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Parks Hosts The Second Annual Japanese Festival In Central Park

Sunday, June 1, 2008
No. 57

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe today celebrated Japan Day with Ambassador Motoatsu Sakurai, Ambassador & Consul General Chairman Michihisa Shinagawa, other Japanese officials and CNN Anchor Sandra Endo at Central Park.

"Parks is delighted to host Japan Day in Central Park for another year," said Commissioner Benepe. "Japan has had an incredible influence on the City's history and we invite the opportunity to have New Yorkers learn more about the ethnic groups that have helped make New York the most diverse melting pot in the world."

Japan Day is an event designed to promote deeper understanding of Japanese culture. New Yorkers enjoyed the stage show, free Japanese food and activity tents featuring video games, robots, origami, calligraphy traditional toys and games. Japan Day featured the best of traditional and contemporary Japan with a wide range of family-friendly activities and stage performances throughout the day.

"The Consulate and the Japanese community wanted to say 'thank you' to all New Yorkers," said Ambassador Motoatsu Sakurai. "New York is home to America's largest Japanese community, and it has opened its arms to Japanese influences in the arts, business, technology and fashion. We are hoping to please and intrigue even more New Yorkers this year with a sampling of our culture."

Live stage performances, hosted by CNN anchor Sandra Endo, featured rising Japanese singing star Shota Shimizu, the internationally acclaimed Japanese Pop singer duo HALCALI and award-winning hip-hop dancer Kenichi Ebina. There will also be traditional and contemporary Japanese dance performances, Karate and Samurai sword demonstrations and a festive Omikoshi (portable shrine) Parade.

Tents throughout the East Meadow displayed Japanese cuisine, origami, calligraphy, traditional and modern games and toys, as well as eco-education, an advanced humanoid robot and Hello Kitty.

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Ice Skating RinksLasker Rink (Temporarily Closed)

Lasker Rink is closed due to a refrigeration malfunction. Parks is trying to repair the rink's concrete slab and valves to identify and fix the source of the leak, in the hope of reopening the rink to the public later this season. In the meantime, the Trump Organization along with NYC Parks will work with the community and other area rinks to try to accommodate hockey and skating groups who call Lasker Rink home. Refunds will also be issued to any organizations who reserved and paid for use of the rink during the time that it will be closed.

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