Getting cocky! Sunset Park celebrates Year of the Rooster

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Feelin’ lucky: John Zhang and Michael Chan dressed as Caishen, the god of prosperity, to bring good fortune to festival-goers.
Over the moon: Chloe Fang and her dad, Alex Fang, enjoy the dance displays that kicked off the parade.
On a roll: Tykes dance and greet parade-goers on Eighth Avenue alongside a float.
Lion laughs: Performers dazzled pint-sized celebrants with the friendly northern lion dances.
Packed: Thousands squeezed onto Eighth Avenue for the 30th annual parade.

Tens of thousands said ni hao to the Year of the Rooster at Sunset Park’s annual Lunar New Year Parade on Jan. 29.

This year’s festivities really went off with a bang — the Fire Department ignited more than 50,000 firecrackers in the street as organizers released thousands of red and yellow balloons in what may be the biggest celebration ever, according to one participant.

“If you looked down Eighth Avenue, it was packed with people,” said performer John Zhang. “I think this was the biggest one yet, which is great because more and more people are interested in the culture. And we hope it brings them all good fortune for the new year.”

Zhang and other marchers manned ornate dragon and lion costumes and dressed as Chinese gods to bring luck and good fortune to the festival-goers who lined the Eighth Avenue near 50th Street with noisemakers.

Meantime, revellers swapped gifts, watched kung-fu and traditional dance displays, and lit their own pyrotechnics.

This was the 30th year the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association had organized the public party, and one immigrant said she really appreciates having a taste of the old country this time of year.

“It was a wonderful celebration that I’m grateful for because I feel like sometimes it’s kind of hard to celebrate Chinese New Year in a foreign country, but this makes it easier,” said Bensonhurster Jiahui Wu, who is originally from China and works as a pre-kindergarden teacher in Sunset Park.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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