Tag Archives: chinese

Flushing Lunar New Year celebration to be marked with first joint festivities between Korean and Chinese communities

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

As Lunar New Year approaches, Asian communities in Flushing are trying to strengthen their relationship and will be holding a joint celebration for the holiday.

The Korean and Chinese communities are coming together on Feb. 15 to hold a parade for the beginning of their new calendar year. And Flushing Town Hall has announced a celebration between the two groups.

“The Chinese and Korean communities are developing strong roots in Flushing and so we have to do things together to avoid misunderstanding between the two groups,” said Jamison Moon, a member of the Korean American Association of Queens. “Our two communities don’t usually associate but we are trying to create stronger ties.

The Lunar New Year for many Asian cultures falls on Feb. 19 this year and it will be the year of the sheep. In past celebrations, hundreds of people have come out to celebrate in the parade, and organizers are expecting a similar showing of people with an increased boost from both groups celebrating together.

The day will be filled with festivities like traditional Chinese and Korean dances, free rice-cake soups and a K-Pop singing contest.

The joint celebration comes on the heels of a couple of new laws aimed at increasing the awareness of Flushing’s diverse communities. In December a new law was passed that would allow schools in Flushing to close for Lunar New Year, along with other holidays like Diwali. And the city declared Jan.13 the first Korean-American day.

Between 2008 and 2011, the city’s Korean population jumped 11 percent to more than 103,000, according to the Asian American Federation. And Queens has its own vibrant Korean community, which often holds events, like last year’s Senior Olympics, to celebrate its culture.

Flushing Town Hall will meanwhile host a series of events throughout the month with highlights including a bazaar and an Earth, Water, Fire and Wind dance.

“We’re bringing in the new year by being together,” Moon said. “And to be able to do this between two historically strained groups is a great victory.”


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 86. Northwest wind 8 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Clear, with a low around 72. West wind around 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: After School Special-Laughing Devil Comedy Club 

Join Jesse Jones as he brings his rowdy comic buddies to this weekly show. After School Special is a show designed to make every week a very special episode. Each Thursday at 8:00 p.m. you will be treated to a mix of alternative comics, mainstream comedians, story tellers and special guests as they hilariously give insight into the life as a stand-up.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens man arrested for synagogue crime spree

A man who stole valuable Torah relics from a Kew Gardens Hills synagogue earlier this month was arrested Tuesday and also charged with stealing religious items from two other synagogues in Queens this summer, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced today. Read more: Queens Courier

State rejects charter school application for kids of illegal Chinese immigrants

The state has shot down an application to create a year-round, bilingual charter school in Flushing aimed at the children of illegal Chinese immigrants. Lotus King Weiss, the lead applicant of the Whole Elephant Charter School, posted articles on the elementary school’s website about her being attacked in the U.S. due to her controversial Falun Dafa beliefs. Read more: Daily News

Queens judge sues city after alleged transit cop assault

Stung by the refusal of the Queens district attorney to prosecute the cops he says assaulted him, a state Supreme Court judge today took the first steps to sue the city. Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas Raffaele walked into the Kew Gardens courthouse on his day off to file the notice of claim against the city, expressing his intention to file a lawsuit for the “untruths” and “slander” he claims was reported by a pair of transit cops to undercut criminal charges. Read more: NY Post

Ryan calls for a U.S. turnaround, led by Romney

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, whose budget plans have come to define conservative opposition to President Obama’s governing philosophy, accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday as his party embraced the gamble that the small-government principles he represents have more political payoff than peril. Read more: NY Times

Isaac causing big problems, but proving to be far weaker than Katrina

Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans on Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages that had few defenses against the slow-moving storm that could bring days of unending rain. Read more: CBS

Mourners say goodbye to man killed outside Empire State Building

Funeral services were held Wednesday for the man shot and killed near the Empire State Building last week. Mourners gathered for a solemn service at Our Lady of Sorrows in White Plains to honor fashion executive Steven Ercolino. Read more: CBS

74-year-old gunman tries to shoot his estranged wife in Staten Island bowling alley

A Staten Island bowling alley was turned into a shooting range Wednesday when a 74-year-old man opened fire on his estranged wife. Armando Tritto squeezed off at least three errant shots at Maureen Tritto, 47, as she was preparing to open the snack bar at Rab’s Country Lanes in Dongan Hills, cops said. Read more: Daily News

Assembly race divided along ethnic lines

| mchan@queenscourier.com


A Democratic Assembly hopeful in a primary race already dividing ethnic lines fears a split Korean community could give the Chinese candidate a golden ticket to the general election.

Myungsuk Lee, who is vying for the potentially open and brewing 40th Assembly District race, expects to face an uphill battle with fellow Korean candidate — and county pick — Ron Kim.

“The Korean community is a little divided between Ron Kim and me,” said Lee, 49, of Flushing. “Their votes are really divided. I don’t think it’s easy to unify them because I will keep running. I won’t give up, and the other candidate won’t give up.”

Kim, a 33-year-old South Korean-born community activist, has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu. The Flushing resident was an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin before moving on to work for the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services, serving also as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.

Lee, owner and publisher of the tabloid newspaper Korean American Times, is the president of the Federation of Korean American Associations in Greater New York and former president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of New York and the Korean American Association of Queens.

While each candidate eyeing the seat will still have to garner enough petitions to make it on to the ballot, Lee and Kim expect to face off with Chinese contender Ethel Chen.

“If there are two Koreans and one Chinese [candidate], it’s not easy for us to win,” Lee said, citing the results of the highly competitive 20th District City Council race in 2009, when Korean hopefuls John Choe and S.J. Jung were beat out in the Democratic primary by Chinese contender Yen Chou. “We are afraid that’s going to happen again.”

Chou — who is also reportedly seeking another run for election this year in the 40th District — was ultimately defeated in that general election by then-Republican rival Peter Koo.

Former Democratic district leader Martha Flores-Vazquez has also reportedly joined the buzzing primary this year. But each hopeful could possibly go up against Assemblymember Grace Meng, who currently holds the seat and is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether she would step down or seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill.

On the Republican ticket, Chinese candidate Phil Gim — who got the nod from the Queens County GOP — will take on Korean-native Sunny Hahn.

Candidates have until July 12 to gather enough signatures to qualify for the September 13 primaries.

Communication Breakdown: Residents want English signs, legislation slow in coming

| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Melissa Chan

Some Flushing residents — still enraged about the lack of bilingual signage on businesses in the downtown area — had one universal message: “English comes first.”

“When store owners put up signs in only their language, they’re saying they don’t want us in the store. And if they don’t want me in their stores in my country, then I don’t want them in my country,” said resident Eugene Sadowsky.

The issue has been an ongoing one for over two years, said resident James Trikas, who is part of a small group of locals fighting to see signage in the area changed to 60 percent English and 40 percent in a second language.

“They’re sending the message that they cater to their own, and that’s offensive and wrong,” Trikas said. “They are changing the community to show that this is a Chinese or Korean only community. A business shouldn’t do that. We’re all for fairness, but we’re trying to unite people and not allow people to segregate us.”

Currently, state law does require bilingual signage. However, it is not enforced due to miscommunication as to which agency is responsible, according to elected officials. The law also does not apply to leased businesses.

While legislation has been introduced in the State Assembly, as well as the City Council, Trikas said local electeds have showed little to no leadership in getting the matter resolved due to the sensitive nature of the issue.

“They know it’s a huge problem in the community, and they’re not doing anything about it. They’re ignoring it by shifting the burden into enforcement. This is a game they’re playing to delay the issue,” said Trikas.

Assemblymember Grace Meng said the bill she introduced has been submitted to the state, but she said there is no time frame on when it would be voted on or passed. Her bill would require signs to have bilingual language, make the law apply to leased properties and name the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) as the rightful enforcer. Under the bill, the city agency would also determine the ratio of English and other languages on the signs.

“It’s hard to determine the timeline of a bill. Some bills take months and some take years,” Meng said. “I know it’s not the easiest thing to do. We’re trying to do it without overly burdening businesses.”

Co-sponsored city legislation introduced about a year ago by Councilmember Dan Halloran and Peter Koo would require signs to be 60 percent in English. It would also make the DCA responsible for enforcement.

However, according to Steven Stites, a spokesperson for Halloran, the councilmembers were told jurisdiction lies in the state, not the city.

“This is America. This is our country. I’m starting to be rude, and I really am starting not to care,” Sadowsky said. “I’m not racist. I’m not against anybody coming here. But when it comes to the signage, I’m dead against it. They have to change the signs now — not next year, not next month, not next week.”


China’s first lady visits Forest Hills Library

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library Left to right: Madame Ma Chow Mei-Ching, Queens Library President and CEO Thomas Galante and Hwai-Min Wood, manager of the Forest Hills Library.

Patrons of the Forest Hills Library received a once-in-a-lifetime lesson on Chinese culture on October 13.

The first lady of the Republic of China, Madame Ma Chow Mei-Ching, visited the library, located at 108-19 71st Avenue, to present a donation of 10 children’s picture books. The books, which are written in Chinese, were contributed with the purpose of encouraging young Americans to learn more about the traditions of China.

Along with her gift, Madame Ma entertained children with tales about the Chinese Zodiac and educated them in the art of creating an origami mouse – the first of the 12 animals of the Zodiac.

A group of elementary school students from the southern Taiwanese county of Pingtung who are traveling with the first lady regaled visitors with a musical performance, which included ancient melodies from the Paiwan aboriginal tribe.

“Queens Library was honored to welcome Madame Ma Chow Mei-Ching and her guests,” said Joanne King, the associate director of communications for Queens Library. “Queens has more than 195,000 people whose first language is Chinese and who have strong cultural ties to their homeland. It is our mission to provide them with reading material in their own language, and to provide our English-speaking library users with a greater understanding of the great art, culture and economy of China. Library users in Queens will make good use of this generous gift, and we are so appreciative.”

Danny’s Szechuan Garden will be back soon

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Howard Beach hot spot — Danny’s Szechuan Garden — will be back in business soon.

The popular Chinese and Japanese fusion restaurant temporarily closed at the end of June this year to relocate and is scheduled to reopen before December.

But fans of the cuisine won’t have to travel much further than usual to get their dosage of fried wontons and hibachi. Danny’s is just moving up the street, to 156-40B Cross Bay Boulevard, a few blocks away from where the former restaurant stood for 33 years.

“It’s very exciting. It’s a new challenge,” said owner Danny Chan, 64.

Chan, a Howard Beach resident himself, hopes the new location will bring him more business, while continuing to keep his old friends and customers happy.

“It’s a better location. My old place was really big and I didn’t get to fully use it. There’s more traffic up the street. It’s a smaller place now and it’s easier to manage,” he said.

He also said he’s been getting a fair share of text messages from loyal customers asking when the restaurant will be open again.

“I’ve been here a long time, so I know a lot of good people and friends here. They’re happy that I’m going to reopen. I’m happy because apparently we did something right.”

With the new location, Chan said there will be a few changes, including a lunch menu and some innovative dishes.

But he said, “It’s a surprise. They have to come here to find out how good the new dishes are.”