Residents gathered on Jackson Avenue on Wednesday, Feb. 9 to celebrate Long Island City’s extended Lunar New Year celebration, which will continue through Feb. 28 after positive feedback from customers and participating businesses.
The Long Island City Partnership (LICP) kicked off the first-ever LIC Lunar New Year celebration on January 24, which invited more than 60 local businesses to participate. Originally slated to last just two weeks, the expansion was celebrated with a kid-friendly event at 26-15 Jackson Ave., where children had the opportunity to make masks, practice calligraphy, spin a prize wheel and receive the traditional “red envelopes”. â
Participating companies include Xi’an Famous Foods, Yumpling, New York Chinese Cultural Center and JACX&CO food hall.
Councilwoman Julie Won, the first woman and immigrant to represent District 26, joined in the festivities to celebrate the ongoing LIC Lunar New Year Wednesday afternoon.
“In Long Island City, we saw huge population growth in the last census from 2010 to 2020. We have Asian-American population growth of 33.67%, but we know the census still underestimates,” said Won. “Lunar New Year is a big holiday that will continue to be part of our community and we continue to support all that small businesses do.”
Long Island City is among New York’s fastest growing Asian community with nearly 11,000 residents, according to census data. Many Asian-owned businesses have opened in the Long Island City area in recent years, many of which have participated in Lunar New Year celebrations.
Jason Wang, the CEO of local chain, Xi’an Famous Food, reopened its Long Island City location in April after it closed due to a fire in 2020. During Lunar New Year, Wang’s LIC restaurant offers a signed version of their famous house chilli oil.
âThe fight to make Lunar New Year a national holiday in the United States has been an uphill battle,â Wang said. “I am grateful to LICP and those who represent LIC, have shown their support and give this holiday the recognition it deserves.”
Wang spoke about the difficulties of owning a business during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it has been really difficult. He said he encourages everyone to join in Lunar New Year celebrations and support local businesses.
“As a longtime resident of LIC, I know how important businesses are to the fabric of the community,” Wang said. “We hope everyone will join in this celebration and support local businesses as it will shape the neighborhood we want to live in.”
LICP is a neighborhood development organization that advocates for the economic development of the region.