Inside an Iconic Chinatown Celebration

NYChapters is a short documentary series celebrating the lives of individual New Yorkers. In this episode, we meet Valerie Tom, a native resident of Manhattan’s Chinatown district, who started the Chinatown Community Young Lions organization in the 1970s. Valerie was compelled to organize the Young Lions — a traditional Lion dance troupe — because prior to their existence, American-born Chinese people were not allowed to dance in Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. “I was born and raised in Chinatown,” says Tom. “We’re one of the main attractions in Manhattan, so we’re pretty proud of our neighborhood.”

The series was created by Alexander Hankoff and edited by Morgan Mitchell, and more information can be found on the series’ website, Twitter, and Instagram.