What: Lunar New Year Celebrations
When: Saturday January 31, 2009
Where: Flushing, Queens, NY
Why: Celebrate the Year of the Ox in the second largest Chinatown in the US (smaller than San Francisco’s, but yes, larger than Manhattan’s Chinatown). This weekend, don’t just watch the festivities unfold on TV in a series of fireworks and panoramic shots of parading people. Join an authentic Chinese celebration and discover how riding the 7 train and slurping back a bowl of hand-pulled noodles will become a new annual tradition.
Lunar New Year Parade
The main attraction on this day runs from 11am to 1pm. The parade starts at Union St. and 37th Ave. and ends at Main St. and 39th Ave. About 4,000 people march in the parade each year, complete with dragon dancers and fireworks. Most people watch at Main St., and there are usually stands at the Flushing Library.
Celebrations at the Flushing Library
The Flushing Library (at 41-17 Main St. at Kissena Blvd.) will be celebrating the festivities all day, with traditional Chinese and Korean food and dancing performances.
Performances, Shopping, and Food at Flushing Mall
Enjoy music, speeches, folk performances, Chinese calligraphy, and fireworks after the parade at the Flushing Mall (133-31 39th Ave.), not to mention the wide selection of traditional Chinese food and a unique shopping experience.
New Year Festival at Flushing Town Hall
Between noon and 5pm, stop by the Flushing Town Hall (137-35 Northern Blvd, at Linden Pl) to see their gallery exhibit on traditional Taiwanese handpuppets as well as an exhibit of photos and paintings. At 3pm they will also be hosting a performance by percussionist and composer Susie Ibarra along with the Korean Traditional Music and Dace Institute, followed by a Kimchi tasting session. Purchase tickets online for the show beforehand.
How to get there: On other weekends, ride the 7 train to its terminus at the Main St-Flushing Station. However, according to a service advisory for this weekend, the 7 train will not be running between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza. To avoid this gap, take the F train to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave Station, transfer to the 7 train, and ride the 7 to Main St-Flushing Station. Walk south on Main St to number 41-17 if you are starting at the Library. All other locations are nearby. Click on HopStop for exact directions to the Flushing Library from anywhere in New York City (service advisories will be considered in the directions if you input the time of departure).
Photo: Courtesy adanbouzoua.