This week, the trendiest in fashion and the most influential in social media befall the streets of New York City to witness the series of events that showcase exclusive fashion collections of some of the world’s most revered designers. Over 200,000 models, photographers, stylists, designers, artists, celebrities and attendees are estimated to visit NYC annually in the Spring and Fall as a result of New York Fashion Week (NYFW). According to NYCEDC (2013), NYFW generates approximately $900 million in total economic activity each year, including more than $550 million in direct visitor spending – retail, eating and drinking places, hotel stays. According to another Fordham University report, on average, each attendee is reported to spend about $650 during the 8-day event. (But we all know that’s probably not even close to what Kim Kardashian will be spending this week.) The economic impact of such a large-scale cultural event is undeniable, however, what does it really mean for small, local businesses?
Unfortunately, the US Open, another big sports and cultural event in NYC, falls short of having the same impact on Main Street Flushing despite being an affair that attracts 700,000 attendees to the area annually. Located at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, the US Open is still so physically isolated (about 30 minute walk from Flushing Main Street and closed off by Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway) that the trickle down spending is unlikely. Furthermore, the event barely makes an effort to integrate with the surrounding community as it functions as an insular village during the weeks with food vendors and bars serving sponsored vodka and beer all operating within the confines of the tennis center.