“I see John Liu!” announced a kindergarten aged boy to his mother as the Chinese-American New York City Comptroller, and Flushing native, walked by with a small entourage carrying signs of his smiling face. “Happy New Year!” shouted out Mr. Liu as he waved to the crowd. “Happy New Year!” they all shouted back. He was quickly drowned out by the low collective drumming of the local chapter of the Self Help Innovative Senior Center who were on his heels. There was no time for dawdling. This was the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing’s Chinatown. And everyone wanted a piece of the moon pie. (more…)
For me, the ‘regular’ New Year has always been supremely disappointing. Due in part to globally inflated expectation, the night has never lived up to the description my co-workers provide in the annual ‘New Year’s Eve in East Williamsburg!’ email chain. If you’re new to the city, this means you’ll probably end up in some ‘charming’ warehouse off the Graham Avenue stop with 60 people you’ll never see again.
You’ll begin to take stock of the evening at 11pm, 30 minutes after half your friends go down (hard) for the count. Following a midnight ‘champagne toast’ that was supposed to be included in the $150 ticket fee, you’ll wander home, shocked that you fell for it. And then you’ll do it all again next year.
Chinese New Year, however, is different.Strip away the expensive parties and sharp wardrobes, add a few dozen homemade Chinese lion costumes and 400 million confetti launchers, and you’ll be getting close. Though I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy several Chinese New Year celebrations in New York City, I knew I had to go all out this year. And we’re just getting started.
Basque restaurant Txikito will host Egg and Butter Road’s tapas & wine tasting event. Photo credit: Ryan Charles.
Our curated event picks for this week: New York Review of Book’s 50th anniversary celebration, Joios & Jimmy beer tasting, Chinese New Year Firecrackers.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4: Three chefs. Six courses. One night. This is the Underground Eats SUPPER BOWL. The day after the Super Bowl, whether you are sulking over a loss or dancing with triumph, you may feel a bit lost and disheartened knowing that the final, ultimate match-up of the year is over. Until… You realize you are going to Louro for a one-night-only dining experience with an all-star trio of chefs that includes James Beard Award-winner Sean Brock, Aldea’s formidable George Mendes, and Louro’s rising star, David Santos. These superstars will combine their talents to offer an exclusive six-course tasting menu that will highlight the flavors and cooking techniques for which each of these critically-acclaimed chefs are so well-known. 6pm or 9pm at Louro, 142 West 10th Street. $150. Buy tickets here.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5: The New York Review of Books: 50 Years. Spend an evening with contributors John Banville, Mary Beard, Michael Chabon, Mark Danner, Joan Didion, Daniel Mendelsohn, Darryl Pinckney, along with Robert B. Silvers, who, with the late Barbara Epstein, was a founding editor of The New York Review of Books, in February 1963. Each guest will receive a facsimile edition of the first issue of The New York Review of Books. 7:30pm at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street. $15 for New York Review subscribers; use discount code NYRB50. $20 General Admission. $10 Students with valid ID. Buy tickets here.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6: Joios & Jimmy Beer Tasting. Guests will taste at least 6 different varietals (and eat Jimmy’s noted foods). As usual, we’ll rate the beers and debate their merits. A crew of beer experts will chime in to make the debate lively. We’ll have a competition too, with a prize for the winner of our “Name That Beer” contest. 7-9pm at Jimmy’s No. 43, 43 East 7th Street. $28. Buy tickets here.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7: Join NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin, 2012), and Jerilyn Perine, Director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, for a discussion about the rise of single adults in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and other world metropolises– and its implications for urban life as (we think) we know it today. This is the launch event for the Penguin paperback edition of Going Solo (Jan. 2013). Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers. Reception and book signing to follow. 6:30pm at MCNY, 1220 Fifth Avenue. Reservations required. $6 Museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 general public. Buy tickets here.
Also on Thursday: Ruins of Modernity: the failure of revolutionary architecture in the 20th century with Peter Eisenman, Reinhold Martin, Joan Oakman, Bernard Tschumi. Where does architecture stand at present, in terms of its history? Are we still — were we ever — postmodern? What social and political tasks yet remain unfulfilled, carried over from the twentieth century, in a world scattered with the ruins of modernity? Does “utopia’s ghost” (Martin), the specter of modernism, still haunt contemporary building? How can architecture be responsibly practiced today? Is revolutionary architecture even possible? 7-10pm at NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square S. FREE. RSVP on Facebook.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8:City Bakery’s 21st Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is ongoing until February 28. Regress to childhood with skillfully concocted mugs of hot chocolate courtesy of this downtown canteen. Owner-mastermind Maury Rubin will serve a different flavor of his intoxicating cocoa every day during February and today’s is Bourbon. All day at The City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street. See the calendar of flavors here.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9: Butter & Egg Road Chelsea gallery crawl and Basque tapas tasting at Txikito. We will meet at David Zwirner Gallery at 4:30pm for a behind-the-scenes tour with Mollie White, former show director of Scope Art Fair, who will lead us through two more private gallery tours in the area, before tapas and drinks at Txikito. Butter and Egg Road is a new private traveling dining club for the curious class. Bringing travelers and locals together in intimate culinary and cultural experiences in the cities we love, Butter and Egg Road inspires members to be a local anywhere. To attend you must be a member or purchase a one-time, non-member ticket in advance. No tickets will be available at the door. Sign up to be a member here.
When living abroad, it can be easy to overlook the cultural events of foreign countries other your own as you attempt to integrate your identity into a new culture. As I navigated the capital of French culture, I was nearly blindsided by the country with the world’s largest population–China. There is not only a sizable Chinese ex-pat community in Paris, but their celebration of Chinese New Year is also spectacular. As I watched the parade, I ruminated on how cultures are transformed through settlement in a new country and was struck by the multi-culturalism that exists in France despite government attempts to suggest otherwise. Paris’ Chinatown is located in the thirteenth arrondisement, centered at the Place d’Italie. A second enclave is located on the right bank in Belleville. Chinese and other Asian immigrants began to move in large numbers in the thirteenth arrondisement in the early 1970s, taking advantage of low rents and high vacancy rates within the urban renewal projects of the Gaulist government.
This year in the Chinese calendar represents the year of the Rabbit. Individuals born within the year of the rabbit are known for being cooperative, generous, and sophisticated. They can also be timid and have knee jerk conservative reactions But there wasn’t anything conservative about the celebration of cultures I witnessed last week. While the Chinese have been able to replicate their own culture in this neighborhood, the parade also incorporated many other minority groups. The groups sang, danced, and played music while marching down the parade route amidst strings of firecrackers. Dragons swept along the path and hundreds of marchers hopped along the route dressed as rabbits. Thousands of Parisians flocked to Chinatown in order to take part in the festivities, which were captured in the photographs below: