NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The smoke from thousands of firecrackers and incense sticks wafted through Manhattan’s Lower East Side as New Yorkers ring in the Year of the Snake.
“Snake is actually quite a valuable animal. Otherwise, you have rats running amok,” Wellington Chen of the Chinatown Partnership told WCBS 880′s Monica Miller.
Sunday’s celebration was part of the 14th annual New Year firecracker ceremony and cultural festival.
“We love the celebration of the Jewish New Year, the normal New Year. So I always say, in New York you live very long because you pass three new years every year,” Chen said.
Organizers of the annual event said about 50,000 firecrackers were set off to scare away the evil spirits.
The celebration went off without a hitch despite the snow still on the ground.
“The weather cooperated. Thank God the snow went east, went out to sea, and Chinatown was spared,” Chen said.
Chen said this year’s Lunar New Year celebration has turned out to be one of the largest, which he said is great for Chinatown as businesses try to recover from superstorm Sandy.
The Chinatown Partnership planned a number of events to mark the New Year, culminating with the Chinese New Year Parade next Sunday at 1 p.m. About a half a million people are expected to crowd Chinatown for the parade.
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