Eschewing the warm spring weather just beyond the walls, the group Friends of Liberty State Park gathered yesterday at Liberty House to recognize the park’s “special advocates.”

FOLSP President Sam Pesin called on the diverse assemblage “to persevere with advocacy and optimism to again save the park from a major threat.”

“For three years, we fought Fireman’s funded surrogates to get the Protection Act passed. The Act had 33 thousand petition signers and 111 groups in a coalition, and 46 years of the broad public consensus for a free park for people and nature. But Fireman’s gang used his money and lies to kill the Protection Act and passed their own non-protection law that sets up a new task force with his surrogates and political patronage appointments.”

Despite the occasional references to Paul Fireman and the groups critics say he created and funded for the sole purpose of acquiring Caven Point for his Liberty National Golf Club, the event took on a largely celebratory tone.

Joking about Pesin’s sometimes lengthy emails, Mayor Steven Fulop was the first to speak, noting that he broadly agreed with FOLSP’s vision for the park.

Pesin then took over as emcee. Receiving awards were:

  • Jeff Tittel: The Audrey Zapp Lifetime Environmental Achievement Award
  • Councilman Frank Educational Gilmore: The Leadership in Democracy Award
  • Barbara Williams: The Freedom of the Human Spirit Award
  • Danny Burgos: The Volunteer Action Award
  • Robert Romero: The Volunteer Action Award

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....