RPC Appoints Dan Garodnick as CEO & President

By Sabrina  |  May 15, 2018  |  Featured News, News


Longtime public servant will lead Conservancy effort to expand its work caring for 400 acres of waterfront parkland from 59th to 181st Streets.

The Board of Trustees of the Riverside Park Conservancy announced today that it has appointed Dan Garodnick as Chief Executive Officer and President, a role the Board has created to lead the organization as it seeks to expand its mission and capacity to care for the park, which runs for six miles along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s western edge. Mr. Garodnick, an attorney, served as a member of the City Council from 2006 through 2017, including as Chair of its Committee on Economic Development.

The Conservancy was founded in 1986 as a nonprofit partner to the New York City Parks Department in support of Riverside Park, one of New York’s signature Olmsted-designed public spaces. Today, with a budget of $6 million, the Conservancy contributes half of current budget for park operations; employs a staff of thirty, including fifteen of the park’s eighteen gardeners; runs a summer sports program serving more than 1,000 children from diverse communities along the length of the Park and beyond; and manages one of the largest park volunteer programs in the city, in which community residents contribute more than 40,000 hours of their time to the park. In addition to Riverside Park and Riverside Park South, the Conservancy helps care for Sakura Park, West Harlem Piers Park, and parts of Fort Washington Park.

Mr. Garodnick will lead a multi-year fundraising campaign that the Conservancy plans to launch in the fall. The Board and Mr. Garodnick will aim to dramatically expand the Conservancy’s mission and budget by doubling the size of its program of horticultural care in targeted geographic zones of the park, with a particular focus on intensifying efforts in the northern half of the park, which runs up to the George Washington Bridge.

Shepherding or funding major capital projects in partnership with the Parks Department is also on Mr. Garodnick’s agenda: the Park is set to undergo a significant upgrade of its 79th Street Boat Basin and the popular riverfront restaurant facility located there; the renovation of a community field house at 102nd Street remains unfinished; and the City has issued a Request for Proposals to outfit an additional food concession adjacent at 151st Street, near a newly constructed pedestrian bridge. Securing government and philanthropic funding for a major repair of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument at 91st Street is another long-term goal for the Conservancy.

Lori Bassman, Chair of the Conservancy’s Board of Trustees, said: “The last few years have been a period of remarkable growth for the Conservancy, and together in partnership with the Parks Department, we are proud to help make Riverside Park one of New York’s most beautiful and active public spaces. Dan Garodnick is the perfect leader to dramatically expand the Conservancy’s efforts and help take Riverside Park to even greater heights, with a vision and passion for the Park and a deep understanding of how government and non-profit organizations can partner to deliver outstanding public services. The Board is deeply grateful to the Riverside Park Administrator, John Herrold, who had been doing double-duty as President of the Conservancy, and whose work has helped bring us to this moment. Together, Dan, John, and the combined Conservancy and City staff will make an extraordinary team.”

Dan Garodnick, CEO and President of the Conservancy, said: “Taking the helm of the Conservancy is an extraordinary opportunity to continue serving the public in the most tangible way I can imagine: by making Riverside a world-class waterfront park. The Conservancy has accomplished remarkable things, but great opportunities for Riverside Park lay ahead, and I look forward to helping realize them. In particular, I look forward to working with the Board, the Parks Department, and the amazing Conservancy and City staff to ensure that the same high level of park care and programming is delivered to presently underserved areas of the park, and that critical capital improvements are funded and completed over the next few years.”

Mitchell Silver, Commissioner of New York City Parks and Recreation, said: “Riverside Park is one of the world’s great urban green spaces, a resource to community members and visitors alike. Having doubled the number of both volunteers and employees, launched a summer sports camp, and more, the Park has grown leaps and bounds thanks to the leadership of John Herrold, a dedicated NYC Parks staff and the phenomenal board and staff of the Riverside Park Conservancy. Now, Riverside Park will take the next step in its evolution with the addition of Dan Garodnick’s vision, management, and deep commitment to public service. We look forward to working with Dan to make Riverside Park even more vibrant in the years ahead.”

Mr. Garodnick was elected to the City Council in 2005 in District 4, which runs from Stuyvesant Town to the Upper East Side. He is a lifelong New Yorker and a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He served as a law clerk to Judge Colleen McMahon of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then as an attorney with the firm of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison.

As a member of the City Council, Mr. Garodnick developed an expertise in public-private partnerships. He led negotiations between the City of New York, the tenants association of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, and the Blackstone Group, which resulted in the largest affordable housing deal in New York City history, preserving 5,000 units of housing for middle-class New Yorkers. He also spearheaded the rezoning of 78 blocks of midtown Manhattan to promote new development and to deliver nearly $1 billion in transit and other public benefits. During Mr. Garodnick’s time on the Council, he authored more than fifty laws. Mr. Garodnick and his wife, Zoe, have two sons, and lives in Peter Cooper Village.