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Fashion Week Means More Than a Month of No Parking Near Lincoln Center

UPPER WEST SIDE — Fashion Week brings seven days of runway shows to Lincoln Center — but the traffic headaches will last more than a month.

The style-saturated spectacle runs from Sept. 8-15 at Lincoln Center, but neighbors have been putting up with dozens of lost parking spots and a closed street since Aug. 18. They'll have to be patient until Sept. 26, when Fashion Week organizers will be finished dismantling the massive production.

During that six-week period, only Fashion Week-related cars and trucks will be allowed to park on both sides of West 62nd Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway; both sides of Amsterdam Avenue between West 60th and 64th streets; the west side of Columbus Avenue between West 60th and 62nd streets; and the east side of Columbus Avenue between West 60th and 64th streets.

Event producers IMG will also close West 62nd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, for safety at certain times.

In a recent letter to nearby residents, IMG asked for patience and understanding around Fashion Week, which it called "New York’s largest media event, and a significant driver of the perception of the city as the fashion capital of the world."

A recent study by the city's Economic Development Corporation found that Fashion Week generates $233 million in citywide visitor spending on hotels, restaurants, taxis and stores.

Still, some nearby residents grumbled Tuesday that Fashion Week ties up parking and crowds sidewalks, but does little to help the neighborhood.

"It's awful," griped a woman walking out of a high-rise apartment building at Columbus Avenue and West 62nd Street. "They shouldn't be taking up public space."

The woman, who declined to give her name, said she didn't mind the noise and dust created by the construction of a new Fordham University building on West 62nd Street, because she thinks it will enhance the neighborhood.

But she gave Fashion week a thumbs down, noting the event does not benefit people who live near Lincoln Center.

"It's only for them," she said, referring to the roughly 100,000 fashion industry professionals who attend Fashion Week.

Jeru McCray, a 31-year-old resident of Amsterdam Houses, the public housing complex behind Lincoln Center, agreed. He doesn't think it's fair his Amsterdam Avenue block is a 24-hour no parking zone for all vehicles except those related to Fashion Week.

"It's kind of messed up," McCray said. "People have to go to work and they rely on these spots. It's selfish that taxpayers can't park here, and they probably can't afford to get a ticket to one of the [Fashion Week] shows."

But others weren't ruffled by the traffic troubles.

"I don't have a car, so it doesn't bother me at all," said Diana Haber, who lives at West 62nd Street and Coumbus Avenue. "Columbus Avenue is always messed up in one way or another."

Justin Peterson, manager at Rayburn Music on West 62nd Street and Columbus Avenue, said customers took the lost parking in stride.

"If anything, it makes parking slightly more difficult, but most New Yorkers don't seem to mind," he said.

Fashion Week isn't the only happening re-routing traffic at Lincoln Center. The arts center's Roslyn and Elliott Jaffe Drive on Columbus Avenue will be closed to cars until Oct. 31 for the installation of "Think," an exhibit that will mark IBM's centennial.

This September's Fashion Week marks the third run for the twice-yearly event at Lincoln Center. Prior to last year, the event was held for 17 years at Bryant Park.

Neighbors who have problems or complaints about Fashion Week can call IMG's Fashion Week command center at 212-944-3600, or send an email to MBFWCommunity@imgworld.com.