Spring Benefit 2023: Striding Towards Sustainability

Charlotte Mayerson Volunteer Award

Photo by Alex Bershaw

Charlotte Mayerson (1927-2022) was a true pillar of Riverside Park. A volunteer, organizer, supporter, advocate, and friend, she was one of the first and longest-serving ParkTenders and the founder of the 116th Street Overlook Concerts.

In the late 1980s, Charlotte was an early pioneer who adopted an area of the Park: a block-long stretch at 115th Street across from her Riverside Drive home. In the early days, her son Robert would garden beside her. Following his tragic death from AIDS in 1990, Charlotte dubbed the site “Robert’s Garden” and devoted herself to its longterm care. Every April, she hosted a “Spring Cleanup Day” to mark Robert’s birthday, inviting his friends from around the world to pay tribute to his memory with a day of volunteer service.

In 2006, Charlotte founded the 116th Street Overlook Concerts, a series of free musical performances held every spring and fall on Sunday afternoons. Charlotte single-handedly raised the funds, booked the performers, and managed the productions for nearly 16 years. These popular events continue to draw hundreds of people to enjoy live music at a beautiful and underappreciated spot in the Park. Riverside Park Conservancy is committed to caring for Robert’s Garden and continuing the tradition of gathering friends for an annual Spring Clean-up Day. Every spring and fall, we will proudly host the Overlook Concerts in Charlotte’s memory. Both programs are able to continue in perpetuity thanks to Charlotte’s membership in the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Society, the Conservancy’s planned giving program. Through a generous bequest arranged during her lifetime, Charlotte ensured that her contributions to the Park will live on into the future.

At this year’s Spring Benefit, we will pay tribute to Charlotte’s legacy with the creation of the Charlotte Mayerson Volunteer Award. Going forward, this Award will be given annually to a volunteer who embodies her spirit of service and who has made a profound difference in the Park. May Charlotte’s extraordinary commitment to Riverside Park serve as a beacon of inspiration for the next generation.