Who We Are

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Board of Directors

Chair – Andrew Simons

Principal, Emphas!s Design

Vice Chair – Michael Porto

Manager, City Government Affairs, Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Secretary – Amy E. Turner

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

Treasurer – Ted Weissberg

Executive Chairman, Digital Marketing Institute

Board Members

Kate Collignon, Partner, HR&A Advisors

Scott Demel, Director, Marvel Architects PLLC

David Dobkin, COO and Director of Investments, HK Organization

Gordon Hill, Vice President, JP Morgan Chase

Petra T. Messick, Director, Gateway Program Planning Amtrak

Richard B. Miller, Vice President, Regulatory, Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Sumner Pingree, Environmental Consultant

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

Eric Pitt, Climate Finance Consultant, Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets

Michelle Young, Founder, Untapped New York

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Staff

Terri Carta, Executive Director

Terri Carta is a leader in public space stewardship and nonprofit management. As Executive Director of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Terri is responsible for driving forward the completion and long-term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, realizing its full potential as a critical connector of people and neighborhoods, a component of New York City’s sustainability and resiliency plans, and a mechanism for community-based  visioning and stewardship. Terri’s career spans leadership positions in public engagement, community development, and leadership development, most recently developing the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks where she served as its Associate Vice President. Terri previously coordinated community development, engagement, and education efforts for a watershed management project in Guinea, West Africa while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Terri has an M.S. in Ecological Teaching & Learning and a B.S. in Conservation Biology. Terri is passionate about advancing a multidisciplinary approach to improving urban environments and the greater public realm.

Remy Schwartz, Director of Development & Administration

Remy Schwartz directs fundraising, partnerships, and administration for Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. He is working to build a diverse spectrum of support from businesses, government agencies, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and private citizens. He is excited to complete the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway and help BGI grow into the future.  Remy previously worked with The Battery Conservancy and The Prospect Park Alliance. He is a 2019 Environmental Leadership Program National Fellow, an NYC Citizen Tree Pruner, and a proud graduate of Hampshire College. He likes to surround himself with community and spend time outdoors as an avid cyclist, a runner, and an obsessive tennis player.

Elizagrace Madrone, Development & Communications Manager

Elizagrace manages the fundraising operations and the overall communications for BGI working to tell the stories of the Brooklyn Greenway itself and of the communities the greenway connects. She has previously worked at a variety of New York non-profits (including Central Park Conservancy and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre) and continues to be an occasional instructor with Bike New York’s Gear Femmes program. In addition to being a bike commuter on all of New York’s greenways and a dedicated enjoyer of the city’s public spaces, Elizagrace is a theater artist and writer making small works across the country.

Anna Bakis, Naval Cemetery Landscape and Stewardship Manager

Anna works with the staff at the NCL to maintain the space, engage visitors, and foster a thriving habitat for native plants and animals. She also works on BGI's stewardship and greening projects along the greenway. Anna grew up in Brooklyn and spent many of her formative days exploring plants and insects in whatever patch of greenery she could find in her home borough. She has worked in a variety of New York City's green spaces throughout her career, from community gardens to NYC parks to botanical and school gardens. She is excited to bring her experience in horticulture, outdoor education, and public engagement to BGI.

Greg Topscher, Acting Naval Cemetery Landscape and Stewardship Manager

Greg Topscher is the acting Manager of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, working to engage visitors by developing and implementing programs, art installations, and maintenance practices, as well as fostering stewardship with the community along the Greenway. He is responsible for connecting visitors to the natural and man-made history of the NCL, as well as working to maintain the delicate ecosystem of a reclaimed meadow and help it thrive. Greg is an artist and owns and operates a cut-paper stationery company, Shipwreck Press.

Anne Krassner, Brooklyn Greenway User Study Project Manager

Anne is working closely with the Executive Director and our partners to coordinate the design and execution of the study, thinking through the different uses of the Greenway, the neighborhoods it intersects, and how it's impacted Brooklyn residents and businesses. Anne is an urban planner who specializes in community-based planning and sustainable development, with an emphasis on social justice and dismantling systemic racism in public infrastructure, programs, and policies. She’s been a community organizer in NYC for 10 years, and was most recently leading the equity and community engagement efforts for Lyft's Transit, Bikes, and Scooters division. She approaches projects with empathy and problem-solves using an equity lens, always asking: who leads, who benefits, and who is harmed by what we are trying to do. Outside of work, Anne expresses her creativity through baking and loves riding her bike around the City.

Hagan Knauth, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Hagan Knauth is an associate of the Naval Cemetery Landscape (NCL). He is responsible for informing visitors about the NCL, photographing, studying and tending to the plants and upkeep of the space. He appreciates that every square foot of the NCL features a plethora of lifeforms both above and below ground (insects, spiders, fungi, moths, worms, butterflies, ants, bees, and more). For this reason, he encourages visitors to slow down and take a closer look. He is a strong advocate for the conservation and preservation of public land, and a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of time spent outdoors. Originally from upstate New York, Hagan moved to Brooklyn to grow as a musician ... however, the itch to be outdoors again has to lead him to split his time between the studio and the garden.

Leah Retherford, Naval Cemetery Landscape Gardener

Leah Retherford is an associate of the Naval Cemetery Landscape (NCL) 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.

Support

Brian Hedden, Communications and Advocacy

Jitasa, Bookkeeping and Accounting

Charles Rubin, Information Technology

Tech4Results, Website Support

Jackie VanDusen, Graphic Design

Advisors

Jon Orcutt, Advocacy

Sarah Kornbluth, NCL Advisory Committee

Jeffrey Longhenry, NCL Advisory Committee

Penn Marchael, NCL Advisory Committee

Andrew Ullman, NCL Advisory Committee