The mayor of Blasio appoints Gabrielle Fialkoff commissioner of the Ministry of Parks and Recreation
September 24, 2021
NEW YORK– The mayor of Blasio today appointed Gabrielle Fialkoff as the next commissioner of the Ministry of Parks and Recreation. Fialkoff, a former senior advisor to the mayor, brings more than 20 years of experience leading organizations and working in government, nonprofit, philanthropic and business sectors. She will begin her role on Monday. Fialkoff succeeds outgoing Interim Commissioner Margaret Nelson, who will resume her duties as Deputy Commissioner for Urban Parks Services and Public Programs.
Gabrielle Fialkoff is committed to tackling inequalities and has shown her dedication to providing opportunities for open spaces and outdoor recreation in neighborhoods that have often been overlooked, under-invested and disconnected from the possibilities that the city has to offer. New York has to offer, “said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It’s proven successful in bringing people together, aligning interests and delivering results to ensure communities get the resources they deserve. She is a natural fit to lead the Department of Parks and Recreation as we guarantee recovery for all of us. “
“In Gabrielle’s previous work with this administration, she launched a new approach to municipal government and philanthropy by creating the Office of Strategic Partnerships,” said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development. “His work on programs like Building Healthy Communities and Connections to Care will be especially helpful as we continue to make fair investment in our parks a cornerstone of our recovery. I look forward to working with Gabrielle in her new role and I want to thank Acting Commissioner Nelson for her incredible work leading the agency over the past few months.
“I am delighted to take on the role of Parks Department Commissioner and to have the opportunity to work with its dedicated public servants who, through their enthusiasm, commitment and hard work, improve the lives of all New Yorkers. “, said New York Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Falkoff. “The pandemic has highlighted what an extraordinary resource the city’s parks can be for every New Yorker – they have become our classrooms, our living rooms, our respite and our peace of mind. Together, we will continue the work of helping the city recover and ensuring that every neighborhood has access to safe and vibrant open spaces. Thank you, Mayor de Blasio, it is a privilege to serve New York City, and I am honored to join the Parks team.
Fialkoff served as the Mayor’s Senior Advisor from 2014 to 2018, where she created the Office of Strategic Partnerships to engage the private sector in tackling inequality through high-impact public-private partnerships. Fialkoff launched Building Healthy Communities, a city initiative that created the country’s first urban farms on social housing, built 50 mini football pitches in underserved neighborhoods, expanded free exercise classes in parks and recreation centers, supported community gardens and brought communities together to participate in improving their health.
She has led initiatives such as the Youth Employment Center, which offered 100,000 internships and summer jobs per year to young people, Computer Science for All, a public-private partnership to provide computer training to all New York public school students, and invested over $ 420 million. private financing to fight income inequalities.
In March 2020, Fialkoff temporarily returned to serve as the senior advisor for COVID relief efforts to the mayor, leveraging her experience and relationships in crisis management to aid the city’s response efforts to the pandemic. Prior to working for the city government, Fialkoff had a successful business career, growing his fashion business from an early stage company to an industry leader. Earlier in her career, she worked on President Bill Clinton’s New York campaigns and Hillary Clinton’s historic first candidacy for the United States Senate.
“Gabrielle understands that no sector can tackle inequalities alone,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “She has been a leader in government in bringing together the philanthropy and corporate sectors to leverage public resources with strategic private investments that engage the community every step of the way. His creativity and drive led to the first social housing farms and over 100,000 summer jobs for young people in New York City. I applaud his appointment.
“Gabrielle can accomplish more in four months than most people can do in four years,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of Partnership for New York City. “She will be a tremendous advocate for parks at a time when New Yorkers cherish their outdoor green space more than ever.”
“For over 20 years, I have watched Gabrielle demonstrate insight in bringing together partners from the nonprofit sectors, business and government to get things done effectively and with a real sense of purpose, in order to have lasting impact, ”said Jean Calvelli, Executive Vice President of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “These skills are essential in enabling the Parks Department to respond more equitably to the needs of New York City, and I am delighted to be working with Gabrielle in this role.
“I know, working with Gabrielle, that she not only shares the Parks Department’s commitment to fairness in parks, but that she is the right steward to continue the work of improving the lives of all. New Yorkers, especially in communities where we have historically been underinvested, “said Mitchell Silver, FAICP. “His leadership skills will help advance New York City’s recovery and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to New York City’s most important assets, our parks.”
“In the five boroughs, park spaces, large and small, mingle with city streets to create an urban fabric unique to New York,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, which runs the city’s largest business improvement district. “Gabrielle understands this interaction and the opportunity it offers for creative initiatives that can bring the benefits of parks to every New Yorker.”
Fialkoff is a director of FIT, a member of the board of directors of Stockade Works and a graduate of Colgate University. She lives with her family in New York.