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Queens Botanical Garden rambling rose gala raises $172K, honors foundation for historic donation

Jun. 9, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

The Queens Botanical Garden celebrated its 75th anniversary at its annual Rambling Rose Gala on Monday, June 5, where guests “rambled” through various gardens to enjoy the beauty of flowers, indulged at food stations, and took part in garden tours and educational crafts. 

Photo by Eryn Hatzithomas

The evening honored the Joan N. and Norman Bluestone Foundation and its trustees with the Rose Gala Award in recognition of the foundation’s recent $8 million donation to support the education of children in Queens. 

The Garden will also name its upcoming Education Center after Joan and Norman. 

Joan, who died in 2020, was a longtime volunteer and donor at QBG and served on its board of directors for many years. Norman, who died in 2011, was a founding member of the Bluestone Organization, a Queens-based real estate company, along with his two brothers, Harold and Eli. 

“The real honorees tonight are Joan and Norman, our Aunt and Uncle, the Foundation originators,” said Sara Herbstman, president of the Norman Bluestone Foundation. “As many of you know, Joan and Norman lived in Queens their entire lives. Queens Botanical Garden was always a special place that both Joan and Norman frequented often to admire the beautiful grounds. They often expressed their desire to contribute to its future in a meaningful way, and felt fostering the education of disadvantaged youth in the New York metropolitan area was most important. We are so pleased that the new Education Center will bear Joan and Norman’s names.  We could not think of a better way to honor their memory.”

Photo by Eryn Hatzithomas

The Rambling Rose Gala raised over $172,000 for the place where “people, plants, and cultures meet.” 

In attendance were QBG Board Chair Raymond D. Jasen, partner-in-charge of Tax of KPMG’s New York Financial Services; Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., City Council member Sandra Ung, QBG Board member and Norman Bluestone Foundation President Sara Herbstman, QBG Executive Director Evie Hantzopoulos, QBG Deputy Director Rebecca Wolf, QBG Director of Development Olivia Cothren, supporters and sponsors. 

“We make this Garden as accessible as we can, with very low admission, free events, programming that reflects the rich diversity of our city, and hands-on opportunities that help people connect with nature, our ecosystem, and our own health and wellness,” Hantzopoulos said. “The funds raised tonight will ensure that Queens Botanical Garden continues to welcome the community for the next 75 years and beyond!”

Photo by Eryn Hatzithomas

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