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Conference House Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, July 17, 2002


On Tuesday June 25, over 300 guests gathered on the roof of the Arsenal for the annual Lifetime Friends of Parks ceremony to celebrate Adrienne and Joseph Bresnan for their outstanding lifetime achievements and dedication to Parks.

Since 1986, with only a brief interruption, this annual homecoming party has attracted Parks alumni and friends who meet and mingle, reminisce about their careers at Parks, and share new experiences with old friends.

Commissioner Adrian Benepe welcomed the numerous guests, honored the Bresnans’ legacy, and reflected on the opportunity to reunite with former colleagues. Joining Commissioner Benepe in praising the Bresnans were former Parks Commissioners Thomas Hoving (’66-’67), Joseph Davidson (’76-‘77), Gordon Davis (’78-‘83), and Henry Stern (’83-90/’94-2002). Lifetime friends co-chairs Lucille Patinella, Patrick Pomposello, and Lee Rohbraugh presented the honorees with placards celebrating their achievements and added their fond memories of Adrienne and Joseph.

Adrienne began her career at Parks in 1970, joining the Capital Projects division as an Assistant Architect. She held the titles of Architect, Senior Architect and Administrative Architect. She served as the executive assistant to the Deputy Commissioner of the Capital Program, contributing to the department for 18 years. Her far sighted vision played a prominent role in the Central Park Master Plan of 1973, The Prospect Park Preservation Plan of 1980, The Flushing Meadows- Corona Park Plan of 1983, and the WPA Parks and Recreation Centers Program. Adrienne worked at Parks until 1988. She later served as Assistant Commissioner for Historic Preservation for the Department of General Services/Department of Design and Construction until 1996.

Joseph started with Parks in 1965, hired to assist in training young monument restorers. He was appointed Monuments Artisan, and in 1968 became Monuments Officer, to head the Division of Monuments. He served Parks until 1985 as the Director of Historic Parks, Director of Planning and Preservation, and led the Historic Preservation Division and Monument Conservation and Public Art Program. After leaving Parks, he became the Executive Director of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. From 1989 to 1998, Joseph was the Vice President and the Director of Historic Preservation for the Remco Group.

Adrienne and Joseph met in 1970 at Parks while restoring the Ladies Pavilion in Central Park. They married on July 1, 1971. In 1990, they were elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Today they practice as Bresnan Architects, P.C.

Lifetime Friends of Parks is made up of former Parks employees and civic leaders. They believe in the wise use of public and private resources to protect open spaces, promote natural beauty, and provide park and recreation services. They offer their talents and energy to promote parks and recreation in New York City. Every year, Lifetime Friends honors a new person or group for their service and dedication to Parks and the legacy of New York City Parks.

Written by Daniel Bartolini


(Wednesday, July 26, 1989)


At the southernmost tip of Staten Island—and New York State—stands Conference House, a 17th century stone manor. Located in the 226-acre Conference House Park, across Raritan Bay from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the manor was named after a dramatic meeting that shaped our nation’s history.

In 1676 New York Governor Thomas Dongan granted a 1,600-acre property known as the Manor of Bentley to British naval captain Christopher Billop. Billop built the Conference House a solid, two-story structure of native fieldstone, in about 1680. The home was enlarged in 1720 with a frame lean-to at the rear, creating a classic "salt box" structure.


"The only way to have a friend is to be one."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Directions to Conference House Park

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