- Posted February 10, 2013 by
New York City, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Celebrating Chinese New Year
Ushering in the Year of the Snake
Today, practically every major city in the U.S. can lay claim to a Chinatown. I have little doubt, however, that if you asked anyone in the country—even the residents of its many Chinatowns—which among them was the “Emperor” of them all, the overwhelming response would be, “New York City, of course.”
So as we welcome in the year of the snake, what better place to do it than the epicenter of Asian culture in America, New York’s Chinatown. With parades in Manhattan and in the huge Asian community of Flushing, Queens still one week off, thousands gathered in Sara Roosevelt Park Sunday to kick off the festivities with the traditional New Year Firecracker and Cultural Festival.
The event was attended by a number of local politicians, including New York City Comptroller John Liu and City Council Member Margaret Chin. Community business leaders turned out and young men in elaborate and wildly colorful dragon costumes danced through the park and out into the streets to the accompaniment of pounding drums and crashing symbols.
The personal use of firecrackers was banned from Asian New Years celebrations in New York more than 15 years ago. But today, after the politicians spoke and the dragons danced, the tradition was kept alive with a loud and smoky pyrotechnic exhibition in a cordoned off area of the park. And after all, could the year of the snake really begin officially without firecrackers?