Nobody can accuse New Yorkers’ patriotism of flagging, not when the city’s parks department alone spends about $160,000 a year keeping its over 1,000 flagpoles in shape.
Mining public data.
If you wonder how New York City’s budget tops $66 billion, more than all but a few states’, it’s not just because of the big-ticket items like education, social services and public safety. The tiny ones add up, too.
The parks department recently awarded a two-year, $320,060 contract to a Westchester County company for the painting and repairing of its 1,112 flagpoles (that’s about one for every 7,500 New Yorkers, not counting the poles on schools and other public buildings).
Last year, 57 poles were repainted or repaired as needed, which would mean an average of nearly $3,000 each. Sounds high.
“Flagpoles can be as high as 80 feet or even over 100 feet tall, requiring skilled painting and repair people,” said Vicki Karp, the department’s director of public affairs.
“For example, in 2012, a 120-foot flagpole in Battery Park South required reroping,” she said. “The repairman was lifted in a boom truck to the truck’s maximum height and then had to climb out of the bucket and complete the climb by hand to the top of the pole. Also in 2012, two 100-foot flagpoles in Bowling Green Park were reroped with steel, and a 75-foot flagpole in Corlears Hook Park was completely repainted.”
The cost, Ms. Karp said, ranges from $20 a foot for simple painting or repairs to $55 a foot for more challenging jobs.