Wanted: Food-scraps for Compost

Banana Cutting: Councilman Keith Powers in celebration of Earth Day visits food scrap collection site in Hammarskjold Plaza with (Left) Lia Lucero, LES Ecology Center and (Right) FDHP President Sherrill Kazan.

We have partnered with LES Ecology Center through the NYC Compost Program to bring this environmentally sustainable food-scrap collection program to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. We provide the the collection site and LES Ecology Center transports the food scraps to East River Park to be transformed into compost. A pioneer in urban composting, The LES Ecology Center operation is new to the Plaza and while this program is no longer part of the Greenmarket, GrowNYC is still involved with bringing awareness about the benefits of composting. Food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste comprise 30 percent of New Yorkers trash. By diverting the waste from landfills, the compost builds healthy soils for schools, parks and community gardens.

WHERE: Look for the GREEN BINS  behind Pink Moose cafe and observe the signs which clarify the rules.

WHAT IS ACCEPTED: 

  • YES: Fruit and veggies, coffee, tea, nuts, grains and baked goods. 
  • NO: meat, fish or dairy products.  
  • NO: plastics or paper products, and absolutely NO dog poop! 

WHEN: The bins will be open for collection every Wednesday from approximately 8:30 AM to 3 PM. After that, the bins are locked down to deter vermin and misuse until the Ecology Center collects the waste for transport to East River Park Compost Yard for processing. Finished compost is donated to community greening groups. As the program gets underway, more bins will  be added to meet demand. 

We welcome your feedback: email fdhp@hammarskjoldplaza.org 

Pink Moose Coffee Bar

Whether you crave coffee or tea, you can get your fix at the Pink Moose Cafe, open since early Spring in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Concessionaire Bass Fatikih, who also owns the Pink Moose cafe on 1st Avenue and 59th Street, roasts his own coffee, sourcing the finest beans. He has applied for a license to sell beer, wine and sparkling cider. The cafe will increase open hours in June.

High Fives for Peace Gorilla

Friend in 90 Languages

Since last November 2020, when Noa Bornstein installed her life-size Peace Gorilla in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, park visitors have responded to the ape’s outstretched arm with a friendly “high five.” The sculpture is mounted on a low concrete base inscribed with the word for friend in 90 languages—beginning with the six official languages of the UN. “The gorilla extended her arm to me as I was making her,” Bornstein notes. I was able to interpret the gesture: ‘Shalom, Salaam, Tomodachi—Hello, Peace, Friend,’ in Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese.”

Fitting Location 

A perfect size for kids, they can’t resist climbing on the gorilla’s back and giving her a hug.

“Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is a fitting location for Peace Gorilla, given the park’s historic role at UN Gateway and its namesake, Dag  Hammarskjold, who was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The  gorilla also reminds us of our commitment to the UN Goals for Sustainable Development, which includes caring for our environment and endangered species,” noted FDHP President Sherrill Kazan. 

Cast in bronze, the sculpture will be on display through August 2021. Peace Gorilla is one of the many public art projects exhibited under the Arts in the Parks program of NYC Parks Department.  Funding was made possible in part by the Puffin Foundation.

Finding a Connection 

Based in Brooklyn, Noa Bornstein created the original piece out of sisal fiber and burlap in structolite and plaster over an armature of wire mesh and plumbing sections. It was cast in bronze this year at Bedi-Makky Art Foundry in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Bornstein’s previous public projects include Live Well, a small bronze installed in 2000 in TriBeCa Park, followed by touring exhibits in several other states. Her more recent public sculptures are of other fellow creatures who look for a connection with us, Praying Mantis Seeks Friends and Pig Seeks Friends, both temporary installations through NYC Parks and City Parks Foundation in 2017 and 2018.

Other public works include large-scale murals: Magritte in Los Angeles, and Striving Together, Mural at the Harlem Rehabilitation Center. Bornstein has exhibited at numerous galleries and her work has been featured in Artnews, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Le Soir, in Brussels. 

For over 50 years, NYC Parks Art in the Parks program has brought contemporary public artworks to the city’s parks, making New York City one of the world’s largest open-air galleries. Since 1967, NYC Parks has collaborated with arts organizations and artists to produce over 2,000 public artworks by 1,300 notable and emerging artists in over 200 parks.                                                                                                                  

For additional/interactive content please visit (click on link): PEACE GORILLA  

Primary website: www.noabornstein.com  Instagram: @noabornstein 

Working Together for Clean and Safe Public Space

Streets and Parks Survival Guide

Councilman Keith Powers held a video conference with neighborhood associations on October 22 to address sanitation issues and introduce ACE, a cleaning service funded by his office to help stem the tide of trash in our district.  FDHP directors were  assured that Hammarskjold Plaza will be included in the needs of Council District 4, which  extends on the East Side from 14th Street north to 98th Street and widens in midtown to the West Side. ACE works with men and women who are experiencing homelessness, offering them job training, work experience and a support network to help achieve economic self-sufficiency. 

Budget Cuts = Trash Surge: With over  $100 million in budget cuts to Sanitation and $84 million slashed from NYC Parks, the trash problem escalated during the summer. Parks lost 1,700 seasonal workers who help pick up litter in the warm season. Complaints to 311 about litter in our public parks  increased  from 547 in July 2019 to 1024 complaints  in July 2020 and from 442 to 1158 in August.

Hammarskjold Plaza was largely spared from the garbage contagion, thanks to all who contributed to help fund Raymond, our park custodian. Raymond currently services the park  on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, picking up fallen limbs, leaves and storm debris, discarded liquor and soda bottles, food, soiled toilet paper, syringes, mattresses, cardboard boxes, rugs and more.  His presence has curbed homeless encampments and unlawful behavior. On the days when he is present, the park appears groomed and inviting. In between, the work piles up. FDHP contracts the Doe Fund to empty the Plaza’s 19 trash bins twice daily year-round, placing the bags on the curb for pickup. 

FDHP President Sherrill Kazan noted, “The supplemental service from ACE and Councilman Powers is urgently needed to preserve quality of life  and public health in Turtle Bay and Sutton neighborhoods. Litter is a reality of public space. We have received many compliments on the work Raymond is doing, but he is only one person. The plaza and garden require constant attention. Our campaign to fund a full-time park custodian continues, and we depend upon donations to sustain our work. Many thanks to the Turtle Bay Association for a contribution to FDHP of $2,500.” 

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver launched a campaign on August 28 to involve the public and recruit volunteers. “Now more than ever, our parks and green spaces are places of refuge and we have been working hard despite the ongoing pandemic and budget reductions to keep them clean for all to enjoy, ” said the Commissioner. “We are urging all New Yorkers to help out by disposing trash in designated receptacles or taking it with them when they leave.” Throughout the city, neighborhood groups have mobilized to pick up trash in streets and parks, helping to preserve quality of life.  Our garden shed is stocked with “grabbers,” which make it easy to pick up litter  without bending over and touching the trash. 

Volunteers Turn Out for It’s My Park Day

We  pledged 10 volunteers for this citywide effort (Oct. 17) and 18 individuals signed up, thanks to the Turtle Bay Association’s e-blast, which bolstered our outreach. FDHP organized the activity in accordance with NYC Parks Covid safety and horticultural guidelines. NYC Parks Deputy Commissioner of Operations Liam Kavanagh made a surprise visit and took an impromptu tour of the Katharine Hepburn Garden, noting the lush variety of healthy plants and volunteers at work. Partnerships for Parks Coordinator Ashley Kuenneke also checked in, making sure tools and supplies had been delivered, including a big pile of mulch, recycled from fallen  trees and last year’s discarded Christmas trees

Volunteers of all ages tied on aprons, grabbed tools and tucked into the earth approximately 1000 flower bulbs, which lie dormant until the warmth of spring signals them to sprout and bloom in a splendid show of flower power from March through May.  CLICK ON LINK TO ENJOY: PHOTO SHOW. 

8 Trees Planted in Empty Beds: Last week, NYC Parks replanted trees in 8 out of 12 empty tree beds on the Plaza. Three of the remaining beds require stump removal and and the fourth (near Citibike stand) is marked to flag underground conduits. The lamp post that snapped off in a summer storm was also replaced. Aside from their beauty, trees are the lungs of the city, absorbing carbon dioxide and other toxic gases through tiny pores (stomata) while increasing the oxygen supply through photosynthesis.

The Trees and Sidewalks program took an $11.75 million cut in the fiscal 2021 budget, as well as $7.2 million in tree pruning contracts and $1.5 million in tree stump removal contracts. 

WORKING TOGETHER FOR SAFE PARKS AND STREETS

1.  If you haven’t donated yet, please click the DONATE BUTTON to help support a full-time park attendant. At present, Raymond services Hammarskjold Plaza 3 times per week  He is our “eyes and ears,” providing custodial care at at time when city services face huge budget shortfalls. 

2. Call 311. These calls are logged into a database and dispatched to the appropriate agency.  Take photos and post to 311 with date, time and location. If the problem occurs  in Hammarskjold Plaza, send FDHP the 311 complaint ticket number and we will follow up.  If the situation is life threatening, call 911. 

3. Organize a block clean-up. You can form a group via Nextdoor.com and work with your Councilman to organize tools and supplies. Notify TBA and other neighborhood associations. 

We welcome your feedback: email fdhp@hammarskjoldplaza.org 

Volunteers, It’s My Park Day

1000 Bulbs Planted for Spring Bloom

We  pledged 10 volunteers for this citywide effort (Oct. 17) and 18 individuals signed up, thanks to the Turtle Bay Association’s e-blast, which bolstered our outreach. FDHP organized the activity in accordance with NYC Parks Covid safety and horticultural guidelines. NYC Parks Deputy Commissioner of Operations Liam Kavanagh made a surprise visit and took an impromptu tour of the Katharine Hepburn Garden, noting the lush variety of healthy plants and volunteers at work. Partnerships for Parks Coordinator Ashley Kuenneke also checked in, making sure tools and supplies had been delivered, including a big pile of mulch, recycled from fallen  trees and last year’s discarded Christmas trees

Volunteers of all ages tied on aprons, grabbed tools and tucked into the earth approximately 1000 flower bulbs, which lie dormant until the warmth of spring signals them to sprout and bloom in a splendid show of flower power from March through May.  CLICK ON LINK TO ENJOY: PHOTO SHOW. 

Vanderbilt Y Rents Empty Hotel Rooms to Shelter Homeless

In our last e-blast to Members, we broke the news of the Vanderbilt YMCA’s  6-month contract to rent 219 of its empty hotel rooms as shelter. At our request, Councilman Keith Powers arranged a Zoom meeting on August 17 with stakeholders, city officials and key agencies present. Many of our questions were answered by the Bowery Resource Center (BRC), the nonprofit contracted by DHS (Dept. of Homeless Services) to operate the Y shelter. We expect a followup meeting soon. 

Present at the first meeting were Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblyman Dan Quart, NYPD Det. Jeff Arlotta, representatives from CB6, the Vanderbilt Y,  BRC and the community, including FDHP, TBA, and East Midtown Partnership, a BID.

Following is the Q&A from the 8/17 meeting:

Q: Will a Community Advisory Board be created for the Vanderbilt Y’s temporary housing? 

DHS will participate in community stakeholder meetings as needed. For example, the agency has made a commitment to regroup and meet again with community stakeholders in two weeks.  Because this is site is only for short-term use, we will not have a formal CAB. 

Q: Can you describe the Vanderbilt Y’s temporary housing model?
This is a Stabilization Program, for individuals previously living unsheltered, who have been referred by a homeless outreach program. These short-term, low-threshold units are based on the Housing First model and offer a safe location for clients to live while also serving as a clinical tool to help staff build trust with clients.  

Staff engage clients through regular individual case management, focusing primarily on assessing the client, identifying and addressing barriers to housing, and completing housing applications. All services are individualized, based on ongoing assessments of each individual and their needs, with the goal of moving forward to other longer-term appropriate housing placements.

Q: What is the timeline for the temporary housing at the Vanderbilt Y? Is it possible that this contract could be renewed after 6 months?

The current contract is for 6 months, through the end of January. Contract renewal is dependent on DHS’s ongoing need for this capacity provided by BRC and for the terms of the contract to be extended by the Y.

Q: Who will be living there? How will this address individuals experiencing homelessness in the neighboring area?

Specifically these beds are for all outreach teams, including the Manhattan Outreach Consortium for individuals experiencing street homelessness. BRC has already spoken with the East Midtown BID with whom they have a contract to provide services in the area, similarly so for Breaking Ground who works with GCP BID.

Q: What services will be provided to residents?

The following services are provided to clients: Case management, with referrals off-site and via tele-health to all necessary medical services; Meals 3x/day; Regular (hourly) wellness checks by BRC staff of all rooms and client areas.

Q: Will there be a curfew? How will it be enforced?

Stabilization and safe haven programs do not have curfews; this has proven to be more effective with this group of clients. BRC uses this same policy as at another location in the community, the BRC Safe Haven at 327 East 17th Street.

Q: Will the YMCA provide a phone number for neighbors to call as there are issues that arise in the community?

BRC 1-pager (attached) has more site-specific information including the 24-hour on-site phone number 646-942-6771. The site-specific e-mail address for the community is: VanderbiltY@brc.org


Q: What security will be in place at the Y? Will the security staff be employed by BRC or DHS? Will security staff work only at the Y or also do periodic patrols on the block?

BRC has uniform security guards 24/7 at the building entrance screening everyone entering. BRC uniform staff (orange shirts) are present 24/7 at the entrance and on every floor; they are responsible for doing regular rounds inside the building and on the street. Street rounds will be on both sides of 47 between 2nd and 3rd as well as one block north and south.   

Q: What will DHS/BRC do to prevent the spread of COVID within the shelter and in the neighborhood? How will you ensure face coverings for residents? How will you ensure social distancing of residents?

Stabilization and safe haven programs do not have curfews; this has proven to be more effective with this group of clients. BRC uses this same policy as at another location in the community, the BRC Safe Haven at 327 East 17th Street.

Q: Will the YMCA provide a phone number for neighbors to call as there are issues that arise in the community?

BRC 1-pager (attached) has more site-specific information including the 24-hour on-site phone number 646-942-6771. The site-specific e-mail address for the community is: VanderbiltY@brc.org

As you may know, DSS developed a multi-pronged response for implementing City health guidance on isolation and mitigation to protect the health and safety of our City’s most vulnerable residents during this crisis. You can read more about these efforts in testimony delivered before the New York City Council on April 23, found here.  

This program is a COVID prevention program; moving people from sleeping in public where they are at risk to sleeping in private rooms; if they don’t get COVID they cannot spread COVID. BRC provides masks for all residents as often as needed. Wellness checks will be conducted around the clock and anyone who is symptomatic will be sent for testing and relocated to an isolation center elsewhere

Q: What is DHS’s process for ensuring they are in compliance with sex offender laws (SORA/SARA)?

Information About State Sex Offender Registration: The requirement that a sex offender register is separate from the residency restriction requirement. Residency restrictions are imposed by the State during the period of parole. 

New York State classifies sex crimes into three levels based on an offender’s risk of committing another sex crime and harm to the community: Level 1 (low), Level 2 (moderate), and Level 3 (high). These risk levels, as determined through a hearing at the time of an offender’s release to the community, are individualized on a case-by-case basis specific to certain facts, such that offenders convicted of the same offense may receive different risk levels. Moreover, these risk levels govern the amount and type of information which can be released as community notification and also impacts the duration of registration with the State Division of Criminal Justice Services (“DCJS”). As a general matter and based on the New York State Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”), Level 1 sex offenders must register for 20 years (except for certain designations), and Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders are required to be registered for life.

Information About Residency RestrictionsL Separate and apart from registration are potential restrictions on where a person can reside upon release into the community (“residency restrictions”). Importantly, a person’s status as “registered” does not mean that the person has residency restrictions—SORA does not restrict where a registered person may live. Rather, State residency restrictions are a component of the State’s Sexual Assault Reform Act (“SARA”). Under SARA, State residency restrictions are imposed as a condition of parole or conditional discharge upon persons convicted of certain enumerated sex crimes in which the victim was under the age of eighteen at the time of the offense, or, where the person has been designated a level three sex offender. Importantly, such residency restrictions are only imposed on a person during the period of his or her parole or conditional release, and not after.

Shelter Placements: The City of New York places all clients in appropriate locations in accordance with State Law – and we provide shelter to New Yorkers experiencing homelessness regardless of background. All verifiably homeless New Yorkers have a right to shelter regardless of background. This includes helping people rebuild their lives and grow through second chances as they get back on their feet. In addition to following State Law as relates to residency requirements, we also have to follow the law on providing shelter to all who are experiencing homelessness, regardless of background, since New York is under court order to provide shelter to all those who need it – and it would therefore be unlawful to discriminate against individuals based on their backgrounds or prior experiences. 

At this location, BRC will be conducting assessments of all clients before referring them to any location, to make sure they are appropriate for that location; determining whether they are a registered sex offender is part of that process

Q: What will be done to prevent negative impacts on local businesses that are already struggling during the pandemic?

BRC has established relationships and made connections with the local businesses in the area. The neighboring businesses in the area have BRC’s email addresses and contact number.

Q: Has the 17th Precinct increased patrols in the neighborhood?

Q: Will the YMCA’s programming be affected?

Due to current circumstances, we have had to review all of our programming and the impacts of COVID and the economic downturn on the way we serve our City. We have implemented a variety of virtual programs that will continue and be enhanced as the needs of our communities might grow. As it relates to youth and education programming, it is our intent to provide UPK and early childhood programs at Vanderbilt. We are also in conversation with the City to provide other funded youth programs to help support our families. We will utilize a separate entrance and maintain all existing safety protocols. Finally, on membership services, we continue to monitor State and City guidelines around health and wellness programming and hope to be able to make a determination on that front in the coming weeks. 

Q: As there currently exists a consistent street homeless issue in Dag Plaza, what is the plan to address this, in order to not compound the problem in the Plaza? Can DHS increase street outreach efforts in the area? Will street homeless people who spend time in the Plaza and/or surrounding area be eligible for the new program at the Y?

At intake all clients will review and sign BRC’s Good Neighbor Policy, which outlines their responsibility to respect the community. This includes discouraging gathering in large groups or engaging in inappropriate behavior, be it in front of the building or on the block. It also highlights the need to be respectful and considerate in open spaces and parks including Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.  BRC program staff (orange shirts) and security will conduct regularly scheduled rounds that include the block and surrounding areas. During these rounds staff and security will engage with clients who are not adhering to the Good Neighbor Policy with the objective of modifying the behavior. If the behavior is a recurring issue, BRC clinical staff and supervisors will have further engagement with the individual, and will consider this as part of their assessment of whether the client is appropriate for the program.  

In addition, BRC homeless outreach and other city contracted outreach providers will conduct targeted outreach within the area, including open spaces and parks.

DHS street outreach through our contracted providers regularly canvass areas known to be hot spots, if there is a need for an outreach team to come to a location, please call 311 so that a team can be dispatched. 

Frog Prince and Wood Fairy Sculpture by Ailene Fields

Ailene Fields is an American sculptor who works in stone, bronze and acrylic. Themes in her work are evocative of dreams and magic, calling forth the qualities that make us human. Her sculptures often feature animals, mythological figures and architectural elements.

FROG PRINCE

Starting in late 2019 and running through summer 2020, in conjunction with Six Summit Gallery, Fields is exhibiting three public art installations of fantastical representational works at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Bella Abzug Park at Hudson Yards and Port Authority Bus Terminal. The two pieces in Hammarskjold Plaza are titled Frog Prince and Wood Fairy

Born Eileen Rubin in 1948 in Brooklyn, New York, she graduated with a degree in English and Greek mythology from Lehman College in 1973. A self-taught potter, she studied the human figure with Bruno Lucchesi at The New School for Social Research in 1980. Lucchesi sent her to Sculpture Center, New York City to further her practical education as a sculptor.

Fields’ first one-person exhibition was in 1987 at the Lavaggi Gallery in New York City. Since then, her work has been continually exhibited in American art galleries, and she has been represented at over 25 group exhibitions in the U.S. Solo museum exhibitions include the Bergen Museum of Art & Science, Paramus, New Jersey, and The Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. She has taught stone carving at Sculpture Center and The Educational Alliance in NYC and is currently teaching at The Compleat Sculptor in New York City, one of the largest sculpture suppliers in the world, which she co-owns with her husband, Marc Fields.

“ONCE UPON A TIME” WOOD FAIRY

Covid 19 Park Update

DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA REMAINS OPEN with social distancing enforced. Visit the Wednesday Greenmarket and enjoy the spring parade of flowers.

For all updates on park service changes and closures, refer to the NYC Parks website: https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/health-and-safety-guide/coronavirus.
For more information and guidance about COVID-19, refer to the DOHMH website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page.

STUCK INDOORS? Explore the NYC’s diversity of parks with park rangers and tour guides, while sheltering from home. VIRTUAL TOURS AND INDOOR FITNESS AND ACTIVIIES: Get more information here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/parks-at-home.


DOG RUNS CLOSED: As part of the city’s ongoing effort to maintain social distancing in public spaces, as of 4/6/20, NYC Parks will be closing dog runs to the public until further notice.
ATHLETIC COURTS CLOSED. Additionally, the Mayor has directed NYC Parks to begin implementing closures of all Tennis Courts, Handball Courts, and Basketball Courts located outside of Playgrounds (which were previously closed to the public), until further notice. Any existing fences or gates around these park features will be locked, elements such as tennis nets and basketball rims will be removed, and advisory signage will be posted.
Soccer fields will continue to remain open, but will be carefully monitored.