Bette Midler: Force of Nature

By Mad Dog
Published: Oct 31, 2009

For a lot of New Yorkers, Halloween is "Hulaween", Bette Midler’s costume party/benefit for the New York Restoration Project. Don’t know it? Founded by Midler in 1995, this cause is all about dotting our city with clean parks, tree-lined streets and community gardens. Current goal: plant a million trees in New York by 2017. Progress report: more than 200,000 already planted. Friends invited us this year; we couldn’t say yes fast enough. (For the costume obsessed, my wife was the Ghost of Christmas Past, carrying a copy of Dow 36,000 and shopping bags with designer labels; I was Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, with money — fake — stuffed in every pocket.) What a night! Gobs of stars, freaks galore, Whoopi running her mouth, a delightfully obscene Bette, and a heart-stopping, quasi-acoustic set from Crosby, Stills & Nash, who led a group sing of “Our House”. Our favorite new cause is $1.6 million stronger today, and we’re saving our pennies to plant a tree.