I celebrated Chinese New Years in Brooklyn again this year. Hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, over 400 turned out for his annual Chinese New Year Banquet to benefit the Camp Brooklyn Fund. This year it was held at the New Spring Garden, an A-rated restaurant in Sunset Park on February 7.
Brooklyn’s Chinatown, located in the Sunset Park section, is the fastest growing Chinese community in the country, already surpassing Flushing, according to US Census reports. Marty Markowitz gave a rousing New Year’s greeting and saluted the achievements of this Chinese community for creating one of NYC’s best school districts and successful business districts. He also gave a special greeting and congratulations to Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s new Chair, Denise Arbesu, whose husband recently rolled off as outgoing Chairman. There were many officials, dignitaries, business leaders and sponsors in the room.
The program opened with children performing wonderful dances. The traditional dragon and its masked sidekick made its way around the huge dining room to drum beats and tambourines. Patrons excitedly “fed” the dragon’s mouth with red envelopes containing money for the Camp Brooklyn Fund.
This was definitely an event that I should have worn my stretchy pants. We ate so much that I forgot to take photos of the food. But here’s the Menu: Appetizers: Steamed Shrimp Dumplings, Traditional Pork Dumplings; and Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls. Soup: Marty’s favorite Velvet Chicken corn Soup with Homemade Fried Noodle. Entrees: Jumbo Shrimp with Honey, Walnuts and Sauce; Special New Year’s Grouper with Vegetables; Sizzling Beef over Bok Choy; Sweet and sour Spare ribs; New Spring Garden Sesame Chicken; Crowd Favorite Vegetable Fried Rice; Chicken Chow Fun Marty-Style; Sautéed String Beans in Garlic Sauce. Desserts: Fresh Sliced Oranges; Chinese Fortune Cookies. Beverages included White and Red wines and Tsingtao Beer.
The honorees were: Kenneth D. Daly, President of National Grid; Deon Livingston, Vice President & General Manager of WBLS & WLIB-FM; Michael “Buzzy” O’Keefe, Restaurateur Extraordinaire; and Yvonne Riley-Tepie, Vice President, US Field Marketing, TD Bank.
This year, we celebrate the Year of the Water Snake. Unlike Western culture, the snake symbolizes positive attributes in Chinese culture. The Snake is the intuitive, introspective, refined, cool and collected animal in the Chinese horoscope. They are attractive people who are graceful, exciting and dark all at the same time. They can become quite possessive when they set their minds on achieving the interest of a partner, according to some Chinese horoscope guides.
This is your year if you were born in: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013. Some famous Snake people include: Oprah Winfrey, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, James Joyce, Martha Stewart, Kanye West, Pierce Brosnan, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Love, Howard Stern, and Edgar Allan Poe, according to LA Examiner.
Celebration: If you feel like braving the cold weather, come out to celebrate Chinese New Years in Brooklyn’s Chinatown on Sunday, February 10. As usual, the Brooklyn Chinese American Association (BCA), a community service organization founded in 1987, organized this year’s festivities.
Schedule: 10 am-Noon performances by and for children, speeches, followed by firecrackers. Noon-1pm Parade from 50th to 60th streets. Visitors should go to 50th street and 8th avenue in Sunset Park area.
Directions: Take MTA, D train to 50th street, walk up hill four long blocks to 8th avenue. Make a day of it or go anytime. After the parade, explore the local area for New York’s best Chinese food and terrific local shopping.
Gong Xi Fai Cai, from my family to yours. Wishing you a prosperous Year of the Water Snake!