Photo: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila
NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue today dedicated “Paulo’s Peak” in honor of former NYC Parks Staten Island Borough Commissioner Tom Paulo. Commissioner Donoghue was joined by Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, New York State Assemblymember Mike Tannousis, New York City Council Member David Carr, NYC Parks Staten Island Borough Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone, Greenbelt Conservancy President Ralf Peetz, Staten Island Advance Editor Brian Laline, and family and friends of the Paulos.
“Tom Paulo’s memory lives on in the parks he oversaw and the communities he served – and now part of the Greenbelt is memorialized in his honor,” said Commissioner Donoghue. “We are proud to dedicate Paulo’s Peak and remind New Yorkers of Tom’s impact on Staten Island’s parks for years to come.”
Paulo’s Peak has been named in honor of Thomas A. Paulo (1947-2020), the first Greenbelt Administrator and founder of the Greenbelt Conservancy who later served as the NYC Parks Staten Island Borough Commissioner for 17 years. During this time as Borough Commissioner, Paulo oversaw countless efforts to improve and expand Staten Island’s parks, including the revitalization of the South Beach waterfront, restoration of the Conference House and Conference House Park, and construction of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center.
As part of the dedication, Parks installed new signage and benches provided by the Greenbelt Conservancy.
“I am pleased to join with City Parks Commissioner Susan Donoghue to rename Moses Mountain as Paulo’s Peak,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella. “Tom Paulo always aimed high when it came to Staten Island parks, so it is fitting that Parks recognizes him by naming a high summit in the Greenbelt in his honor. Paulo’s Peak will be a lasting testament to Tom and his achievements on behalf of our community.”
“Tom Paulo left a permanent mark on Staten Island, working tirelessly throughout his career in public service to preserve and expand the borough’s green spaces and improve many of the recreation areas we enjoy today. I was honored to work with Tom while I was in the City Council and secured the funding to purchase and preserve forever the Goodhue Playground and Park, Chapin Woods, Jones’s Woods, Fort Hill Park and the North shore Waterfront Park/Blissenbach Marina. Together we saved over 100 acres of open space. Moreover, with my predecessor in the Council, Jay O’Donovan, and immediate successor, Ken Mitchell, we obtained millions of dollars to renovate all our cultural institutions located on parkland. It would not have been possible without Tom’s advocacy on the agency side. To be sure, we are the ‘Borough of Parks’ thanks in large part to him,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “Tom’s memory will forever live on in the many public spaces he helped create and I can think of a no more fitting tribute than renaming a part of the Greenbelt in honor of his legacy and all his work to preserve the natural beauty of Staten Island.”
“Tom Paulo was a visionary and able administrator for Staten Island parks. His vision helped transform open and recreational spaces across our Borough for almost two decades. Having Paulo’s Peak dedicated in his name will ensure that his legacy will never be forgotten,” said Council Member David Carr.
The 200-foot man-made hill, formerly known as Moses’ Mountain, was created when boulders and rock were excavated to build a road that was designed during Robert Moses’s tenure in the 1960s. The highway was never built thanks to opposition from concerned citizens, and the Greenbelt was formed shortly thereafter. Now a flagship park located in the heart of Staten Island, the Greenbelt is almost 3,000 acres of land dedicated to a range of passive and active recreational activities.