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Lanterns, dance, kayaking at UN day of peace festival on LIC waterfront this weekend

The first few lanterns afloat during the 2016 festival. Photo by HarborLAB.

Sept. 13, 2017 by Nathaly Pesantez

The Long Island City waterfront will be the site of a peace festival this weekend, complete with activities like meditation, interfaith prayers, water-floating lanterns, and public paddling.

The Peace Lanterns Festival is scheduled for Sept. 16 at Gantry Plaza State Park on Center Boulevard and 49th Ave. The all-day festival roster is divided into two simultaneous activity blocks.

Kayaking will be available for attendees from 2pm to 6pm, along with face painting, henna tattooing, lantern decorating, and other crafts workshops. “Afrodancercise”, taught by the non-profit Siren Protectors of the Rainforest, will available at 6pm.

In another section from 2:30pm until 6:00pm, visitors can participate in guided meditation and yoga.

The festival will transition into interfaith prayers and speeches from select speakers, including Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Bangladesh representative to the United Nations, and Alex de Sherbinin, a Columbia University science professor, from 6:30pm until 7:30pm. Then, the floating lanterns ceremony will take place until 8:30pm, where they will be floated out the waterfront.

No sign-up is required, and all activities are free for the event.

The event is organized by HarborLAB, the Buddhist Council of New York, the Interfaith Center of New York, and the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace.

The first Peace Day lantern ceremonies began in 2002 when the president of the Buddhist Council of New York partnered with Erik Baard, the founder of HarborLAB, to create an event to commemorate the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The ceremonies took place by the Hudson River for the first ten years, a location that Baard sees as having a spiritual connection to the towers, especially when he remembers the large smoke plume spreading and falling over the river on the day of the attack.

Last year’s festival, which also took place at the waterfront, saw thousands of attendees, with 200 people kayaking in total. Participants also set afloat 100 decorated lanterns during the 2016 festival.

Organizers are still looking for volunteers for Saturday’s event. For information on volunteering, email [email protected]

email the author: [email protected]


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Lanterns were tied to one another in unity, then drawn in to prevent pollution–our sufferings were set free, symbolically. Peace prevailed, and that night, now past, was one of unity, for children, families, monks–religious and non-religious.
So, it is odd that the first voices here, are almost comically fighting, very not at peace. Shoulda gone!


Why don’t they hold one of these festivals in China, Iran, N.Korea, Russia etc…aren’t they part of the GLOBAL COMMUNITY also? Oh they can’t how sad. Until oppression in these countries is overcome there will never be true GLOBALIZATION. So please don’t tell me about this Globalization BS until that happens. The USA wants peace, these other countries want control of the people under harsh circumstances and rules/laws. USA best country to live in and if you don’t agree you are FREE to leave.


“USA best country to live in” ???

We’ve barely made to the TOP 10 list of countries this year!!

Read statistics, amigo.


You call yourself MRUSA. As I said if you don’t like it here you are always FREE to leave. Try to leave the countries I mentioned and see what happens.


MrLIC, what would happen if someone tries to leave China, Russia or Iran?

Right. Nothing. They are free to leave their countries… (except for North Korea)

Also, I’m proud to be an American, so give your self a favor, educate yourself before writing embarrassing nonsense statements. Cheers.


MRUSA,–You need to educate yourself because you sound ed as if you did not RESPECT this country in your first post. China,Russia and Iran detain people for the dumbest reasons if they want to keep you there. Iran took hostages in the embassy remember. I know it was an uprising but they will brand you a spy . China will do it and Russia will pick some fake crime to do it also. Do you know why our country is down in everything (10th as you say)? I di not dispute your stats. The reason is we don’t get the best and brightest from immigration anymore. At one time we did. Now we get the dregs from these countries whether Legal (mostly Illegal). Which DUMBS DOWN our National average.on education, quality of life in general. Illegals also create overcrowded schools, health care burden on cities and states and a low cost housing problem. Too many people and not enough housing. USA down other countries that don’t have so many Illegals and regular immigration move up and we move down. I think Immigration (legal) should go back to limits from each country the way it used to be maybe 40 years ago. Illegal Immigration should be shut down completely if possible. This is why I voted forTrump, America First.


USA is the best in that you can disagree and are free to say so and stay despite what left and right wing extremists tell you.


Anonymous, you are right. But the Politically correct jerks want to challenge your FREE SPEECH. The PC people need to not be so offended by just about Everything.


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