The Chinese Center on Long Island (CCLI) was formed in 1960 as a cultural organization to study, disseminate and perpetuate the best of Chinese culture and traditions. The founders, John Hwang, Dun Li, George Lee, and Pete Louie laid the foundation for this organization, where Chinese heritages and languages could be studied and preserved. On April 13, 1962, the Chinese Center on Long Island became a non-profit corporation and received its charter from the New York Secretary of State. From this first step the Chinese Center was on its way.
On May 14, 1962, the Center presented a classical Chinese opera at the Freeport High School. The New York Times gave a favorable mention of the opera which prompted Mr. Robinson Callen from New York City to donate a 28 room mansion on five acres of land located in Old Westbury for use as our Center. However due to its limited usage, a committee was formed to search for a new location. A building of 2,400 square feet was found in West Hempstead and acquired in March of 1967. Members provided monetary pledges for the building fund. In 1972, the mortgage was paid in full and the Center had a celebration to "burn" the mortgage. This building has since become the home of the CCLI.
In the new millennium, the Center underwent major renovations to the building. Interior improvements included a remodeled foyer, a computer language lab, reconstructed restrooms, and improvements to the meeting hall. Exterior improvements included paved stone front walk, resurfaced and repainted exterior walls, enhanced landscaping, and new signs. In 2016, the Center made extensive renovations to bring the Center up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. The building's front steps were replaced with a gently sloping brickwork. Restrooms were enlarged and modernized for accessibility. A closet and water fountain were added to the lobby and all doorways were modified to ADA codes. These latest enhancements make our premises handicap-accessible to serve the needs of all our members and friends.
The Center provides cultural exchanges in art, literature, music, Chinese languages, Lion Troupe, and traditional Chinese folk dances. It regularly sponsors a wide variety of programs such as speakers addressing various contemporary issues. In addition, the Center supports community involvement. The Center and many of our members have been honored and recognized for their services by Nassau County Legislature and other distinguished organizations.
The Center thrives through new friends and members who volunteer their time and talents to keep the Center strong in order to maintain the legacy handed down from our founders. The success of the Center has been possible through the active participation and dedication of all its members. We welcome new members and thank long-timed members for allowing the Chinese Center on Long Island, Inc. to continue serving our communities.