Nurture New York's Nature
Nurture New York’s Nature (“NNYN”), once a sister nonprofit of NNF and today a part of it, was founded on the occasion of The Gates, the spectacular work of public art by Christo and Jeanne Claude that changed New Yorkers’ and the world's experience of the city and the treasure that is Central Park. NNYN’s mission is that of NNF, but its focus is on promoting environmental solutions in New York City. The projects undertaken by NNYN, including its work on transit, its publication Go Wild in New York, and its collaboration with CUNY, are described elsewhere on this website. The purpose of this page is to remember and commemorate the founding of NNYN, and the inspiration for it.
As most New Yorkers will remember, “The Gates” was an installation of more than 7500 gates hung with saffron fabric panels that waved and billowed in the wind, along 23 miles of Central Park walkways. The Gates remained in place for 16 days in February, 2005, drawing an estimated four million appreciative visitors to the park in that cold month of winter. The New York Times described The Gates as “a work of pure joy, a vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence, the first great public art event of the 21st century.”
NNF’s founder, Ted Kheel worked for over twenty-five years to help make The Gates possible. When the project was finally approved, Christo and Jeanne Claude wrote him, on January 23, 2003, saying “We have received permission, in great part thanks to your work, from City of New York/Parks and Recreation to construct and display our work of art, which... once we complete it, will be entitled 'Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979 – 2005.'”
In appreciation for Kheel’s support, the artists donated signed art prints to NNYN, in addition to granting it permission for a period to use the intellectual property from The Gates to benefit the people and natural environment of New York City. The prints are available for purchase in our art prints store, and the proceeds are used to benefit NNF’s New York work. Christo and Jeanne Claude’s first meeting with Kheel in 1979, which is included in part in an HBO documentary on The Gates, can be viewed here. It is a delightful reminder that patience and persistence can bear results, even if those results come 25 years later.