More than 1,000 partygoers attended the 25th annual Green Tie Ball, hosted by Chicago Gateway Green at Architectural Artifacts on Oct. 1. The 80,000-square-foot warehouse space was filled with antique treasures that served as a striking backdrop for the event, themed “Starry Night.” It celebrated the 30th anniversary of CGG, a nonprofit dedicated to greening and beautifying the city’s expressways, gateways and communities.
Searchlights lit up the night sky as guests entered the venue in the historic Ravenswood neighborhood. In the courtyard, six massive stone columns, statuary and other architectural elements were dramatically lit by Kehoe Designs. Attendees posed for photos beside a 1945 Chevy pickup truck, a huge, green #GTB social media sign and an 8-foot vintage chandelier.
Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed a variety of tasting stations from top local restaurants, coordinated by the event’s culinary chair, David Lissner. They included Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse, Mia Francesca, Shaw’s Crab House, Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse and Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon.
Masters of ceremonies WGN Radio’s Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes introduced event principals, co-chairs Neal Zucker and Lara Shiffman, Tony Abruscato (CGG executive director) and Golub. CGG’s board chair, Grant DePorter, spoke about how pleased his late father Donald J. DePorter, CGG founder, would be with the success of the organization. Since its inception in 1986, the organization has planted more than 4,000 trees, 80,000 shrubs and 130,000 perennials, along with removing over 1.3 million pounds of litter.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) presented a resolution from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council that proclaimed Sept. 26 through Oct. 2 “Gateway Green Week.” A cake-cutting ceremony featured a 150-pound Eli’s Cheesecake.
With all the success of CGG, DePorter still has big dreams for the future of the organization. “I would like to put sprinklers throughout our entire expressway garden system. They would allow us to be more aggressive with our plantings, but they’re very expensive. My crazy dream would be to receive a large charitable gift, which would provide enough funding to make that happen. We’re doing a lot but could always do more,” he said.
The event raised more than $400,000 for Gateway Green’s Expressway Partnership Program that beautifies gateways and transforms roadways into parkways. In honor of the anniversary celebration, the original co-chairs from the first Green Tie Ball in 1992, Shiffman and Zucker, were reunited with many inaugural committee members.