New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver announced this week he would step down from his post in late spring after having served since May 2014.
During his tenure, which is the fourth longest for a parks commissioner, Silver brought the parks system into the 21st century through design and capital process reform, delivering more than 800 capital projects representing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $1.85 billion park investment, equitably benefiting New Yorkers of all means, ages and abilities.
“Parks have offered a solace for so many New Yorkers during the darkest days of the pandemic,” de Blasio said. “And no one has been a better steward for our parks than Mitchell Silver. He has overseen the improvement of parks across the five boroughs and made them a welcoming place for everyone. All New Yorkers are better off for his service.”
In Queens, the Parks Department has invested more than $419 million in the borough’s parks and green spaces during Silver’s seven-year tenure. Of the more than 800 capital projects completed under Silver’s administration, 209 are in Queens.
“I thank Mayor de Blasio for giving me the privilege to help NYC Parks and our parks system, making them more equitable, inclusive and resilient over the past seven years,” Silver said. “I am grateful to have worked with the amazing NYC Parks leadership team, as well as the dedicated Parks staff who keep our parks safe, clean and accessible, especially through this global pandemic. Serving as commissioner has been the highest honor of my career. I also thank my colleagues in government, conservancy partners and volunteers for making this job the best experience of my life.”
In October, Silver helped cut the ribbon at Astoria Park, marking the completion of the first phase of a $30 million reconstruction project. In July, he did the same at Flushing Meadow Corona Park where the entrance of the park at 111th Street was reconstructed as part of a $4.5 million project that welcomes visitors and leads them directly to the Unisphere.
“Mitchell Silver brought a wealth of experience, business savvy and dedication to the Parks Department,” said Councilman Peter Koo, the chairman of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “Under his leadership, New Yorkers got an administration that worked to streamline the capital process and give our city residents greater access to modernized open space. I sincerely thank him for his service, and wish him well in his endeavors.”
Silver will join the private sector in North Carolina as a principal of McAdams, a civil engineering, planning and landscape architecture firm where he will support the company’s philanthropy efforts to help the environment and communities in need.
“Commissioner Silver has been a tremendous asset to this administration and has made parks throughout NYC so much more accessible, welcoming and wonderful,” Deputy Mayor Vicki Been said. “Mitchell’s deep commitment to a more equitable park system resulted in programs like Community Parks Initiative and Parks Without Borders, which have increased access to high-quality open spaces for underserved neighborhoods. His commitment also extended to his workforce, where he’s had a keen focus on programs like the Parks Opportunity Program, which trains low-income New Yorkers for jobs in landscaping and maintenance and gives them a long-term skill and path to permanent employment. His drive to make our parks better will benefit New Yorkers for years to come.”
Councilman Franciso Moya is grateful for working with Silver.
“Since joining the City Council, we’ve had the opportunity to partner on capital projects and bring much-needed resources to make Queens parks, especially in my district, spaces New Yorkers can be proud of,” Moya said. “And who can forget the album cover for the unveiling of Fountain of the Fairs? I wish Mitchell all the best in his new endeavor.”