Nearly two years after being overwhelmed by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elmhurst Hospital has partnered with MetroPlusHealth to celebrate Lunar New Year on Friday, February 4.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst ringed in the Year of the Tiger with a colorful Lion Dance performance in the hospital’s auditorium, as a balloon artist fashioned balloons into the shape of tigers. Staff handed out red envelopes, or “hongbao” in Mandarin and “lai se” in Cantonese, for good luck. In Chinese culture, red is associated with happiness, energy and good fortune, and the red envelope itself is considered lucky.
“After two challenging years characterized by a devastating public health crisis and an outpouring of anti-Asian bias, Asian Lunar New Year, even at New York City Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, will be a jubilant celebration of the Year of the Tiger and of Queens pride. Asian American community,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. “After all, our heroic healthcare workers have weathered the COVID-19 pandemic; it’s great that they can celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year at this joyful event.
The 545-bed city hospital serves a largely working-class immigrant population that became known as the “epicenter of the epicenter” as the pandemic spread rapidly through Corona, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.
“We hope the ‘Year of the Tiger’ will prove to be a time of renewed health and strength as we begin to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward into an optimistic and prosperous future,” said Helen Arteaga Landaverde. , MPH, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.
Councilman Shekar Krishnan, who represents Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, shared warm wishes for those celebrating.
“I send my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating this Lunar New Year, the start of the Year of the Tiger, across Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and across the city,” Krishnan said. “The brave, strong and confident Tiger is the perfect symbol of our Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Asian communities in New York, as well as the frontline workers at Elmhurst Hospital. I wish you and your families, happiness, good health and good fortune.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said the Lunar New Year celebration marks a hopeful season of renewal, transformation and opportunity for Asian American families across Queens.
“As we collectively overcome the challenges of a pandemic recovery, I join Elmhurst Hospital in honoring the vibrant New Year’s traditions of the AAPI community,” Katz said. “May the Year of the Tiger bring peace, success and good health to all who celebrate it.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng sent her warm wishes to everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year at Elmhurst Hospital and throughout the borough.
“In Congress, I continue to sponsor legislation that seeks to recognize the cultural and historical significance of the holiday, and I will also introduce another new Lunar New Year bill soon,” Meng said. “I am proud to have fought for the establishment of the Lunar New Year school vacations here in New York City. May you find good fortune, prosperity and success in the coming year. Thank you, Elmhurst Hospital, for the outstanding work that your team continues to do every day for our communities.”