New York City’s largest Chinese-American community, which now centers predominately in the Sunset Park area, held its 28th annual parade in celebration of the Lunar New Year.
This year’s festive event was somewhat challenging for those seeking tradition consistency. While at this parade the celebrants were heralding the “Year of the Ram,” other Asian and Pacific Islander groups were calling it the Year of the Goat, Lamb or Sheep!
In any event, the local Chinese population came out in big numbers to enjoy the parade, balloons drops, fireworks and the entertainment on the large outdoor stage stretched across Eighth Avenue at 50th Street. The parade route ran from 50th to 60th Street.
Among the performing groups were the nursery school children from the day care facilities operated by the Brooklyn Chinese American Association. Prior to the kickoff of the parade, there was a gigantic fireworks display in a controlled space a few feet in front of the performance stage, followed by a huge red and gold balloon drop. Colorful costumed lion dancers added to the festivities and performed along the parade’s line of march.
Elected officials and NYPD brass gave brief remarks at the opening ceremonies. They included U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Simcha Felder and City Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca and Vinnie Gentile.
We later spoke to Paul Mak, a longtime friend, the founder and president of the BCAA, asking him how many firecrackers and balloons were a part of this year’s festivities. He told us 6,000 balloons and over 60,000 firecrackers.
According to Chinese legend, firecrackers which were first used by the Chinese many moons ago, to bring good luck. Apparently, those good vibes extended to this year’s local celebration during which the Arctic freeze we all have been experiencing was interrupted by a rise to 40 degrees and bright sunny skies!
Mary Ann Walsh, first vice president of the Bay Ridge Community Council and longtime administrator of the Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund, is inviting one and all to the KBMSF annual Spring Luncheon and Gift Auction, at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, on Sunday, March 8, at 1 p.m. Reservations are only $50 each, including a full luncheon and open bar. Call 718-833-6624 for tickets. The luncheon chairperson is Barbara Vellucci.