The city of New York and Lincoln Center are evicting the invitation-only, twice-yearly Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in a court spat over destroyed trees and displaced park benches.
A judge Friday approved a pretrial settlement in a complaint brought by community groups. They objected to the onslaught of the fashion industry at Damrosch Park, a 2.4-acre stretch on the Upper West Side that is adjacent to and managed by Lincoln Center.
The groups argued the insular nature of the fashion shows that draw top designers and hundreds of buyers, editors and journalists violate laws governing public use of the land. Each February and September, the stiletto-heeled hordes cram the Lincoln Center complex for eight days of runway shows and presentations held in a large temporary tent.
The upcoming February Fashion Week will be held at Lincoln Center as scheduled but must find new digs after that. Andrew Serrano, a spokesman for IMG Fashion, which owns and produces Fashion Week, confirmed the settlement but had no immediate comment Thursday.
The settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing or cover other private events held on the land, including the Big Apple Circus, a ticket event that is open to the public.
Fashion Week for years had been held in Bryant Park. In search of more space, it moved to the Lincoln Center area in 2010. Freud said Damrosch had been public park since 1969.
Many designers had tired of the Lincoln Center location’s box-like spaces and hurried turnaround between shows, choosing edgier, more atmospheric spaces in downtown Manhattan and even Brooklyn that allow greater creativity in how shows are presented. Of more than 300 shows, less than 100 were held at Lincoln Center in recent years, with more leaving each time Fashion Week rolled around.