By  on January 30, 1996

NEW YORK -- The Bryant Park tents could be history after the fall '96 collections here in March.

The 7th on Sixth Corp., intent on keeping the New York show scene centralized, is scouring the city for alternative sites. The favored spot in some camps is an open space along the Hudson River at the end of 42nd Street and 12th Avenue -- with shuttle buses moving the fashion flock to and fro.

The main reason for folding Bryant Park, according to the expansion-minded 7th on Sixth, is the lack of space. Other reasons: the financial impact on an unfriendly neighbor, The Bryant Park Grill, and the fact that the "command center" at 40 West 40th St., which houses the operations and press offices, is for sale.

And despite designer grumblings about ennui setting in, high costs, the occasional leaky tent and space limits, most show participants have grown to like the shows, especially the global media attention they've pulled.

"We're proceeding cautiously with the tents. We're working out our contracts for the season [with Bryant Park], and there are no commitments going forward," said Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth, which produces the Bryant Park tent shows.

"We're considering a couple of places," said Stan Herman, president of 7th on Sixth. "We're moving forward, and everyone wants a community setup."

According to Herman, a site at the base of 42nd Street and 12th Avenue, below the Intrepid, is a strong candidate. The plan would be to pitch three tents along the flat space, next to the water. The tents, which would resemble the Bryant Park setup, would be a lot roomier, said Herman. "We have looked at other parks, including Central Park," said Herman, "but the piers, to me, look very good. We're looking at the river, and feel strongly enough about it that we've done drawings on it."

Herman said Bryant Park's space "is so finite. If the tents are going to go forward, they have to grow naturally for our people, and people in Europe," he said.

"We can't go on the grass; there's no place to move; there's concrete and trees. We've maxed out right there where we are now," added Mallis.

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