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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 16, 2015)
Lunar New Year
February 16, 2015
Celebrating Lunar New Year
in New York City Chinatowns
China to take its
New Year TV gala to
a global audience
Page 20 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
By Beth J. Harpaz
AP Travel Editor
By Louise Watt
The Associated Press
EW YORK — Chinatown has long been a popular
destination for tourists in Lower Manhattan. But
visitors willing to explore the city’s outer boroughs
might consider a subway ride to neighborhoods in Sunset
Park, Brooklyn, or Flushing, Queens, which are also home
to large Asian populations and bustling commercial strips
dotted with restaurants and shops.
All three neighborhoods also host events connected to
the Lunar New Year. The holiday is officially marked on
February 19, but several parades and other festivities are
planned for the weekend of February 21 and 22. Following
are some details on the holiday and the three Chinatowns.
Year of the what?
Each Lunar New Year has a different animal symbol
from the 12 creatures in the lunar zodiac, but this year’s
animal is subject to interpretation.
“We just had this discussion a few weeks ago. What
exactly is it?” said Lenny Cheng, who works in the
Brooklyn branch of the Chinatown Planning Council. “It
can be a Ram, Sheep, or Goat — any ruminant mountain
animal with horns.”
Cheng’s organization is going with Year of the Ram.
Sunset Park isn’t as well-known as the Chinatowns in
Manhattan and Queens, but it’s one of the city’s
fastest-growing immigrant neighborhoods. There’s an
Asian enclave — predominantly Chinese, with a
concentration of Fujianese and Cantonese residents — as
well as a large Spanish-speaking population. Latino
eateries and businesses are centered along Brooklyn’s
Fifth Avenue, while Eighth Avenue is home to many
Asian restaurants, markets, and shops, roughly between
40th and 60th streets. The neighborhood is served by
several subway stops.
Good, inexpensive, authentic eateries abound. Some
aficionados have anointed Ba Xuyen, 4222 Eighth Avenue
in Brooklyn, as home to the best banh mi in the city:
Vietnamese sandwiches on crispy baguettes, loaded with
ingredients like crunchy pickled vegetables, savory
meatballs, and fragrant cilantro. Others swear by Lucky
Eight, 5204 Eighth Avenue, a Chinese restaurant that’s
even recommended by the Michelin guide. Another foodie
fave is Yun Nan Flavour Garden, 5121 Eighth Avenue,
known for rice noodles and other specialties of China’s
On February 21, a public school, P.S. 310, at 942 62nd
Street in Brooklyn, is hosting a day of free festivities in
honor of the new year. The event includes martial arts,
lion dance performances, games, and vendors.
In Flushing, take the 7 train to the last stop in Queens
— Main Street — into the heart of a busy neighborhood
that’s a shopping and dining paradise. Visitors find
everything from Sheraton and Best Western hotels to
malls filled with Asian food stalls and shops. The Golden
Mall is home to the flagship location for Xi’an Famous
Foods, in the basement of 41-28 Main Street. Xi’an is
known for unique noodle dishes and now has 10 locations
around the city.
A Lunar New Year Bazaar took place February 14 at
LNY in NYC. Performers greet crowds during last year’s Chinatown
New Year Parade and Festival in New York. Manhattan boasts the city’s
oldest and best-known Chinese neighborhood in New York. Its massive,
colorful Lunar New Year parade and festival this year takes place on Feb-
ruary 22. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Flushing Town Hall, while a parade with a lion dance runs
from Union Street to Main Street and 39th Avenue
around 11:00am on February 21.
Manhattan boasts the city’s oldest and best-known
Chinese neighborhood. Its massive, colorful Lunar New
Year parade and festival take place February 22, kicking
off at 1:00pm at Canal and Mott streets, heading to
Chatham Square, then down East Broadway, Eldridge,
and Grand Streets to Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Also at the
park, on February 19, there is a firecracker ceremony and
cultural festival at 11:00am.
A walk in Chinatown is fun and evocative any time of
year. Strolling down Mott Street from Canal takes visitors
past dozens of souvenir shops and restaurants. Brave the
line of diners waiting for soup dumplings at Joe’s
Shanghai, 9 Pell Street, just off Mott, or join the weekend
crowds chowing down on dim sum at places like Dim Sum
Go Go, located at 5 E. Broadway.
Also this month, NYC & Company, the city’s tourism
organization, will feature all three Chinatowns as part of
its series, Neighborhood x Neighborhood, at <www.nycgo.
com/nxn>. The site picks different neighborhoods to focus
on each month, offering itineraries and a short video.
EIJING — China says its annual Lunar New Year
gala TV show is all set to go international.
State broadcaster China Central Television
(CCTV) says it’s making rights available to foreign
broadcasters for the first time and plans to promote the
February 18 show on Twitter and other social media.
CCTV touts its annual hours-long Spring Festival Gala
as the world’s longest-running and most-watched variety
A staple of holiday celebrations since the 1980s, the
evening show also has been widely mocked for cheesy
performances and stilted staging.
This year’s show will be broadcast in several languages,
including English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, and
German, under agreements with 24 foreign media outlets,
according to Ma Runsheng, general manager of CHNPEC,
the CCTV-owned agency which deals with its copyrights.
Ma said greatest hits from past shows — including the
best moments of traditional Chinese opera — will be
encapsulated to promote the gala on YouTube, Google
Plus, and Twitter, which are blocked in China.
“Our purpose is to make our gala available to more
overseas Chinese and overseas foreign viewers who love
Chinese culture and want to learn about Chinese culture
through this festive celebration,” Ma said at a news
This year’s theme is “Family Harmony Yields Success.”
The gala is already broadcast live on multiple television
channels and on some Chinese websites. Last year, more
than 700 million people watched the show live or a replay
a week later on CCTV or other channels, and 110 million
people watched it online, according to Zheng Weidong,
deputy managing director of CSM Media Research, which
pulls together ratings.
When the gala started in 1983, relatively few Chinese
families had their own television sets, but it evolved into a
major annual viewing event.
Now, many younger viewers prefer watching something
else online. Last year, to try to increase its appeal,
organizers hired acclaimed film director Feng Xiaogang to
direct it, but he reportedly complained that he didn’t have
the freedom to do what he wanted, and many critics gave
the show a thumbs-down.
The Asian Reporter
Scholarship & Awards
banquet will be held
Thursday, April 23, 2015
TAO Event Center.
Welcoming the Year of the Sheep: February 19, 2015 to February 7, 2016!