Celebrating the Year of the Dog

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An infusion of Chinese culture on the streets of the Upper East Side


  • Traditional Chinese dragons on Madison Avenue. Photo: Carson Kessler

  • Matthew Bauer, President of the Madison Avenue BID, accompanied the dragons on their parade route. Photo: Carson Kessler

  • Dogs (and their owners) watched as the dragon dancers performed outside each participating retailer. Photo: Carson Kessler

Cymbals clashed, drums boomed, and dogs barked as dragons of green, red, and gold paraded up and down Madison Avenue on Saturday to celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year.

The Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, along with the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation, East Midtown Partnership, The Grand Central Partnership, and Confucius Institute for Business at SUNY, hosted their third annual “Madison Street to Madison Avenue” Lunar New Year celebration.

To commemorate the Year of the Dog, the 2018 celebration welcomed a furrier group of New Yorkers — the dogs.

The festivities began with a traditional Chinese dragon troupe traveling from 42nd to 86th Street. Outside each of the fifty participating retailers, two golden lions reared their heads and fluttered their eyelashes to invite shoppers and their pups inside stores like Etro, Giorgio Armani, and Lululemon. Many retailers offered discounts, specials, and dog treats in support of the Animal Medical Center.

Despite the rain, owners and their dogs showed up to support the infusion of Chinese culture on the streets of the Upper East Side.

Wennie Chin decided it was the perfect event for her and Gogi, a rescue from a puppy farm in South Korea, to attend. “I thought the inclusion of our dogs in the celebration of the New Year was so beautiful,” she said. “They are a big part of our families.”

After attending last year’s celebration, William Nachtrieb wanted to bring his Pomeranian, Kingsley. “We wanted to see the dragons, and this year he can participate!”

But there was more than just shopping for attendees and their dogs. Various tents along East 54th Street held free family and dog-friendly activities such as face painting, calligraphy, a lunar-themed photo booth, and a doggy health tent with free oral exams for the four-legged attendees.

“I hope that there will be more dog-friendly events in the future,” Chin said.

Chinese New Year begins on February 16, 2018.

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