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Ugliest Holiday Sweaters Compete to Sew Up Worst Title

By Tuan Nguyen | December 11, 2012 5:26pm

FLATIRON DISTRICT — Grandma would be so proud.

From a pair of campy snowmen to Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, the city's ugliest sweaters went on display Tuesday afternoon in hopes of being named "The Ugliest Holiday Sweater in NYC."

The competition, organized by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership as part of its first annual “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer Festival” beginning Dec. 1, attracted a host of hideous candidates. 

Scott Cochran from Union City, N.J., wooed the crowd with double-layered sweaters, a puke-green cardigan atop a white, green and blue snowman sweater, which he found in his parents’ house.

“I found these two woman sweaters from my parents’ attic. They’re probably from my grandmother,” said Cochran, 34, who works in advertising in the neighborhood nearby. “I’m a big guy and these are too small for me.”

“It feels a little bit ridiculous but it’s fine.”

However, the winner of the challenge found his sweater just 30 minutes before the contest at a store in the heart of Manhattan's fashion scene.

“I went to go shopping on Fifth Avenue and saw this ugly sweater so I decided to join the contest,” said John Friia, 20, of Long Island, whose multicolor striped sweater melded red, white, black, brown, purple and green threads and turned the crowd's stomachs the most.

He also won the crowd with his joyful freestyle dance, which he said he honed at family parties. “In my family we all love to dance,” Friia said.

It wasn't hard to understand how his sweater won the ugliest challenge.

“Up close you can see too much color on this one shirt,” explained Friia. “You have red, white, black, brown, purple, green. It’s a lot.”

But beauty is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, he said.

“The holiday is definitely a stressful time of the year and having an ugly-sweater party or just wearing something ugly could actually make everybody laugh and [ease] a little bit of the holiday’s jitters,” Friia said.

Friia won a package of prizes that included a two-night stay at the MAve Hotel, $100 gift cards to O’Live Organic Spa and Green Square Tavern.

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership’s “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer Festival” will continue through Dec. 23. For a schedule of events, check here.