Thousands of people gathered to watch the annual Lunar New Year parade bring colorful performances through a joyous downtown Flushing on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The community of Flushing bid farewell to the high energy of the Year of the Tiger and welcomed in the peace and hope that the Year of the Rabbit symbolizes. The Lunar New Year falls on Jan. 22.
On Saturday, revelers huddled together on the Main Street sidewalks donning rabbit ears, while children dressed in traditional Chinese outfits sat on shoulders wishing for the opportunity to be noticed by a dancing lion or dragon.
The event, put on each year by the Flushing Chinese Business Association and Lunar New Year Parade Committee, featured floats, lion dancers, dragon dance performers and local community groups. Parade participants kicked off the celebration by marching down Union Street before heading up Main Street in front of a cheering audience.
“What a great morning to be in Flushing celebrating the diversity of Queens County,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
Elected officials from the state to city levels huddled on a float to greet the crowd. Combating anti-Asian hate was a common thread in their messaging.
“We’re gonna be here every step of the way to make sure that we continue to fight against Asian hate and continue to stand with the Asian community and any community across our city that’s under attack,” Richards said.
The state’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Letitia James echoed that sentiment, as did Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
“It is my job to keep you safe so we can celebrate our parents’ traditions and our parents before us, their traditions while assimilating into the United States of America,” Katz told the crowd.
City Comptroller Brad Lander focused on the growth of the Flushing business district and wished a happy 75th birthday to the Flushing-Main Street subway station.
“In that time Flushing has grown to be the largest Chinatown in New York City,” Lander said. “But it’s not the train station that helped Flushing grow into this flourishing business district, it is the people.”
As the parade made its way to the finishing point, eager revelers were able to continue the festivities at an indoor celebration at nearby Tangram Mall.