Save the Date: NY4P 2022 Signature Benefit at the Central Park Loeb Boathouse
We're hosting our annual benefit on Monday, November 14 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.
Join New Yorkers for Parks to celebrate three champions of our public realm as we work together to build a city that is more resilient, equitable, and livable for all New Yorkers.
Please note, the benefit dress code will be cocktail casual.
Elizabeth W. Smith
President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy
President & CEO, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Shekar Krishnan is the NYC Council Member for District 25, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, Queens, two of the most diverse immigrant communities in the world. He is the first Indian-American ever elected to the City Council in NYC history.
Shekar is also Chair of the Council’s Committee On Parks and Recreation. He negotiated the highest budget ever for NYC Parks. As Parks Chair, Shekar has approached access to parks and expanding green space as a key component of social, racial, and immigrant justice.
Jackson Heights and Elmhurst are home to thousands of essential workers—many of whom are immigrants—who have carried this city forward during the pandemic. Shekar has championed a number of issues affecting our most vulnerable communities. He has been on the front lines fighting to: make sure the NYC government protects our taxi workers; secure badly needed resources for public hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital; ensure that New York City treats housing as a human right; end the practice of solitary confinement at Rikers Island; and expand public space for neighborhoods like his own that lack it.
Shekar has been a champion for the 34th Avenue Open Street, 26 blocks of pedestrian space in Jackson Heights that is the gold standard of open streets across NYC.
Before his election to City Council, Shekar was a long-time community activist in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst and civil rights lawyer fighting housing discrimination. He co-founded the legal services organization Communities Resist, a legal services organization highly acclaimed citywide for its community-rooted, intersectional approach to housing and racial justice in North Brooklyn and Queens. Shekar began his legal career with the landmark Broadway Triangle fair housing struggle against the City of New York, a successful case challenging a rezoning under the Fair Housing Act. He also co-founded Friends of Diversity Plaza. Located on the border of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, Diversity Plaza has become a national symbol of how public space can bring people together.
Shekar is the son of immigrants from South India who made enormous sacrifices and worked tirelessly to build a life for their family in this country. He is also a father of two small children, who can often be seen biking or scooting up and down the open 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights, and husband to Zoe, an immigration public defender and reproductive justice advocate.
Jamie Torres-Springer joined the MTA in 2021 as President of MTA Construction & Development and Chief Development Officer. He is responsible for better, faster, and cheaper delivery of the MTA's $55 billion capital plan through innovative management of construction work for subways, buses, commuter railroads, bridges, and tunnels.
Prior to joining the MTA, Mr. Torres-Springer served as Commissioner of New York City's Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the agency responsible for delivering infrastructure and facilities across New York City government. He led development and implementation of DDC's Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence, a comprehensive plan to streamline capital project delivery, and had a leading role in several programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City's adaptation to climate change, and reform of the criminal justice system.
Prior to DDC, he led a national planning practice working on urban infrastructure, open space, and citywide strategic plans for inclusive growth and sustainability.
Madelyn Wils served as President and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust from June 2011 through February 2021. During her tenure, Madelyn oversaw over $1 billion of private/public partnerships and the completion of the park is now within reach. Madelyn has worked with some of the top architects, designers and landscape architects in the world, creating one-of-a-kind projects through her vision of creating innovative park design. Little Island was named by Time Magazine one of the 100 Wonders of the World and Pier 26 received a Municipal Art Society Masterworks Award for Best Urban Landscape 2021, the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award 2021 and the Untapped New York Best New Park, 2020. Pier 57, with Google as the anchor tenant, opened this spring with a rooftop park and will also be a hub for education and an array of cultural activities. Pier 97, Gansevoort Peninsula and the renovation of Chelsea Waterside Park are now under construction.
Previously, Madelyn was Executive Vice President of Planning, Development and Maritime for the New York City Economic Development Corp. She was responsible for many of the City’s area-wide revitalization and throughout the five boroughs. Madelyn successfully supervised the re-zoning and master plans for Hunters Point South, Coney Island, Willets Point, as well as Seward Park. Amongst her portfolio, she oversaw dozens of waterfront developments including parks, transportation improvements and streetscapes in all five boroughs, including the East River Waterfront project, West Harlem Piers and Homeport.
Prior to joining NYCEDC Ms. Wils served as President of the Tribeca Film Institute. She managed the expansion of the organization, from programming a 10-day film festival, into a diverse institution offering year-round cultural and educational programming for filmmakers around the world.
From 2001 to 2005, she served as Chair of Community Board One in Lower Manhattan, where in the aftermath of 9/11, she played an integral role in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. Ms. Wils led the development of the Master Concept Plan for the East River Waterfront and was awarded “The Visionary Award” from the New York League of Conservation Voters for her efforts. She negotiated significant capital improvements for downtown, such as an expanded PS 234, two community recreational facilities, new parks and schools, ball fields and a library in Battery Park City. In 2002, she spearheaded the fundraising and development of the remarkable Millennium High School, which was the first new project completed downtown after September 11th
Madelyn is honored to receive this award and has been recognized by several other organizations for her park and urban and development leadership. Other awards include The Waterfront Alliance Heroes of the Harbor Award, Friends of Hudson River Park Leadership Award, The David Rockefeller Downtown Leadership Award, The Historic Districts Council Preservation Award and The Frances Peters City Garden Club Award.
Madelyn was a founding Board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and The Hudson River Park Trust. She has also served on the Boards of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Battery Conservancy, The Non-Profit Racing Association Oversight Board, The Empire State Stem Cell Board, Hudson River Park Friends, The Joyce Theater Foundation, The Gateway School and The Millennium High School Advisory Board.
With over thirty years of proven experience authoring and implementing visionary urban architecture, Vishaan Chakrabarti is the Founder and Creative Director of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism | PAU, where he leads the firm’s growing global portfolio of cultural, institutional, and public projects. Vishaan has been a principal at major architecture firms including SHoP Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He is a registered architect in the States of New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and is registered with NCARB.
Chakrabarti is the author of the highly acclaimed book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America (Metropolis Books, 2013), and is working on a second upcoming book for Princeton University Press entitled The Architecture of Urbanity: Designing Cities for Pluralism and Planet. Vishaan previously served as the William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design. Prior to Berkeley, Vishaan was a professor at Columbia University for a decade.
While serving under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the director of the Manhattan Office for the New York Department of City Planning, Vishaan successfully collaborated on the now-realized efforts to save the High Line, extend the #7 subway line, rebuild the East River Waterfront, expand the Columbia University campus, and reincorporate the street grid at the World Trade Center site after the events of 9/11.
Vishaan lectures internationally; contributes articles and op-ed’s to the New York Times, Crain’s Business, and other publications; has appeared on CBS Evening News, MSNBC’s The Cycle, Charlie Rose, National Public Radio, WNYC, and other television and radio programs; and was a main-stage speaker at TED 2018: The Age of Amazement and a featured speaker at TED Connects 2020: Build Back Better. He serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York, the Regional Plan Association, the Norman Foster Foundation, and The World Around. He is an emeritus board member of Friends of the High Line and an ex officio board member of the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Films Archive (BAMPFA). Vishaan is also a Mentor & Protégé for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a member of the Young Leaders Forum of the National Committee on US-China Relations and has served on the National Mayor’s Institute on City Design.
Vishaan holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley; a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and dual bachelor’s degrees in art history and engineering from Cornell University.
MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES:
Melva M. Miller, the Association for a Better New York’s first Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for the overall success of the organization through economic development, long-term planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic partnerships, and the expansion and evolution of ABNY’s membership. Prior to this role, Ms. Miller led the organization’s Census initiative for an accurate count of New York where she supported and supplemented the 2020 census efforts by the U.S. Census Bureau, State and City of New York, and in coordination with community-based organizations in an effort to help New York State and City achieve the most accurate census count possible.
Ms. Miller has also served as the Deputy Borough President of Queens, working with the Borough Presidents on moving Queens forward. Ms. Miller’s achievements include the creation of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million stakeholder-driven strategy to increase quality employment, economic diversity, and financial security in downtown Jamaica. She was also the lead organizer of the Western Queens Tech Strategic Plan, an initiative that produced a five-year, $300,000 planning initiative that produced a blueprint for equitable growth of the Long Island City and Astoria tech ecosystem. Ms. Miller has held several senior economic development roles throughout her career, including Director of Economic Development for the Borough of Queens and Executive Director for the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District. She serves on the Boards of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Habitat for Humanity New York City, and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
Ms. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and received a second Master’s Degree in Philosophy from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Welfare program at CUNY’s Graduate Center.
Thanks to our generous corporate sponsors:
Central Park Conservancy
Two Trees Management