Year Of The Dragon: Chinese New Year in Chinatown NYC

17 Jan 2012

written by Elissa Vallano

Source: Flickr, Krion

Source: Flickr, Krion

The centuries-old tradition of Chinese New Year (a.k.a. Spring Festival) is almost upon us, and New York City is about to come alive in celebration of the Year of the Dragon. Occupying the 5th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the dragon symbolizes dominance and ambition. So say your goodbyes to the Year of the Rabbit (who needs peace and tranquility, anyway?) because MyCityWay has everything you need to know about celebrating the Chinese New Year in New York.


Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival: Locals, politicians and community leaders will descend upon Roosevelt Park for the annual holiday celebration to ward off evil spirits. Throughout the day, there will be cultural performances on the main stage by traditional and contemporary Asian-American singers, dancers, and performers, but the can’t-miss event will be the amazing dance troupes decked out in dragon, lion and unicorn costumes.
When: Monday, January 23, 2012; beginning at 11 a.m
Where: Sara Roosevelt Park (between Grand and Hester Streets); the march will span to nearby Mott Street, the Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard Street, Elizabeth Street and Pell Street.

13th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival: You’ve never seen a parade until you’ve seen this. The epic event features decorative floats, musicians, dancers, magicians, acrobats, and marching bands alongside local organizations. Thousands of people are estimated to march in the parade, which will eventually result in an outdoor cultural festival on Bayard Street full of music, food and celebration.
When: Sunday, January 29, 2012; beginning at 1 p.m.
Where: Canal Street South (through Little Italy and the main streets of Lower Chinatown/Manhattan)

For Chinese New Year events at the China Institute, click here.

Source: Flickr, bl_impulse


Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles: This place is as authentic as you get, which might be overwhelming to those less experienced with Chinatown. But don’t let that intimidate you — the food is both amazing and affordable. 1 Doyers Street (between Pell Street & Bowery)

Great NY Noodletown: If you’re looking for straight up reliable Chinese food, this is a safe bet. Pretty much everything on the menu is a winner, but the roast pork, roast duck, and baby pig are major standouts. Oh, and the noodles, obviously. 28 Bowery (at Bayard Street)

Nom Wah Tea Parlor: If you’re looking for the tastiest and freshest dim sum in Chinatown, check out the historic Now Wah Team Parlor. This is one of Chinatown’s oldest restaurants on one of the most interesting streets in the city (Doyers). Bring a few friends, grab a booth and order one of each off the menu. No carts here — just great service in a great atmosphere.

Peking Duck House: The name does not lie at this classic Chinatown restaurant. It’s a complete ducky experience, from picking out your bird to deciding how you want it prepared. Order a side of the pancakes, and you’ll be in heaven. 28 Mott Street (at Pell Street)

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: Holy amazing ice cream, Batman! Almond cookie, black sesame and egg custard are just three of the amazing flavors of frozen deliciousness you can get here. Best of all, it’s still a family-run operation. 65 Bayard Street (at Mott Street)


  • Bring cash. While some establishments do accept credit cards, most are cash only.
  • Travel in small groups. If you know how Chinatown is normally, you’ll know not to attempt to navigate these types of crowds in a large group during the biggest celebration of the year.
  • Picky eaters stay home. This is the time to be adventurous with your eating, so don’t expect anything other than blind taste testing. Trust us, it’s worth it.
  • Flushing, Queens also has Chinese New Year celebrations. Check them out here.
How do you like to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Tell us in the comments below!
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About the author

Elissa Vallano is a contributing writer to MyCityWay.

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5 Comments on Year Of The Dragon: Chinese New Year in Chinatown NYC

  1. Anne Walker

    Hmmm, the noodle sounds good. Yeah, even here in the Philippines, many people celebrate this Spring festival, having dragon dance parade in major cities, particularly in Chinatown. Kong Hei Fat Choi everyone :)

  2. mark shapiro

    Are there any restaurants in chinatown that have special chinese new year’s banquets?

  3. Craig Nelson

    Mark, I know that Jin Fong has live entertainment for the Chinese New Year: Looks like there is a fundraiser/banquet at Midtown’s Peking Duck: Also, the first ever Chinatown Restaurant Week in NYC is coming up soon in March. If I find any other info on banquets, I’ll let you know.

  4. Gabriel

    Thanks for this post! We’ve been looking for a good listing of things to celebrate the year of the dragon as the 23rd gets closer. I know about Nom Wah, but the other spots are new to me. And pretty much anything ice cream I can sign up for…

  5. zed power

    Don’t care for duck but the noodles sound good

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