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LIC Parks group celebrates New Year, continues its membership drive

2015 HPPC New Year Day Toast

Jan. 3, 2015 Staff Report

A new year for a new parks group.

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, which was formed in 2014 shortly after the opening of Hunters Point Park South, held a public toast on the waterfront Thursday to kick off 2015.

The event was the group’s first New Year’s celebration since it was formed in 2014. The group represents the expansion of “Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks,” which formed nearly two decades ago to oversee the state park, with new members who joined following the opening of the new park.

The group’s role is to 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.

“It was great to see so many members of the community join us for the toast,” said Rob Basch, the newly elected President, who also used the occasion to recruit new members.

The New Year’s Day toast is an annual tradition carried over from the days when the group was “The Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks,” said Mark Christie, the vice president of the new group who was instrumental in the formation of the “The Friends of Gantry” group many years ago.

“I started the toast 15 years ago so our members could keep in touch during the winter hiatus of Gantry Park activities,” Christie said. “Now that we have Hunters Point South & Gantry Parks to enjoy, I am very happy to continue our toast as The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy.”

The event has traditionally been a dry-toast by the piers of Gantry Park. However, the new group’s partnership with Coffeed allowed its members to celebrate with champagne at the LIC Landing, which is located near the East River Ferry dock on Hunters Point South Park.

“The LIC Landing team and I are super-excited about an amazing 2015,” said Coffeed owner and Chief Executive, Frank Raffaele, whose company contributes heavily to the Conservancy. “This park and restaurant will be well loved and used by residents, tourists, and visitors. We are very lucky to have such tremendous support from the [Hunters Point Parks] Conservancy. They work incredibly hard to make this park the treasure that it is.”

The group will hold its next monthly meeting at the Irish Center (1040 Jackson Avenue), on Wednesday, January 14th at 7:00 PM.

The group is looking to expand and encourages Long Island City residents to join.

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