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Boro rings in Year of Snake

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Photo gallery

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Youngsters (l.-r.) Priscilla Park, Valerie Ham and Harin Oh ride aboard H-Mart's float in the annual Lunar New Year parade in Flushing. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Representatives of the Wing Chung Ip Chun Academy carry a dragon along Main Street. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Youngsters imitate Psy's "Gangnam Style" as they ride a float for the Murray Hill Merchant Association. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Lion dancers perform for restaurant goers after the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute carry a giant dragon along Main Street during the annual Lunar New Year festivities in Flushing. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A man with the Korean Percussion Group participates in the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Korean Traditional Music Association of America dance along the route. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Even a dog got in on the action and marched in the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Lion dancers line up on Main Street. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute carry a giant dragon along Main Street during the annual Lunar New Year festivities in Flushing. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Musicians from Falun Dafa take part in the festivities. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Fireworks explode to cap off the event on 39th Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A woman who fell from a float is taken away on a stretcher. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A marcher is dressed as a Taiwanese warrior. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A contingent from the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute reaches the conclusion of the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Henry Zheng is dressed in his finest for the event. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A dragon makes it way up 39th Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Sindia Srilapa carries an anti-violence T-Shirt. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Henrik, 5, and Adam, 7, Yung watch the festivities from the warmth of a bakery. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Master Mayung flies through the air. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A lion dancer is revealed without his lion's head. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Spectators hold a Chinese flag. Photo by Christina Santucci

A huge crowd turned out for the 17th annual Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Flushing Saturday as a vibrantly colored array of dancers, musicians, floats and other revelers dazzled the throngs of spectators ringing in the Year of the Snake.

“It’s great to see our culture celebrated,” said 12-year-old Hwang Times, of Great Neck, L.I., who had come to watch the parade with his mother, younger brother and friend. “Chinese is more of a minority .... We’re usually so influenced by American culture.”

Hwang’s mother, Ying Ling Hwang, who is Taiwanese-born and immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s, said she makes the trek to Flushing for the parade every year and that the activity is a good learning opportunity for her children.

“They don’t know why we need to have that kind of celebration,” she said.

She said this year she used the Lunar New Year celebration to teach her kids about the legend of the Nian monster. As the story goes, Nian, who had the body of a bull and the head of lion, would attack and eat people at the end of winter when food was scarce, but villagers learned they could scare him off with the color red, fire and noise. And so the Lunar New Year celebration began as a ritual to ward off Nian and welcome in spring.

She said she enjoyed the Lunar New Year celebration in Flushing, which she said was even more boisterous than in Taiwan.

“The feelings are more strong here,” she said. “We are all so proud.”

Flushing is home to one of the city’s largest Chinese and East Asian populations, surpassing even the number of Asians living in Chinatown in Manhattan. The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, is the most important Chinese holiday and is usually celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice.

The parade started in late morning on Main Street at 37th Avenue, winding its way through the neighborhood’s streets. Many parade participants dressed in red and yellow, and some were donned in elaborate dragon or lion-head costumes.

A number of local politicians also marched in the parade, including U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) and City Councilmen Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Peter Koo (D-Flushing), among others.

A spokeswoman with the 109th precinct said the parade was larger this year than last year. She estimated that 8,000 people marched in the parade and there were 4,000 spectators.

Ying Ling said the parade was one of the largest she had been to in recent memory.

“This year is very big,” she said.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4539.

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KT Wong from Flushing says:
Thanks for a very nice informative article. But at the end, it mentioned that "there were 4,000 spectators" which did not appear to be good estimate by the 109th precinct spokeswoman. I watched the last 20 minutes of the parades along Main and Kissena, my visual guesstimate the number of north and south of Main spectators from standing by the Flushing Main Street Library appeared larger than 4000.
Feb. 25, 2013, 12:24 pm

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