A native New Yorker, Henry J. Stern has served in various capacities in New York City government. In 1973, and again in 1977, he was elected to the City Council as a member-at-large from Manhattan, a position he held for nine years before being appointed commissioner of Parks and Recreation by Mayor Koch on February 14, 1983. He served seven years in the Koch administration, until the end of the mayor’s term, during which he founded the Natural Resources Group, an environmental watchdog for New York City. In 1994, he was re-appointed parks commissioner by Mayor Giuliani and served in that position until 2002.
Mr. Stern has received numerous honors in recognition of his environmental protection efforts, including the National Audubon Society Lifetime Achievement Award and the City Club Earthling Award for Environmental Excellence. In February 2002, in an effort to improve the quality of life for New York City residents, Mr. Stern, along with Alan M. Moss, former first deputy parks commissioner, co-founded New York Civic.