Assistant Curator of Gardens

(Paid Opportunities) Return to Paid Opportunities

Compensation: $69,000 - $81,000 (based on level of experience)

About Central Park Conservancy
Central Park is one of the world's most famous and beloved urban public spaces. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1857, the 843-acre Park was the country's first purpose-built public park 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 then, 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 urban life. The City of New York has formally entrusted the care of the Park to the Conservancy, which is responsible for every aspect of its 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 public-private partnerships worldwide. The Conservancy employs roughly 400 people and has an operating budget of $80 million.

The Conservancy recently completed a seven-year plan, Central Park Conservancy, A Plan for the Stewardship of Central Park: 2020-2027, focusing on the ongoing capital investment of the last four decade's investment of more than $1 billion into Central Park.

Job Summary: The Assistant Curator of Gardens is one of two entrusted with this position, performing highly skilled work with a team of skilled professionals and volunteers in the daily management and maintenance of Central Park’s two gardens: Conservatory Garden and Shakespeare Garden. The Assistant Curator reports directly to the Curator. 


  • Assist Curator in hands-on aspects of managing the two Gardens as directed. Work directly with other Gardens’ staff in daily maintenance of Garden, including hand labor and equipment operation; provides supervision in Curator’s absence.
  • Assist in scheduling staff; ensure efficient completion of work and maintenance of high standards of performance; participate in informal staff training.
  • Assist Curator with recordkeeping, tool and equipment ordering and inventory, including PPEresearch and recommend purchases to supervisor; contacts vendors for plant, tool and equipment quotes.
  • Assist with maintenance of Gardens including gardening and management of ornamental and native plants, with emphasis on perennials, annuals and woodland plants, lawn, hedges, shrubs, and trees.
  • Participate in seasonal duties include co-managing extensive seasonal plantings of bulbs, annuals, perennials, leaf and crabapple removal, snow removal and de-icing.
  • Perform planting, annuals and perennials maintenance and division, general pruning, hedging, mulching, weeding, lawn mowing and edging, fertilization on direction.
  • Participate in additional landscape maintenance including lawn care fertilization, aeration, seeding and sod installation, when needed.  Perform site maintenance, such as sweeping, raking, path clearance, litter, snow and ice removal and other duties as assigned.
  • Operate walk-behind mower, snow blower, and snow plow, string trimmer, gas hedger, etc.
  • Irrigate landscapes, perform irrigation maintenance and repair, and fence installation and repair. Helps maintain and clean three decorative pools/fountains.
  • Lead public tours when needed.
  • Perform routine vehicle, equipment, and tool maintenance, including tool sharpening, lubricating and winterizing when appropriate.
  • Maintain cleanliness of staff quarters, including shared spaces.
  • Work with Tree Care Crew and other departments such as Technical Services, Park Maintenance, Visitor Services, Special Events, etc. Track wedding parties and photography shoots.
  • Operate vehicle, equipment and tools in accordance with all manufacturer recommendations and Central Park Conservancy policies, procedures and protocols.
  • Interact with Park patrons including providing accurate and pertinent information regarding Park landmarks, events, rules and regulations.
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Valid NYS Driver’s License required.
  • Verifiable experience or combination of experience/education (5 years minimum) in horticulture.
  • Demonstrable proficiency in formal garden maintenance and general management of grounds, lawns and other landscapes.
  • Ability to identify and maintain ornamental, native and invasive plants, including weeding, planting, pruning, deadheading, dividing, transplanting, B & B work, staking, etc.
  • Knowledge of cultural specifications of specific plants, soil basics, insect and plant pathogen basics.
  • Must work effectively with a team or independently, and with volunteers and user groups.
  • Strong verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to perform heavy, physical labor on a daily basis. Ability to lift up to 50 lbs.,    occasionally.
  • Proficiency with small power equipment commonly used for the maintenance of gardens, grounds, lawns and landscapes.
  • Schedule that can vary to meet the needs of the Park, including weekends, holidays and variable hours, if needed. Occasional work beyond the standard schedule may be required.
  • Working knowledge of computer use and Microsoft Office suite.
  • Typically works 5-day schedule, unless otherwise specified.

Additional Information

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.

Salary range:  $69,000 - $81,000 (based on level of experience)

Note: This is an on-site position.

Safety Requirements
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.

Contact Information

Central Park Conservancy
Website: Apply Online