Adrian Benepe was the 14th Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, serving in that role from February 4, 2002, to August 29, 2012, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During his tenure, he oversaw 7,000 parks’ staff, the expenditure of over $3 billion in funding park maintenance, the expansion of new parks across New York City, and the inclusion of schoolyards for public access after school.
As Parks Commissioner, he oversaw The Gates, the public arts project from artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude and the public-private partnerships that led to the High Line Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. It was also during his tenure that then Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s PlaNYC started the ambitious project of building and renovating countless urban parks and green spaces for the increase in population across New York City.
After retiring from the Parks Department, Benepe joined The Trust for Public Land as Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development, where he works in parks advocacy and promotion of the 10-Minute Walk across the United States.
Benepe lived most of his life in Manhattan in New York City. He received a B.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College, Vermont, in 1979, and an M.A. in Journalism at Columbia University in 1981, among many family members who attended the University. Benepe is married to Charlotte Glasser, with whom he lives on the Upper West Side. They are the parents of two sons, Erik and Alex.
Benepe held numerous positions with the Urban Park Rangers in the New York City department Parks and Recreation from 1979—1990. This included the ranger station in New York City’s Central Park. He went on to work at the New York Botanical Garden, where, with a colleague, he developed the idea that became the annual winter train show. He then went to the Municipal Art Society.
After retiring from the Parks Department, Benepe continued working with urban parks at the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, where he became a senior vice president of city park development. His work includes parks advocacy and promotion, including the promotion of the concept of a 10-Minute Walk to a park or green space for all people in the United States.
Adrian Benepe is married to social worker Charlotte Glasser and resides on Manhattan’s upper west side. They have to sons, Erik and Alex.