Oktoberfest is ON for Saturday, Raffle tickets for fab prizes


Our volunteers arose early to meet the pumpkin delivery and setup for Oktoberfest. So head over at 1 PM start time to Dag Plaza for a fun day. Be sure to load up on raffle tickets. Prizes include seats for  Broadway hit shows, summer camp tuition, restaurants, gift shops and salon vouchers. The kids will have the time of their life painting pumpkins and wielding their balloon animals and swords with faces painted for photo ops. There’s even a tennis camp for tots and teens  to work off steam.

Proceeds from donations go to bringing you more community events and park beautification.

Expect Protests and High Security, Largest Diplomatic Gathering in World, September 16 to October 1


As the the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) convened at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, September 16, local residents braced for mid-town gridlock and the parade of protests aimed at UN leaders. Once again, we’re reminded of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza‘s historic role as Gateway to the UN, enshrining the Rights of Public Assembly and Peaceful Protest. Until the close on October 1, high-level security will extend to the park and surrounding neighborhood Security details are posted on roof tops while boats patrol the East River.

The Assembly’s “General Debate” presents 196 speakers over a period of six days on major issues of international concern, comprising all the 193 UN Member States, as well as the Observer State of the Holy See, the Observer State of Palestine and the delegation of the European Union. In addition, 2000 media accreditations have been processed.

This year’s theme is “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda” but much of the discussion will focus on urgent crises arising from ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and South Sudan.

Among the high-level meetings, President Barrack Obama chairs a Security Council Summit on Wednesday to address the growing, pervasive threat of terrorism and ISIS. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convenes a session on Thursday to focus on the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Climate change is also of great concern. For the first time, at Tuesday’s Climate Change Summit , China committed to making its economy more carbon efficient.  President Obama said climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and that the US and China had a responsibility to lead other nations. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the collective sense of urgency, saying “never before have so many leaders gathered to commit to action on climate change”.

Holiday Tree and Menorah Lightings, Thurs. Dec. 19

Join FRIENDS for the Holiday Tree Lighting in Dag Park, Thursday, Dec. 19th, starting at 5:30 PM. Prior to the event, The Family School children and parents will light the menorah in center of park between 4:30 and 5:00 pm, then join the celebration at entrance dome on 2nd Avenue. Family School Headmistress and Friends’ VP Lesley Nan Haberman extends a warm welcome to the community to attend the menorah lighting ceremony.

The Tree Lighting celebration features the Manhattan Holiday Carolers and visits with Santa. Gotta a doggie? Dress em in holiday garb for the Pooch Parade! Kids can pose with the 7 ft Frosty snowman. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Bungle up; we’ll wrap the show in one hour!

This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset on Sunday, Dec. 22 and ends Dec. 30th, while Christmas is celebrated Wednesday Dec. 25th and continues for 12 days.

Our annual tree lighting ceremony in Dag Plaza starts at 5:30 PM. Enjoy the Manhattan Holiday Carolers and if you have a doggie, dress in festive garb for the Pooch Parade. Free sweets and cocoa.

Free Puppet Show: Bessie’s Big Shot, Oct. 16

This traveling production of Bessie’s Big Shot puppet show comes to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on Wednesday, October 16 at 11 am. Kids are encouraged to follow their dreams as Bessie attempts the impossible and searches for her special talents.

Bessie the cow dreams of joining the circus. But can she lift more than Ziegfried, the strongest man in the world? Fly on the trapeze high above the crowd?

The CityParks PuppetMobile presents free performances and puppet-making workshops in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and schools throughout New York City. Performances are made possible by City Parks Foundation.

Oktoberfest at Dag Plaza, 10/12

Celebrate autumn’s beauty in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Children decorate pumpkins; the clown paints their faces and twists balloons into fantastical shapes. Kids pose as cats, spiderman and goblins amid hay bales and corn stalks. Photo ops galore. Family fun for all.

Hydrangea Fest Garden Celebration

We celebrate the summer garden when the hydrangeas bloom. Take a garden tour and learn about the 5 diffferent varieties in our collection and how to use these popular shrubs and vines  in stunning  arrangements, patio plantings and shade gardens. 

On Thursday, July 25th, 6 PM to & PM, violinist Susan Kessler will play from her extensive repertoire. Sample the new cafe menu with a  picnic plate for purchase from the Peace Garden Cafe. Free ice tea for all! 

On Friday, July 26, the tours continue and a  giant inflatable unicorn that sprays water from its horn will keep the kids cool and happy.


Sing for Hope Piano, Anyone Can Play

The Sing for Hope Piano is back for its third year at Hammarskjold Plaza, bringing music  to the park’s new cafe for a two week stint, starting July 19 and ending August 3. Anyone can play and we encourage all musicians, both professional and amateur to tickle the keys. The Sing for Hope nonprofit organization donates the pianos to schools. Artists contribute their creative expression to paint each piano with a unique design.

We need PIANO BUDDIES  to cover the piano with it’s fitted tarp  at night  and when  rain is forecast   If you can help, please contact fdhp@hammarskjoldplaza.org or leave a message at 212-826-8980. Let us know what days you are available for the two weeks ending August 3.

New Cafe Opens, Peace Garden

“I have a lifelong interest in diplomacy and good food,” said Shashanka Karlen at the cafe’s opening reception on July 18. “I want to create an oasis of peaceful dining and show that vegetarian and vegan food can be delicious as well as good for people and the planet.” Karlen took over  the remaining 3-year lease of the park’s cafe concession from Hospitality Holdings after being vetted by  NYC Parks & Recreation. He has owned two restaurants in Queens and is eager to apply  his culinary experience to the cafe  that serves  Turtle Bay residents and workers, including the UN community.

Blue awnings and white furniture evoke a tranquil mood. Tropical plants in colorful pots adorn  tables hand-crafted  from repurposed wood and metal,  making  a seamless transition  to the park’s garden and fountains.  

The menu includes poke bowls  with grilled vegetables, fruits and  grains  dressed with mango lime and peanut sauces.   Salad lovers can choose from Avocado Goat Cheese, Green Goddess, and Kale  Power.  For those who crave meat, try the soy-based Bliss Burger, Spare Ribs or Fried Chicken accompanied by fries, both  traditional and sweet potato. Coffee drinks abound with  Macchiato to beat the heat. Cold drinks include Ginger Mint Cooler and  Mango Lassi of yogurt, sour cream, and cardimon. Yum! Chill out with soft serve ice cream, vegan or dailry. 

During the start-up phase, the cafe will be open 11 am to 6 PM Monday to Saturday, and closed Sunday. Evening hours featuring music and cultural events will be announced.

“The cafe is integral to the park experience, and we welcome the new concession,” said Sherrill Kazan, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.  The Sing for Hope Piano in the cafe area for a two-week stint adds to the summer fun.” 

Celebrate Earth Day, Wed. April 24, 12 Noon to 2 pm.

Back by popular demand, the MEETLES are a classic rock group that got their groove from Beetles Meet-ups. . Environmental talk “Zero Waste” and cooking demos by our Greenmarket Friends kick off the season in Dag Plaza.Take the Sustainability Pledge and volunteer with Friends to donate 4-hours of your time to one of our green projects. Meet the farmers and artisans committed to small-scale, quality production.

Vote until Sun. April 7: The Public Decides which Park and Community Improvements Get Funded


Starting March 30 through Sunday, April 7, all NYC residents age 11 up, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are eligible to vote online or at polling sites in support of community improvement projects totaling $1million in discretionary funding for each council district. The projects winning the most votes will be funded. 

Just click on the link pbnyc.org/vote and you will be directed to your Council District and a list of proposed projects. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is located in Council District 4 under the jurisdiction of Councilman Keith Powers. You can preview the entire list at Councilman Powers’ website. https://council.nyc.gov/keith-powers/pb/8/ Click on each item to see a short description and the associated cost. as well as physical polling sites.

You may vote for 5 of the 13 items proposed by Councilman Powers office. Three items on the ballot directly benefit DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA for a total of $270,000. We need upwards of 700 votes to tip the scales in our favor.

ITEM: New tree plantings to replace missing trees and tree guards.
Throughout Council District 4, $150,000. Dag Plaza is missing 9 trees! Our neighborhood lost many street trees during the November snow storm. Trees are essential to health, providing beauty and shade as they breathe out oxygen and absorb toxic gases.

ITEM: Security Cameras in Turtle Bay, $80,000. This item is designated for Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. NYPD and Councilman Powers office will determine the best location(s) to provide surveillance of the woodland landscape known as the Katharine Hepburn Garden.

ITEM: Floor Repair at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. $40K. These funds would augment a shortfall in the projected budget for repairing sunken, uneven areas of the plaza “floor” (asphalt hex pavers) in the 2019/2020 park renovation under City Council /NYC Parks Capital Funding Project. We have witnessed several accidents and serious injuries caused by uneven pavers.


Friends Join “Play Fair” Campaign to Advocate Funding Increase to Maintain NYC Parks

Friends of Dag Hammarskjold has joined the Play Fair Coalition led by New Yorkers for Parks and City Council Parks Committee Chair Barry Grodenchik to request $150 million be added to the City’s  annual budget to maintain and operate the NYC parks system—29,000 acres of parkland. At present the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR)  receives  less than HALF of ONE PERCENT of the city’s  annual budget for Maintenance and Operations (M&O), which explains why uniformed park workers are scarce and Park Enforcement Patrol are an endangered species.

The  campaign kicked off with a rally on the steps of City Hall (Feb. 28) and testimony delivered at the City Council budget hearing March 8th. Letters to the Mayor followed. Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza put forth our case on all fronts for a park that represents only 1.5 acres, but has big maintenance requirements, given its midtown location in a densely populated neighborhood and use as a staging ground for mass rallies (capacity 8000). The park’s  historic role as Gateway to the UN adds to security issues, and  the concentration of homeless shelters in midtown also impacts  this open space with the largest public garden on the east side of midtown Manhattan.

Although Parks’ mobile crew (welfare to work program) help  clean Dag Plaza, they lack the manpower to provide an adequate level of litter control/sanitation or routine maintenance like cleaning the park’s six fountains. For 20 years, Friends of DHP have outsourced plaza  and fountain cleaning to service providers like the Doe Fund,  but with costs skyrocketing,  the City must do its fair share. We appealed to Councilman Keith Powers to assist but essential park services must be built into the City’s annual  budget.


$17.96 million of the proposed increase in M&O for Parks would provide fixed-post crews to small neighborhood parks that currently lack a full time, dedicated staff. (That’s Dag Plaza!) while $47.17 million would allow the 48 largest parks to have dedicated crews. 

$6 million would ensure that parks are safe by adding 80 additional Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) in FY 2020, which begins July 1, 2019. The current Parks operating budget provides for about 300 PEP officers, of which  84 positions are privately funded.

$3.9 million would mean that 395 playgrounds could offer structured sports and afterschool programs for children in every district. 

$3 million would provide for 50 new urban park rangers to connect New Yorkers with the nature that surrounds us. 

Finally, the Play Fair coalition advocates base-lining the salaries of park employees so that they have a secure career path with excellence rewarded by  promotion rather than chronic agency attrition.  Regardless of economic conditions,  the agency is chronically underfunded and pressured to  raise  more money from concessions, be it  hot dog vendors and cafes or golf courses.