Fun in Flushing as Lunar New Year coincides with Valentine’s Day
What happens when you combine romantic Valentine’s Day with the biggest Asian holiday of the year? You end up with a firecracker-hot Lunar New Year celebration in Flushing.
Members of the Flushing Business Improvement District touted the 15-day holiday and upcoming events in the downtown area on Thursday, displaying Year of the Tiger merchandise available in area stores. The celebration culminates with the Lunar New Year Parade on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Mabel Law, executive director of the Flushing BID, called the convergence of two holidays —Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year — particularly auspicious for shoppers. Law said that it’s traditional to buy fresh flowers for the New Year, available in downtown shops, and pointed to popular tiger-stripe printed items such as shoes and blouses that are sold locally as well.
Myra Baird Herce, Downtown Flushing Marketing Task Force chairwoman and president of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said it’s special to live in the community during the festivities. “We come alive during Lunar New Year,” Herce said. “You don’t have to be Asian to celebrate. It’s an American tradition now.”
Peter Tu, president of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, who is helping to organize the parade, said that this year Mr. Met and the Metmobile will be participating. “This parade is for everybody. It’s become part of the community,” Tu said.
Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) noted that the community is very diverse and said, “it’s very fitting we celebrate here. I hope everyone will enjoy it.”
Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) left the gathering early to rally in Manhattan to urge the city to establish Lunar New Year as an official school holiday. She has co-sponsored a bill in Albany that would make the Lunar New Year a holiday for all school districts in the state in cities of one million or more with an Asian population of 7 and one-half percent or more.
According to Meng, all it would take in New York City is for the mayor to declare it an official school holiday. “As the only Asian American in the state Legislature, I believe that making Lunar New Year an official school holiday will help recognize the important role that Asian Americans have played in our city and state,” she said.
Listed below are holiday-related events scheduled now through March:
• Friday, Feb.12 through March 28: An exhibit of tiger-inspired crafts, paintings and prints will be shown at Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. There will be an opening reception on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Feb. 13 through March 21: An art exhibit titled “Seeing Red,”on the color and its meaning in Eastern and Western cultures will be shown at Crossing Art at Queens Crossing, 136-17 39th Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Feb. 13 at 1 p.m.: A free workshop on Chinese art including calligraphy and poetry will be held at the Flushing Library, 41-17 Main St.
• Sunday, Feb. 14 a free new year festival will be held in the Flushing Mall, 133-31 39th Ave. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will feature the lion dance, kung fu demonstrations, music and singing and is sponsored by the Flushing Development Center.
• Sunday, Feb. 14: The holiday will be celebrated at Flushing Town Hall with the Meg Okura Pan-Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at 2 p.m. Cost is $12 for adults, $5 for children.
A Flushing Town Hall curator talk on the current exhibit will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $5.
• Feb. 20: Lunar New Year Parade begins at 11 a.m. at 37th Avenue and Union Street, proceeds to Sanford Avenue, then to Main Street and ends at Main Street and 39th Avenue. Fifteen floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dancers and more highlight the event.
Following the parade at 1 p.m. Chinese cultural events will be held at Queens Crossing. At 2 p.m., a free dance sampler from Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will be presented at Flushing Town Hall. Also at 2 p.m. a fireworks display outside Queens Crossing.
• Feb. 20: A workshop series on Chinese calligraphy will begin at the Flushing Library at 6:30 p.m. It’s free and will run for nine weeks.
• Feb. 27: The Flushing Library plans a day of celebrations for the Year of the Tiger with Chinese and Korean music and more. Learn Korean food preparation at 10 a.m., followed by flower arranging at 11:30 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., hear Korean singer Soh Young, followed by face changing artists from the Hung Fing Kwoon Group at 3 p.m.
• Feb. 27: A free traditional tea ceremony demonstration will be held at Flushing Town Hall at 2 p.m.
• Feb. 28: a talk and tour by artist Qing-Xuan Yu will be given at Flushing Town Hall at 2 p.m. Admission is $5.
• March 6, at 2 p.m.: The Blue Pipa Trio will present Chinese music with interpretations of jazz and bluegrass at Flushing Town Hall. Cost is $12 for adults and $5 for children.
• March 12 at 8 p.m.: Flushing Town Hall will present a chamber ensemble concert featuring Korean musicians from the New York Philharmonic. Tickets are $15.
• March 13 at 2 p.m.: An exhibition tour and “draw a tiger” workshop for families will be offered at Flushing Town Hall. For ages 6 and up. Cost is $5.