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Bronx River honors friends

On Monday, September 22, the first day of Fall, the Bronx River Alliance hosted An Upstream Soirée at Hunts Point Riverside Park to celebrate the ongoing transformation of the Bronx River. The evening’s event also honored the contributions of three individuals who have each, in their own way, contributed to making the Bronx a better place to live and raise a family. Favorable weather ensured us a sparkling convivial evening and everyone enjoyed the great music, food and cocktails.

The Bronx River Alliance has been championing the cause of New York City’s only freshwater river since its beginnings as a grassroots initiative spearheaded by community activists in the 1970s. Today, in partnership with the New York City Parks Department, and with the financial support of public and private benefactors and the participation and cooperation of thousands of concerned citizens, the Alliance has made remarkable strides in achieving its mission.

Proceeds from the Soirée go directly towards programs to clean, restore, and protect the Bronx River and the 8-mile greenway that runs along its length.

“It’s not possible to overstate the importance of the Bronx River to New York City,” said Linda R. Cox, executive director/Bronx River administrator. “It is a vital tributary that is for all of us an amazing resource. When individuals and organizations go above and beyond to keep the River healthy we feel compelled to express our gratitude.”

The evening’s honorees were Michael Lappin, president and chief executive officer of The Community Preservation Corporation; Sonia Manzano, award winning actress and children’s book author best known perhaps for playing “Maria” on Sesame Street; and Jorge Santiago, an environmental activist whose dogged opposition to the polluting of the river by corporations and businesses earned him wide praise and respect.

Speaking on his own behalf but no doubt expressing sentiments his fellow honorees would second, Santiago said, “Any work I’ve done to help preserve the Bronx river pales in comparison to what the River gives me, my family, and my community in return.”

A silent auction was also held during the event to raise funds.

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