Adrian Benepe
President, Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, 2002-2012

“Growing up in New York City, I didn’t have a backyard. The parks were my backyard….All of the greatest moments of my life have happened in parks.”

Adrian Benepe has been involved with Olmsted parks and landscapes for more than four decades. He first started working with the NYC Parks Department during high school. Since then, he’s served in multiple roles from park ranger to NYC Parks Commissioner. Before becoming President of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, he also worked for the Trust for Public Land.

Benepe’s favorite Olmsted park memories have to do with family. In the video, he recalls getting married in Central Park and taking his children on walks around Riverside Park and Central Park.

As he reflects on Olmsted’s birthday, he notes that it’s remarkable how well Olmsted’s works have stood up to the test of time.

“These great landscapes with large open spaces for flexible use…We now understand how skillful and thoughtful that design was and that we need to respect that legacy.”