Morgan Monaco, new Prospect Park Alliance president, brings long public service career to Brooklyn’s backyard

morgan monaco in prospect park
Morgan Monaco has been named the new president of the Prospect Park Alliance. A longtime public service worker, Monaco is the first Black woman to lead the Alliance.
Photo courtesy Prospect Park Alliance

The Prospect Park Alliance has a new leader. Morgan Monaco, who has had a long career in public service in the city, was appointed as the organization’s president and the administrator of Prospect Park on Oct. 18. Monaco is the first Black female leader in the Alliance’s history.

“I am humbled to be able to take over the helm of such an incredible public amenity,” Monaco said in a statement. “As a born-and-raised New Yorker whose first high school internship was with NYC Parks, it is a dream come true to be able to steward one of the most significant parks in our city.”

people on grassy lawn at prospect park morgan monaco new president
Monaco will lead the Alliance as it oversees the maintenance and ongoing restoration of Prospect Park’s more than 500 acres. File photo courtesy Prospect Park Alliance

For the last 35 years, the Prospect Park Alliance, a private nonprofit organization, has cared for one of Brooklyn’s most-loved green spaces. In partnership with the city’s parks department, the organization has raised money to restore the park’s amenities to make it safer and more accessible to Brooklynites, and has launched dozens of recreational and educational programs

Sue Donahue, who was Monaco’s predecessor and now is a Commissioner of the city’s parks department, welcomed Monaco back into the fold.

“From all of us at NYC Parks, congratulations to Morgan Monaco on her appointment as President of Prospect Park Alliance and Administrator of Prospect Park,” Donahue said in a statement. “We are so excited to welcome Morgan back to the Parks family!”

A Windsor Terrace resident, Monaco, 38, has spent much of her career in the city’s parks, and in public service. She spent six years working at the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, where she was the Director of the MillionTreesNYC initiative and the Director of Stewardship for Forestry, Horticulture and Natural Resources. In 2014, she moved to the Mayor’s Office of Operations, where she spent another six years in various roles including policy advisor and deputy director of project management.

art in prospect park
The park serves as “Brooklyn’s Backyard” and hosts dozens of recreational and educational programs and art exhibitions — like this 2021 exhibit of the work of photographer Jamel Shabazz, which accompanied the restoration of the Lefferts Historic House. File photo by Susan de Vries

Most recently, Monaco served as the executive director of the Red Hook Initiative, a community-based nonprofit that provides a range of services for young people and other residents of Red Hook. 

“I am confident that the selection of Morgan Monaco as the new President of the Prospect Park Alliance will give the park the kind of dynamic, competent and experienced leadership it needs,” said Assemblmember Robert Carroll.

As president, Monaco will lead the Alliance’s continued efforts to maintain and improve the park and offer volunteer and educational opportunities to Brooklynites. In just the last few months, the Alliance has hosted youth forestry programs, family-friendly Halloween events, and the first-ever “City of Forest Day,” where they invited locals to help clean up and maintain the park, do arts and crafts, and learn about the abundant flora and fauna inside the crown jewel of Brooklyn.

concert grove in prospect park
Monaco plans to leverage her experience in the parks department and in public service to bring more service-based services to the park, she said, in addition to ongoing programs. File photo by Paul Martinka/Prospect Park Alliance

Monaco said her extensive experience working in city government and at nonprofits will shape her plans for the future of the park, and she hopes to bring more social programs focused on health and wellness to Prospect Park to benefit residents.

“I am excited to be joining such an incredible team at a moment where there is unprecedented awareness of and appreciation for the role parks play in health of our city,” Monaco said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the board and staff to help keep Brooklyn’s Backyard truly welcoming for all New Yorkers.”