Mayor Appoints Gabrielle Fialkoff as New Parks Commissioner

Image credit: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

Fialkoff recently served as the Senior Advisor for COVID Relief Efforts to the Mayor. On September 24, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Gabrielle Fialkoff as the new Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation. She succeeds Acting Commissioner Margaret Nelson, who took the helm after former Commissioner Mitchell Silver stepped down earlier this summer. 

Fialkoff previously served as Senior Advisor to the Mayor from 2014 – 2018. She established the Office of Strategic Partnerships to build high impact public-private partnerships to fight inequality. She launched Building Healthy Communities, an initiative that established the first urban farms on public housing properties in the United States. Her other work included the creation of 50 mini soccer fields in underserved neighborhoods, the expansion of free exercise classes in parks and recreation centers, and supporting community gardens and working with communities to improve health outcomes.

She previously led initiatives like the Center for Youth Employment, which provides 100,000 yearly internships and summer jobs to young people; and Computer Science for All, an initiative to bring computer science education to all public school students through a public-private partnership. In March 2020, she served as Senior Advisor for COVID Relief Efforts to the Mayor to assist with pandemic emergency management.

Mayor de Blasio stated,  “Gabrielle Fialkoff is committed to fighting inequality and has shown her dedication to providing opportunities for open space and outdoor recreation in neighborhoods that have often been overlooked, underinvested in, and disconnected from the possibilities New York City has to offer. She has a proven track record of bringing people together, aligning interests, and delivering results to ensure communities get the resources they deserve. She is a natural choice to lead the Department of Parks and Recreation as we guarantee a recovery for all of us.”

Commissioner Fialkoff stated, “I am thrilled to take on the role of Commissioner of the Parks Department and have the opportunity to work with its dedicated public servants who, through their enthusiasm, commitment, and hard work, make life better for all New Yorkers. The pandemic has brought into the sharpest focus what an extraordinary resource the City’s parks can be for every New Yorker—they became our classrooms, our living rooms, our respite, and our peace of mind. Together we will continue the work of aiding the City’s recovery and ensuring that every neighborhood has access to safe and vibrant open spaces. Thank you, Mayor de Blasio—it’s a privilege to serve the City of New York, and I’m honored to join the Parks team.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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