Staff Spotlight: Q&A with Chief Operating Officer Jerome Barth

Photo by Liz LigonChief Operating Officer Jerome Barth joined Friends of the High Line in July. Photo by Liz Ligon

Friends of the High Line works with the City to make sure the High Line is maintained as a great public place for all visitors to enjoy. The newest addition to our leadership team, Chief Operating Officer Jerome Barth, is tasked with managing the many moving pieces of this multifaceted organization.

Friends of the High Line: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jerome Barth: Most importantly, I am the father of two buoyant little girls. Maya is 10 and Ariane is 7, and they both attend the International School of Brooklyn, a small independent school that offers a language-based IB [International Baccalaureate] curriculum. My family and I are very invested in the school, and I also serve as treasurer for the board.

My wife, Amrita, and I have been married for 16 years. She works for the City, and we are both very committed to public service. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening at home and gradually renovating my 19th-century brownstone in Greenwood Heights. I’m also an avid reader and try to catch plays and concerts when I can.

You worked at Bryant Park Corporation, as the Vice President of Business Affairs, for 16 years. What are some of the most important lessons you learned about New York City parks during your time there?
The number one lesson is that we should not take success for granted. New York is lucky to have some of the best parks in the world, and there is a growing public consensus that quality programs lead to safe and enjoyable urban parks. That being said, if we don’t continue to manage the parks well, this consensus might be challenged.

What are your responsibilities as COO of Friends of the High Line?
I am in charge of our budget and all the inner workings of the organization.

What are your top goals for the organization?
My goals are to implement our strategic plan, maintain balanced finances, and ensure that we are the best place to work in our field. Of particular interest to me is making sure that the High Line is a place for New Yorkers first.

You’re originally from France – what other projects or ideas do you think NYC can import from other European cities? What are some of the differences and similarities in how Europeans and Americans think about public space and urban parks?
Europeans don’t share the same high standards of safety and civility, but they are much quicker to experiment with space, often on a large scale.

Describe the High Line in one word.
Fantastic!

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