Nosy Neighbor: Who pays for the maintenance of Bogardus Plaza?

After a couple commenters questioned why Bogardus Plaza needed a kiosk and why the plaza solicited donations, H. wrote to ask: How *does* Bogardus Park get maintenance funds?

The maintenance for the plaza is covered entirely by the Friends of Bogardus Plaza. The annual bill is about $90,000, and more than half of that goes to the ACE workers who keep the plaza clean and make minor repairs. For now the organization has been able to solicit donations, but that is a perpetual challenge.

The property is owned by the Department of Transportation, but their only maintenance obligation is to repair the cobblestone pavers and the lights. Everything else (the benches, the platform, the plantings, the chairs and tables) is the responsibility of the Friends. The Department of Sanitation picks up the garbage from the curb, though ACE workers must collect it in the park.

The Friends purchased the kiosk — it is the first of its kind being rolled out by the Department of Transportation — but the actual structure was designed and is owned by the city. Zucker’s, which will run the food service, will pay a monthly rent plus a percentage should they go over a certain dollar amount in revenue. The purchase was made with loans from four private lenders, including local realtor Jeff Tabak, who put in the most (and whose office is just around the corner on Reade).

(And as a result of the kiosk, the Friends is looking for a savvy financially minded volunteer to join the finance team. Familiarity with QB, strong organizational skills and a love of numbers a must. Email

This is the deal that comes with the NYC Plaza Program. Here are some of the requirements for any community group that proposes a plaza:

  • Funding Plan: Partners will develop a funding plan that outlines how the organization will fund and manage the plaza for the long term. To demonstrate that steps are being taken toward the funding plan, the nonprofit partner will provide NYC DOT progress reports.
  • Insurance: Partners must provide appropriate insurance on the plaza.
  • Maintenance: Before construction is complete, the Partner will enter into an agreement with NYC DOT for the maintenance of the plaza so that the site is kept clean and in a state of good repair. The specific maintenance services to be provided may include daily sweeping, watering of plants, removing stickers and graffiti, and shoveling snow.
  • Programming & Events: To make the plazas vibrant centers of activity and neighborhood destinations, the Partner will be expected to program activities and events at the site, which may include holiday events, food or craft markets, temporary public art installations or exhibits, and music and dancing.