While many shoppers were getting ready for a usual busy weekend in Flushing Queens, Main St. was being taken over by a fun celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. This is one of the biggest holidays in China and for all its immigrants the world over. Flushing has the distinction of being the most diverse neighborhood in the country with a large Asian population. The fun started early….around 11am the first of the groups kicked off the parade at Union Ave. and 37th St. and ended up on Main St. This parade is more symbolic of the diverse neighborhood with Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Malaysians, and more joining in to celebrate the Year of the Rooster (4714th year in China). Actually, 2017 is the female red chicken with lots of references to wealth, luxury, and beauty. So a few more spa visits may be in order for 2017.
A crowd favorite has always been the World Journal group with their double dragons greeting the crowd. They were great and got the crowd warmed up for a young group from the DCH Racing group and their dancing lions tossing some lettuce leafs to the crowd for prosperity and good luck. The anchor of the group with the largest participation is the Falun Dafa group. They have one of the best marching bands in the city. So it was a treat to watch them and hear their message of peace and tranquility. After the last of the group marched on, everyone gathered for the traditional firecracker explosions to bring in the New Year with a bang. Lots of parade fans ending up heading over to Prince St. for some of the best Asian food in the city. But wait, there’s more…..the celebration started on Flushing on Saturday and ended up the following day in Chinatown. Many Flushing residents just hopped on the #7 train and transferred at Grand Central for the #6 local train to Canal St. where the party was even more colorful and louder.
Flushing Parade Photos
A makeshift stage was set up on Mott and Hester St. where Chinatown and Little Italy converge. Parade VIPS and city officials meet and proclaim glad tidings in the New Year. US Senator of NY Chuck Schumer gave a popular speech about how important a role immigrants have had on the city and country and that he would continue to fight the President on issues like this one. The crowd loved it. Once all the greetings were done the traditional feeding of lettuce to the dancing lions was made. Lettuce leafs were flying all over the place. I got to meet parade chairman, Steven Tin for a bit and he was very happy how the event turned out. And he should be proud. Every year the crowd gets bigger. Then the fun started with the perennial favorite Staten Island Lions getting the crowd worked up. Plenty of folks rubbed the lions head and eyes for good luck. It’s always great to see the kids get involved and every year Families with Children from China make puppets of the animal associated with the years celebration. There were plenty of roosters making some noise from that group. The display of exotic cars keeps growing with more horsepower revving it up.
Making their loud entrance for their first year at the parade, the all female drum group Batala made their way on to the parade route. They were great and got the crowd ready for the big entrance of the double dragons. It takes about a dozen people to hold up each dragon so they can weave their way and greet the fans. This was a more colorful parade than the one in Flushing the previous day but just as much fun. The parade ended up in Roosevelt Park where there was more entertainment and vendors for all to enjoy. I couldn’t pass up going to Wo Hop on 17 Mott St. for some great Chinese food.