Chinese lanterns light up NYC's night sky
CGTN's Karina Huber

Chinese lanterns are lighting up the night sky at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival, New York City.

More than three hectares of Snug Harbor in Staten Island has been transformed into a winter wonderland lit up by more than 1,000 LED displays.

The centerpiece of the festival is the Chinese Gate which divides the space into two parts. 

Many of the lanterns are inspired by Chinese culture including the display featuring four animals. 

"The first time we see that, you don't know what it is. It's from traditional Chinese culture. We call it the four symbols. Each of (the) animal represents one direction. We have west, east, north and south," said Haokun Liu, producer of NYC Winter Lantern Festival. 

All of the lanterns at the festival were made by hundreds of Chinese artisans in China, with 30 of them moving to the New York City for a month to arrange the masterpieces. 

Chinese lanterns, first introduced during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-AD 220), have become an important part of Chinese cultural celebrations, and their production takes a lot of skills.

It is the second year in a row that Snug Harbor in Staten Island has put on the festival. Organizers said last year's event attracted an unexpectedly high number of visitors. 

"It was unbelievable. Last year we thought 'gosh, can we get 75,000 people to come out to Staten Island?' Doubled it. It was so well received by the community who were so grateful to have world class cultural programming in their backyard," said Aileen Fuchs, president of Snug Harbor Cultural Center. 

Organizers expect this year's festival to be an even bigger draw than last Christmas season as it has doubled in size and will run until January 12, 2020.