Macy’s Lunar New Year Celebration

Article By Alison Ng

On a daily basis Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square entertains thousands of enthusiastic shoppers; on February 12th that same store used its Executive floor to host a Lunar New Year Reception. The event, co-hosted by the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) welcomed in the year of the goat with professionals in the industry and sponsors which included, Bloomingdale’s, Con Edison, Colgate-Palmolive and UPS.

While the night began with pictures and warm welcomes, the big kick-off was a traditional dance performed by the Zhang Yuan Chinese Kung Fu School. Students and teachers from the Brooklyn-based school opened with the lion dance and followed with the god of fortune.

After, Edward Jay Goldberg, Senior Vice President of Macy’s Public Affairs, greeted the audience. Although Goldberg confessed he wasn’t too fond of goats, he wished everyone a great night and much luck with the New Year.

John Wang, the President of AABDC followed with much thanks. “Macy’s has been a great supporter of AABDC and a great supporter of the Asian-American community,” Wang stated. “In addition, we are very fortunate to have a number of other corporations that are also great supporters of AABDC for the Lunar New Year…this year we are fortunate to have UPS joining us.”

Wang then handed the microphone over to Wellington Chen, the Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership LDC, who focused on the main event of the night – presenting the Community Service Award to Corky Lee, the “undisputed unofficial Asian American Photographer Laureate.”

“I just wanted to say that as long as I’ve been around I never thought I’d be honored by Macy’s,” Lee commented, receiving laughs from the audience.

Lee, a freelance photojournalist, has spent most of his life documenting Asian American culture here in the United States in order to ensure their stories are included in American history. One of his most famous photographs is from 1975; it shows a Chinese American being taken away by police after being injured by them. The picture made the front page of the New York Post and caused twenty-thousand people to march from Chinatown to City Hall in protest of police brutality.

“I realized in junior high school that there were no Chinese to star in photographs,” Lee told the crowd. “I resolved that I was going to change that.”

Nine of Lee’s photographs were displayed at the reception, including another prominent piece in which Lee photographed a reenactment photo of the 145th anniversary of the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad that stretches from California to Utah.

In the original historic ceremonial commemoration photo, no Chinese were pictured, even though over 12,000 Chinese had worked on it. Lee’s reenactment photo, assisted by sixteen community organizations, includes over 200 Asian Americans, six of which are direct descendants of those railroad laborers. While working on the reenactment, Lee discovered that many Japanese-Americans took part in building the railroad. For the upcoming anniversary picture of the railroad, Lee intends to add Japanese-Americans, planning to find direct-descendants of Japanese-American laborers.

The program concluded with another performance by the Zhang Yuan Chinese Kung Fu School, who handed out red envelopes for good luck in the New Year.

Avatar photo

About AsianInNY is New York’s leader in Asian networking and a multi-cultural entertainment site. AsianInNY has established itself as the premier social and cultural authority for Asians in New York City. AsianInNY maintains the highest standards in providing reliable online content and producing live offline events. AsianInNY seeks to inspire, educate, and connect our community, using a versatile platform that engages our audience via a multi-layered digital presence that showcases the best of New York City. Our pages are updated daily with a rich cultural mix of news, events, interviews, and more. AsianInNY: Connect with Everything Asian!