The 24th annual Lunar New Year Parade in Manhattan's Chinatown came roaring back on Sunday as thousands of spectators turned out along historic Mott Street to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.
While marchers also made their way across East Broadway and up Chrystie Street, everyone knows that Mott, with its intimate dimensions, is where the best action is on parade day — there were lion and dragon dances, floats, confetti cannons, and ongoing bursts of joy throughout the area.
Governor Kathy Hochul spoke from a stage on Hester Street before marching. "I'm so happy to be here," she said. "When I see this crowd it says to me one thing: that New York is as strong as the tiger... and that's what this parade symbolizes." She also addressed the economic distress the area has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, "I walked these streets, and this was a ghost town for too long."
Mayor Eric Adams made brief remarks as well — "This community was devastated by COVID and anti-Asian violence," he said. "This is the Year of the Tiger, and you're going to hear the roar all over this city as we roar back in a strong way. We're coming back and we will support you in a real way."
Neither Adams nor Hochul addressed the protesters in the crowd, who were shouting and waving signs decrying the proposed construction of a "mega jail" in their neighborhood, as well as additional homeless shelters.
"We're scared," Samantha Chan, who has lived in Chinatown for twenty years, told Gothamist. Referring to the murder of Christina Yuna Lee on Chrystie Street last week, Chan said, "It could have been me, it could have been my sister, it could have been my co-workers, so we don't want any more shelters here. I don't feel safe walking in the streets. I don't feel safe in my own neighborhood."
On Sunday, Hochul also announced that $10 million would be dispersed to organizations providing services "to Asian American communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic." Hochul noted in a statement accompanying the announcement that these communities in New York were "especially hard hit, not only by the virus, but by an increase in hate and violent crimes."
According to the press release, "This will be the largest investment in the Asian American community in New York State history."