Gregory Long

Head shot of Gregory LongCEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President

Since 1989 Gregory Long has been devoted to the management of The New York Botanical Garden, one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens and plant research and conservation institutions. With a unique understanding of the public/private partnership that is the foundation of New York’s cultural organizations, he has developed innovative public programs, creative financing methods, and best-practice strategic planning programs. Since the 1970s, he has brought visionary stewardship to the rebuilding of public institutions as they respond to contemporary challenges and devise ways to thrive in the 21st century.

In his years at NYBG, Long has assembled and led a management team that has revitalized the Garden, initiating a comprehensive, long-range planning process that is both the blueprint for the Garden’s renaissance and a model for other organizations. During his administration, the Garden has completed three 7-year strategic plans, 1993–1999, 2001–2007, and 2009–2015. To fund the most recent plan, the Garden has raised more than $525,000,000 to build endowment and fund programmatic and audience development initiatives, and capital projects. The current strategic plan, 2016–2021, aims to put in place specific goals to assure institutional strength well beyond 2016, its 125th year.

The Garden’s ongoing capital construction program, which began with the restoration of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (1994–1997), the nation’s preeminent Victorian-style glasshouse and a New York City Landmark, has completed many new and renovated facilities, including the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium; the LuEsther T. Mertz Library; the Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory; the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections; the Leon Levy Visitor Center; the Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill; the Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Horticulture Operations Center; the Hudson Garden Grill and Garden Terrace Room; the Pine Tree Café; and the 825-car NYBG Parking Garage, Peter Jay Sharp Building, the first project to be built outside the Garden’s grounds.

During Long’s tenure, NYBG has transformed more than half of its 250-acre National Historic Landmark landscape, with 50 gardens and collections comprising more than one million plants, including the Benenson Ornamental Conifers; the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden; the Home Gardening Center; the Azalea Garden; the Thain Family Forest; the Native Plant Garden; the Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk; the Burn Family Lilac Collection; the Matelich Anniversary Peony Collection; and the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Maple Collection.

In addition, NYBG has expanded the reach and impact of its groundbreaking science-based conservation programs, enhanced its education offerings from Pre-K to graduate school, and developed vibrant public exhibition and public education programs that now serve more than one million annual visitors. According to a New York Times editorial, under Long’s leadership, the Garden has succeeded in its very ambitious effort to become one of New York City’s leading cultural institutions.

Long has been honored with a wide variety of awards that underscore the important horticultural, scientific, and educational achievements he has been responsible for, including Common Cause’s NYC Cultural Leadership Award; The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Ten-4-Ten Stewardship Award; The New York Botanical Garden’s Founders Award; and the Native Plant Center’s Acorn Award. In 2014 he received The Saint Nicholas Society’s Medal of Merit for distinguished service to the City of New York. He is an Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and received that organization’s LaGasse Medal in 2015. Long has also been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters by City University of New York and Fordham University.

A leader in New York’s cultural community for more than three decades, Long has served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Cultural Institutions Group of New York City and served as Chairman of the Cultural Institutions Group from 1992 to 1995. He is a member of the Association of Science Museum Directors and the boards of the The Glimmerglass Festival and the Preservation League of New York State. He is a former member of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Cultural Affairs and the Board of the Natural Science Collections Alliance. Long is also a former member of the Board of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, the Advisory Committee to the Getty Leadership Institute for Museum Management, the Board of the Jerome Park Conservancy, and Trees New York.

During his career, Long has held positions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and New York Zoological Society (now the Wildlife Conservation Society). Throughout the 1980s, he served as Vice President for Public Affairs at The New York Public Library, creating a strategic planning program for the institution’s 86 libraries and directing the private sector portion of the largest fundraising campaign ever undertaken by any American library.

Gregory Long is the author of Historic Houses of the Hudson River Valley, published in 2004 by Rizzoli in association with the Preservation League of New York State. He is the editor of The New York Botanical Garden (2016), a beautifully illustrated updated volume documenting the institution’s remarkable history and unparalleled collections. He has played a leadership role in The New York Botanical Garden’s collaboration with Fordham University, Montefiore Medical Center, and the Wildlife Conservation Society as founding members of the Four Bronx Institutions Alliance (FBIA), with the common goal of beautifying, improving, and creating a new identity for their shared neighborhood.