being tossed around for residential use on Pier 40, Pataki said he really didn’t know enough about it, and didn’t want to comment. Also at the event were Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and Robert Gottheim, his district director, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried’s chief of staff, Wendi Paster, borough president hopefuls Julie Menin and Jessica Lappin, expected City Council candidate Corey Johnson, Abigail Trenk of the W. 30th St. Heliport, Ben Korman — who formerly ran the parking at Pier 40 — Tony and Nadine Hoffmann of Village Independent Democrats, Trust counsel Laurie Silberfeld and P3’s Tobi Bergman, Nancy Clark and their son, Patrick Clark, who recently landed a gig — congrats! — reporting on Wall St. for the New York Observer.
BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY: Speaking of Hudson River Park, hoping to avoid an overflow crowd, Community Board 2, at the last minute, changed the venue for its May 21 Waterfront Committee meeting, finding a larger space at the L.G.B.T. Center on W. 13th St. Tust President Wils was scheduled to lay out the findings of a recent study on Pier 40, showing how residential use there could provide the highest revenue for the park — with the least negative impact — and a high turnout seemed like a possibility. C.B. 2 was trying to avoid what happened earlier this year when a meeting on the N.Y.U. 2031 plan drew an overcapacity crowd to the A.I.A. Center on LaGuardia Place, forcing everyone to schlep over to Our Lady of Pompei Church’s Father Demo Hall at Carmine and Bleecker Sts. where there was sufficient space. But, in the end, only about 20 to 25 people showed up at the May 21 Waterfront Committee meeting. We’ll see if there’s a larger turnout this Thurs., May 31, at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Chapel, 209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Sts., when the Trust and Hudson River Park Advisory Council will lead a meeting on ideas to improve the cash-strapped park’s financial situation, which would likely include changes to the 1998 Hudson River Park Act. St. Paul’s was picked because, again, it has a large capacity. We’ll see if it was needed.
WEDDING BELLS: Jennifer Falk, right, executive director of the Union Square Partnership, is getting married June 10 to Anthony Corrao, a financial planner and adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College and at Marymount Manhattan. They met a year ago when they were on an AIDS bicycle ride.
PUBLISHER VS. POLICE: Village activist and attorney Arthur Schwartz told us he plans to represent George Capsis in court over Capsis’s recent clash with a cop in a West Village bike lane. After becoming indignant that a police van was in the bike lane, the WestView publisher slapped the officer’s face, in response to which the officer punched the 84-year-old in his own face, leaving a large, liver-colored welt under his left eye.
KOCH SLAMS CYBERBULLY SENTENCE: Former Mayor Ed Koch says Dharun Ravi, 18, the Rutgers student who spied on his gay roommate’s trysts with a Webcam — causing the young violinist to leap off the G.W. Bridge — got off too lightly. The judge sentenced the Indian immigrant to 30 days in jail, plus 300 hours community service and counselling about cyberbullying. “I say, not enough,” Koch wrote in his “Commentary” column. “Tyler Clementi is dead. … Surely at least a year in prison of the 10 available under the law would have provided greater justice and closure for Clementi’s parents. Hopefully, on appeal — although appellate courts do not like to substitute their judgment on sentencing for that of the trial judge — the appellate judges will set aside the lower court’s sentencing decision and send the case back for resentencing…
Allowing the sentence to stand would be a flagrant injustice.”
Brad and Gigi: Nominating committees at Community Boards 2 and 3 have each reported out a slate of candidates for their June board elections. At C.B. 2, which covers the area between 14th and Canal Sts. west of the Bowery/Fourth Ave., Brad Hoylman, the board’s current chairperson, was nominated for re-election. At C.B. 3, which covers the area east of C.B. 2 to the East River, Chairperson Dominic Pisciotta Berg isn’t running for re-election, and the nominating committee reported out Second Vice Chairperson Gigi Li as its candidate for chairperson. Additional nominations can be made from the floor at the June full-board meetings.