Brooklyn rings in the Lunar New Year

February 16, 2016 Jaime DeJesus
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Despite record breaking cold temperatures, Brooklyn was the place to celebrate Chinese New Year with a trio of fun-filled, indoor events.

Sunset Park knows how to ring in the Lunar New Year, and this time was no different.
Hundreds of attendees gathered at the Sunset Park Recreation Center, 4200 Seventh Avenue, on Saturday, February 13 to celebrate the Year of the Monkey.

NYC Parks has been hosting the Lunar New Year celebration at the venue for over 10 years. The day was hosted in partnership with Health Essentials.

The family-friendly activities, which began at 11 a.m., included arts and crafts, cultural performances, raffles and, always a highlight of the event, the Lion Dance. The festival also offered family-friendly activities, giveaways, performances and informational booths that extended from the gallery to the gym and into the park.

A speaking program was held at 12:15 p.m. with New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and members of the FAICP joining the festivities.

“It is amazing, year after year, to see so many families from this vibrant community coming together to celebrate such a fascinating cultural tradition,” said Silver. “NYC Parks is proud to serve this diverse community, offering everything from Tai Chi to Chinese dance, Salsa, Mexican folkloric dance, table tennis, fitness classes and more. Our programming plays a crucial part in keeping Sunset Park residents healthy, culturally stimulated and connected.”

Over at P.S. 105, 1031 59th Street, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) also held its annual celebration on Saturday, February 13.

Children that attended the free festivities enjoyed creating their own art and having their faces painted, as well as performances, music, games and a costume contest. Along with the Lion Dance, a clown also entertained the youngsters by making a balloon animal for each of them.
Several elected officials were a part of the day’s festivities, including Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Marty Golden, Councilmember Mark Treyger, and District Leader Nancy Tong.

“Over 500 people braved the freezing weather to join our celebration. One lucky family went away with the grand raffle prize, a 24K gold monkey figurine,” said Eunice Huang, administrative assistant at CPC. “Now an officially recognized school Holiday, the Lunar New Year is an integral part of East Asian tradition. CPC Brooklyn will continue working hard to provide culturally rich and family friend events such as this to the entire community of Sunset Park.”

Finally, Dyker Library on 13th Avenue held its free Year of the Monkey Celebration, also on the afternoon of Saturday, February 13. Children and their parents gathered to make various decorations related to the holiday. Traditional singing and dancing took place and the Dyker Singers were joined by the YZY Concord ensemble, which performed “Mo Li Hua” which means Jasmine Flower and the “Kang Ding Love Song.”

“We were to capacity. It was standing room only,” said Neighborhood Library Supervisor for the Dyker branch, Eileen Kassab. “The performers were outstanding and the diverse performance included Russian songs and Italian opera that gave a communal feeling that included other nationalities. We always have Chinese New Year celebration, but this one was special.”

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