The Lunar New Year provides an abundance of reasons for everyone to celebrate, regardless of cultural background. In New York City, a wide array of colorful cultural events this week mark the holiday, and Chinese and other Asian restaurants will serve traditional holiday dishes as the Year of the Sheep begins. Below are some of the best ways to celebrate in New York City, starting on Thursday, which is the Lunar New Year, and lasting through the weekend and beyond.
No Chinese New Year would be complete without a feast. Take your pick of the holiday specials offered at restaurants all over the city. From classic cheap eats to fancier, gourmet creations, there are many options to eat your way through Chinese New Year.
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The classic Joe’s Shanghai has several branches, including in Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. Famous for its soup dumplings, it's an excellent option to ring in the new year with traditional Shanghainese and other Chinese dishes eaten family style.
Buddakan is located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. Enjoy dim sum, where diners select small dishes of dumplings and other bite-sized foods that are rolled around in carts directly to their tables, or try your hand at making your own Chinese food in dumpling-making classes.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, one modern American restaurant, Louro, will host a lucky three-course feast that includes a chilled pork salad, goat stew and a whole fish in black-bean sauce.
Yunnan Kitchen offers a family-style meal for $105 per head. Gorge on pomelo salad, tea tree mushrooms, tea-smoked Buddhist-style chicken, lamb and pumpkin dumplings and Tiger beer to roll in the New Year with luck and fortune.
Through March 1, Hakkasan, a Midtown bastion of Cantonese cuisine, will be serving an eight-course menu with traditional dishes and some a la carte options. On Thursday there will be a Lion Dance performance.
After fueling up, try to see at least one of the parades or attend one of the events this week and weekend in Manhattan, Queens and elsewhere. On Thursday, go all in by attending the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, organized by the Better Chinatown Society at Sara Roosevelt Park in Chinatown, near Forsyth and Grand Streets. Half a million firecrackers will be detonated to ward off evil spirits, and dancers and singers will perform throughout the day on a large stage.
The Lunar New Year Parade will take place on Sunday. It starts at 1 p.m. from Canal and Mott streets, runs down East Broadway under the Manhattan Bridge, then veers back north and ends at Sara Roosevelt Park. The festivities include food vendors and impressive displays, like dragon dances, floats, musicians, magicians and other performers.
Flushing has a significant Chinese and East Asian population, and the New Year celebrations there promise to be no less spectacular than those in Manhattan. A parade on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. will feature dragon dancing, steel drummers and fireworks. Other cultural activities, including performances, will take place at the Queens Crossing Mall, on 39th Avenue. And that’s just the beginning of a long list of Lunar New Year festivities taking place in Flushing this month. The more adventurous might find themselves intrigued by offerings at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, which is holding workshops and free demos, including massages and acupuncture, for the public on Feb. 28.