Holly Leicht – Executive Director
Before becoming Executive Director of NY4P in March 2011, Holly served as Deputy Commissioner for Development at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), where she oversaw Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of housing. At HPD, Holly spearheaded an innovative juried competition in partnership with the American Institute of Architects which resulted in Via Verde, a signature affordable housing project that has won awards for its design and sustainability, and was actively involved in finding a balance between affordable housing and community gardens on City-owned land, including creating three new urban farms. Prior to joining HPD, she was Director of Planning for offsite projects at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and spent five years at the Municipal Art Society, first as in-house counsel and then as Director of Design, Planning and Advocacy. She led MAS’ efforts to preserve threatened community gardens and co-directed Imagine New York, engaging thousands of people in thinking about and discussing the future of the World Trade Center site and New York's neighborhoods after September 11th. Holly began her legal career as a Real Estate Finance associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She grew up in St. Louis and graduated magna cum laude from Yale College and cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law.
Alyson Beha – Director of Research, Planning & Policy
Having started her career as a planning intern at NY4P, Alyson now directs New Yorkers for Parks’ research and advocacy agenda. She oversees data collection, analysis and writing of timely research projects and reports, including The Report Card series, the Open Space Index, the Playground Utilization Study, and City Council District Profiles. She advises on and helps develop NY4P’s positions on parks policies and practices and regularly testifies before government bodies on key open space issues. Alyson received a Masters degree in Urban Planning from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and holds a B.A. in Art History from Davidson College. Originally from North Carolina, Alyson now lives in Brooklyn.
Evelyn Chen – Director of Development
Evelyn oversees NY4P’s development efforts, building relationships with individuals, foundations and corporations committed to quality parks and open spaces throughout the five boroughs. Prior to joining NY4P, Evelyn spent most of her nonprofit career at The Nature Conservancy, most recently serving as Director of Donor Relations in the Conservancy’s New York City office. Evelyn graduated from Dartmouth College and worked in regional sales and marketing at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group before finding her calling in the nonprofit world. Born in Queens, Evelyn lives in Lower Manhattan with her fiancé, dog and 12 street trees.
Jessica Feldman – Research & Planning Analyst
Jessica collects and analyzes data on usership, civic engagement, park
maintenance, access and safety to support NY4P’s policy and advocacy
efforts. Jessica received a Master of Public Policy degree from the
Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago and a
Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago Department of
Sociology, where she is an advanced doctoral student. She is a graduate
of Smith College and taught 7th and 8th grade as a Teach for America
corps member in East Palo Alto, CA. Jessica grew up in Minneapolis and lives in Manhattan.
Sam Mei – Fiscal Manager
Sam assists with NY4P’s accounting, budgeting and audit preparation. He served as Director of Finance at the Parks Council, and later NY4P, from 2000 until 2011. Prior to joining the Parks Council, he worked in grant officer roles at the International Rescue Committee and the Women’s Refugee Commission. Earlier, he was an Accounting Assistant at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He graduated from Baruch College and lives with his wife and two children in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Emily Walker – Outreach & Events Coordinator
Emily manages NY4P’s relationships with parks advocates and “friends of parks” groups throughout New York City and oversees The Daffodil Project. Prior to joining NY4P, Emily was Research Assistant to Tom Hayden and helped facilitate the incorporation of the Peace and Justice Resource Center, a 501(c)3 research organization founded by Mr. Hayden. She had internships at the Eastern Environmental Law Center in Newark, NJ, and in the East Los Angeles office of L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina. She also has experience working in grassroots community outreach in Los Angeles and Hunts Point in the South Bronx.
Originally from Orange, CA, Emily holds an M.S. in Nonprofit Management and a M.S. Certificate in Sustainability Strategies from Milano: The New School for Public Engagement, where she received the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Award in Nonprofit Management. She graduated cum laude from Scripps College in Claremont, CA with a B.A. in Legal Studies. Emily is a proud resident of the East Village.
Robin Weinstein – Director of Operations & Finance
Robin oversees NY4P’s financial management and fiscal, administrative
and Board governance activities, and leads our annual analysis of the
Parks Department budget. Prior to joining New Yorkers for Parks, Robin
worked in a variety of roles at the New York City Department of Housing
Preservation and Development (HPD). Most recently, Robin served as
Executive Director of Operations for the agency’s Office of Development,
where she directed budget and fiscal functions, credit review,
performance development and reporting, human resources, and other key
functions in support of the City’s Housing Plan to create and preserve
165,000 housing units. Earlier in her career at HPD, Robin administered
numerous housing preservation and regulatory oversight divisions and
programs and led a variety of program and staff development initiatives.
Robin received her B.A. in Urban Affairs and Political Science from New
York University and was a participant in the University’s Metropolitan
Leadership Program. She is also a graduate of New York City’s Top 40
Program. Robin is a lifelong resident of the Bronx.
James Yolles – Director of Communications
James directs NY4P’s communications efforts, including media relations and strategy,
social media and press events. Previously, he was the Director of Public
Affairs at the Alliance for Downtown New York, a Lower Manhattan
business improvement group. Earlier, he served as Special Assistant to
the Director of the Community Development Administration at the Maryland
Department of Housing and Community Development, and as a Desk
Assistant at "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." James earned an M.S. from
the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. from
the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He grew up in Baltimore and lives
in Morningside Heights.