A senior vice president and director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land, Adrian Benepe is one of the nation's experts on the nexus of the public, private, and non-profit sectors in public space development and management. Born and raised in New York, Mr. Benepe served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation for 11 years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg (part of a 27-year career in that department). During that time he oversaw a major expansion of the city’s parks system, including restoring historic parks such as Central Park and Battery Park, adding 730 acres of new parkland including Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line, and laying the groundwork for an additional 2,000 acres within the city.
In his career, Mr. Benepe has worked in leadership roles on park and public space conservation, design, construction, and operation, and in the areas of city planning, arts and culture, historic preservation, and landscape and urban design. Mr. Benepe held several positions within the Parks Department including Manhattan commissioner, director of art & antiquities, director of natural resources & horticulture, and director of public information. Mr. Benepe also served as vice president for issues & public affairs at the Municipal Art Society and as director of the Annual Fund and Major Gifts for the New York Botanical Garden. He is currently the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Middlebury College, Mr. Benepe holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship.