Lunar New Year Parade marches through Bensonhurst

lunar new year
Happy new year! A Bensonhurst parade drew about 350 attendees to celebrate the Chinese lunar new year.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Talk about a rat race!

Hundreds of locals marched in Bensonhurst’s fifth annual Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday, when they rang in the Year of the Rat with colorful costumes and traditional dance.

“It was beautiful. Really successful,” said Dr. Tim Law, the founder of the Chinese-American Social Services Center in Bensonhurst, which hosted the parade.

The festivities kicked off on 65th Street and Bay Parkway with speeches by elected officials — including Congressman Max Rose, Assemblyman Peter Abate, and State Senator Andrew Gounardes, among others — who lauded the center for organizing the parade and for their services. 

Later, parade-goers took off from 65th Street and marched down Bay Parkway to 80th Street. Many attendees donned traditional costumes, and one group performed a Chinese dance called the lion dance, which mimics the movements of a lion. 

The parade also featured a guide of fortune, who brought good luck to the event’s attendees — and said he very much enjoyed the parade. 

“It was good. I liked it,” said Queens resident Francis Tse, who said he performs the function of the guide of fortune at Lunar New Year celebrations every year. 

One attendee said that attendance was a little lower than in previous years because of the simultaneous Lunar New Year parade in Sunset Park, and because many people stayed home out of fear of contracting the Coronavirus, which has killed more than 80 people in China as of Jan. 27. Still, he said the parade was very fun, and said he particularly enjoyed the sense of community that it fostered. 

“It was a great event, as always,” said firefighter David Lin, who attended the parade with a group of firefighters who presented on fire safety. “From the start, it was the camaraderie.” 

lunar new year
Good luck: A fortune guide, Francis Tse, attended the parade wearing a red outfit and long, black beard.
lunar new year
Happy feet: A group of dancers from the Chinese Performing Group danced the traditional lion dance accompanied by percussion.Photo by Caroline Ourso
lunar new year
Celebration: Attendees of Bensonhurst’s Lunar New Year Parade gathered with Francis Tse, the guide of fortune (center).Photo by Caroline Ourso