A decade in the making, Bogardus Plaza is open

Well, happy holidays everyone. Bogardus Plaza has opened in a surprise yet anticlimactic unveiling that was only decided yesterday at noon, just after they installed the clock. And as much as we have all grumbled and complained about this, it is just amazing to now have this wonderful community amenity, especially now when our open spaces are so so valuable. (And as you can see from P’s time lapse above, folks are already making tracks.)

Plus, the view of the split of Hudson and West Broadway looking north is one of my favorites in the neighborhood, and now it is really majestic and New-York-beautiful. Tonight’s snow is bound to make it even more special.

So a big congratulations to the Friends of Bogardus Plaza for pushing to make this happen over the past decade (!) and a pat on the back to all of us for putting up with the construction for these past many many years.

SO! Let’s revisit the timeline one last round, just as paper-of-record kind of thing. It all started back in 2010, when the Department of Transportation began making noise that they would need the tiny stretch of Hudson between Chambers and Reade as a staging area for the Chambers Street reconstruction project. The Friends of Bogardus Garden had the idea to install a clock there, but then thought if the street entrance was going to be blocked, why not make the most of the leftover area.

[Again for the record: the traffic triangle there was originally named for James Bogardus by the preservationist Margot Gayle in the early ’80s. Over the next two decades, it was fenced in and maintained by various community volunteers; I remember Judy Duffy being one of them, though other folks can fill in that blank for me. By the early 2000s, it was mostly a scrappy ivy patch with the London planes that are still there. Friends of Bogardus Garden formed then to take over the maintenance.]

By July 2010, the Friends approached the community board with the idea to make the remaining bit of Hudson Street up to Reade a temporary plaza that they would maintain; CB1 agreed. A year and a half later the Friends were back, asking to make it permanent. CB1 had some reservations about the idea (as did some local businesses) but relented and voted in favor. By making it permanent, the Friends could apply to the DOT for a substantial grant ($2 million) to make it happen. Local resident Signe Nielsen’s landscape architecture firm did the design work.

By the next May, in 2012, the temporary plaza got an upgrade from the DOT, with a better painted surface and planters and bollards, and by July 2013 local electeds had added to the pot of funding for the park.

In September of 2014, the final plans were revealed — and for the most part, that is what we are looking at now. The eggs were a nod to the butter and egg businesses that were the primary tenants of James Bogardus’ cast iron structures here for so many decades.

The official start date for construction was April 24, 2017, and construction was supposed to take 18 months. Of course, that’s when things went off the rails — mostly because the DOT and ConEd decided to do a lot more infrastructure work under the plaza than originally planned.

So it was a long time coming, but here we are. Enjoy.



  1. couldn’t be any happier for money well spent. For the third time we are doing this with our taxpayer money…No offense. not sure why we keep writing about this damn park when this world is upside down…this is not happy news to 99% of the people as its winter and cant even sit here plus once wrong with Duane Street park a block away that is nice a quiet. give it a year until it needs to be renovated again…i could list 20 things the city parks etc should be spening their money on and its not this.

    • Shut Up Fred and go pick up Bam-Bam in Washington Sq. Park.

    • Totally agree. Things like this always happen behind close doors or when no one is paying attention. All the praises are baffling, friends of the designer? CB1 members? The idea of a plaza is ludicrous! Money wasted as usual.

  2. Amazing what dedicated and committed community folks can accomplish!!! Congratulations to all!!! We can’t wait to be able to fly to New York to see it and attend a Broadway performance. Whoa!!!

  3. Congratulations- even though I’ve never been a fan of the design, which reminds me far too much of POP plazas.

    I wish there were more tree shaded benches instead of an arty but bare space better for pedestrians than for people who want to linger.

    I’ll walk the extra block to Duane Park, which I love, and value even more this past year.

  4. Green space is badly needed in every corner of the city. But this is so ugly and took that long to build?! Shocking!

  5. Wow. People love to complain. The plaza is lovely, we walked through it this morning in the snow. It’s nice to see the fences down and have new open space! Glad it’s done.

    • Sorry to read all the negative comments. Grateful for all the work done by the local community to bring this to the neighborhood. I have only been here for 14 years but truly believe over time, maybe as soon as this coming spring but over time, it will prove a terrific addition. Give the trees and plants a chance and the space little time to settle. It replaced an ugly road full of cars which cannot be the future of the city or planet. The open space alone is a gift. It’s always easy not to invest in the open spaces – there is never a real “case” but future generations will be grateful. I really like it. So a big thank you from me to everyone involved.

  6. Just walked through the park! I thought it was lovely and a great addition to the neighborhood. There were lots of kids playing in the snow and parents enjoying the space.

  7. I spent many happy hours weeding in the “old” Bogardus garden.
    Hal Bromm deserves a lot of credit for taking it from totally bleak
    to something with a bit of green…I know how hard he worked on that. There were a lot of old time neighbors that worked on it….
    Nancy Barber, John Willenbecher, and even Nick Tosches.
    ( we would down our drinks at Reade St. Pub, and head over there for some gardening). We were part of the original re-designing of the space at first, but it became a bit too corporate
    for us old-timers. I know and like Victoria Weil, and congratulate her,
    but miss the feeling that it was “ours”, ramshackle as it might have been.

  8. I am grateful for any outdoor public spaces in the city! Yes, it can be made more green, and perhaps that will come in time. Nevertheless I’m glad to have more pedestrian areas. Hoping the Holland Tunnel circle project becomes reality….