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Press Release: A New Day for Van Cortlandt Park


Merger of Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy to create single park stewardship organization

New Beginnings Picnic to be held on June 11 to celebrate the Launch of Van Cortlandt Park Alliance in the Bronx

For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, May 21, 2019

On the evening of June 11, elected and city officials, together with friends, supporters, board members and community members will gather at the New Beginnings Picnic to celebrate the creation of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, formed by the merger of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy.  These two organizations shared the goal of creating a single, superior stewardship organization that will preserve, support and promote the recreational, ecological and historical value of Van Cortlandt Park. The Alliance will raise funds for programming in the Park, the preservation of its natural areas, the refurbishment of its infrastructure, and the execution of the 2034 Master Plan. The New Beginnings Picnic  will precede the annual concert in Van Cortlandt Park by the New York Philharmonic.

Nina Habib Spencer and Carol J. Samol are the newly elected co-Chairs of the Board of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance.

“With the creation of the Alliance, we hope to bring the Park – the crown jewel of the Bronx – firmly into its next era as a major destination for Bronx residents and all New Yorkers seeking nature, culture and recreation,” said Spencer.

“The Alliance will improve our ability to raise funds, provide programming, and deliver on the 2034 Master Plan, for the park and the entire Bronx,” said Samol.

“The creation of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance will fortify the advocacy efforts for this green space. This new partnership will usher in new programming and funding opportunities to improve this cherished community hub for many years to come,” said Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez Rosa.

NYC Council Member Andrew Cohen said: “Congratulations to every individual involved in making this merger possible. I am incredibly gratified that the hard work of these organizations has culminated in a unified ‘Van Cortlandt Park Alliance.’ I believe that the synergy of these organizations will be a tremendous benefit for the park and all its visitors. I know this association will be an even greater administrative and fundraising vehicle that will elevate Van Cortlandt Park to new heights.”

The merger of the Conservancy and the Friends combines the energy, creativity and expertise of both boards and their respective staffs, and aligns them on a single, focused mission to elevate Van Cortlandt Park, which serves 2.5 million park goers a year.  The staffing and flagship programs of both the Conservancy and the Friends – including the Summer Tibbetts Brook Restoration Crew program, Garden 2 Market Internship, Urban Ecology Teen Internship, water quality monitoring, the Enslaved Africans Program, Barefoot Dancing, Family Fun @ 261st Street, the Van Cortlandt Adventures program, and volunteer programs – will be maintained in the coming season.

The formation of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance was made possible through the generous investment, support, and leadership of several partners, including the Altman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and SeaChange Capital Partners.

About Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park — 1,146 acres atop the ridges and valleys of the northwest Bronx — is     New York City’s third largest park. The park serves an estimated 2.5 million people annually as a living classroom and a quality-of-life resource in the Bronx.  Playing fields and playgrounds are scattered about the park’s edges, surrounding a richly forested heartland fed by Tibbets Brook. The park is home to the country’s first public golf course, the oldest house in the Bronx, over 20 miles of trails, and the borough’s largest freshwater lake. From the quiet green shade of its oak forests to the busy cricket pitches in the Parade Ground, the park boasts a past rich in culture, well-versed in history, and blessed with the intrinsic beauty of nature.  For more information go to

Contacts at Van Cortlandt Park Alliance:

Julie Micou Cerf, Interim Executive Director

Christina Taylor, Director of Program and Operations

(718) 601-1460

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