How to Support Manhattan's Chinatown During Lunar New Year

The nonprofit Welcome to Chinatown will host events from Jan. 25 through Feb. 4.

Aerial view of the Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, NYC

Courtesy of NYC & Company

As one of New York City’s many Asian enclaves, Manhattan’s Chinatown isn’t just the best known, but it’s also home to one of the densest Asian immigrant populations in the country — and some of the most lively Lunar New Year celebrations. The holiday, which is the biggest and most important celebration in the diaspora, will ring in the Year of the Rabbit on Jan. 22 this year.

The packed neighborhood, filled with small businesses, was also one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, during which there was also a rise in anti-Asian American hate incidents. That’s when the nonprofit Welcome to Chinatown was born to help with “amplifying and addressing the critical needs of our community and its entrepreneurs,” as the organization describes in its mission statement. “Together, we will keep Chinatown open for generations to come.”

Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, NYC

Walter Wlodarczyk/Courtesy of NYC & Company

In that spirit, Welcome to Chinatown is hosting two major Lunar New Year events to continue helping the Chinatown businesses that need it most. After all, the organization says that in 2022, 57 percent of the neighborhood's business owners were still concerned about getting customers.

"This is our love letter to the past, present, and future of Chinatown, and a celebration of the vital role this neighborhood plays for NYC and New Yorkers," Welcome to Chinatown CEO Victoria Lee, who founded the organization with Jennifer Tam, said in a statement sent to Travel + Leisure. "From pop-up and workshops to dinner parties and shows, our [Lunar New Year] events are all about togetherness. Our community is stronger when we all come together.”

Red lanterns hanging outside Mott Gift Shop during Lunar New Year in NYC

Lynnette Blanche/Courtesy of Welcome to Chinatown

First, it will hold a Lunar New Year Weekend Fair on Jan. 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the East Broadway Mall (88 East Broadway). The celebration will include food and drinks from Lunar Hard Seltzer, Nguyen Coffee Supply, Banh by Lauren, and Butterboy Baking; workshops from Subtle Asian Baking, AAKI-LAB, and Anna Ye Tea; embroidery with MKC Threads; and a Panda Express-sponsored library with books from ABC Digest, Gordon & Li Li, and Yu and Me Books.

Made in Chinatown Live Embroidery Studio pop up at 88 East Broadway

Courtesy of Welcome to Chinatown

Children playing with streamers during the 2020 Lunar New Year in NYC

Lynnette Blanche/Courtesy of Welcome to Chinatown

There will also be opportunities to shop with Dae Tea, Dawang, Ga Ma Diam Goods, Lotus Haus Studio, The Revolutionary Mushroom, Rugged Looks, Sacha Raps, Sonya Lei, Sublima Jewelry, and The Bao Bae Shop. There will also be an AAPI artist alley, and Meet Chinatown will also host a scavenger hunt.

Additionally, the organization will be hosting a Lunar New Year Dinner Series with dates throughout the 15-day celebration, kicking off with an eight-course meal at Pot Luck Club presented with Johnnie Walker with a performance by Golden Lions on Jan. 25. Next will be a Drag Dim Sum with bubble_t at the iconic Jing Fong, presented by Community Vodka, on Jan. 26, followed by a Korean three-course dinner with drink pairings at Round K on Jan. 31. The final week includes a Golden Diner dinner with food from chef Emily Yuen's Lingo on Feb. 1, a dinner party at Wo Hop hosted by Bowery Showroom with Johnnie Walker and Sanzo, and finally a comedy night at Mee Sum Cafe. More information and tickets are available here.

AAPI Artist Alley at 88 East Broadway in September

Courtesy of Welcome to Chinatown

But year-round, there are always ways to help the Manhattan Chinatown community. Welcome to Chinatown also provides a Meet Chinatown digital directory to all of its local favorites and essentials spots in town, and welcomes donations to its Longevity Fund, which has supported more than 75 small business grants, 25 merchandise collaborations (which you can shop for here), and more than 90,000 meals distributed to those in need, including low-income homes, seniors, and food insecure community members, through its Sik Faan Fund.

To learn more about Welcome to Chinatown and its Lunar New Year events, visit the Welcome to Chinatown website here.

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