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‘He loved to celebrate life’

Family, friends remember Valley Streamer killed in NYC hit-and-run


Christian Davis, a son, brother, friend, role model and “positive light” for many in the Valley Stream community, was killed on June 27 in a hit-and-run crash in the Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan. He was 22.

“People would describe Christian as a social butterfly,” his mother, Nichelle Davis, said. “He was very happy and always ready to celebrate. He loved life, and he loved to celebrate life.”

Davis attended Alden Terrace Elementary School, in Valley Stream, and graduated from Elmont Memorial High School in 2016.

On June 28, there was an hours-long candlelight vigil at Alden Terrace in his memory, drawing dozens of mourners, who shared their recollections of Davis.

“I thought it was really awesome,” Nichelle said of the tribute to her son. “I was impressed by the young people and their ability to pull everything together within 24 hours. It shows you that there is a lot that young people in the community can do.”

Davis was known to be ambitious, and often pursued a number of interests at any given time, his mother said, noting that he kept a book in which he recorded his ideas. She said he was interested in fashion, repurposed old clothes and had started learning how to sew. He was also interested in photography, and had purchased his own camera. He had even tried making his own hair products. Other recent interests included cooking, his mother recalling how he would cook for family events such as her birthday, wedding anniversary and the occasional brunch. Her favorite food that her son cooked her was chicken and grits. His father, Samuel Davis, said his favorite dish was “Rasta pasta.”

“He always had tons of ideas,” David Delva, a close friend of Davis’s, said. “He taught me to never limit myself. He’d say that anything is possible. He was really a jack of all trades.”

Among his favorite memories of Davis, Delva said, was an 11th-grade foreign language trip that they made to Spain and France in 2015. “Everyone loved Christian. You can see it by the impact his death had on everyone in the community,” Delva said, adding that Davis was one of the most genuine people he has ever known and always supported his decisions, often telling him to pursue them.

After graduating from Elmont Memorial, Davis attended Queensborough Community College, initially studying pharmaceuticals, and became interested in fashion while working at Hirshleifers at the Americana Manhasset shopping center. His mother said he enjoyed his experience there, learning about the fashion industry.

Kholani Williams, another close friend, said that some of her favorite memories of Davis involved their shopping sprees, traveling to fashion hot spots such as SoHo and Times Square, and she said that during those bonding experiences he would often share his fashion design ideas and creations with her. She said Davis was always just a phone call away, and he was often her go-to friend when she had any big news.

“Christian was a positive light in the community,” she said. “As a DJ, I’d bring him out everywhere with me to different events, and people were always attracted to him.” She will DJ at a celebration of his life, Williams said, and play music from his two favorite artists, Jay-Z and Kanye West.

“Christian was most loved,” Brendon Li-A-Ping, a longtime friend and classmate of Davis’s, said. “He was always the bridge between people. He always connected people together, and he always looked on the better side of things.”

His favorite memory of Davis, he said, was the last Elmont 3-on-3 basketball tournament held at Dutch Broadway Elementary School in July 2015. Davis was “on fire” that day, he said, and came close to winning the 3-point competition. He added that his friend would often tell him to look on the bright side of things, saying, “Life keeps going on, so you might as well look on the good side.”

Recently, according to Delva, Davis worked as a paraprofessional with special-needs children at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn. He recalled their last night together, when Davis and a few other friends surprised him for his birthday in Manhattan. He said he was glad that during their last time together, he was able to see his friend happy and having a good time with friends.

In addition to his parents, Davis is survived by an older brother, Alva; a younger brother, Julian; and a younger sister, Samara.

After his funeral on Saturday, there will be a block party on Margaret Drive, which will serve as a celebration of Davis’s life. It will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. His mother said there would be masks, hand sanitizer, tents and social-distancing restrictions so attendees can reflect on his life safely. “It’s still a shock to us. We’re trying to recover and get used to this new normal,” she said. “His presence is missed in our family, home, among friends and in the community.”