Performers rang in the Lunar New Year with a dance at the Staten Island Children’s Museum as Dancers from the New York Chinese Cultural Center taught kids about the Asian holiday using the traditional "monkey dance" among other performances.
"I liked the ribbon dance," said one young spectator.
For the first time, public schools throughout the city were closed for the Lunar New Year. But these parents say, even though kids had a day off, taking part in the celebration was a way to expand their horizons.
"They learned that there's a whole new world out there and people celebrate different things," said Joanne Pentangelo, External Affairs Manager at Staten Island Children's Museum.
"Well this is the melting spot, it's the United States and everybody has to celebrate their holiday," added public school parent William Conroy.
Organizers say parents have been requesting more cultural programs at the museum. And the Manhattan based performers say they've been getting more requests for bookings in the borough.
"Most of our target families for the school come from Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, so it's nice to come to Staten Island and meet new families and people who may not have been exposed to Chinese culture," said Susanna Dolan of the New York Chinese Cultural Center.
In addition to learning about Asian art and dance, some parents and children say they enjoy the culinary side of Lunar New Year, most.
"They had really good food. That was my favorite part actually," said another young audience member.
Meanwhile, the manager at Asian Food Markets on South Avenue says she's seeing a wider range of customers buying Asian products at the store.
"There was a lot of customers who came to the store looking for something to celebrate the holiday — like dumpling or some decoration to put in their house — not only Asian people but non-Asian people," said Jane Silveray, manager at Asian Food Markets.
Silveray says she expects business to boom in the next few days as the weeklong celebration continues.