As Emily Lloyd settles in to her new job as the head of Prospect Park, she has some big shoes to fill.
Under the of Tupper Thomas, Prospect Park has seen both major improvements and major controversies. The park went from major eyesore to borough landmark, and made headlines when hundreds of geese were controversially killed last summer.
Like her or not – Thomas is a tough act to follow.
But Lloyd, who took over as Prospect Park Administrator and President of the Prospect Park Alliance, is nothing if not up for the challenge.
A Park Slope resident for 27 years, Lloyd’s children played in Prospect Park with little league and soccer, tennis lessons and skating lessons. She and her husband take walks around the loop. And so when she was appointed the new head of the park, it felt like familiar territory.
Lloyd’s long resume includes Department of Sanitation Commissioner under New York City Mayor David Dinkins as well heading the Department of Environmental Protection from 2005 to 2008. She is proud to note that as Sanitation Commissioner, she rolled out citywide recycling. Her most recent position was in the private sector as COO of Trinity Real Estate, the largest private commercial landlord in New York City.
“Some people would say I can’t hold a job,” she laughed. “But what I really love doing is being a part of a project from the strategic planning to the roll out.”
In addition to being the park administrator, Ms. Lloyd will be the President of the Prospect Park Alliance working in city government, but also working for the community organization.
“Emily Lloyd has the experience necessary to maintain our many existing achievements, and the vision to build upon them for the future,” said Al Garner, Chairman of the Prospect Park Alliance.
A graduate of Wellesley College, Lloyd began her career in publishing, reading hard cover books and deciding which would become paperbacks. And it was this job that set her on the path to working in city planning and development.
“One of the books I read and recommended (for paperback edition) was Jane Jacobs’ ‘The Death in the Life of the American City’. And it made me decide what I wanted to do,” said Lloyd.
So she earned her masters in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania and scored first job in city government – working with the criminal justice system in Philadelphia.
In 1983, Lloyd moved to Park Slope to act as the Director of Business Development at the Port Authority of New York/ New Jersey. This is when she encountered Prospect Park for the first time.
“It was an October morning and I took my kids, then one and three, to the Third Street Playground. And I noticed two things: one, how broken down it was but mainly, there was no one there.”
Over the years, under the tutelage of Thomas, park usage increased for Lloyd and her family and the rest of Brooklyn.
She cracked a smile as she listed all her favorite parts of the park from the Nethermead to the Veil of Cashmere. But it’s the latest project of building the Lakeside Center that really gets her excited.
“I feel great ownership of this project because I used to skate there,” Lloyd said. “The thing I love about skating is that when kids get in skates they feel free, and it’s just an enormously communal activity.”
Tupper Thomas started the Lakeside Center project. After doing almost 80 percent of the fundraising for the project, they broke ground in December. Lloyd is scheduled to have the very first on site construction meeting this week.
Lloyd is now in the process of raising the remaining estimated $15 million for the Lakeside Center that would include a new skating rink and restore the original Olmsted and Vaux design to the surrounding lake areas. One of her principal goals is to safeguard and continue to restore the Olmsted and Vaux design for Prospect Park.
But the last few years of Thomas’ reign also left Lloyd with her fair share of sticky situations: after the controversial killing of park geese this summer, protecting and conserving the natural resources of the park has become a hot button issue for local residents.
Lloyd said she has a strong desire to do her own part in protecting the park’s natural resources.
“People feel very passionate about one thing and they play an important role in the community. Our job is to try and balance all that out,” she said.
Lloyd looks forward to helping with that balance, explaining that this is a particularly interesting time for the park.
“Prospect Park has accomplished so much in terms of its buildings and horticulture, and yet the more you do the more you see what you want to do.”
Editor's Note: This story was edited to reflect a change of word choice, as well as to add a portion of the story that was earlier left out.