Feature: NYC luxury district celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-14 05:45:25|Editor: yan
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NEW YORK, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most significant traditional Chinese festivals, is gaining popularity in New York City, which boasts the largest ethnic Chinese population within the United States.

To mark the family reunion festival that falls on Friday this year, six boutiques on Madison Avenue in Upper East Side of Manhattan, North America's premier luxury district, are offering authentic Chinese cultural experiences for shoppers from Friday to Sunday.

The program is a co-production of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District and the China Institute, the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in the United States to focus on China.

"The goal is to provide a fun, interactive activity alongside traditional foods and art, to allow people to learn more about this important holiday and its cultural significance," Jeremy Willinger, director of marketing at the China Institute, told Xinhua on Friday.

"We are excited that so many boutiques have responded, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to educate and engage with people around the Mid-Autumn Festival here in New York City," Willinger said. "This is just one example of China Institute's work to increase U.S.-China cross-cultural understanding."

"While Lunar New Year celebrations have long been a staple on Madison Avenue, this is the first time that Madison Avenue has formally celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival," said Matthew Bauer, who has been president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District since 1999.

"It is a great way to learn more about Chinese culture, and have more fun while shopping! Since the participating stores are donating a portion of sales to the China Institute, the event also serves the institute's mission of advancing a deeper understanding of China," said Bauer, who has visited China to promote his community.

Alexandre Birman is offering complimentary personalized calligraphy on the shoes purchased.

There will be customized calligraphy on fragrance bottles, leather cases and gift packaging with Chinese symbols and phrases at Atelier Cologne.

Alice+Olivia will customize pieces with Chinese art reflective of their fun, colorful, and youthful women's clothing line.

Shoppers can enjoy traditional and delicious mooncakes and meet a Chinese artist to customize their footwear purchases with special Mandarin characters at Sergio Rossi.

Jimmy Choo will showcase their new Autumn Winter 2019 Collection while offering refreshments and onsite Chinese brush painting by Korean-American artist and calligrapher Sungsook Setton.

Madison Avenue is a very popular destination for Chinese visitors because it features the flagship stores of many of the world's leading fashion, jewelry and watch brands. It is close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and Central Park.

Many stores on Madison Avenue accept WeChat Pay, Alipay and UnionPay, and have Mandarin-speaking sales associates, Bauer said.

"Recent trends that we have been seeing are that Chinese visitors are searching for brands that are unique to New York City and more are traveling independently," he said.

Last year, Bauer's organization created a traditional Wishing Tree on Madison Avenue, and heartfelt wishes for the New Year.

"New Yorkers of all cultures were writing on the ribbons and placing them on the tree. It was quite moving," he said.

In organizing annual Lunar New Year events, Bauer said he has come to love the sound and pageantry of lion dances.