Recognizes Lunar New Year
By Larry Tung
Councilmember John Liu of Flushing the first Asian American
elected to the New York City Council hopes that some day
his community will receive the same recognition enjoyed by other
ethnic groups in New York.
Suspending alternate of the street parking regulations for the Asian
Lunar New Year, Liu argues, is a first step.
"Its not about the day. Its not about parking regulations
being suspended," said Liu. "Its about recognizing
that Asian-Americans have contributed to the city. We should get
the same level of respect and attention that everybody else gets."
The citys alternate parking rules require drivers to park
on different sides of the street on different days to make way for
street cleaning trucks. However, the city suspends the regulation
for state and federal holidays and 18 additional holidays designated
by the city, including religious celebrations like Rosh Hashanah,
Yum Kippur, and Good Friday.
bill to suspend parking regulations for the Asian New Year,
which begins February 1, was first passed by the City Council in
September, but was vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor
argued that the city loses up to $300,000 a day in parking fines.
On November 7, the council overrode the mayors veto and made
it a law.
John Kuo Wei Tchen, a professor of Asian Pacific American studies
at New York University, says that recognition of the Lunar New Year,
which is celebrated by Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and
other Asian cultures, is long overdue.
"This is a good beginning, but by no means enough,"
said Tchen. "Also there are symbolic politics being played
so that its also recognition of the importance, politically,
of the growing number of Chinese people."
Tony Cai, a co-owner of Top Model Salon on Bayard Street, applauds
the City Council for its new law and hopes it will inspire Asian
Americans to become more politically active.
"In America, most Chinese people dont fight for their
rights," Cai said. "Our philosophy is to go with the flow
and let things happen, which is very different from some other ethnic
Councilmember Liu argues that in many ways the Asian-American community
is still not on the political map in New York.
"I often get asked in the Asian community how the budget cuts
are going to affect us," said Liu. "I often say there
is good news and bad news. The good news is that budget cuts arent
going to affect us a whole lot. The bad news is that we are not
getting much anyway. Its hard to cut from zero."
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