Hudson River Park Friends enjoys a rich history of community activism Our story officially begins in 1996 when a group of activists came together as the Hudson River Park Alliance to save Hudson River Park, which, at that time, was, in reality, only a plan that was readily being scaled back. In 1997, the Alliance succeeded in securing the support of Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani, who confirmed their recommitment to allocating $200 million in State and City funds to help build the Park.
The Hudson River Park Alliance also worked to secure the passage of the Hudson River Park Act in 1998, which further authorized Hudson River Park with a framework to protect it against over-commercialization and broad goals to transform the decaying piers of New York’s West Side into a vibrant, beautiful, community-enriching park.
Friends of Hudson River Park was founded in 1999 as the successor to the Hudson River Park Alliance. Throughout its first decade, Friends of Hudson River Park worked directly with the growing communities adjacent to the park, as well as with the city and state governments, to build valuable and fruitful relationships to advance the Park plan, lobbied for additional State and City funding, and successfully fought for the removal of incompatible uses of parkland that also resulted in millions of dollars in new construction funding.
As more and more areas of the Park were completed and the organization’s focus continued to evolve and grow, the Friends of Hudson River Park began to explore issues of long-term sustainability. Part of that exploration was to look more closely at the relationship between the Park and the surrounding and changing neighborhoods that led to the proposal for a Neighborhood Improvement District as well as the creation of a committed private-sector stewardship community. Recognizing that after a decade of advocacy, the primary impediment to the fulfillment of the dream of Hudson River Park was resources, Friends mission was broadened to explicitly include raising the additional funds necessary to not only complete, but also to maintain and operate the Park.
In the summer of 2011, the Friends and the Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding which established a formal partnership between the two organizations and designated the Friends as the official fundraiser for the Park. A joint Steering Committee represented by members of both organizations’ Boards of Directors guides advocacy, marketing and fundraising strategies to enhance the resource base of the Park.