Long Island City Partnership hosts first-ever Lunar New Year celebration

Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City, New York City
With the fastest-growing Asian community in the five boroughs, Long Island City will host its first-ever Lunar New Year celebration over a two-week span. (Photo via Getty Images)

While Long Island City has seen an unprecedented explosion in its real estate market over the last decade, so too has the sprawling neighborhood’s Asian and Asian American population grown. LIC contains New York City’s fastest-growing Asian community, according to census data with nearly 11,000 Asian residents, representing 34% of the population.

With those changing demographics in mind, the Long Island City Partnership launched its first-ever LIC Lunar New Year Celebration, which began Monday, Jan. 24, and will continue through Sunday, Feb. 6.

“LIC is where the world comes together, and we are thrilled to help our growing Asian and Asian American community share this celebration of Lunar New Year with the rest of the city,” Long Island City Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “This is also a great time to highlight the many Asian and Asian American-owned businesses in the area, and the great pride the entire community, including all of our small businesses, has in our diversity. Even as LIC evolves, it remains one of New York City’s most unique and rewarding districts to experience.”

During the two-week program, the neighborhood will be enlivened with promotions, deals and events from more than 60 businesses and organizations, including top eateries, cultural institutions and retail shops. Experiences range from a Lunar New Year-themed flea market to new menu offerings.

Celebration participants and partners cover a spectrum of categories. A few participants include the JACX&CO food hall (including LOTUS+CLEAVER and Temakase Long Island City), Materials for the Arts, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Chinese Cultural Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, Xi’an Famous Foods and Yumpling, among others. The event was not limited to Asian-owned or focused businesses in order to remain inclusive of LIC’s diverse community interested in honoring Lunar New Year in their own way.

“We jumped at the chance to be a part of this groundbreaking program from Long Island City Partnership that both engages and champions local businesses like my own and validates the vibrant Asian community that has blossomed over the past few years,” said Jason Wang, CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods, who has advised LICP on the event over the past few months.

Xi’an Famous Foods reopened its LIC location in April after a devastating fire in January 2020. The LIC branch is offering a special signed version of their famous homemade chili oil from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, as part of the celebration.

“As a business owner and former resident, I am committed to the success of Long Island City and showcasing its continued diversity in an authentic way,” Wang said.

Over the past few years, and throughout the ongoing pandemic, multiple Asian-owned businesses have opened, and flourished, in LIC, capitalizing on the neighborhood’s changing demographics, Lusskin explained.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with LIC Partnership to celebrate Lunar New Year and share Chinese arts with the community,” said Ying Yen, New York Chinese Cultural Center executive director. “Long Island City is fast becoming an epicenter of Asian and Asian American culture and opportunity. We look forward to doing more to serve the growing Asian and Asian American populations in Long Island City and the LIC community overall.”

For more information on events and participating businesses, visit the LICP website longislandcityqueens.com.