NYC to welcome ‘Year Of The Monkey’ with Lunar New Year Festival

Fireworks over the Hudson River for the Chinese Lunar New Year on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. (Credit: CBS2)

CBS New York/AP:

 New York City will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a five-day festival early next month.

The Year of the Monkey Celebration” runs from Feb. 6 through Feb. 10.

The festival, presented by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, is hosting a myriad of events, including the “The Fantastic Art China” exhibition at the Javits Center, where traditional and contemporary Chinese artworks will be showcased.

Environmental conservation efforts for monkeys in China also will be highlighted.

A Hudson River fireworks display set to the music of Oscar and Grammy Award winner Tan Dun is scheduled for Feb. 6.

The Empire State Building is also planning a light display for Feb. 6 and Feb. 8. And the New York Philharmonic’s 5th Annual Chinese New Year Concert will be held at Lincoln Center on Feb. 9.

Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Lunar New Year an official public school holiday. An estimated 15 percent of New York City school children celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Inside one of New York’s finest Chinese restaurants located in the Waldorf Astoria

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 4.57.46 PMNext Shark (Laura Dang):

A new, glitzy Chinese restaurant has opened its doors in the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, New York, and the food looks fantastic. The restaurant, La Chine, is in the running to be one of New York’s finest Chinese restaurants, according to Luxury Travel Magazine.

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La Chine was a collaborative effort of Waldorf’s culinary director, David Garcelon, and executive chef, Kong Khai Meng.

Garcelon hand-selected a team of international chefs including famed Chinese culinary master Jereme Leung. The culinary director said:

“It was our primary focus to develop La Chine as a must-visit destination for high-end foodies, experientialists, New York City locals and international visitors alike.”

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New York restaurants must now freeze fish before serving it raw

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New York City will now face a new rule when it comes to serving raw fish. The New York Times reports, regardless of how fresh the fish is, restaurants must freeze it for an extended period of time in order to prevent bacteria and parasites.

FoodBeast (by Peter Pham):

While most places are already doing this as a precaution, the process is now law. Outbreaks of salmonella have caused major concerns in the past few years. The new rule will put those fears to ease among consumers who enjoy eating raw fish.

Starting in August, fish must be kept frozen anywhere from 15 hours to an entire week depending on the restaurants’ freezer temperature. Certain seafoods like shellfish and farm-raised fish, however, are exempt from the freezing laws.

Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse arrested in Times Square brawl

Costumed characters Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty got into a brawl over tips in Times Square on Thursday.
NY Daily News (Jake Rullman)

The claws came out when Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty got into a fight in Times Square Thursday, police said. The costumed characters came to blows over tips in the middle of the Crossroads of the World around 3:30 p.m., police said.

Sandra Mocha, 34, of Queens, and Giovanna Melendez, 40, of New Jersey, were cuffed at the scene and charged with assault, cops said.

This is another reason why we need regulations to address the growing problems in Times Square,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said about the brawl.

 

Sandra Mocha, 34, of Queens, and Giovanna Melendez, 40, of New Jersey, were cuffed at the scene.
The pair were charged with assault, cops said.

The pair were charged with assault, cops said.

Governor Cuomo (NY) orders emergency measures to protect workers at nail salons

A manicurist practicing at a Long Island salon. Many manicurists have illnesses that some scientists and health advocates say are caused by the chemicals with which they work.

New York Times:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered emergency measures on Sunday to combat the wage theft and health hazards faced by the thousands of people who work in New York State’s nail salon industry.

Effective immediately, he said in a statement, a new, multiagency task force will conduct salon-by-salon investigations, institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six-language education campaign to inform them of their rights.

Nail salons that do not comply with orders to pay workers back wages, or are unlicensed, will be shut down. The new rules come in response to a New York Times investigation of nail salons — first published online last week — that detailed the widespread exploitation of manicurists, many of whom have illnesses that some scientists and health advocates say are caused by the chemicals with which they work.

New York State has a long history of confronting wage theft and unfair labor practices head on, and today, with the formation of this new Enforcement Task Force, we are aggressively following in that tradition,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”

The swiftly assembled plans, while still taking shape, are the start of an effort to reshape an industry that has been a major entry point for immigrants into the city’s economy, but in which exploiting the people who toil over hands and feet appears to be, in many instances, simply the way business is done.

Salons will be required to publicly post signs that inform workers of their rights, including the fact that it is illegal to work without wages or to pay money for a job — a common practice in the nail salon industry, according to workers and owners. The signs will be in half a dozen languages, including those most spoken in the industry — Korean, Chinese and Spanish.

The emergency measures announced on Sunday will become permanent in the coming months, the governor’s office said.

Under new rules, manicurists must wear gloves to reduce the risks of contracting skin conditions, such as fungal infections and warts, and developing burns from handling chemicals.

The plan currently will also require masks, though occupational health experts say the hospital-style masks that manicurists sometimes wear give only the appearance of safety. Such masks do almost nothing to prevent exposure to chemicals, such as dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde, that are used in nail products and have been linked to leukemia and fetal defects. And salons will be required to be ventilated, to reduce the chemical fumes.

The state’s Health Department, one of the agencies in the task force, will conduct a study of the most effective safety practices, and the eventual rules put in place may change in scope depending upon the findings.

Salons will now be required to be bonded — which is intended to ensure, through a contract with a bonding agency, that workers can eventually be paid if salon owners are found to have underpaid the workers. The move is an attempt to counteract the phenomenon of salon owners’ hiding assets when they are found guilty of wage theft.

Many workers are undocumented and fear exposing themselves to the authorities, so they rarely speak up. The agencies involved in the task force do not inquire about workers’ immigration status as part of their investigations, the governor’s office said. An education campaign will also be introduced through community groups to inform workers they have the right be compensated fully, regardless of their immigration status, and encourage them to report mistreatment.

The framework for the emergency measures began to take shape shortly after the first article was published on Thursday, according to Alphonso B. David, counsel for the governor. Staff members from several agencies reacted strongly, and began to call one another upon reading the findings, convening on Friday for hours of brainstorming sessions to hash out the plan. A decision was made to take emergency measures rather than go through the usual route by which policies are updated, which involve time-consuming steps like periods of public comment, Mr. David said.

“The article highlighted a significant problem in New York State,” Mr. David said. “We cannot wait to address the problem.”

Chinese company treats 6,400 employees to French vacation

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CNN:

More than 6,000 employees of Tiens Group — a Chinese conglomerate — were given the VIP treatment on an all expenses paid trip to France to celebrate the company’s 20th birthday.

The tour group — the largest to visit the country — was given a private tour of the Louvre museum and a private shopping session at luxury department store Galeries Lafayette during their four-day trip, reported French news agency Agence France-Presse.

After two days in Paris, the group headed down to the southern resort town of Nice on Friday, where they also broke a Guinness World Record for forming the largest human sentence.

All staff members lined up on the waterfront, Promenade des Anglais, to spell out the phrase “Tiens’ dream is nice in the Côte d’Azur” that was visible from above.

The Chinese company broke a Guinness World Record for building the largest human sentence in Nice, France.

 

According to local media, the company booked 4,760 rooms in 79 hotels between Cannes and Monaco, and 146 tour buses.

We have mobilized public services as well as tourism professionals, hotels, restaurants, shops and designer brands,” Christian Mantel, head of the French tourism development agency told AFP.

It’s estimated that the group will spend $15 million during their visit added Mantel, and France is seen to reap up to $20 million in total economic benefits.

Chinese tourists, who are known to be the world’s biggest holiday spenders, are said to spend an average of $7,200 when they go overseas.

It’s not the first time a Chinese company has arranged for massive tours overseas. Last year, a group of 7,000 made a trip to the U.S. to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Sino-U.S. diplomatic ties.

Tiens Group operates in a diverse range of business interests, including biotechnology, tourism and trade.

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