Jan. 23, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The Long Island City Partnership (LIC Partnership) hosted an Asian-inspired event on Jackson Avenue Friday to launch its Lunar New Year business festival.
The event was organized to announce that more than 50 local businesses are hosting a series of promotions and activities through Feb. 19 as a means of boosting the local economy and celebrating the neighborhood’s growing Asian population.
The event was held at Dun Huang, located at 27-23 Jackson Ave., where a noodle-pulling demonstration took place. Outside, a troupe with two traditional lions and a Buddha put on a colorful performance for attendees and passers-by.
Council Member Julie Won, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Assembly Member Juan Ardila were among those in attendance, along with several local business owners and representatives from the LIC Partnership.
Won, who is originally from South Korea and is the first Asian American to hold the 26th Council District seat, said that Lunar New Year is a special celebration for many Asian Americans.
The Lunar New Year, Won said, is an important event for Long Island City residents given the Asian American population in the neighborhood has increased by 33 percent since 2010, citing the 2020 census.
“This the fastest growing API (Asian Pacific Islander) population in the borough of Queens, and that is completely reflected in our representation and in our businesses,” Won said. “We have more than 50 businesses in this district are serving Asian American cuisines as well as other goods.”
The business promotions are part of the LIC Partnership’s second Lunar New Year celebration, with the inaugural festival taking place last year. The Lunar New Year marks the beginning of a calendar year for those who follow the lunar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays in East Asian countries and is celebrated worldwide.
For instance, on Jan. 20, Dun Huang was providing red envelopes to customers with a mystery prize inside. The promotion acknowledges that Asian Americans often give traditional, red-colored envelopes to friends and family to mark Lunar New Year.
Champions Martial Arts, located at 49-15 Vernon Blvd., is offering two weeks of free Tae Kwon Do classes for children ages 3 and up, while Mango Mango Dessert is raffling off a number of Lunar New Year-inspired gift boxes filled with desserts.
Elsewhere, a comedy night featuring Asian artists will take place on Feb. 3 at The Local LIC, a hostel and performance space located at 13-02 44th Ave., while paintings from Ashley Betito, an Asian American artist who was raised in Queens, are being displayed at The Aloft LIC Hotel, located at 27-45 Jackson Ave.
Won and Richards also sounded the alarm on anti-Asian hate crime incidents and said that Queens was a welcoming borough for all ethnicities.
Richards noted that he booted a resident from Community Board 5 last week after the person allegedly spewed anti-Asian hate at a meeting.
“We’re going to send a very clear message that in Queens county we celebrate our diversity, we understand that diversity is our strength and that the Asian community has played a significant role in the growth of this borough, in the culture, in the arts,” Richards said.
“We want to continue to do everything we can to support our Asian Americans to let them know that yes you do belong here and Lunar New Year should be normalized.”
Richards also called for Lunar New Year to be marked by a school holiday.
Meanwhile, Patricia Dunphy, chairperson of the LIC Partnership, said that several new Asian and Asian American-owned businesses have opened in Long Island City over the last number of years, many of which are taking part in the business festival. Dun Huang, for example, opened last year.
“The participation of multiple businesses… is a testament to the strong sense of community in Long Island City and honors the diversity of this neighborhood,” Dunphy said.
“We are proud to be home to the fastest-growing Asian, and Asian American community and to have so many Asian and Asian American-owned businesses.”
For more information on the LIC Partnership’s Lunar New Year Festival click here.