It’s My Park Day Volunteers Friday, 5/19, Turkish Day Parade on Saturday 5/20

Volunteers join in the citywide It’s My Parks Day in Dag Plaza on Friday, May 19, from 9:30 AM to 1 PM to clean and plant, but there will be no garden meetup on Saturday, May 20, when  thousands of Turkish Americans gather in Hammarskjold Plaza  to celebrate the 40th edition of the Turkish Day Parade. Barricades will be erected early to protect the landscaping. 

One of the largest cultural events to be  staged on the 1.5 acre Plaza,  the  parade  starts at 12:00 noon at 53rd street and Madison Avenue New York and culinates at 47th Street and 2nd Avenue with great ceremony. 

Enjoy Turkish food, shop at Turkish gift vendors and watch musical and dance performances.  Organized by the Federation of Turkish American Association, Inc. (TADF), the year’s  celebration marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The parade traditionally  promotes Turkish culture and heritage in the United States. 

Did you know the tulip orignated in Turkey, formerly known as Persia? The tulip is widely depicted in the decorative arts and ceremonial dress. Nobody knows for sure who brought tulips from the Ottoman Empire to Western Europe, but it is credited to an ambassador of the Habsburg Empire in Constantinople (Istanbul) who brought some tulip bulbs to Vienna. Botanist Carolus Clusius increased the popularity of tulips in the late 16th century.

Katharine Hepburn Garden Party, Sunday 5/21, 1 to 3 PM

Once again, in the merry month of May, our midtown east community comes together to celebrate Katharine Hepburn’s birthday with a garden party in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza featuring FREE  music, birthday cake  and garden tours. Meet your neighbors, greet city officials and enjoy the unfolding flower parade. (Rain date May 28, same time). 

The long-standing tradition dates back to 1997 and the park’s reconstruction when the community dedicated the newly designed  garden to the celebrated actress and good neighbor who fought to save the trees, sunlight and charming character of Turtle Bay. Ever since, Friends of DHP has organized the event, co-hosted with the Turtle Bay Association. 

Note: NYC Parks  denied permit request for Saturday so the date was switched to Sunday with rain date  the following Sunday. 

ENTERTAINMENT: Award-winning vocalist Kimberly Hawkey makes  a return appearance with favorites from the Great American Songbook and the Golden Age of Hollywood. Winner of the NYC Cabaret Showdown and recipient of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, her performance style and musical virtuosity continues to wow fans and earn plaudits. calls her “a delightfully fresh-voiced treat,” while Cabaret Scenes notes Kimberly’s “exceptional musicality”.  New York Music Daily praises “an irrepressibly cheery update on 30s and 40s sounds,” while the Observer promises “a smile on your face.” 

YOUR TURN:  This  event kicks off FDHP’s spring fund-raisng campaign and volunteer drive.  “We need helping hands and generous donors. Our Garden Party in May signals the start of  peak season in city parks,” notes FDHP President Sherrill Kazan. “Stay tuned for  park news and community announcements.” 

Celebrate Earth Day in Dag Plaza 

Join Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on Sunday, April 23, 1 PM to 3 PM, to celebrate Earth Day featuring Funikijam World Music and family fun. Learn  what you can do to help  Planet Earth in  our parks and green spaces.  Discover “Earthing” for health, our urban forest, the role  of pollinators and composting. Visit the kids/adults coloring table and play earth-wise games. Enjoy the  flower parade in the Katharine Hepburn Garden. Find out how you can make a difference. 

At 2 PM, a special ceremony will celebrate the legacy of “Tree Spirit”, William (Bill) Huxley, who served as president of the Turtle Bay Tree Fund, a member of CB6 Parks Committee, a  founding officer of FDHP and  board member of the Turtle Bay Association. For many years, he organized our Oktoberfest in Dag Plaza, engaging his niece, Haley, who will share remembrances along with the Huxley family and friends as we dedicate “Bill’s bench” and recognize our Volunteer Heroes. 

Sign up to lend a hand in Friends’ many park activities. 

The Earth Day  program  is presented with the support of our good neighbors: The Turtle Bay Association,  the Haley Foundation,  the  Turtle Bay Tree Fund,  the Vanderbilt YMCA and The Family School in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation. 

Make your Weekend an Earth Day Exploration 

According to the Parks Permit office, another organization is holding an Earth Day Celebration in Dag Plaza on Saturday, April 22. In addition, Sutton Parks Conservancy holds  their Earth Day Celebration on Saturday. Enjoy our outdoor spaces and  become an agent of change for the environment and Planet Earth. 

Support the environment and our Spring Green-up Campaign with your generous,  tax-deductible donation. 


“Ladies of Steel” Sculpture Exhibit Highlights International Women’s Day and Women’s HIstory Month

Ladies of Steel,  an installation of four sculptures by Judith Peck, is now on display at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, highlighting International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month. The exhibit remains through August 2023. The park is located on East 47th Street between 2nd Avenue and UN Plaza (1st Ave), Manhattan.

(l-R) Reclining Woman, River Flow, Joyful Company, Women’s Nature–Landscape of Hills and Valleys Photography by Jon Scarlet

“Steel is strong but malleable; it can bend,” states the artist. First she sketches, then cuts and shapes steel sheets with a welding torch.

Of her piece “River Flow,” Peck notes,“I like to think of the sculpture like a woman, relaxed in its soft curves but confident, even with its internal divisions, to make the journey, go with the flow. ”

She sees whimsy in all four “ladies.” The figure with her arm extended walks a dog on a leash. Peck left the dog out to be imagined or filled by real pets.  Photographer Jon Scarlet captured the first pooches to pose in Dag Plaza.

Peck’s work is wide-ranging in its diversity and use of mediums, which include bronze, stone and wood. A Professor Emeritus of Art at Ramapo (State) College, during her 42 year tenure, Dr. Peck instituted an on-going program training college students to conduct art workshops in jails, homes for abused children, psychiatric centers, domestic violence shelters and nursing homes. A prolific author, Art and Social Interaction was recently released  by Routledge Publishers along with a second book for parents and elementary school teachers, Dynamic Play and Creative Movement: Powering Body and Brain. 

Sherrill Kazan, president of Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, worked with NYC Parks Senior Public Arts Coordinator Elizabeth Masella  and Shamina de Gonzaga, executive editor of Centerpoint Now for World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN),  to bring the exhibit to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza under the Art in the Parks program of NYC Parks & Recreation.


For more about Judith Peck’s sculpture,

For more about Judith Peck’s books, 

For more information, contact

Weather Alert: Tree Lighting, Carolers & Santa, Outdoors/Indoors

Show Goes On,  Scoop from Santa! 

Rain is forecast to start at 1 PM, continuing through Friday. The show will go on, mostly indoors, for the Hammarskjold Plaza Tree Lighting Ceremony, Thursday, December 15, featuring  the Manhattan Holiday Carolers. 


We’re setting up a tent for Santa, who will conduct the official countdown to Tree Lighting between 5:45 and 6 PM, near the big tree at 2nd Ave/47th St entrance dome, then lead the procession to the Vanderbilt Y gym for festivities. 

The carolers, clad in Victorian costumes, await you indoors to kindle our hearts with  holiday favorites while children visit with Santa. Enjoy cookies, cocoa and fellowship. Regardless of weather, our light will shine with LED candles, lifted in the spirit of peace, brother-sisterhood and good cheer. 

Join the party at the Vanderbilt YMCA, 224 East 47th Street, 2nd floor gymnasium. Enter through doors to Membership. 

SANTA SAYS, MASK UP!  Ward off the COVID grinch and stay healthy during flu season.

For  preview of the Manhattan Holiday Carolers, click here

Tree and Menorah Lighting, 5:45 PM, Holiday Carolers & Santa

Join your neighbors on Thursday, Dec. 15 (rain date 12/16), at 5:45  at the entrance dome (47th St and 2nd Ave) to officially light the Holiday Tree and Menorah  when Santa leads the children in a count-down. Festivities continue till 7PM.

Clad in Victorian costumes, the Manhattan Holiday Carolers  perform a capella harmonies, spreading the joy with traditional favorites plus a  sing-along.  A dad from The Family School joins the celebration, playing  the oud and singing  a Hannukah-inspired song in Turkish.

Let your light shine with a FREE LED safe-flame candle. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies at our hospitality tent. 

IN CASE OF RAIN: Think English Christmas with umbrellas. The weather forecast for Thursday 12/15 and Friday  12/16 (rain date) predict off-on showers.  Check FDHP and TBA websites for updates. 

Volunteer Call for It’s My Park Day, Sat. 10/22, 10 am to 1 PM.

Join volunteers in this citywide campaign to beautify and clean our parks. In Dag Plaza’s Katharine Hepburn Garden, we will plant spring-flowering bulbs, clean, rake leaves, mulch and enjoy the spell of autumn. All tools and supplies provided.

Walk-ins allowed but it helps to reserve so we can plan the work.. Email your contact info and estimated arrival time to (click on link)

Location: Look for gate and garden shed behind fountain near park cafe. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is located on E. 47th St. between 1st and 2nd Aves. Manhattan. Zip 10017

On Friday, Oct. 21, corporate volunteers from Pepsico and Google lend a hand.

Voices of Ascension Singers at Dag Plaza, 6 PM, Aug. 24

Enjoy uplifting a cappella choral selections exploring themes of nature with choral music from the 14th to 21st century. 

On the heels of their outdoor performance in Yonker’s exquisitely restored  Untermeyer Gardens, the Voices of Ascension Singers will present a one-hour program in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Wednesday, August 24, 6 PM to 7 PM (rain date 8/25). Enjoy uplifting a cappella choral selections exploring themes of nature with choral music from the 14th to 21st century. 

The chamber ensemble is drawn from the critically acclaimed  Voices of Ascension Chorus and Orchestra, founded and directed by conductor Dennis Keene and based at  the  Church of the Ascension, the  oldest church on 5th Avenue, located  in  the heart of Greenwich Village.  This program draws on universal themes. Its setting in the Center Performance Circle of Dag Plaza, surrounded by trees and flowers, is sure to be uplifting. 

This  free performance kicks off Hammarskjold Plaza’s  participation in the Nature Heals campaign of Parks and Open Space Partners. New York City may have the densest population of any US city, but did you know that we’re also one of the greenest cities, filled with parks and gardens to renew our spirit and help keep us physically fit. 

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and its Katharine Hepburn Garden is the largest public park in midtown east Manhattan. 


Sculpture Talk, Garden Walk and Cafe Social, July 20, 5:30 to 7 PM

The hydrangeas are blooming, bees are buzzing. Join us!

5:30 PM Meet artist Cecile Chong on the Sculpture Platform for an up-close intro to “El Dorado, the New Forty Niners”.
5:45 PM Tour the flower border with garden guide. Learn about pollinators, fragrance and what’s in bloom.
6:00 PM Convene at park cafe for artist’s inside story that spans continents, languages and geography. Kid’s art project too.

Coffee beverages and ice cream available for purchase at the Pink Moose Cafe.

Presented by Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.

El Dorado, the New Forty Niners, an installation in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza with figures displayed on platforms representing the 17 United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development. Artist: Cecile Chong