After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Flushing’s joyous Lunar New Year parade is set to return on Saturday, Feb. 5.
The Flushing Chinese Business Association (FCBA) and other members of the 2022 Lunar New Year Parade Committee hosted its final press conference for the Lunar New Year parade at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel on Thursday, Jan. 27. They were joined by several local elected officials including state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, as well as 109th Precinct’s Deputy Inspector John O’Connell.
O’Connell went over expected road closures, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 5. Union Street, between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, will be closed as it will be the staging area for parade floats.
The rest of the route — Sanford Avenue between Union Street and Main Street; Main Street between Sanford Avenue and Northern Boulevard; Roosevelt Avenue between Prince Street and Bowne Street; 39th Avenue between Main Street and Union Street; 38th Avenue between 138th Street and Main Street; and 37th Avenue between Main Street and Bowne Street — will close at 10:30 a.m. that Saturday before the parade begins at 11 a.m.
Community organizations and cultural groups will march from 37th Avenue down Union Street, along Sanford Avenue, and finish the parade on Main Street and 38th Avenue in downtown Flushing.
Buses will be rerouted during the parade, with temporary bus stops on Bowne Street between Roosevelt and Barclay Avenues, according to O’Connell.
O’Connell said there will be about 150 police officers on site during the parade.
“We are looking forward to this exciting day,” O’Connell said. “These are the things we do look forward to as a police department.”
The Flushing Lunar New Year parade, which will celebrate the Year of the Tiger, marks the return of the annual tradition since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Stavisky said the event will be a way to “celebrate together in person, but carefully.”
“I have been to many of the Lunar New Year parades. I don’t think I’ve missed any since I’ve been elected,” Stavisky said. “I look forward to continuing the tradition of coming together, working together and having fun together.”
Richards noted this year’s celebrations will be special, as the Flushing community has seen different kinds of adversities during the ongoing pandemic.
“One we’ve seen a pandemic of great magnitude impact our community, but then we dealt with a second wave of a pandemic, and that is the pandemic of hate,” Richards said. “We will never stand for Asian hate. We will stand up against Asian hate. And that is why this year, in the Year of the Tiger, we’ll be talking about bravery and strength, something that this community exuberated time in and time out again.”
The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and St. George’s Church will be hosting a Pre-Parade Lunar New Year Reception on Saturday, Feb. 5. The chamber welcomes everyone wishing to join the festivities by warming up with hot coffee and refreshments before marching in the parade.
The free reception will be held at St. George’s Church, located at 135-32 38th Ave. in Flushing, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. For more information and to register in advance, visit lunar2022.eventbrite.com
The parade is organized by a coalition of community groups led by the FCBA and the Korean American Association of Queens.
“2022 looks to be a year full of big changes, risk-taking and adventure as the Tiger is known for its strength, ambition, courage, generosity, self-confidence, sense of justice and a commitment to help others for the greater good,” said Taehoon Kim, president of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. “We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up; generosity is at an all-time high; and social progress feels possible again.”
The chamber noted the Lunar New Year is traditionally the most important shopping season in Flushing, with many mom-and-pop stores, restaurants and local business relying on the celebration to boost sales and generate revenue to survive another year.
“Flushing is back!” said John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. “The Year of the Tiger will symbolize the strength, resilience, and rebirth of our community as we emerge from the ravages of COVID-19 and an epidemic of anti-Asian violence.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.