Last Thursday, staff of The Daily Green put on ties and cocktail dresses and rode New York City's most efficient elevators from the 25th floor up to the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower, the first LEED gold-certified office building in the Big Apple.
After the temporary blindness from dozens of flashbulbs cleared, we enjoyed majestic views of a darkened Hudson River, the reason why many of New York society's beautiful young people had gathered to nibble organic tapenade and sip fancy cocktails. The spellbinding heiress and pixy-sized model Amanda Hearst was hosting the second annual Riverkeeper Junior Council benefit party with her good friend, uber-stylish jewelry heir Luigi Tadini, and the fashion house TIBI.
The bubbly, goldenhaired Hearst, a 24-year-old Fordham University student and great-granddaughter of publishing lion William Randolph Hearst, explained over the whirr of clicking cameras that she started volunteering with Riverkeeper because her mother (Anne Hearst) had backed the pioneering green nonprofit for years. She also supports Riverkeeper "because they are so effective," she said.
"The Hudson River used to be so toxic that it was essentially dead for miles," Hearst explained. "And [Riverkeeper] cleaned it up, so now it is one of the most pristine major rivers in the Northeast."
Hearst added that in addition to raising money to help support Riverkeeper's work, the purpose of the starry, invite-only evening was to "get younger people involved" in protecting the environment. To that end, the IMG model founded Riverkeeper's Junior Council a couple of years ago with Tadini.
"We try to keep our events as organic as possible," the Brazilian-born Tadini explained. That includes organically farmed hors doerves, spirits and more. The gift bags for the night were recycled, reusable totes from Whole Foods.
"People always ask me how they can change, so tonight we're giving gift bags with Earth-friendly light bulbs [micro-mini CFLs from Sylvania] and a pin from Bicycle for a Day, Matthew Modine's bike advocacy effort," said Tadini. The recent NYU film school grad added that he and Hearst have worked hard to educate themselves about environmental issues, and share that knowledge with their peers. "Sometimes we take a boat up the Hudson and go shout at polluters," he said.
Twentysomething partier Annunziata Francesca Sahid said that growing up, she had long assumed that there wasn't much an individual could do to really help the environment. "Then my office put me in charge of greening things up, and I realized how easy it was," explained Sahid, who helped her employer save money and the planet by cutting waste and choosing greener products.
Other invited guests included top-flight young environmentalists Andrew Black, Annie Churchill, Billy Gilbane, Bobby Kennedy III, Claire Bernard, Derek Blasberg, Edward Barsamian, Jackie Astier, Jamie Johnson, Julia Erdman, Lauren Bush, Margaret Betts, Martin Dawson, Peter Davis and Stella Keitel. Alex Mathieson, president of Riverkeeper, and Brian Schwagel, Hearst's green building guru, were on hand as well. Other River Keeper Junior Council members include Annie Berkery (who explained that she first discovered the importance of protecting the environment while growing up on Cape Cod), Dalia Oberlander, Gillian Hearst Simonds, Jamie Korey, Lisa Salzer, Marissa Bregman, Nick Raynes, regular TDG contributor Olivia Zaleski and Theresa Berkery.
As the evening went on, Hearst and a gal pal took to the dance floor, and a small crowd soon closed in around them. Spirits were high and hope was in the air for a cleaner, greener future.
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