Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Moon in Aquarius & Chinese New Year 4707, The Year of The Metal Tiger (Feb. 14)

Give way to new traditions!

Chinese New Year is my favorite time of the year in my hood, as the whole place goes nuts with sights and sounds that is so fun and festively exciting that it totally makes up for all the crap I put up the rest of the year living down here (AKA the smells, the excessive road kill, the third world conditions (like dead phone service after rainstorms, etc.).

During CNY, I love waking up to the drumming, like I'm in the jungle; the massive amounts of confetti flying in the air; the lion dancing; the hordes of people I can watch, but not have to subject myself to and of course, the best part is that it's all about superstitions, and recalibrating yourself with symbolic gestures to ensure a better future. I totally love all that, am a total sucker for it and also, I grew up with it, so I am use to it.

However, since I moved down to Chinatown, I wanted to make the holiday my own. So I created a few new traditions to ensure my life keeps going with more good than bad. These rituals include throwing confetti and whatever else that won't kill anyone out my window and off my fire escape (there is no reason CNY can't be C-town's Mardi Gras); always color coding the food and drinks of the day, like dying the dumplings blue (peace) or red (love); give out stuffed red envelopes with candy and fortunes, with a few extra lucky ones with coins that can win someone fabulous prizes. (Prizes from the past include the punching Yasser Arafat hand puppet, the boobie stress balls and a stick of 'Macho' deodorant--and yes, all local finds) ...and always have the day be a collective effort, as in everyone joining in must contribute something in a color that represents something they want more of in the new year, (like yellow for success, bananas; green for money, spinach, etc.)...but most importantly, it's having the best time possible for as long as possible....and while living in the heart of it all, sometimes that meant 12+ hour parties in my compact apartment, with karaoke sometimes being involved and decadence always being involved.

One of my favorite CNY moments was during the Year of the Rat. While I was doing party prep, I kept going back and forth to look at lion dances from my window. The day just started, but the streets were packed and people were going nuts shooting off tons of confetti rockets into the air (pre-recession). That year there were surprises in the tubes, fortunes written on big fat red ribbons and some attached to parachutes. I had just got to the window, when I saw a lucky parachute coming down from the sky just out of reach. As in slow-mo, I stretched out of my window to just be able to grab it and as I did, the crowd down below broke out in a LOUD roaring cheer. They were all watching my 3-second plight. The wave of energy and excitement from 4 floors down that shot up was amazing! I waved down after, like Evita — a moment of celebrity I’ll never forget!

..but atlas, the good times are coming to an end, as I'm moving out at the end of the month and will no longer have this access just outside my door....or the other perks of my address, like living next to a barber shop called MEI DICK, and when giving directions, being able to say, "If you've gone past MEI DICK, you've gone too far."

...but whatever, got to keep on keeping on and its been a fab 7 years...but as I go into the home stretch of time over here, hoorah for it going out with another bang!

Scenes from Chinese New Year 2010, Year of the Tiger...

The midnight parade. The drums start beating 15 minutes before midnight, usually with 3 lions dancing. Love this one, because it's a secret.

My favorite people of the day coming...

...and going.

Fong Inn Too, Inc. makes CNY!!! They are the best. They always put out cabbage for the lions to eat, so they all come there to dance and sometimes in groups. Last year, during the CNY closing ceremony they had 11 lions, all in different colors. If you ever come down here for CNY, stake out a spot there and stay put, lots-o-fun.

CNY is the only time I really cook and I love coming up with new stuff. This year's invention: fried Hickory Smoked Tofuky and shredded Parmesan pirouettes! Delicious!

This is the insanity that is CNY. The most ridiculous part of the day: when the cops had to get a marching band through the crowd — and they kept playing!

Added Video Bonus:
2009 Closing Ceremony, Fong Inn Too, Inc. shutting it down!!!!