QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — There’s a huge celebration going on this weekend in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that we’d like you to know about, it is the 2023 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.
PIX11 News is a proud media sponsor of the event. It’s also the oldest, largest, and most traditional Dragon Boat Festival in the U.S. and takes place at Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows.
More than 180 boats were in the water, competing, and more than 20,000 New Yorkers were on land, watching the dancing dragon, tasting international food, playing games, and exploring Asian culture.
“I am so happy to be here in Queens because the borough is the most diverse place on earth,” said PIX11 News reporter Magee Hickey.
“In 1991, when we first started the event, we had only 10 boats and now we have 180 and we are very grateful to all our sponsors,” Henry Wan, chairman of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival and co-founder said.
There was also a municipal challenge, where boats by New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and other city agencies competed. This was the first time the municipal challenge included the mayor’s office.
“The secret was hard work. We had a team who actually practiced,” Lander, wearing his medal, told PIX11 News. “And we had an amazing coach,” he added.
For so many Asian Americans, this was a chance to get back to their roots and learn about their heritage.
“I was raised in Hong Kong and came here 12 years ago so this, for me, is actually going back to my roots,” Ryan Chow who was rowing on the Chase Bank team said.
“I’m not a native New Yorker and being able to come to New York and see this diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander community is great. I wish I’d seen more of this growing up,” said Bradley Tian, an attendee who works at Chase Bank.
“It’s an amazing, awesome event,” Julianne Williams, the president of the LeFrak Tenants Association.
The 2023 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York continues Sunday.