The 'practical visionary' of Long Island City
by Crystal Wolfe
May 18, 2018 | 3827 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mark Christie has dedicated the last 20 years of his life to the improvement of Queens.

Christie, who came to New York City in 1981, has lived in Woodside, Corona, and now resides on the 25th floor of the Citylights Building in Long Island City.

He is a founding member of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and president of the Hunters Point Community Development Corporation. He helped to design the park at the LIC Landing, "down to the lawn chairs that were chosen."

Hunters Point Parks Conservancy was originally formed as the Friends of the Gantry in 1998 by a group of dedicated Long Island City residents determined to improve the quality of life on the waterfront in Long Island City. This year the park will celebrate its 20th Anniversary.

Frank Raffaele, owner of COFFEED, has worked with Christie for many years to expand the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy.

"Mark Christie is a legend and a pillar of Queens,” he said. “From our parks to our libraries, his advocacy, knowledge, and persistence has helped transform the landscape of our neighborhood. Most importantly, his heart is as big as his love for all residents of Queens."

Christie is also the head gardener of community gardens in Long Island City.

"I've worked hard to make the garden what it is today," he said.

Christie is president of the Friends of Hunters Point Library, which he started advocating for in 1999. The library is set to open sometime next year.

Christie is passionate about creating an after-school program in the community to help youth stay out of trouble.

"Build libraries not jails," he said. "See the library as a community. We are the eyes and ears of the community, we need to know the needs of the community.

“We are rich in culture in Long Island City,” he added. “We will have an auditorium to showcase the vibrancy that exists at Hunters Point. This library will be the jewel of Queens."

Christie has been honored by borough presidents Helen Marshall and Melinda Katz for his activism in the community. He was also the recipient of the Fred Cres Green Parks Award and recognized for planting ten blocks of daffodils in Long Island City on the day of the New York Marathon in remembrance of those who were lost in the terrorist attacks.

"People like him are what make New York City the greatest place on earth," said Raffaele.

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