First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris Receives the Doris C. Freedman Award

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by Chris Meigher

Last night, at Gracie Mansion, the Doris C. Freedman Award was presented to first deputy mayor Patricia E. Harris on a full and flowing lawn of well wishes. The award, dedicated to the memory and vision of Doris Chanin Freedman, acknowledges an individual or organization for a “contribution to the people of the City of New York that greatly enriches the public environment. One of the event highlights was a video salute by Bono—an original melody— and a commemorative reel of Patti’s most significant artistic contributions to the City of New York over the past two decades (think: The Gates; Waterfalls; 9/11 Memorial, et cetera).

Patti always had a penchant for public service. “I got involved in government when I was a senior in high school,” she says. “I volunteered for a public service project in my congressman’s office, who, at the time, was Ed Koch. Fast-forward into 2001, Mike Bloomberg won, and he asked me to join him in city government.” In 2005, Harris was appointed First Deputy Mayor of New York City—the first woman to serve in this role. “It was a big honor to be the first female First Deputy Mayor of New York City,” Patti says in her typical humble manner. “It’s a wonderful title, but the work is really what’s important to me.”

And what great work she’s done! Under her leadership, the administration has been a champion of arts and culture as well as of quality design. Harris has spearheaded the city’s cultural funding process and has been an ardent supporter of preserving the iconic structures that are at the core of New York City’s history. Hats off to Patti for sharing her good judgment, great taste, sound management, and kind heart with the citizenry of New York!