Longtime Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe Steps Down

The city's longtime parks commissioner Adrian Benepe is stepping down after a decade on the job.

Benepe, who had his first summer job cleaning beer cans from East River Park, is taking on a new position at the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving space for public use.

He made the announcement at a groundbreaking ceremony in Soundview Park in the Bronx.

"I started almost 40 years ago as a seasonal in East River Park," he said. "I've been joined at the hip with the parks department, you never want to leave. You'd like to be, but you can't be emperor for life."

The city says that since Benepe's appointment in 2002 that more than 730 acres of land have been added to the park system, and another 2,000 acres at Fresh Kills on Staten Island yet to be added.

“Every body likes Adrian Benepe,” Bloomberg said. “That’s particularly important if you’re going to go out and find ways to fund all these parks which the city can’t do on its own, when you gotta sell an idea of a new park to a neighborhood that hadn’t thought about it.”

Veronica White, the executive director for the Center for Economic Opportunity, will be the new parks commissioner.