NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor
Subscribe to the Parks History email newsletter to receive notification of new thematic pages as they are published.

New York City Parks Commissioners

Board of Commissioners of Central Park, 1856 to April 19, 1870

1856: Mayor Fernando Wood and Street Commissioner Joseph S. Taylor

April 17, 1857: First Board of Commissioners: James E. Cooley (President), James Hogg, Thomas Fields, Waldo Hutchins, Charles W. Elliott, John F. Butterworth, Robert J. Dillon, Charles H. Russell, John A.C. Gray, Andrew Green, William K. Strong

1858: Andrew Haswell Green (President), August Belmont, John F. Butterworth, John A.C. Gray, Robert Dillon, Charles H. Russell, Charles W. Elliott, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, William K. Strong, Thomas C. Fields

1859: Richard M. Blatchford (President), Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Charles W. Elliott, John A. C. Gray, William K. Strong, Waldo Hutchins, August Belmont, Thomas C. Fields, Henry G. Stebbins

1860: R. M. Blatchford (President), Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, August Belmont, John A. C. Gray, Thomas C. Fields, Henry G. Stebbins, William K. Strong, Moses Hicks Grinnell

1861: R. M. Blatchford (President), Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, August Belmont, John A. C. Gray, Thomas C. Fields, Henry G. Stebbins, Moses H. Grinnell, William K. Strong

1862: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1863: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1864: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1865: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1866: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1867: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1868: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

1869: Henry G. Stebbins (President), R. M. Blatchford, Charles H. Russell, Andrew H. Green, John F. Butterworth, Waldo Hutchins, Thomas C. Fields, Moses H. Grinnell

Jump to Top

Department of Parks, April 20, 1870 to 1897

1870: Peter B. Sweeny (President), Henry Hilton, Robert J. Dillon, Thomas C. Fields; (Tweed charter gave a new Department of Public Parks jurisdiction over small parks and west side improvement in addition to Central Park)

1871: Andrew H. Green, Thomas C. Fields, Robert J. Dillon, Peter B. Sweeny (resigned November 1871, replaced by Henry G. Stebbins), Henry Hilton (resigned November 1871, replaced by Frederick E. Church)

1872: Henry Stebbins (President—replaced by Frederick Law Olmsted May 28, 1872 to October 23, 1872, when Stebbins returned), Andrew H. Green, Robert J. Dillon (died November 26, 1872 replaced by Richard M. Blatchford December 3, 1872), Frederick E. Church, Thomas C. Fields (replaced by Salem H. Wales January 1873)

May 1873: Henry Stebbins (President), Richard M. Blatchford (replaced by Philip Bissinger on June 4, 1873), David B. Williamson, Salem H. Wales, Samuel Hall; (A state law in 1873 called for staggered five–year terms for board members)

May 1874: Salem H. Wales (President), Philip Bissinger, Henry Stebbins, David B. Williamson; (A state law in 1874 reduced board to four members)

May 1875: Henry Stebbins (President), William R. Martin, David B. Williamson, Joseph O'Donohue

May 1876: William R. Martin (President), William Courtney Wetmore, Joseph O'Donohue, Henry Stebbins

May 1877: William R. Martin (President), Henry Stebbins, William C. Wetmore, James Wenman

May 1878: James Wenman (President), Smith E. Lane, William C. Wetmore, Samuel Conover

May 1879: James Wenman (President), Smith E. Lane, William C. Wetmore (died March 22, 1880 replaced by Andrew H. Green), Samuel Conover

May 1880: James Wenman (President—resigned from board and replaced as president by Salem H. Wales December 1880), Andrew H. Green, Samuel Conover (Commissioners Green and Conover were replaced by William Oliffe and Charles MacLean on December 31, 1880)

May 1881: Smith E. Lane (President), Salem Wales, Charles MacLean, William Oliffe

May 1882: Smith E. Lane (President—replaced by Egbert Viele on January 20, 1883), Salem Wales, Charles MacLean (replaced by Joseph Crimmins January 20, 1883), William Oliffe

May 1883: William Oliffe (President), Egbert Viele, Salem Wales, John D. Crimmins

May 1884: Egbert Viele (President—resigned from board December 31, 1884, Jesse Powers assumed presidency of board), John D. Crimmins, Jesse Powers, Matthew C. D. Borden

May 1885: John D. Crimmins (President—resigned presidency September 28, 1885, replaced by Beekman), Henry R. Beekman, Jesse Powers, M.C.D. Borden

May 1886: Henry R. Beekman (President), John D. Crimmins, Jesse Powers, M.C.D. Borden

May 1888: J. Hampden Robb (President), M.C.D. Borden, Stevenson Towle, Waldo Hutchins

May 1889: M.C.D. Borden (President), J. Hampden Robb, Waldo Hutchins, Stevenson Towle (replaced by Albert Gallup July 9, 1889)

May 1890: Albert Gallup (President—not elected until June 13, 1890), M.C.D. Borden (replaced by Nathan Straus November 26, 1890), J. Hampden Robb (replaced by Paul Dana December 3, 1890), Waldo Hutchins (died in April 1891, replaced by Abraham B. Tappen April 24, 1891)

May 1891: Paul Dana (President), Albert Gallup, Nathan Straus, Abraham B. Tappen

May 1892: Abraham B. Tappen (President), Paul Dana, Nathan Straus, Henry Winthrop Gray, George C. Clausen (filling term of Albert Gallup), Edward Bell

May 1893: Abraham B. Tappen (President), Henry Winthrop Gray, George C. Clausen, Nathan Straus, Paul Dana (resigned March 30, 1894)

(May 1894: Abraham B. Tappen (President), Nathan Straus, George C. Clausen, Edward Bell (the entire board of commissioners was replaced by David H. King, Augustus D. Juilliard, George G. Haven and James A. Roosevelt February 18, 1895)

May 1895: David H. King (President(, Augustus D. Juilliard, George G. Haven and James A. Roosevelt

May 1896: S.V. Cruger (President), Samuel McMillan, William A. Stiles, Smith Ely

May 1897: Samuel McMillian (President), S.V. Cruger, William A. Stiles (died and replaced by Edward Mitchel October 18, 1897), Smith Ely

The entire board of commissioners resigned on December 31, 1897 to be replaced by a board for the newly formed greater New York.

Jump to Top

Brooklyn Board of Commissioners, 1861 to 1897

1861: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Edwards W. Fiske, R.H. Thompson, Thomas G. Talmage, Stephen Haynes, Cornelius J. Sprague, Thomas H. Rodman (resigned and replaced by Thomas McElrath)

1862: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Thomas McElrath, Edwards W. Fiske, Cornelius J. Sprague, Conklin Brush, Thomas G. Talmage, Stephen Haynes, Thomas H. Rodman, Abraham B. Baylis, Richard H. Thompson and Joseph A. Perry

1865: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Conklin Brush, C. J. Sprague, Abiel A. Low, Abraham B. Haylis, S. L. Husted, E. W. Fiske, Thomas McElrath, Teunis J. Bergen, John H. Prentice, Stephen Haynes and Walter S. Griffith

1866: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Conklin Brush, Walter S. Griffith, John H. Prentice, Edward W. Fiske, Teunis J. Bergen, Abiel A. Low, Seymour L. Husted, Abraham B. Baylis, Thomas McElrath, Stephen Haynes and Cornelius J. Sprague

1867: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Conklin Brush, Walter S. Griffith, John H. Prentice, Edwards W. Fiske, Teunis J. Bergen, Abiel A. Low, Seymour L. Husted, Abraham B. Baylis, Thomas McElrath, Stephen Haynes, Cornelius J. Sprague

1868: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Walter S. Griffith, John H. Prentice, Edwards W. Fiske, Abiel A. Low, Seymour L. Husted, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen Haynes, William Marshall, Isaac Van Anden, Martin Kalbfleisch (ex–officio)

1869: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Walter S. Griffith, John H. Prentice, Edwards W. Fiske, William Marshall, Abiel A. Low, Seymour L. Husted, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen Haynes, Isaac Van Anden and Martin Kalbfleisch (ex–officio)

1870: James S.T. Stranahan (President), John H. Prentice, Walter S. Griffith, Edwards W. Fiske, Abiel A. Low, Seymour L. Husted, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen Haynes, William Marshall, Isaac Van Anden, Martin Kalbfleisch (ex–officio)

1871: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Seymour L. Husted, John H. Prentice, Abraham B. Baylis, Edwards W. Fiske, Stephen Haynes, William Marshall, Isaac Van Anden, Abiel A. Low and Martin Kalbfleisch (ex–officio)

1872: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Seymour L. Husted, John H. Prentice, Abraham B. Baylis, Edwards W. Fiske, Stephen Haynes, William RIarshall, Isaac Van Anden, Abiel A. Low, Samuel S. Powell )ex–officio)

1873: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Seymour L. Husted, John H. Prentice, Abraham B. Baylis, Edwards W. Fiske, Stephen Haynes, William Marshall, Isaac Van Anden, Abiel A. Low and Samuel S. Powell (ex–officio)

1874: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Seymour L. Husted, John H. Prentice, Abraham B. Baylis, Edwards W. Fiske, Stephen Haynes, William Marshall, Isaac Van Anden, Abiel A. Low and Samuel S. Powell (ex–officio)

1875, 1879: James S.T. Stranahan (President), John H. Prentice, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen Haynes, William Marshall, Darwin R. James, Isaac S. Catlin, Samuel S. Powell (ex–officio)

1880: James S.T. Stranahan (President), John H. Prentice, Darwin R. James, William Marshall, Alfred S. Barnes, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen V. White, Raphael C. Stearns (replaced Isaac S. Catlin November 1880)

1881: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Christian T. Christensen, Darwin R. James, William Marshall, Alfred S. Barnes, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen V. White, Raphael C. Stearns

January 1–June 17, 1882: James S.T. Stranahan (President), Christian T. Christensen, Darwin R. James, William Marshall, Alfred S. Barnes, Abraham B. Baylis, Stephen V. White, Raphael C. Stearns

June 17, 1882–December 31, 1882: William B. Kendall (President), David H. Houghtaling, John Gibb, George H. Fisher, J. Rogers Maxwell, Charles Garlichs, George W. Chauncey

1883: William B. Kendall (President(, David H. Houghtaling, George W. Chauncey, Charles Garlichs, John Gibb, J. Rogers Maxwell, Andrew Dougherty, John H. Shultz (ex–officio)

1884: John Gibb (President), Andrew Dougherty, D. H. Houghtaling, George W. Chauncey, Charles Garlichs, Henry W. Maxwell, Thomas C. Smith, Leander Waterbury (ex–officio)

1885: John Gibb (President), Andrew Dougherty, George W. Chauncey, Thomas C. Smith, Leander Waterbury, George W. Alexander, Robert B. Van Vleck (ex–officio)

1886: James T. Easton (President), Henry Harteau, George W. Oakley, Anson Ferguson, Crossman Lyons, Francis Markey, Daniel M. Somers, Robert B. Van Vleck (ex–officio)

1887: James T. Easton (President), Daniel M. Somers, Robert B. Van Vleck, George W. Oakley, Crossman Lyons, Francis Markey, Henry Harteau, Anson Ferguson (ex–officio)

1888: John B. Woodward (President), Richard S. Storrs, Elijah R. Kennedy, William B. Overton, Charles H. Luscomb, Daniel M. Somers, George W. Oakley, Thomas D. Jones (ex–officio)

1889: George V. Brower (President), Marvin Cross, Henry I. Hayden

1890: George V. Brower (President), Marvin Cross and Charles H. Luscomb

1891: George V. Brower (President), Marvin Cross, Charles H. Luscomb

1892: George V. Brower, Commissioner

1893: George V. Brower, Commissioner

1894: Frank Squier, Commissioner

1895: Frank Squier, Commissioner

1896: J.G. Dettmer, Commissioner (Frank Squier term ended February 1, 1896 and replacement Timothy L. Woodruff resigned December 1, 1896)

1897: J.G. Dettmer, Commissioner

Jump to Top

Park Commissioners, 1898 to 1934

1898: George C. Clausen (Manhattan, Richmond), August Moebus (Bronx), George Brower (Brooklyn, Queens)

1899: George Clausen (Manhattan, Richmond), August Moebus (Bronx), George Brower (Brooklyn, Queens)

1900: George Clausen (Manhattan, Richmond), August Moebus (Bronx), George Brower (Brooklyn, Queens)

1901: George Clausen (Manhattan, Richmond), August Moebus (Bronx), George Brower (Brooklyn, Queens)

1902: William R. Willcox (Manhattan, Richmond), John Eustis (Bronx), Richard Young (Brooklyn, Queens)

1903: William R. Willcox (Manhattan, Richmond), John Eustis (Bronx), Richard Young (Brooklyn, Queens)

1904: John Pallas (Manhattan, Richmond), William P. Schmitt (Bronx—replaced by John Brady October 13, 1904), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1905: John Pallas (Manhattan, Richmond—replaced by Samuel Parsons, Jr. October 26, 1905), John Brady (Bronx, replaced by Henry C. Schraeder January 19, 1905), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1906: Moses Herman (Manhattan, Richmond), George Walgrove (Bronx—replaced by Joseph Berry September 13, 1906), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1907: Moses Herman (Manhattan, Richmond—replaced by Samuel Parsons September 13, 1907, replaced by Henry Smith November 25, 1907), Joseph Berry (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1908: Henry Smith (Manhattan, Richmond), Joseph Berry (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1909: Henry Smith (Manhattan, Richmond), Joseph Berry (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1910: Charles Stover (Manhattan, Richmond), Thomas Higgins (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens)

1911: Charles Stover (Manhattan, Richmond), Thomas Higgins (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn, Queens—on July 27, 1911 a position was created for a separate Queens Commissioner, Walter G. Eliot)

1912: Charles Stover (Manhattan, Richmond), Thomas Higgins (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn), Walter Eliot (Queens)

1913: Charles Stover (Manhattan, Richmond—resigned October 13, 1913 and replaced by Louis F. La Roche December 1, 1913—unlike previous Manhattan commissioners, La Roche did not serve as president), Thomas Higgins (Bronx), Michael J. Kennedy (Brooklyn—president on December 1, 1913), Walter Eliot (Queens)

1914: Cabot Ward (Manhattan, Richmond), Thomas W. Whittle (Bronx—appointed February 26, 1914), Raymond Ingersoll (Brooklyn), Walter Eliot (Queens—replaced by John E. Weier May 11, 1914)

1915: Cabot Ward (Manhattan, Richmond), Thomas Whittle (Bronx), Raymond Ingersoll (Brooklyn), John E. Weier (Queens)

1916: Cabot Ward (Manhattan, Richmond), Thomas Whittle (Bronx), Raymond Ingersoll (Brooklyn), John E. Weier (Queens)

1917: Cabot Ward (Manhattan, Richmond—replaced by Robert Volentine November 12, 1916—Commissioner Volentine served as acting president), Thomas Whittle (Bronx), Raymond Ingersoll (Brooklyn), John E. Weier (Queens)

1918: William Grell (Manhattan, Richmond), Joseph Hennessy (Bronx), John N. Harman (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens)

1919: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan, Richmond), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), John N. Harman (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens)

1920: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan, Richmond), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), John N. Harman (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens)

1921: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), John N. Harman (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), Thomas R. McGinley (Richmond)

1922: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), John N. Harman (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), Thomas R. McGinley (Richmond)

1923: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), John N. Harman (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), Thomas R. McGinley (Richmond)

1924: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), Edward T. O'Loughlin (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1925: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), Edward T. O'Loughlin (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1926: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), James Butler (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1927: Francis D. Gallatin (Manhattan—replaced by Walter R. Herrick May 12, 1927), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), James Butler (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1928: Walter R. Herrick (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), James Butler (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1929: Walter R. Herrick (Manhattan), Joseph P. Hennessy (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), James Butler (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1930: Walter R. Herrick (Manhattan), Thomas J. Dolen (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), James Butler (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1931: Walter R. Herrick (Manhattan), Thomas J. Dolen (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1932: Walter R. Herrick (Manhattan), Thomas J. Dolen (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

1933: John E. Sheehy (Manhattan), Thomas J. Dolen (Bronx), James J. Browne (Brooklyn), Albert C. Benninger (Queens), John J. O'Rourke (Richmond)

Jump to Top

Unified City Parks Department Commissioners, 1934 to Present*

January 18, 1934 to May 23, 1960 (26 years, 4 months): Robert Moses (Mayors LaGuardia, O'Dwyer, Impellitteri, and Wagner)

May 24, 1960 to January 15, 1966 (5 years, 8 months): Newbold Morris (Mayor Wagner)

January 16, 1966 to March 15, 1967 (1 year, 3 months): Thomas P.F. Hoving (Mayor Lindsay)

March 16, 1967 to December 31, 1972 (5 years, 9 months): August Heckscher (Mayor Lindsay)

January 1, 1973 to December 31, 1973 (1 year): Richard M. Clurman (Mayor Lindsay)

January 1, 1974 to September 22, 1975 (1 year, 9 months): Edwin L. Weisl, Jr. (Mayor Beame)

September 23, 1975 to December 28, 1975 (3 months): Alexander Wirin (Mayor Beame)

January 1, 1976 to June 30, 1977 (1 year, 6 months): Martin Lang (Mayor Beame)

July 2, 1977 to January 20, 1978 (6 months): Joseph P. Davidson (Mayor Beame)

January 23, 1978 to April 1, 1983 (5 years, 3 months): Gordon J. Davis (Mayor Koch)

April 2, 1983 to February 4, 1990 (6 years, 10 months): Henry J. Stern (Mayor Koch)

February 5, 1990 to December 31, 1993 (3 years, 11 months): Elisabeth F. (Betsy) Gotbaum (Mayor Dinkins)

January 1, 1994 to February 3, 2002 (8 years, 1 month): Henry J. Stern (Mayor Giuliani)

February 4, 2002 to August 29, 2012 (10 years, 6 months) Adrian Benepe (Mayor Bloomberg)

August 30, 2012 to December 31, 2013 (1 year, 4 months): Veronica M. White (Mayor Bloomberg)

*includes the following agencies:

  • New York City Park Department (1934 to 1968)
  • Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs Administration (1968 to 1976) (PRCA created by Local Law 22 of 1968 dated April 22, 1968)
  • Department of Parks & Recreation (1976 to present) (Department of Cultural Affairs created by Local Law No. 6 dated February 10, 1976 and Department of Parks created by Local Law No. 7 dated February 10, 1976)

Was this information helpful?