Courtesy of Pearl River Mart
The two-week Lunar New Year festival began this week, ushering in the Year of the Tiger. Kicking off February 1 and running through February 15, the Lunar New Year celebrates the end of the winter and looks forward to spring and new beginnings. Thanks to its multiple Chinatowns and diverse Asian communities across the five boroughs, New York City offers many ways to celebrate the new year, including a fireworks display, parades, lion dance performances, lantern making, and more.
Photo by Rhododendrites on Wikimedia
Lunar New Year firecracker ceremony
Start the Lunar New Year off with a bang. Better Chinatown USA’s firecracker festival takes place on Tuesday, February 1, the first day of the New Year. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and typically includes a day of performances, arts and crafts, and a firework display, a tradition said to ward off evil spirits.
Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
The 24th annual Lunar New Year Parade returns to Chinatown this year. On Sunday, February 20, the parade starts at 1 p.m. on Mott and Canal Streets and moves to Chattam Square to East Broadway, towards the Manhattan Bridge, and ending near Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Hosted by Better Chinatown USA, the free event also includes vendors and live performances celebrating the Year of the Tiger.
The nonprofit Asia Society is ushering in the Year of the Tiger will a day chock full of virtual family fun. On January 29, enjoy musical performances from Elena Moon Park, Vietnamese songs from Vân-Ánh Võ, a lion dance and kung fu demonstration from Bo Law Kung Fu, and a puppet show featuring traditional Chinese “budaixi” glove puppets. The free event starts at 1 p.m. and will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with live music, calligraphy, and a rooftop lion dance parade. Hosted by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the February 5 event is broken up into two sessions, a morning program from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and an afternoon session, from 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Children will learn about the festival through storytelling and Mandarin lessons with author Michele Wong McSween, live music, a Chinese calligraphy workshop with Nelson Leung, and a lion dance parade by the Chinatown Community Young Lions. Book a spot here.
Brookfield Place & New York Chinese Cultural Center
During the first week of February, Brookfield Place is hosting a multi-day celebration of the Lunar New Year. On display on the plaza will be ice sculptures by local art collective Okamoto Studio. Take in a live ice carving demonstration and enjoy the sculptures from February 3 through February 5. That Saturday, there will be free DIY craft kits to make Lunar New Year lanterns, provided by the New York Chinese Cultural Center.
Photo courtesy of Bryant Park Corporation
At the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, a Year of the Tiger celebration begins on February 1 with a display of silk lanterns. The Midtown park will also feature a special lion dance performance by the New York Chinese Cultural Center on February 6 at 3 p.m. Plus, visitors of all ages can make a wish for the new year at Bryant Park’s wishing tree station.
The China Institute is hosting a free online event to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Tune in on Saturday, January 29 at 10 a.m. for an interactive cartooning workshop, storytime, and lantern art-making. Register for the free event and download the materials here.
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
On February 5, head to Brooklyn’s Albee Square and DeKalb Market Hall for an afternoon of Lunar New Year festivities. Hosted by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the day kicks off at 2 p.m. with lion dance performances by the New York Choy Lay Fut Lion Dance Team and music from DJ KDOTLIM. Traditional red envelopes with small prizes will be handed out, with some including gift cards to spend at some of the Asian-owned businesses in the neighborhood. At DeKalb Market, enjoy a Lunar New Year-inspired meal from Asian food vendors 100% Mr. Lin, Han Dynasty, Hana Noodles, and Thank You Come Again.
Glow Community Center’s Lunar New Year Street Fair
Flushing’s Glow Community Center is throwing a free, all-day Lunar New Year event on Saturday, January 29. The event kicks off with a parade in front of the Flushing Library, followed by a cultural street fair featuring hundreds of pieces of Chinese folk art and then art demonstrations, including “acrobatics, face-changing, paper-cutting, sugar-painting, and sugar-roasted chestnuts,” according to the center. Live performances will be available to view online.
Tiger and Magpie by Stephanie S Lee, from Flushing Town Hall’s Lunar New Year exhibition “Reconcile: Begin Anew” (opening Feb 5)
Flushing Town Hall
This year, an in-person Lunar New Year celebration returns to Flushing Town Hall for the first time since the start of the pandemic. From February 5 through February 16, the Queens institution will host Reconcile: Begin Anew, a free art exhibition featuring the works by eight local Asian American immigrant artists, including Sophia Chizuco, Cui Fei, Chemin Hsiao, Woomin Kim, Stephanie S. Lee, Weihui Lu, Pony Ma, Yu-Whuan Wang.
Flushing Town Hall will also present a Lunar New Year film festival on February 5-6, featuring three films followed by a question and answer segment. The event’s festivities wrap up on February 13 with a concert, “Korea Meets Armenia,” part of a series that presents musical mashups by artists from different countries. Tickets cost $15 for non-members.
Lunar New Year at the Met
On January 29, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will host an online celebration in honor of the Lunar New Year. The free, all-day event includes dance performances from the Vietnam Heritage Center and artist Vincent Chong, who will write gold calligraphy in high heels. Participants can learn how to make a paper lantern, create a mandala, and listen to bilingual storytime with Drag Queen storytime.
The Met’s Celebrating the Year of the Tiger exhibition opens on January 29 and explores the significance of tigers in the Chinese zodiac. On display through next January, the exhibition includes objects depicting tigers created over the last 3,000 years.
New York Philharmonic Lunar New Year concert
Ring in the Year of the Tiger with acclaimed artists at the New York Philharmonic. As part of a special Lunar New Year concert on February 8, violinist Stella Chen joins the Orchestra in Bizet’s Carmen Fantasie and Ma Sicong’s Nostalgia. Hera Hyesang sings songs by Dvořák, Cho Doo-nam, and Lim Geung-soo. and Earl Lee conducts favorites by Berlioz and Dukas, as well as Li Huanzhi’s Spring Festival Overture. Purchase tickets, priced between $90 and $159, here.
Courtesy of Pearl River Mart
Pearl River Mart
Pearl River Mart, a longtime New York City favorite for unique Asian-inspired decor, is hosting a few festive events to ring in the new year. At the store’s Chelsea Market location on February 5, enjoy a special Lunar New Year menu (think kimbap rolls, baos, and bubble tea) from vendors like Mao’s Bao, Kimbap Lab, Tea & Milk, and Kitsby. Reserve a heated private booth outside and enjoy a front-row seat to a performance by the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute Dragon and Lion Dance Team. A meal for four people at a heated outdoor table starts at $208.00, and $308 for six people. Reserve a table here.
Pearl River Mart is also selling a Friendship Box, which includes lucky foods, lucky red money envelopes, a noisemaker to scare away evil spirits, a zodiac activity book, the latest Chinese pocket almanac, and more.
Museum of Chinese in America
Enjoy a week of free virtual Lunar New Year events with the Museum of Chinese in America, considered one of the most extensive museums dedicated to the Chinese American experience. The online festival will include all things tiger, including at-home crafts and stories. Other fun activities include a free dumpling-making class, a ribbon-dancing workshop, and a meet & greet with authorEugenia Chu.
Korean Lunar New Year Staten Island Museum
The Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor is teaming up with the Korean Community Development Center to celebrate the Lunar New Year. At the in-person event, participants can make festive ornaments with custom maedeup, a traditional Korean craft of knotting, have their name written in calligraphy, compete in jegichagi, a game similar to hackysack, and take home a goodie bag with traditional Korean treats like dalgona.
Lewis Latimer House Museum
Lewis Latimer House Museum, once home to African American inventor Lewis Latimer, will be hosting a Lunar New Year Tinker Festival. In collaboration with Chinese Theater Works, the February 5 event includes a workshop on making shadow puppets and an introduction to Chinese opera. The two-hour event is free and will take place virtually on Zoom.
Photos by Eryn Hatzithomas courtesy of the Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden
The Queens Botanical Garden is hosting several Lunar New Year events this year, including their annual lucky plant sale. Now through February 13, take your pick of plants, from jade plants to peace lilies, available for purchase at the garden’s store. You can also be a part of a community art project by creating a tiger stripe pattern panel or decorating a tiger face to be on display during the month of February. On Saturday, February 5, QBG will put on an all-day celebration event that will have a winter scavenger hunt, compost tours (offered in Mandarin and English), lion dance performances, take-home crafts, and more. Reserve a spot for the free event here.
The Shops at Hudson Yards
The massive upscale shopping mall at Hudson Yards is decked out with Lunar New Year decorations, including “larger-than-life” lanterns throughout the space. In partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center, free performances featuring traditional lion dances and ribbon twirling will take place on January 29, February 5, and February 12 at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. on the first level of the mall. Any shopper that spends $188 at the shops will receive a free set of chopsticks in a silk sleeve.