The celebrations of the Year of the Rat/Mouse went off as scheduled on Sunday. At peak time 8th Avenue was packed as tightly as Times Square on New Year's Eve. The celebration lasted a little over the scheduled three hours as such things are wont to do. However, unlike last year there were some people who were conspicuous by their absence. The borough president sent a representative, our own Council person Sarah Gonzales was missing in action sending a minor functionary of her office. Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez was missing as well as was our assemblyman Felix Ortiz. Most of these characters including the district attorney Charles Hynes who attended last year were missing. In fact, what one would consider all the major political players in Sunset Park were out of sight, but not out of mind.
Should the Chinese community consider this a slight? What changed from last year to this one to see such absence? Vincent Gentile was here last year and this one. He probably didn't get invited to the party the others must have been attending to warrant their absence. Of course he represents Bay Ridge where rumor has it a few Chinese live as well. Present this year was Peter Abate who I don't remember seeing last year. He represents mostly Bensonhurst which has a growing Chinese population that is almost rivaling that of Sunset Park in size.
The weather under the command of Mother Nature cooperated in allowing the Suns to shine during the time. The festivities were very delightful with school children performing traditional songs and dances and a very impressive Kung Fu demonstration as a prelude to five teams of Lion Dancers performing at the climax of the presentation. Neeedless to say there was color everywhere. A photographer's eye candy to be had.
Paul Mak was gracious enough to allow me a great vantage point for me to shoot some photographs as he did last year. I managed to pull off some 500 shots and will post the better ones when time permits in the coming days. All in all a great time was had by all. All our parties should be as well orchestrated and organized.