June 3, 2014 By Christian Murray,
More than 120 people attended a party at Hunters Point South Park on Saturday to celebrate the formation of a new group that aims to improve all the parks in the neighborhood—as well as to pay tribute to the organizers who paved the way for it.
The event marked the establishment of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy– a group that will organize events, improve the neighborhood’s green space and work with government officials—whether it be on matters associated with Gantry Plaza State Park, Hunters Point South Park or smaller park space.
The new group is an outgrowth of the Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks that has for many years dealt with issues pertaining to Gantry Plaza State Park.
The opening of Hunters Point South Park, a city park, was what prompted the creation of the new organization– as there was discussion among some residents about forming a new group to address issues at that park. However, it was later decided that there should be one group that handles all park matters in the area.
On Saturday, Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks celebrated its 16th anniversary as well as the formation of the larger organization. All party goers were treated to craft beer, wine and food provided by LIC Landing by Coffeed.
“We want to make sure that all Long Island City residents and stakeholders have a say in all this beautiful space,” said Christian Amez, a Conservancy board member who hosted the event and unveiled the group’s new logo.
“This is our Central Park,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, at the event, who said the collective state/city park space is only going to get bigger. “This is the tip of the iceberg, it’s going to go all the way down to Newtown Creek.”
Costa Constantinides, Astoria’s councilman, looked out on the East River when he spoke and said that he plans to connect Long Island City and Astoria by water. He commented on the majesty of the park.
Bill Bylewski, the president of the Conservancy and long-time leader of the Friends of Gantry, said in an understated fashion: “We were very happy with the event. We printed 100 programs and they were all gone.”
Hunters Point was a village until it became part of Long Island City in 1870. With its main street of Vernon Boulevard, lined by small buildings with restaurants and shops and anchored by the steeple of St. Mary’s along with its clearly bounded geography and tight knit community, Hunters Point recalls life in a much smaller place than the huge metropolis of New York.
Since when is Hunters Point a village, also spell check would help.
Thank you to City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Council Member Costa Constantinides, David Aglialoro of Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan’s office, our executive officers, members, and all the Guests of Honor, sponsors, and friends who attended. It was a joy and privilege to host the event, as my recent experience falling in love with Long Island City’s magnificent waterfront is true of tens of thousands of visitors that bring business and activity to the Hunters Point village every year. I look forward to continue serving Long Island City through this non-profit, all-volunteer group, and want everyone to know that 100% of the proceeds we made this night – and on future dates – go to the care, beautification, and programming at these parks. To learn how to get involved, click on my name to go to our Facebook page, and Like the Hunters Point Parks Cnservancy.