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Officials: NY Fashion Week to leave Lincoln Center

New York Fashion Week will have to find a new venue next September as part of a settlement between the city and a park watchdog group, which sued the city over the organizer's use of land at Lincoln Center.

The Parks Department agreed on Dec. 12 not to not renew its sublease next year with IMG Fashion, the organizers behind the 30-year-old event, for use of Damrosch Park during the biannual event, according to court documents.

The Fashion Week in February will be the final time the event will be in Lincoln Center.

NYC Park Advocates and other plaintiffs contended that the city and Lincoln Center violated state public trust doctrine by limiting public access to the park and removing greenery during the events, held in February and September.

"The city and [Lincoln Center] . . . recognize that special events that limit public access to substantially all of Damrosch Park should be the exception rather than the norm," the settlement states.

During Fashion Week, organizers would set up large tents, a red carpet and other huge setups that took up the entire park.

The settlement essentially dictates that there can't be similar large-scale events at the park in the future.

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said the city and organizers can find a space that doesn't interfere with any park land.

"They should never have been able to enter into this deal," he said of the parks department. "Basically, Lincoln Center used the park as an ATM."

The city's law department didn't return requests for comment.

IMG released a statement saying it will actively look for a new location in the city to host the event. The city's Economic Development Corp. said it will assist organizers with the search.

"Lincoln Center has been a great home for the past 5 years and we look forward to another world-class season this February," IMG said.

In addition to ending the sublease, the city agreed to plant trees and possibly add planters above the 62nd Street garage entrance at Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center said it was pleased with "the amicable resolution" and looked forward to "working closely with all concerned to envision the future of Damrosch Park."

Elizabeth Caputo, the chairwoman for the community board that oversees the neighborhood, said many residents had problems with the traffic and noise and limited access to the park during the events.

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