The organization was founded in 1993, before the park’s reconstruction, to address concerns that a newly designed park would suffer the same neglect as the original property, a derelict plaza. “Why waste tax-payers money? You’re just making it nice for the homeless!” shouted opponents of the renewal plan at public hearings.
In anticipation of the “new” park, Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza began with a few committed neighbors, building alliances and raising funds. In 1997, we were granted tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization. The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) encouraged volunteer park associations like ours through its Partnerships for Parks program.