Taiwanese culture finds stage in New York park

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Jul 14, 2013 - Page 3

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York brought Taiwanese flavors to this year’s Broadway in Bryant Park on Thursday, when a group of Taiwanese Aborigines and dancers, dressed up as the Taoist folk deity the Third Prince (三太子哪吒), performed at the popular summer event to boost the nation’s tourism and international profile.

Broadway in Bryant Park has been one of the most popular outdoor summer events in the city, allowing New Yorkers and tourists to experience well-received Broadway musicals at the park every Thursday for six consecutive weeks.

Given the event’s popularity, the representative office decided to organize the performances at the summer festival this year, which began on Thursday and will run through Aug. 15, in the hope of bringing Taiwanese traditional culture and dances to the international audience and attracting more tourists to the country.

“Summer is the peak tourist season in New York, so we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce Taiwan to the many tourists in the city,” TECO secretary-general Andrew Kao (高振群) said.

“Performances at the event are also broadcast live on 106.7 Lite FM, the co-organizer of the festivity, which means not only people who visit the event, but also on-air audiences can get a taste of Taiwanese traditional dances,” Kao said.

When asked about her opinions on Taiwan, Pauline Frommer, co-host of weekly radio’s The Travel Show, said she had so much fun during her February visit to Taiwan, where the food was so delicious, that she gained at least 10 pounds (4.5kg) during the trip.

However, what truly left a lasting impression on her was the friendliness and hospitality of Taiwanese, Frommer said, adding that none of the countries she had traveled to over the years made her feel as welcome as Taiwan did.

“Bryant Park is to New York as Taiwan is to Asia, making the summer event the best place for Taiwan to promote itself,” Frommer said.

“Since [the park] can attract thousands of tourists and Broadway musicals are something that most of them would not want to miss, bringing Taiwan’s travel and cultural experiences here will very likely help increase the nation’s international visibility,” Frommer said.