Seen & Heard: First ever fundraiser for Washington Market Park

The Friends of Washington Market Park will host its first-ever fundraiser (other than the giant chicken who collects donations at Halloween) to support its public programs (Halloween Parade & Party, movie nights, concerts on the lawn, Lady Bug Day, etc.) as well as capital improvements (a new planting project for the southwest corner, a mural for the tennis court wall and playground improvements). The park’s events are run by an all-volunteer board of 20 members while the park attracts about 750,000 visitors a year. The event is Saturday, June 8, 7 to 10p at City Vineyard on Pier 26. Tickets are here.

Pen Parentis will hold this season’s grand finale tonight at the Oculus from 7 to 9p featuring award-winning authors (and parents) Reiko Rizzuto, Marina Budhos and Domenica Ruta. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVP here.

Freeman Plaza, the public space at the Holland Tunnel entrance on Hudson between Canal and Broome, is reopening for the season this Wednesday, May 15. The opening will feature local vendors providing adult art, on-site games, music and food and drink. Last year the Hudson Square BID renovated the space to include a turf lawn, expanded outdoor furniture, and additional plantings. Vendors will include Adoro Lei, MAV, Katchkie Farms, The Spring Meditation, Real Pilates, Manhattan Mini Storage, The Children’s Museum of the Arts and Arlo Hotels. Local landscape architects Matthews Nielsen designed the space originally for the Hudson Square BID in 2013.

Crain’s has a Q&A with Fidi resident Thomas Keller, the owner of 12 restaurants with several Michelin stars among them, chef Thomas Keller is known for having exacting standards. Last month he unveiled TAK Room at Hudson Yards. Behind the scenes, he helped recruit the operators of the more than 30 food offerings at the new development. Intended to serve office workers, shoppers and residents, the Restaurant Collection includes local chains Fuku and Van Leeuwen as well as a first-in-New York venture by famed Spanish chef José Andrés.

The Canal Street Market has some new vendors for spring, including Brooklyn-made commuter fashion Kynsho and Alessi. The Lost in the Sauce pop-up – a Filipino and Japanese-inspired experimental kitchen – will be back by popular demand.



  1. Washington Market Park should consider closing off the lawn during the fall and winter to save the grass. Fall aeration and top seeding would be much cheaper than the annual re-sodding that goes on every spring (only to close off the newly sodded grass to the public just as the weather turns nice). Rockefeller and other parks protect their lawns this way … and the saved extra money could go towards these public programs.

    • That’s how it was for decades — closed from the day after the Halloween party until mid-May — but the Friends was besieged with complaints from parents that there was no place to play in winter and early spring. That’s why we moved to sod. We paid for it for the first couple years and then started raising money ourselves for some events so Parks could redirect some funds towards the sod. The trade off is six months of a closed lawn and less money or six weeks of a closed lawn for more money.

  2. Although my kids have outgrown the park it is a blessing to the entire community. It is what makes this neighborhood home.
    Walked past today and hearing the bustle and noise of the children, so happy to be outside, and clearly enjoying the park, made me happy as well! Looking forward to participating in the fundraiser.

  3. Maybe they can finally fix the water fountain drain that disgustingly pools with water, food and dirt near the playground