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Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade returns

A Lunar New Year Parade participant waves a flag in the air while walking along the parade route in Chinatown. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Thousands of spectators packed Chinatown for the return of its annual Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday.  This comes after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and a dramatic increase in violence against the Asian-American community in New York City. 

The parade was a mixture of bright colors, loud cheers, confetti launching into the air, and political protesting. Marni Halasa, 55, a frequent parade performer said not only was this year an important one for her, but it was also a different type of parade experience.

“Culturally, I think the parade this year was a boost of morale in the community,” Halasa said. “What’s interesting, though, is that usually parades aren’t really a venue of political protests, and there were people out here doing just that.”

A banner that read “Stop Asian Hate” was carried through the parade, a reminder of the ongoing acts of violence, prejudice, and xenophobia that have occured against Asian-Americans here since the pandemic began. Most recently, the death of Chinatown resident Christina Yuna Lee, sent shockwaves throughout the community. She was brutally murdered in her apartment.  

Spectators stood behind barricades holding signs that opposed a proposal for a city jail in Chinatown, one of the proposed detention centers to replace Rikers Island.

But the heart of the parade remained  a celebration of the vitality, color, and joy of Chinese culture.

 

A Lunar New Year Parade participant leads the Chinese dragons down Mott Street in Chinatown. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Lunar New Year Parade participants hold a sign that reads “Stop Asian Hate.” Since the start of the pandemic there has been a rise in violence directed at the Asian-American community. Awareness and solidarity were big themes in the Chinatown parade. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Spectators hold up signs to protest against a proposal to build a city jail in Chinatown during the Lunar New Year Parade.
February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer waves to the crowd as he walks along the route of the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. He was one of the elected officials that took part in the parade, in addition to Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Spectators of the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, watch alongside the barricade as the performances pass by. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Chinese dragons walk along Mott Street in Chinatown while the crowd cheers. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Marni Halasa dances during the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Children walk in a dragon costume while participating in the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

A young girl reaches to fist-bump and say hello as she was driven in a car along the Lunar New Year Parade route. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris

Confetti is shot up in the air on Mott St. during the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. February 20, 2022. Photo by Nathan Morris