Longtime botanical garden president Gregory Long steps down


Gregory Long, whose tenure at the top of the New York Botanical Garden is second only to its founder, will step down as president of the institution by June 2018.

Long made the announcement Thursday, which will end 29 years with the botanical garden. Only founder Nathaniel Britton was there longer, from 1896 to 1930.

“When I came to the New York Botanical Garden, I joined an institution that was one of the most important of its kind anywhere, and that was needed more than ever by its city and by the world of research and conversation,” Long said, in a statement. “As I quickly discovered, the many aspects of the garden are as varied, marvelous and intricately interconnected as the species of the plant kingdom itself.”

Since taking over in 1989, the garden has raised $1.1 billion — 80 percent of it from the private sector — according to a release. At the same time, more than $333 million has funded 43 major capital projects, including 15 new gardens and landscape renovations.

Attendance and membership have quadrupled since Long took over, garden officials said. He’s also delivered a balanced budget for the past 28 years.

“Our profound regret at Gregory’s decision is tempered only by the recognition that he has managed this change in characteristic fashion, waiting until he knew the garden would be in the strongest possible situation, and the timing would be strategically ideal,” said garden board chair Maureen Chilton, in a statement. “Over the past 28 years, Gregory has put our house in order — in fact, dramatically improved the house — through three brilliantly conceived and managed strategic, capital and financial plans. He has also looked to the future by giving us a new blueprint from now through 2021 for capital projects, endowment growth, and programmatic development.”

The New York Botanical Garden, located at 2900 Southern Blvd., in the Bronx, is located on property owned by the city, and is publicly funded through the city’s cultural affairs department.