Who We Are

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Staff

Hunter Armstrong, Executive Director

Hunter Armstrong is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative where he calls on nearly two decades of experience improving public spaces and the public realm in New York City. Most recently, he was Deputy Director of Development and Communications at the Natural Areas Conservancy, a park non profit that stewards New York City’s nature trails program. Previously, he was the executive director of CIVITAS, a community-based planning organization in Manhattan, where he organized multiple environmental and open space programs, and he led an ideas competition to improve the East River Esplanade. He has a masters degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and a certificate in nonprofit management from Columbia University. When he’s not exploring New York City’s parks and neighborhoods, Hunter enjoys cycling, swimming, and hiking as well as running on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.

Avvah Rossi, Director of Horticulture and Greenway Stewardship

Avvah works at the Naval Cemetery Landscape with the staff to help maintain the space and its plantings and support visitors' engagement with its biodiversity and ecology. She also works on BGI's stewardship and greening projects along the greenway. She is a horticulturist and ISA-certified arborist with experience from many botanical gardens, public parks and and historical gardens. She enjoys teaching people about plants as part of her work in public gardens: including horticulture, arboriculture, and agriculture practices. She is excited to work with BGI to foster thriving habitat for native plants and community involvement in everything from seed saving to street tree care.

Sam Brown Beatty, Development Director

Sam Brown Beatty is a community centric fundraiser who believes in the power of development as a tool for building power and resources in local communities and across social movements. She most recently served on the development teams at Transportation Alternatives and the National Young Farmers Coalition, where she specialized in event planning and corporate partnerships. She holds a Master's Degree of Public Administration, concentrating in Urban Development and Sustainability, from CUNY Baruch College. She is a proud lifelong resident of South Brooklyn who is fiercely passionate about accessible public space and transportation for all New Yorkers. You can often find her walking along the Greenway with her beloved Cattle Dog Mix, Kelly.

Brian Hedden, Advocacy & Greenway Projects Coordinator

Brian coordinates advocacy & project development for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and citywide greenway network, liaising with elected officials & greenway leads at government agencies, and coordinating the NYC Greenways Coalition meetings, member outreach, & campaigns. Before joining BGI, Brian was a co-founder of Bike South Brooklyn, where he organized actions that resulted in the largest expansion of bike lanes in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. Brian was born in New York State, and biked from his native Western New York to his home in Brooklyn along the Empire State Trail the first spring after it opened.

Caroline Powell, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Caroline Powell is a gardener at the Naval Cemetery Landscape. An avid naturalist, she received her MA in Animal Studies from NYU in 2023 and enjoys exploring the great diversity of flora, fauna, and funga at the NCL and throughout the city.

Leah Retherford, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Leah Retherford is a gardener at the Naval Cemetery Landscape and works closely with the NCL team to steward the space and welcome visitors. Prior to joining the BGI team, she worked as the Project Manager at the NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse and before that as the Farm Manager at the Queens County Farm Museum. She began urban gardening in Detroit in 2002 where she cofounded Birdtown Community Garden with Bashir Ali Hakim, and realized putzing in the garden is what she's best at.

Caitlin Lynch, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Caitlin is a graduate student in the Earth and Environmental Science program at Brooklyn College (CUNY) studying ecological restoration. Her love of plants is what inspired her to return to school where she found a passion for field work and research. She is interested in the edible/medical uses of plants, seed collecting, and urban ecology. If she is not out in the wetlands of Jamaica Bay measuring grass, or at a beach clean-up, she can be found trying to identify every plant in sight.

Eric Thompson, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Alex Kuchta, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Board of Directors

Chair – Andrew Simons

Principal, Emphas!s Design

Vice Chair – Amy E. Turner

Senior Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

Treasurer – Ted Weissberg

Executive Chairman, Digital Marketing Institute

Secretary – Richard B. Miller

Energy and Transportation Consultant

Board Members

Terri Carta, Executive Director, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy

Scott Demel AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD, Marvel

Deborah Flynn, Design Consultant

Paul Gertner, CEO, Starborn Industries

Elijah Hutchinson

Wes Jacobs, Project Director, Leading Light Wind, Invenergy

Katie Keimel, Managing Director, HR Business Partner, Blackrock

Robert Pirani, Director, NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program Hudson River Foundation

Eric Pitt, Chief Commercial Officer, Emergent Climate

Kati Solomon, Vice President of Operations, Bryant Park Corporation / 34th Street Partnership

Tiffany Stone, Vice President of Product, Goldman Sachs

Support

Jon Orcutt, Advocacy

Jitasa, Bookkeeping and Accounting

Tech4Results, Website and IT Support

NCL Advisory Committee

Anna Bakis

Sarah Kornbluth

Jeffrey Longhenry

Penn Marchael

Andrew Ullman