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Elmhurst Hospital, MetroPlusHealth team up for Lunar New Year celebration

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Courtesy of Elmhurst Hospital

Nearly two years after it was overwhelmed by the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elmhurst Hospital partnered with MetroPlusHealth to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Friday, Feb. 4.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst rang in the Year of the Tiger with a colorful performance of the lion dance in the hospital’s auditorium, as a balloon artist fashioned balloons into the shapes 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.

“Following two difficult years featuring a devastating public health crisis and a wave of anti-Asian prejudice, the Asian Lunar New Year even at New York City Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst will be a jubilant celebration of the Year of the Tiger and Queens’ proud Asian American community,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “After everything, our heroic health care workers have been through during the COVID-19 pandemic; it is great that they will get to celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year during this joyous 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’ proves to be a time of renewed health and strength as we begin to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward toward 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 who celebrate.

Courtesy of Elmhurst Hospital

“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 the entire city,” Krishnan said. “The Tiger, brave, strong and confident, is the perfect symbol of our Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian communities in New York City, as well as the frontline workers of 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 vibrancy of the AAPI community’s new year’s traditions,” Katz said. “May the Year of the Tiger bring peace, success and good health to all celebrating.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng sent her warm wishes to all those celebrating Lunar New Year at Elmhurst Hospital, and across the borough.

“In Congress, I am continuing to sponsor legislation that seeks to recognize the cultural and historical significance of the holiday, and I will also be introducing another new bill for Lunar New Year soon,” Meng said. “I’m proud to have fought for the creation of the Lunar New Year school holiday here in New York City. May you find good fortune, prosperity and success in the year ahead. Thank you, Elmhurst Hospital, for the outstanding work that your team continues to do each and every day for our communities.”

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