[Updated] Year of the Monkey Chinese New Year Events in NYC


The Year of the Monkey begins on February 8, but festivities around the city begin this weekend and continue throughout the month.   We all know about the New York institution that is the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade (worth doing at least once), but what else is going on?  Lots of events hosted by local organizations featuring NYC-based artists and performers!

Check out the parades in Flushing and Sunset Park organized by local community and business organizations for a change of scene and see if they do there’s a different energy.  The Upper East Side will host a parade that goes down Madison Avenue, with luxury stores along the route getting in the spirit too.

Museum of Chinese in America, China Institute, Bronx Museum, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Zoo host family-oriented events on various weekends.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a big day this coming Saturday with events throughout the day fit for the family and others without kids.

China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts,  Committee of 100, and US-China Cultural Institute have teamed up with a number of local institutions to bring some high profile and visible events like the lighting of the Empire State Building, fireworks on the Hudson, and the annual Chinese New Year Gala at the New York Philharmonic which this year premieres Tan Dun’s  Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women in New York.  Their partnership also gives a nice nod to the first Chinese New Year NYC school holiday with performances.  Additionally, closest to our heart is CAFA’s five-day art exhibition which, through featuring Chinese artists based in China and their peers in the Chinese arts community in New York whose shows often appear on our event and exhibition listings, recognizes the presence of Chinese artists in the United States and represents one small part of the growing dialogue between the two countries.

We hope you attend at least one event and experience Chinese New Year in a way you hadn’t before.

The list has been updated to include the Here for the Ghosts poetry reading on February 8 and Xi’an Famous Foods’ Lunar New Year celebration on February 20.

Fantastic Art China: International Creative Festival (Jacob Javits Center, 2/6 – 2/10) – China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), the largest and most prestigious art school in the country, in association with in association with US-China Cultural Institute, Cultural Associate of the Committee of 100, will focus on the social, cultural and artistic development of contemporary China through visual art and culture.

Fantastic Art China: International Creative Festival will feature important works by celebrated Chinese contemporary artists Pan Gongkai, Su Xinping, Jiang Jie and Duan Haikang, all distinguished professors at CAFA who are cultivating the next generation of artists.  The exhibit will also include:

  • a Pavilion of Contemporary Arts consisting of paintings, sculptures, installations, videos, interactive digital media, and photography
  • The Way from Heart to Art, a re-examination of Chinese traditional ink painting and its presentation
  • A Sino-American Art Students Exhibition featuring the works of teachers, students and graduates from CAFA, Beijing Film Academy, Expanded Media SOAD – NYSCC at Alfred University, Columbia University, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, and NewYork University;
  • A Pavilion of Creative Design dedicated to original Chinese design products; and
  • A City-Themed Exhibition featuring Changsha, Hunan Province’s capital, that focuses on urban development and art in a modern Chinese city.


“Madison Street to Madison Avenue” Celebration – From 11 AM to 1 PM, lion dancers and a dragon will make there way down Madison Ave from E. 76th St. to the center of festivities at E. 54th St.  There, at the Harman Store, 527 Madison Avenue, variety of indoor and outdoor Lunar New Year-themed family entertainment: calligraphy demonstrations by Simon Zeng, face-painting by Silly Cheeks, and Lunar New Year Photo Booth.  Adding to the festivities are performances by FJ Music Fusion (Feifei Yang and Sylvia Jiaju Shen who recently performed at Carnegie Hall), the New York Eastern Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dr. Fei Fang, Les Ballets de ‘Opera Chinois de New York, and traditional Chinese face-changing by Peng Li.

Participating high-end retailers along the lion dance route will have special in-store Lunar New Year programming.

Saturday, February 6, 11 AM – 3 PM
Madison Avenue from 54th Street to 77th Street


Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Lunar New Year – The museum hosts a multicultural celebration with Chinese events highlighted here:


Playing Music in the Willow Tree via Chambers Fine Art

Saturday, February 6, 11 AM – 6 PM
Metropolitan Museum of Art


Year of the Monkey Celebration – Hosted by VIP organizers, special tours of the art exhibition, and performances by iSING! & National Dance Institute public school students. Also featured will be a special presentation by The Nature Conservancy on the endangered golden monkey and the environment.

February 6, 5 PM
Javits Center North


“Story Fireworks” on the Hudson River @ Pier 84
CAFA-designed specialty Fireworks By Grucci with simulcast of accompanying music by Oscar and Grammy Award winner Tan Dun.  Firework display themes include;

  • Spring Dance by the Golden Monkeys (金猴舞春): to express the joy of an upcoming spring by presenting images of dancing, golden monkeys.
  • Dressing of the Land (大地霓裳): to present the grace of “The Four Gentlemen” in Chinese traditional culture, which refers to four plants – the plum blossom, the orchid, the chrysanthemum, and the bamboo.
  • Emotion of Landscapes (山水倾情)
  • Celebration of the Universe (一览星银)

Part of the Year of the Monkey Celebration.  

A cruise along the Hudson organized with CAFA is sold out.

February 6, 8:30 PM
Hudson River & Pier 84


Light Show @ Empire State Building
The Empire State Building will feature a light show on the nights of the 6th and the 8th.  Part of the Year of the Monkey Celebration.


Student Holiday Celebration – A celebration to mark NYC’s first school holiday for Chinese New Year with performances by MC Jin, Elena Moon Park + Sonia de los Santos, Bluestone 739, and Story Laurie

Monday, February 8, 9:30 AM – 6 PM
Javits Center North


Chinatown Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival  – Performances, firecrackers, and gift booths.  Sponsored by Better Chinatown USA

Monday, February 8, 11 AM
Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Grand Street, Chinatown


A Taste of Chinese New Year – A walk-in family day where Children and Families can learn about Chinese New Year and trial Mandarin Class for children.

Monday, February 8, 12 – 5 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street


Here for the Ghosts – A chance to hear from three young women all born in China in the same year, whose voices are among the most exciting writing right now. Acclaimed poets Jenny Zhang and Sarah Howe (recent TS Eliot poetry prize winner) will read from recent work, joined by musician and writer Emma-Lee Moss (aka Emmy the Great), speaking and performing excerpts from her translation project. There’ll be dim sum and, for those who wish to party till late, we’ll see the lunar year out with a selection of Mando- and Cantopop, plus other great, ghost-scaring tunes.


National Dance Institute Celebration Team and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Community Event  – Year of the Monkey dances by National Dance Institute Celebration Team and Traditional Lion Dance by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company against the backdrop of David Geffen Hall decorated with Chinese artwork by Duan Haikang.

Tuesday, February 9, 4:30 PM
Josie Robertson Hall, Lincoln Center


5th Annual Chinese Lunar New Year Gala Concert –  Tan Dun’s Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, symphony for 13 micro films, harp, and orchestra has its New York premiere in this New York Philharmonic concert conducted by Long Yu which also includes Li Huanzhi – Spring Festival Overture; Chen Gang and He Zhanhao – The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto; Fritz Kreisler – Tambourin Chinois

Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 PM
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Tickets: $35 – 100 (Student discounts available)


Flushing Lunar New Year Parade – Flushing Chamber of Commerce hosts Queen’s biggest Chinese New Year event.

Saturday, February 13, 11 AM (Reception at 9 AM)
Begins at Union Street and 37th Avenue, Flushing


Chinese New Year Family Celebration: The Year of The Monkey – China Institute hosts dumpling making, paper cutting, and paper lantern workshops along with dance and martial arts performances, face painting, and storytelling.

Saturday, February 13, 11 AM – 3 PM
China Institute, 100 Washington Street
Workshops: Members: $10/Adults, $5/Children; Non-members: $15/Adults, $5/Children


Sunset Park Lunar New Year Parade – Brooklyn-Chinese American Association hosts the 29th annual parade in Brooklyn’s largest Chinatown.

Sunday, February 14, 12 PM
Begins at 8th Avenue and 50th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn


17th Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival – The city’s best known Chinese New Year event.

Parade route: Mott & Canal to Chatham Square to East Broadway towards the Manhattan Bridge, completing on Eldridge and Forsyth Streets towards Grand Street next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

via Better Chinatown

via Better Chinatown

Sunday, February 14, 1 PM
Begins at Mott Street and Hester Street


Museum of Chinese in America’s Family Festival – A full day of fun for the whole family includes dance performances, scavenger hunts, noodle pulling demos, storytelling, calligraphy, and arts and crafts.

Saturday, February 20, 11 AM – 4 PM
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
$10/person; $8/MOCA Dual and Individual Level Members; Free/MOCA Family Level Members and above, children under 2, and Cool Culture families.


Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar – Flushing Town Hall’s 2nd annual Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar returns! For centuries, people in China have celebrated the Lunar New Year in temple fairs. Bring your family to enjoy performances, martial arts, crafts and food to celebrate the Year of the Monkey.

Saturday, February 20, 11 AM – 1 PM and 2 – 4 PM
Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
$5/Adults; $3/Children; Free/members


Lunar New Year at Bronx Museum – Celebrate this popular Chinese holiday with paper cutting and calligraphy activities and costumed folk dances and authentic music, presented by the New York Chinese Cultural Center.

Saturday, February 20, 2 – 4 PM
Bronx Museum


Queens Zoo Celebration – Come celebrate Lunar New Year at the zoo with performances by Chinese Theater Works, a self-guided zodiac scavenger hunt, a special New Year’s craft and fortune cookies!

February 20 – 21
Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th Street


Lunar New Year Festival Presented by Xi’an Famous Foods – This food and music event celebrates the New Year with prominent stars such as Far East Movement, Kina Grannis, Taiwan rapper Softlipa, and Taiwan pop singer Kimberly Chen.  Otafuku, Yonekichi, Korilla, Mokbar, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, and Xi’an Fmous foods will offer their menus and signature dishes.  In addition to providing a fun and memorable experience, it also supports Apex for Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving under-privileged Asian-American youth through education and mentor programs.

February 20, 5:30 – 10 PM
Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th Street
Tickets begin at $60


Prospect Park Zoo Celebration – Decorate treats for the zoo’s monkeys in honor of the Year of the Monkey, or take part in a calligraphy class and other events. Plush monkeys will be 10 percent off at the gift shop through the month of February.

February 27 – 28
Prospect Park Zoo, 450 Flatbush Avenue

Image by Dan Nguyen, licensed through Creative Commons

There is 1 comment

Add yours

Comments are closed.