High Line Executive Director Steps Down After Less Than a Year on the Job

By Natalie Musumeci on September 2, 2014 2:06pm 

 Jenny Gersten announced Tuesday that she will be stepping down from her role as executive director of Friends of the High Line after holding the position for less than a year.
Jenny Gersten announced Tuesday that she will be stepping down from her role as executive director of Friends of the High Line after holding the position for less than a year.
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Friends of Hudson River Park

CHELSEA — The High Line’s executive director will step down from her post after holding the position for less than a year.

Jenny Gersten, who led a theater festival before taking over at the High Line, made the unexpected announcement Tuesday, saying that she is leaving her head role at Friends of the High Line to return to the world of arts and culture.

“I have come to the realization that my real desire is to return to full-time work in the arts, focusing on the kinds of arts institution and cultural programming which I love most,” the 45-year-old said in a statement. She did not say if she had a new job lined up. 

Gersten, who took over as executive director of Friends of the High Line in January, said that she will be leaving the position later this month following the opening of the elevated park’s third section, dubbed the High Line at the Rail Yards.

“The lessons I take away from this experience are very special to me and I feel honored to have been part of such an inspiring group of individuals,” she said.

Gersten took the reins of the nonprofit organization from co-founder Robert Hammond at a time when the park was flourishing as an international tourist destination.

She was formerly the CEO and artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, a Berkshires-based festival.

In a letter to staffers on Tuesday, Friends of the High Line chair Catie Marron and vice chair Mario Palumbo said that Gersten would be missed.

“Jenny has guided Friends of the High Line through a variety of new experiences, beginning with the move to our new headquarters in January,” reads the letter penned by Marron and Palumbo.

“She has added new programming and has used her prodigious creative talents to orchestrate the opening later this month of our third section, the High Line at the Rail Yards,” they said. “We are very grateful for all her contributions to Friends of the High Line during her tenure.”

Co-founder and president Josh David will oversee the organization as the Board of Directors considers “the next steps concerning Friends of the High Line’s leadership,” according to the letter.

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