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Guide To New York City's Coolest Summer Ethnic Events

Dragon Boat Festival
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (Photo courtesy HKDBFNY)

The phrase melting pot wasn't coined in New York City for nothing, and today the Big Apple remains one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S., helping to make it one of the world's cultural capitals. Settling on just a few of the many summer ethnic events that celebrate this historic immigration gateway's unique offerings can be a challenge, but here's a quick primer.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Flushing Meadows Park

On August 7 and 8, grab a snack at Grand Central and head to Flushing Meadows Park and the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. This colorful and popular event features serious dragon-boat racing, martial arts demonstrations and tons of Chinese food and music. To get there, hop the Queens-bound 7 subway train to the Shea Stadium stop and transfer to the special event buses (which run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to Flushing Meadows Park.

Dominican Day Parade and Festival

Sixth Ave., West 36th to 59th sts., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 8

Now in its 28th year, this major event celebrating the Dominican Republic started as a small cultural gathering for Dominican-Americans and has grown into a media spectacle usually featuring celebrities from entertainment and big league sports. Enjoy the carnival spirit, colors and fast-paced Latin music at this all-day party rocking Sixth Ave., West 36th to 59th sts.

India Day Parade and Festival

The parade starts at noon at E. 41st St. and Madison Ave. and ends at 28th Street.
The street festival stretches from 26th to 23rd sts.

The world's largest democracy isn't just about the Slum Dog and samosas. On August 15, help celebrate Indian Independence at the 30th annual India Day Parade. Featuring local and international luminaries, dozens of floats, a children's costume competition and plenty of street vendors serving authentic Indian cuisine, the daylong event draws nearly 150,000 spectators.

Jazz & Fish Fry Party

248 W.132nd St. between Seventh (Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard) and Eighth (Frederick Douglass Boulevard) avenues

Every Wednesday in August, take the A train to 125th Street, Harlem's main drag, and walk seven short blocks north to the American Legion Post on W.132nd Street for the weekly Jazz & Fish Fry party. Starting at 7 p.m., this summertime event features some of the city's best jazz, southern-fried fish and bar drinks at affordable prices in the heart of New York's historic African-American enclave.

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