Hundreds of revelers joined state Senator John Liu for a Lunar New Year celebration Friday night at Tangram in Downtown Flushing. The event featured free food from 25 local restaurants, as well as musical and cultural performances and giveaways.
Liu was joined at the event by several local leaders, including Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Councilwomen Sandra Ung and Linda Lee and many more. Many of the leaders spoke about the importance of this celebration to the Queens community as they celebrated the start of the Year of the Rabbit.
“The Year of the Rabbit is off to a swift start thanks to all the local restaurants, performers, community members and colleagues who chipped in to make our Lunar New Year celebration a tremendous success,” Liu said. “Wishing all a peaceful, healthy, happy and prosperous start to the Lunar New Year!”
One thing that was emphasized by Liu was the importance of combating the rise in hate against Asian Americans in the United States, including New York City. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in hateful rhetoric and actions against Asian Americans.
According to Liu, a great way of combating hate against Asian Americans is to have students in schools learn about Asian American history and culture. He argued that hate comes from ignorance. He believes the fact that New York City public schools are currently teaching this will end up having a positive effect on the community.
This event marked the first in a series of Lunar New Year celebrations to take place over the weekend in Flushing. There was also a parade on Saturday and a firecracker ceremony Sunday.
“I just want to thank Senator John Liu for hosting this event and being such a trailblazer,” Ung said. “I agree with everything [Liu] said [about educating public school students on Asian American history and culture to help stop hateful rhetoric and actions against them]. I want to wish everybody a happy, healthy and safe Lunar New Year.”
Lee discussed the importance of the diversity of the current New York City Council. She brought up the fact that there are currently six Asian American members, including herself. Lee is also the one of the first two Korean Americans elected to the City Council.
Among those who performed at the event for the hundreds of attendees were the Asian United and Cultural Exchange Council, SW Chinese Music Band, Ashley Dance Center and Ashley Liang Dance Company, Korean Fever-Rami Seo Group, Dream Beauty Dance Group, Yut Chia, NYBBC Taekwondo School and Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage of the Philippines.
The free food made available at the event was provided by PappaRich, Crown One, Asian Jewel, Malay Restaurant, New Mulan Seafood Restaurant, HK Cafe, Tong Hai Tung Bakery, Tiger Sugar, Corner 28/Shanghai You Garden, East Buffet, Padam Padam, SanSooKapSan, Naju GomTang, Union Street Business Association, Aritaum, Royal Queen, Shoo Loong Kan, Malaysian United Group, NYC Filipinos, Yakult, Flushing BID, Crispy Burger, and Joju.
The Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 22. It marked the end of the Year of the Tiger and the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit.