On Friday, December 11, 1992, a vicious nor’easter pounded the City to prepare the world for the vibrant, adventurous, funny, relentless soul of Cristina Tyler Valentin. At 6:25 p.m., she arrived to grace the world with her presence. Her grandfather, Hector, mentioned her being the best birthday gift he could ever receive, as they shared the same birthday.
Her awesomeness came from somewhere. Her parents, Teresa and Nelson Valentin, instilled in her integrity, independence and lovability. She was able to blossom into the beautiful princess we knew her to be. Her beginnings allowed her to be outspoken, and have an unwillingness to settle for less.
Cristina, lovingly called “Bina”, believed in respect and equality. She looked out not only for her brothers, but also for her friends, and she was an advocate for social justice even if it meant sacrificing her job. Bina was never afraid to try something once -- attempting ballet, poetry and soccer (even though she wasn't very athletic). Her creativity, consideration and discipline motivated her to start the first Recycling Club in her high school, Benjamin Banneker Academy. Vivacious, free-spirited and non-judgmental, Bina had a way of making people feel comfortable in their skin. She would give these warm, warm hugs and her laugh -- infectious. These are some of the many traits that won the hearts of many.
Cristina was known to do taxes during the day, and DJ at night. This Jack- (or should we say “Jill”) of-all-trades managed to become a Pizza Connoisseur while getting a Bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College. Some of her interests were eating out, spending time with friends, music and then there was George Michael. He had his own category in her life. A true wanderlust, she loved to travel. She frequented Miami, lived in Europe and traveled to Morocco.
To her two brothers, Jonah and Nicholas, Cristina was the best big sister in the whole world. Her first experiences were like gold to them -- lending a guiding hand into life as a big sister should. Bina was there when her brothers needed a big sister to relate to; and when they needed someone to check them, she was not afraid to open up and say something that showed them the right way to carry on. She was the definition of tough love, at times coming off as mean, but it came from the kind heart of the angel that she was. She had the uncanny ability to be mean, kind, funny and loving . . . all at the same time. From kisses on the forehead to scalp massages on the couch, Cristina was the best big sister anyone could ask for. No changes could be made to her, inside or out, to make her any more beautiful than she already was.
Cristina is survived by her parents, Teresa and Nelson Valentin; her brothers: Nelson Jonah and Nicholas; her grandparents: Hector and Dominga; her godmother Daun Yearwood; her sister-friend Genesis Rivera; a cousin Lamar Valentina; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives, and numerous friends who loved her deeply.