6 ways to crash New York Fashion Week

new york fashion week

Twice a year, Manhattan’s streets are flooded with high heels, red lips, and designer clothing as the world’s fashion community descends upon the city for New York Fashion Week.

The week-long event, officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (nod to sponsors), runs from February 9 to 16 and will feature presentations by some of the world’s most famous fashion designers of their Fall/Winter 2012 collections. The runway shows are invitation-only, with most seats reserved for press, buyers, and friends of the designer. The after-parties are equally exclusive, with tight guest lists and strict door policies.

But although it’s a mostly closed event, it is possible for New York visitors and residents to get in on the action. Here are six ways to “crash” Fashion Week from outside the industry.

1. Park yourself at Lincoln Center. Since 2010, the hub of New York Fashion Week has been Lincoln Center, after the organizers abandoned the traditional tents at Bryant Park. Throughout Fashion Week, the plaza outside the center is a flurry of activity, with a constant stream of people entering and exiting while paparazzi fight for photos of celebrities and socialites. Bundle up, grab a spot, and feel the energy.

2. Check out Fashion Week’s other venues. Milk Studios, in Chelsea, is the unofficial second main venue of Fashion Week, hosting shows for designers like Peter Som and Cushnie et Ochs throughout the week. Other designers choose to hold their shows at more off-beat (and open) locations. Victoria Beckham, for instance, will be showing her latest line at the New York Public Library, while the 3.1 Phillip Lim show will be held on the Highline. A full schedule, with locations, is available from NYMag.com.

3. Visit the FIT Museum’s new exhibit. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology will host the first-ever exhibition celebrating the work of the Council for American Fashion Designers from February 10 to April 20. Titled Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA, the exhibit will feature more than 100 garments from the council’s most impactful designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and other fashion heavy-hitters. Admission to the museum is free.

4. Explore the Garment District. The Garment District, located right smack in midtown, is the historic center of New York’s fashion industry. A daytime stroll will find you in the midst of truck deliveries, rolling clothing racks, and anxious interns running errands, and the energy multiplies during Fashion Week. Stay alert, and you may even recognize a familiar face; I spotted designer Anna Sui during a recent visit.


5. Reserve a room at a stylish hotel. It used to be that New York’s most fashionable nightlife was centered around the Meatpacking District, but not any more. This season, Fashion Week’s notorious after-parties will be held in venues across Manhattan, and many of the most stylish hotspots are hidden in hotels. While reserving a room won’t guarantee entrance to the events, it might certainly help. Start with the Ace Hotel, the Hotel Gansevoort, the Gramercy Park Hotel, the brand new Dream Downtown Hotel, and the always risque Standard Hotel.

6. Watch on Facebook. The democratization of fashion continues on Facebook, where people around the world can snag front row seats to shows from designers like Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson, Narciso Rodriguez, Jill Stuart, and BCBGMAXAZRIA. Sure, it’s by live video stream, but until you’re a famous fashion blogger, it’ll have to do.

[Flickr images via Art Comments, Paul Lowry and Jimmy Baikovicius, other image via Fashion Institute of Technology]

New York City’s first-ever “hotel week” offers deep discounts January 6 – 15

gansevoort park avenue hotel week 2012Sure, we have a love-hate relationship with the ever popular restaurant week, where restaurants in cities across the nation arrange to offer three-course meals for somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 for a week at a time in the spring and fall.

But we’ve never heard of this concept being applied to hotels. For the first time ever, New York City will host a “Hotel Week” (January 6-15) during one of the slowest occupancy weeks of the year in an attempt to boost tourism. It’s a great way to experience hotels that are normally $500 a night and up, or for locals to get away for a quick staycation over MLK Day weekend.

Eight hotels (conveniently all in the same PR firm’s portfolio) are offering these deals, with a one-night stay on a tiered system of $100, $200, or $250 a night. Info on how to book each property below:

HOTEL NEIGHBORHOOD RATE HOW TO BOOK
The Pod Hotel Midtown East $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
Z NYC Hotel Long Island City, Queens $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
The Hotel @ Times Square Times Square $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
nyma, the new york manhattan hotel Herald Square $100 Call and mention “Hotel Week”
Andaz Wall Street Wall Street $200 Use this link to book.
Hyatt 48 Lex Midtown East $200 Use this link to book.
Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC Meatpacking District $250 Use this link to book.
Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC NoMad $250 Use this link to book.

*includes accommodations in a Queen Room (The Pod Hotel)
“Every hotel in New York could use incremental business in January. We borrowed from the success of Restaurant Week and the fun I’ve had with staycations in the city,” said Nancy Friedman, president of Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations. “There’s nothing like escaping to an amazing hotel for a night––whether you’re a local or a visitor!”
Guests can take advantage of the deals by calling the hotels directly and mentioning “hotel week” when booking, or through the hotel web site. (Booking details are listed in the above chart.) The promotion is subject to availability.

Undiscovered New York – Going Dutch

2009 marks the 400th anniversary of New York’s “discovery” by a Dutch expedition led by explorer Henry Hudson. Way back in 1609, Hudson (who was actually British) and a small crew of Dutch sailors steered their vessel through the small gap between Staten Island and Long Island and into New York Harbor.

Before them laid a vast wilderness, thick with old-growth forests and teeming with wildlife like beaver, oysters and bears – just the spot to found a new colony that would come to be known as New Amsterdam. From 1625 until 1674, when the colony was turned over to the English, the Dutch ruled over the harbor and islands that would one day become the great city of New York.

More than 400 years later, little evidence of this once thriving Dutch presence remains. You would expect at least a few windmills or some tulips, right? Yet if you know where to look, the signs of New York’s historic Dutch presence are all around you. Whether you’re hanging out at the swanky Gansevoort Hotel, meeting up with a friend near Stuyvesant Town, or dunking a doughnut in your morning coffee, Dutch influence on American history is stronger than you might expect.

Ever wanted to discover the secrets of New York’s surprisingly rich Dutch history? And what about visiting The Netherlands today? We’ll get a “taste of Amsterdam” without ever leaving New York City. This week at Undiscovered New York, we’re going Dutch. Click below to see why.
The New Amsterdam Trail

Just in time for the 400th Anniversary of Hudson’s famous voyage, The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy has released a self-guided walking tour documenting the history of Dutch New Amsterdam. Using a free map and downloaded audio, visitors can experience the legacy of personalities and places that define New York’s Dutch legacy.

Starting at Battery Park, visitors make their way north stopping to learn about the (in)famous Dutch purchase of Manhattan from the Native Americans, Dutch architecture and the defensive fortifications that gave Wall Street its name. Starting this July, a guided tour will also be led by National Park Rangers.

Dutch Food
Though it may seem that Dutch influence over New York vanished in the 17th Century, it remains very much alive in New York to this day. This is particularly true of our favorite foods like cookies and doughnuts, which are strongly influenced by the cooking techniques of early Dutch settlers. If you’re looking to get taste of contemporary Dutch cuisine, check out Manhattan’s Danku restaurant. The eatery serves a variety of Dutch specialties including Kroket pastries as well a variety of specialties like Nasi Goreng from Indonesia, another former Dutch colony. For a slightly more authentic taste of Netherlands-style Indonesian cuisine, check out Java Indonesian Rijsttafel in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood.

Dutch Arts & Culture

Not only can you take a tour of Dutch History in New York, you can also experience it firsthand through the city’s wide range of Dutch-themed art exhibits, events and cultural celebrations. Art lovers in particular have a wealth of options. The Museum of the City of New York is offering a range of Dutch exhibitions this summer, including a show of contemporary Dutch photography and a closer look at the life of explorer Henry Hudson. Visitors hungry for more Dutch art should head to The Met to check out their vast collections of European Paintings including those by Dutch experts like Van Gogh and Vermeer.

Dutch culture doesn’t stop at New York City – further upstate in New York is Kingston, among the earliest Dutch settlements in the state. The city is celebrating this year’s 400th Anniversary with a range of activities, including expert lectures on Dutch gardening and displays of historic Dutch weapons. If you need further motivation to head upstate, check out Undiscovered New York’s tour of the Hudson River Valley from last year.