Lock In 353 Days of Good Fortune with These Lunar New Year Celebrations in NYC
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with these NYC events and maybe you’ll harness its intellect, determination, and bravery.
For many Asian cultures across the world, Lunar New Year marks a celebrated and sacred turning of a new leaf. This year, February 10 kicks off the Year of the Wood Dragon. Regarded as the strongest of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, the dragon promises prosperity and good fortune as people harness the mythical creature’s intellect, determination, and bravery. Along with traditional celebrations like money in red envelopes, lively dancing, and home-cooked family meals, the city’s vibrant AAPI community is buzzing with ways to ring in the new year. From all-you-can-eat dim sum to lion dances and tea egg demos, here’s how to celebrate Lunar New Year in NYC.
Lunar New Year Events and Parties in NYC
Known for its neo-Sichuanese cuisine (namely its dry pots), Málà Project is turning up the heat once more through a Lunar New Year collaboration Busboy, a local lifestyle brand oriented to the food and beverage industry. Hosted at the restaurant’s Brooklyn location, guests can spend the evening feasting on a buffet of dry pot, dragon prawns, and dumplings, while sipping on any of the four specialty cocktails. Dragon dancers, a DJ, and surprise performances will keep the party going late into the night.
Founded by owner Ruoyi Jiang, the Chop Suey Club lifestyle boutique curates a thoughtful selection of products—clothes, accessories, home goods, and trinkets—designed by Chinese and Chinese American creatives from across the globe. The boutique’s much-anticipated annual Lunar New Year party, this year dubbed Dragonpalooza, will be held at Olly Olly Market in Chelsea. Co-hosted by CINGS (the China Institute Next Gen x Serica Initiative nonprofit that advocates for Asian American inclusion) and SYRO (a queer-owned footwear brand), expect an open bar, complimentary Olly Olly Market gift cards, a claw machine game filled with prizes, tooth gem and flash tattoo stations, mahjong tables, and dragon dancing.
The Seaport, Free entry
Live lion dance performances, Chinese calligraphy workshops, and Chinese lion chain crafting sessions come to The Seaport this month to honor the revelrous holiday. Hosted alongside the New York Chinese Cultural Center, the Lunar New Year Celebration at The Seaport offers a full afternoon of activities completely free of charge. After you’ve fashioned your nautical lion chains and practiced your penmanship, head over to the Tin Building for an innovative Chinese dinner at House of the Red Pearl or peruse the ingredients and pantry must-haves at Mercantile East.
Pier 57, Free entry
Backed by the James Beard Foundation, Market 57 is a veritable culinary playground. Among this food hall’s many stands, there’s an emphasis on a wide variety of Asian vendors specializing in everything from Japanese karaage and Chinese bubble tea to South Asian-inspired ice cream and Chinese American dim sum. Yet another reason to drop by this month is for the Lunar New Year Celebration. In addition to lion dancers, music, and crafts, guests can sign up for a free dumpling-making class and tea egg demonstrations.
Where to Shop Small This Lunar New Year in NYC
Greenpoint, Prices vary
A bouquet of auspicious flowers sets the mood for top tier Lunar New Year. NYC-based Eriko Nagata Floral Design Studio pops up with a temporary flower market at Japanese lifestyle shop Cibone. Curated on the spot by the Japanese flower artist herself, take home a bouquet of traditionally lucky flowers like peonies, pussy willows, and chrysanthemums. Afterwards, explore the rest of the offerings at the 50 Norman building like the Japanese soup stock store Dashi Okume, as well as the Japanese- and French-melded restaurant House.
Through February 29
Holding the title for the oldest continuously operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Wing on Wo & Co. is an undisputed New York City institution. With a five-generation-long legacy, some version of the family-run shop has lived on Mott Street since the 1890s. Currently, the store is run by Mei Lum and functions as a seller of porcelain antiques and Asian American cultural goods. To celebrate the new year, Wing on Wo & Co. has invited more than 20 AAPI artists to create and sell functional artwork, like vases, bells, and incense holders, out of its shop as part of the “Power as Infinite” ceramics show. Pieces are available online and in-store.
After a fire forced Yu and Me Books to temporarily close its storefront last year, owner Lucy Yu was greeted with an outpouring of donations and love from the community. Now, the Asian American, woman-owned bookstore has officially reopened its doors just in time for the Lunar New Year. A haven for Asian storytelling and immigrant narratives, there are swaths of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and works sourced from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop to help celebrate the new year.
Lunar New Year Dinners and Special Menus in NYC
Greenpoint, Prices vary
Motivated by a dream to expand people’s knowledge of sool (Korean alcoholic beverages) and the sense of community that surrounds it, Alice Jun and John Limb transformed their makgeolli (unfiltered Korean rice wine) business from a startup out of Jun’s apartment to a brewery and tasting room in Greenpoint. As a special Seollal (Korean New Year) treat, chef Susan Kim of Doshi is posting up at Hana Makgeolli to prepare traditional Korean dishes like mandu tteokguk (rice cake soup with dumplings), bossam (boiled pork), and bindaetteok (mung bean pancake).
Amid the dim sum palaces, porcelain purveyors, jewelry shops, and well-stocked markets of Chinatown is a recent newcomer to the neighborhood, Tolo. At the helm of the dark and sultry restaurant/wine bar that specializes traditional Chinese recipes melded with newer culinary influences is chef Ron Yan (Parcelle). For the holiday this year, groups of six to 12 guests can feast on Yan’s extravagant prix fixe menu with plates like Jiaozi Dumplings, Lion’s Head Meatballs, Longevity Noodles, and a communal Poon Choi (lobster, scallops, prawns, bean curd, vegetables). The meal is also paired with wines curated specifically from past dragon years.
East Village, $25
If Romeo (we’re talking Leo DiCaprio’s character from the 1996 cult classic Romeo + Juliet) were to design a bar in the East Village in 2024, it would be Romeo’s. Illuminated by hot pink hues and a projection of romantic movies on loop, this spot gives off that coveted “if you know, you know” vibe. As the cocktail bar teams up with Nom Wah Nolita dim sum parlor, locals can drop by for an all-you-can-eat Lunar New Year-themed spread. Pair heaps of dim sum with inventive cocktails like the Pistachio Mai Tai or a Coconut Whiskey Ginger.