The Year of the Dragon commences on Saturday, February 10, marking a new cycle in the lunar calendar. The event is celebrated with week-long festivities in China; here in New York, cultural organizations across the city are also offering a wide array of activities ranging from art exhibitions and calligraphy workshops to a pop-up teahouse and a collaborative culinary tradition called lo hei, which involves multiple guests tossing a single seafood salad with chopsticks. In September, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed Lunar New Year into an official public school holiday — but in devastating news for kids, 2024’s celebration falls on a weekend.
Think!Chinatown (T!C) is a coalition of dedicated volunteers who host community events and art exhibitions for their Lower Manhattan neighbors. This year, the group is organizing a string of activities for the Lunar New Year, including a lantern reveal on Saturday, February 10, and a pop-up teahouse at T!C’s studio space, where creators sell traditional crafts. Artist Edward Cheng’s collection of black-and-white photographs depicting Chinese New Year customs will be on view in an exhibition titled Walking With Lions and Other Chinatown New Year Traditions. T!C will conclude its festivities on February 25 with a mahjong party in celebration of Cheng’s show.
1 Pike Street, Chinatown, Manhattan
South Street Seaport Museum
Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport Museum is partnering with the New York Chinese Cultural Center for a daylong Year of the Dragon celebration on February 17. The event will feature a traditional lion dance, calligraphy lessons, and a crafting workshop where participants can create paper-link chains that meld the traditional Chinese craft with the imagery of signal flags historically used on ships, a nod toward the Seaport Museum’s nautical focus.
South Street Seaport (theseaport.nyc)
Seaport Square, Manhattan
February 17, 1pm–4:30pm
Brooklyn Public Library
Kids eager to make art can also head to a handful of Brooklyn Public Library locations in the coming weeks. On Saturday, February 10, families can visit the Mill Basin branch to hear New Year-themed stories and songs, as well as make a paper dragon. Children can create dragon puppets at the Windsor Terrace Library on Monday, February 12, and at the Jamaica branch on Thursday, February 15. On February 21, visitors to the Sunset Park location can view a series of performances staged by Asian Performing Arts. The library’s Dyker location is exhibiting a show of ink paintings by artist Lin Shaing Yuan, now on view through February 28.
Brooklyn Public Library (bklnlibrary.org)
February 21, 3:30pm–4:30pm
Asian American Arts Alliance
The Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) near Manhattan’s Bryant Park is hosting a Lo Hei Lunar New Year Celebration, an annual event the cultural advocacy group initiated in 2019. Lo Hei, or Yusheng, is a traditional New Year’s practice popularized in Singapore in which guests contribute ingredients to a Cantonese-style raw seafood salad (accompanied with wishes for the coming year), then come together to toss the salad with chopsticks — “the higher your toss, the higher your fortune’s growth,” A4 explains in its event description. The ritual will be followed by dinner, drinks, and a raffle.
Asian American Arts Alliance (aaartsalliance.org))
29 West 38th Street, 9th Floor, Manhattan
February 12, 6:30pm–9pm
Flushing Town Hall
In Flushing, Queens, which houses one of the largest Chinese communities in New York City, the neighborhood’s historic town hall is presenting a Lunar New Year art exhibition titled Remember. The show, currently on view and ending on February 18, showcases the work of Queens-based Korean artist Woomin Kim and artist duo Lily & Honglei, a collaborative project by Lily Xiying Yang and Honglei Li that explores the Chinese immigrant experience.
Flushing Town Hall (flushingtownhall.org)
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, Queens
Through February 18
Queens Botanical Garden
A quick walk from the Town Hall will bring you to the Queens Botanical Garden, which will hold a day of festivities on Sunday, February 18. Visitors to the sprawling horticultural center can view Tai Chi, lion dance, and musical performances, peruse retail and food vendors, and partake in a paper-cutting workshop led by artist Ling Tang, among other activities.
Queens Botanical Garden (queensbotanicalgarden.org)
43–50 Main Street, Flushing, Queens
February 18, 12pm–4pm
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
On Sunday, February 11, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum will host a daylong celebration featuring live music, dance, and storytelling. Artist Nelson Leung will hold a calligraphy workshop, authors Michele Wong McSween and Yobe Qiu will tell stories about Lunar New Year traditions, and kids can learn Kung Fu in a workshop from the New York Chinese Cultural Center. The community organization Chinatown Community Young Lions will present a lion dance parade.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum (brooklynkids.org)
145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn
February 11, 10:30am–4:45pm
Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center
On Saturday, February 10, kids and their families can head to the Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center in the Bronx, where they’ll be able to ring in the Year of the Dragon by crafting a fan inspired by the fantastic creatures’ real-world cousins, such as snakes and lizards.
Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center (wavehill.org)
4900 Independence Avenue, The Bronx
February 10, 10am–1pm
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art compiled a small assortment of collection objects for a special exhibition titled Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, on view through next January. The works, which all depict the mythical serpent, span almost two millennia, tracing the creature’s symbolic relevance in China. A knotted jade pendant, a remarkably well-preserved roof tile, and a silk and metallic-threaded medallion are among the exhibition’s highlights.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org)
1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Through January 2025
Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival
No discussion of New York City’s Lunar New Year would be complete without mention of Chinatown’s Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, the annual parade that attracts tens of thousands of spectators and marchers. This year’s event will start at 10am on February 10 at the Grand Street intersection of Sara D. Roosevelt Park. While kids may be disappointed that they don’t have a day off this year, there’s no shortage of ways to fill this coming Saturday.
Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival (betterchinatown.com)
Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Grand Street, Chinatown, Manhattan
February 10, 11:00am–3:30pm