General Manager - Harlem Meer Center & Programming
Central Park Conservancy
Location: New York , New York
Reports to: Chief Communications and Engagement Officer
Department: Visitor Experience
Status: Full-Time, Exempt
About Central Park Conservancy
Central Park is one of the most famous and beloved urban public spaces in the world. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1857, the 843-acre park was the first purpose-built public park in the country and is a National Historic Landmark. The Central Park Conservancy, a private not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1980 to rescue the Park which had fallen into serious disrepair. Since that time, the Conservancy has overseen the investment of approximately $1 billion in the restoration of the Park, and now hosts over 40 million visitors a year.
The Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and celebrate Central Park as a sanctuary from the pace and pressures of city life, enhancing the enjoyment and wellbeing of all. The City of New York has formally entrusted the care of the Park to the Conservancy which is responsible for every aspect of the Park’s care, including landscape maintenance, capital improvements, and the visitor experience. Committed to sharing the best practices in urban park management, the Conservancy also serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world. The Conservancy employs roughly 400 people and has an operating budget of $100 million.
Harlem Meer Center Project
The new Harlem Meer Center is currently being constructed, replacing the Lasker Pool and Rink that dated back to 1966 with a new facility. This new space will integrate the surrounding landscape and supports our broader focus on inclusive park use and community engagement.
The transformation of this site is the most significant and complex project ever undertaken by the Conservancy. It represents the culmination of our work to re-establish the north end of the Park as a vital resource for the surrounding community. When complete, the fully accessible Harlem Meer Center will offer new and enhanced outdoor activities and provide unhindered access to the north end of the Park – both by reconnecting the watercourse that travels through the Ravine, allowing it to run unobstructed from the W102nd Street Pool into the Meer, and re-establishing the pedestrian path that was once alongside it.
With ongoing input from our community and interested user groups, we have designed this state-of-the-art facility to reflect both our visitors’ priorities and the spirit of Central Park’s original purpose. The new and improved Harlem Meer will invite expanded recreational and leisure activities, help us engage more deeply with our Park neighbors, and offer more ways for the community to enjoy this diverse and beautiful naturalistic setting in the heart of New York.
When complete, the new Harlem Meer Center will provide:
Year-round free and low-cost programming and expanded recreational opportunities with increased access to nature.
Enhanced swimming and skating, including a full-scale ice rink, a larger-than-Olympic-size pool, a new outdoor spray pad and new turf in the spring and fall
A boardwalk through freshwater marsh plantings at the edge of the water body
While NYC Parks will run the public swimming pool in the summer, the Conservancy has received a sole source agreement from the City to operate the Harlem Meer Center overall and will be responsible for developing and underwriting programming for all seasons.
This position is responsible for the entire programmatic scope of the facility and connected community engagement events as well as ensuring best-in-class customer service and community engagement. The General Manager (GM) will oversee the team responsible for programming year-round and will collaborate on oversight and management of the contracted ice rink operator. In the ramp-up phase, the GM will help develop the people, processes, and programs to serve our goals for the Center, including its inauguration. The role will then transition to day-to-day operations with a continuous improvement work model and will incorporate the ethos of the Conservancy’s Harlem Meer programming into all public programming throughout the Park.
Provide management and oversight of the daily operations activities at the Harlem Meer Center working closely and collaboratively with Park Operations, contractors, NYC Parks & Recreation and staff.
Oversee, in coordination with various CPC departments, the performance of the contracted Ice Rink operator with a keen eye toward customer service, and programming; ensure effective recruitment, hiring, training, and processing of all facility employees and contractors.
Ensure contractor delivers the best-in-class on-ice experience, including lessons and programs, skate rental and sharpening and overall visitor experience; ensure facility is prepared to receive groups including special needs, locker rooms, and ice rink configuration.
Provide excellence in customer service at every level via on-site experience, phone, email, and all correspondence.
Issue immediate and complete reporting of all liability issues; ensure all users are following facility safety rules and behavior guidelines.
Manage the programmatic budget and monitor revenue to assess the financial results of the Harlem Meer Center; work with contractor on staffing schedule with attention to payroll budget while maintaining on-site coverage.
Strategic Program Planning & Execution
Develop an operations schedule and programming plan including objectives and targets for community engagement programming in and around the Harlem Meer Center; oversee successful implementation of programming year-round on turf, ice and pool.
Plan and execute four seasons of programming including all community engagement events (Harlem Meer Summer Festival, Juneteenth in Seneca Village, Halloween on the Harlem Meer, etc.)
Serve as a conduit between Central Park Conservancy and the community at large to help develop new and diverse programs that best serve the interests of our core constituents,
Develop a robust schedule of programs for the Ice Rink, prioritizing community engagement, and balancing with revenue generating opportunities; assure maximized use of the ice and work with the contractor to flex operation in response to weather, events and other needs.
In collaboration with Harlem Meer working group, identify and engage key community partners in programming including local schools, key community user groups, hockey leagues, and more, assuring programming aligns with the Park’s mission and community needs; maintain positive relationships with all user groups and leverage them to maximize facility with a community-first focus.
Create and implement strategies for business growth, in partnership with the Senior Director of Earned Revenue, including strategies for customer retention and growth, and seek new revenue opportunities without interfering with community-based programming.
Using reports, analytics, and feedback, continue to refine and improve practices to enhance offerings and services.
Manage, motivate, and develop program staff, providing key performance goals, coaching, and oversight;
Collaborate closely with the following internal teams:
Park Operations, the facility maintenance and Director of Safety to assure excellent visitor experience daily and ensure we maintain a clean and safe facility.
Digital Experience and IT to assure technology is effective and functioning as intended, including the ticketing and point of sale systems.
Finance Department to assure financial reporting / use of the ticketing system is accurate and in compliance with established procedures.
Marketing & Communications team on the publicity of Harlem Program offerings through marketing platforms (emails, press, social, website, and more).
Visitor Services and Volunteer Services teams to support staffing at the HMC and related programs, assuring clarity of roles, oversight, and excellent customer service.
Philanthropy to create reports in support of funding proposals and grants.
New York City partners, including NYC Parks
10+ years of relevant work experience in venue, events, operations and/or program management.
Strong operational management abilities, including oversight of front-line teams in customer service roles, and high-level experience in developing and executing community engagement programs and events.
Experience running ice rinks, venues, arenas, and/or other recreational or entertainment facilities a plus.
Experience overseeing third-party contracted operators, and holding them accountable for high level of excellence.
Deep commitment to and understanding of the goals and vision of the Harlem Meer Center.
Knowledge of the fabric of Harlem, including its history with Central Park, and its current network of Parks, community-based organizations, institutions, social services, programs and events.
Salary Range: $150K to $180K (based on level of experience)
Note: This is an on-site position.
Work is performed in several settings including a standard office environment at a recreational facility. Work may be performed both indoors and outdoors and occasionally on the ice. The General Manager may need to work varied hours/days as the program requires including nights, weekends, or holidays, as needed.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
The Central Park Conservancy’s work is guided by the belief that Central Park, and all public parks, must be managed and actively protected as an inclusive and democratic space for all.
Working closely with our New York City partners, we will always strive towards creating and sustaining a sense of belonging for all visitors and advocating for equitable and accessible public use of the Park.
In service of this belief, we are committed to fostering a workforce and organizational culture that is as diverse as Central Park itself and the dynamic city it serves.
Establishment and maintenance of a safe work environment is the shared responsibility of this organization and employees at every level. The Conservancy will make every effort to assure a safe environment and be in compliance with federal, state, and local safety regulations. Employees are expected to obey safety rules and to exercise caution in all their work activities. Accordingly, employees should be aware of any hazards, which could cause an injury or accident (e.g., spills, obstacles in walkways, etc.). If an employee discovers a potential dangerous condition, he/she should alert other employees and notify his/her supervisor immediately.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.