After overseeing the city's green spaces for over a decade, Park's Commissioner Adrian Benepe is stepping down.
Benepe is leaving his post to work for the Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit land conservation organization.
Since taking the helm at the Park's Department in 2002, Benepe has worked to create an addition 730 acres of new parkland, including the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Chelsea's High Line and the Yankee Stadium replacement parks in the Bronx.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already announced Veronica White, the executive director of the City's Center for Economic Opportunity, will be the new parks commissioner.
White, who applied to be parks commissioner when Bloomberg first took office, may be best known for launching a novel experiment, where poor families got paid for going to the doctor and doing well in school. Amid mixed results, the city ended it in 2010.
"I'm 100 percent convinced that this will be a seamless thing, and as Adrian knows and agrees with me, if he didn't he does now, you always want to pick somebody better," said Bloomberg.
"They told me they had a great person, and they were right. It was Adrian," said White. "So they told me they'd keep my resume on file, and they did, so here I am."
The official announcement was made in the South Bronx, an area where growing greenery is one of Benepe's biggest achievements.
"You can hear the birds and the stuff that's blowing in the air, those are the seeds of the cottonwood trees all over here, and you learn about nature, connect with nature," said Benepe.
By most accounts, the size, quality, and safety of parks are better than they have been in generations, as a glance at the Bronx River waterfront shows.
"This is the greatest expansion of parkland in decades, if not ever. And he's also brought creativity to thinking about how finance parks in times of fiscal constraint," said Holly Leicht of New Yorkers For Parks.
Others fear parks could lose their soul if naming rights are sold to corporations. It is a way to raise money and Benepe said most people won't notice.
The mayor said there will likely be more departures ahead of his own leaving office in January 2014.
"We have a plan for everybody what happens if they decide to go on or if unfortunately if they have an accident or something," said Bloomberg.
As for White, she said she earned to bike in Shore Road Park as a child in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Central Park is now her backyard.