After a two-year long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunset Park rang in the Lunar New Year with thousands attending the celebration.
The festivities, which have been organized by the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association since 1988, began on Jan. 28 with a vibrant opening ceremony and well-wishes from numerous public officials.
“Let us enjoy this Year of the Rabbit and let us bring peace and prosperity,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James. “It was great to be back in Sunset Park to kick off the Brooklyn Chinese American Association’s Lunar New Year Parade.”
Some of the event’s main festivities included traditional lion dances to ward off bad luck, performances and games as well as delicious food and gift exchanges.
“Some of my favorite ways to celebrate are to walk through the neighborhood and watch, hear and listen to the roar and drumbeats of lion dances throughout the community,” said Director of Brooklyn Community Services at the Chinese-American Planning Council, Steve Mei. “It’s always great to see all the colors, traditional outfits and the festivities.”
Those who came out to celebrate also hoped that this year would be more peaceful than those in the past, especially in regards to the spike in Asian hate crimes over the past couple of years and following deadly shootings that impacted multiple Asian American communities in California.
“We hope this is really the end of the pandemic, so that the Asian community can really come out and get some normalcy,” said Paul Mak, of the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association.