Steve Simon has worked in New York City government for 36 years – he is currently the Manhattan Chief of Staff for the N.Y.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and previously was Chief of Staff to the late City Council Member Stanley Michels.
In his recently published book, Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York City, Robert Snyder calls Steve “a perpetual presence in efforts to improve northern Manhattan.”
Shortly after joining Michels’ staff in 1978, Steve identified the rehabilitation of the abandoned Delafield Hospital building at 99 Fort Washington Ave., which had been closed during the city’s fiscal crisis in 1975 and was now a blight on the community, as a high priority. Through his efforts and those of Council Member Michels, they were able to get Mayor Koch’s Administration to focus on this issue, which led to an agreement by the N.Y.C. Housing Authority (NYCHA) to redevelop the building as housing for senior citizens.
They also realized that the ground level of the building, including the old cafeteria, would be a perfect location for a new senior center serving the residents of Fort Washington Houses and the surrounding community. Working with Washington Heights senior center leaders and the Settlement Housing Fund, they helped to create what is now known as the Riverstone Senior Life Center. They obtained the initial basic operating funds, and Steve played a critical role in convincing Borough President Ruth Messinger’s office to “baseline” the funding so that it would not be up for renewal each year.
Stanley and Steve also helped convince NYCHA to allow Riverstone to use what had been a large meeting space on the first floor for the Memory Center and provided the original capital funds for the project. In short, Steve has been a friend to Riverstone before Riverstone was even created.
As the Manhattan Chief of Staff for NYC Parks, he coordinates the capital projects for Manhattan parks and has helped to facilitate many neighborhood park improvements. A long-time resident of the community, he is co-chair of the Riverside Oval Association, a member of Community Board 12 – Manhattan and the chair of its Health & Environment Committee.