By  on September 9, 2011

In response to what federal officials have described as credible terrorist threats of an Al Qaeda-backed act around the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, New York City has beefed up security and will remain on guard indefinitely — a situation that is impacting New York Fashion Week.

This weekend IMG will advise the fashion crowd via e-mail to plan ahead. The word they will be getting is, “Due to the heightened security around the city, we are advising all of those coming up to Lincoln Center to use public transportation when at all possible. There will increased security around the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week complex, and trucks making deliveries and guests’ bags will be subject to search. Designers in particular should be mindful of the traffic up 10th Avenue and allow for extra time for their collection deliveries.”

Anyone navigating Manhattan streets Friday faced gridlock and roadblocks uptown and downtown. With all the random street closings and the added snarl of fashion week at Lincoln Center, traffic was at a standstill along Central Park West, near Times Square and near the Intrepid by the West Side Highway. Whether traveling by foot, cab, bus, bike or subway, people could easily see there were more police officers, bag searches and vehicle checkpoints.

Designers worried that editors would be so delayed in transit that they would miss shows entirely, and getting models to shows on time — never an easy task even under the best circumstances — was another area of concern. Before the Luca Luca show Friday morning, president Yildiz Blackstone said it took her 75 minutes to get to Lincoln Center from the Upper East Side. “The traffic is terrible today. I hope all the editors get here in time. I told them I will hold it — but I only can for 30 minutes.”

On Friday, showgoers at Lincoln Center may have noticed more uniformed police officers. There were also less-conspicuous forces underfoot, according to Anthony Neale, a 21-year NYPD veteran now working security at the shows. “There are some you can see and some you can’t see,” he said. “There has been a significant increase in police officers, plainclothes detectives and community-affairs people around this area and when you walk down the street.”

While the Council of Fashion Designers of America does not plan to formally acknowledge the 10th anniversary Sunday in a public way, the group has teamed with Action America to encourage unity and community service. With the help of boardmembers like Heidi Klum, Marquis Jet founder Kenny Dichter and AOL chairman and chief executive officer Tim Armstrong, Action America aims to help make 9/11 a national day of service.

Designers and brands are using different tactics to pitch in. Kate Spade New York will donate 10 percent of its Sept. 11 sales from New York shops to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. In honor of her Sunday-morning show, Lela Rose will make a donation to Action America on behalf of her guests. They will find out about the cause on note cards in her gift bags. In return, Action America has asked Rose to help Full Picture’s Desiree Gruber, Dichter and Armstrong ring the NYSE opening bell Monday morning with a few others.

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