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Giuliani Salutes Fashion Industry; Enthusiasm High at FCBID Launch

NEW YORK -- Describing the fashion industry as vital to New York's economic health, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani added to the high spirits that marked the official launching of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District here Thursday.<BR><BR>The only...

NEW YORK — Describing the fashion industry as vital to New York’s economic health, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani added to the high spirits that marked the official launching of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District here Thursday.

The only damper to the event for some people was that Giuliani didn’t mention the proposal for a “Made in New York City” label and marketing campaign.

Police estimated that more than 1,000 people gathered for the noontime ceremonies outside 1411 Broadway, where such designers as Donna Karan, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Nicole Miller, Cynthia Rowley, Michael Kors and Stan Herman joined Giuliani on the platform.

“In a city that needs more jobs, you provide jobs and careers at all different levels,” Giuliani said. “You spread hope through the city. You provide a spirit that’s a unique thing about New York City that sets us apart from other cities. This is the first BID centered around one industry. There have been other successful BIDs, but it is appropriate that the first one centered around an industry is the fashion and garment center.”

The FCBID runs from Fifth Avenue to Ninth Avenue and from West 35th Street to West 41st Street. It is funded by a 0.25 percent add-on to property taxes, with a $3 million first-year budget.

Karan, who introduced the mayor, reflected the general enthusiasm for the FCBID, which has taken two years of planning and development.

“We are about to see the newest, most exciting moment in fashion — pulling the industry together to make a difference,” she said.

Giuliani said all agencies of the city are here to work with and help the industry because “we are engaged in the same business.”

“Your success is the city’s success and the city’s success is your success,” Giuliani said. “We’re partners in this.”

Bud Konheim, president of Nicole Miller, another speaker, said later he was disappointed that Giuliani didn’t talk about the “Made in New York City” label and marketing effort, which Konheim and other industry leaders presented to Deputy Mayor John Dyson earlier this week.

A spokesman for the mayor said Giuliani was withholding endorsement of the proposal pending a study of budgetary implications.

Konheim said a major consideration of the plan is accreditation, which could come through a city agency or possibly through the FCBID, but the plan would require no funding from the city.

Other speakers included Jerome A. Chazen, chairman of Liz Claiborne Inc., and George Kaufman, chairman of Kaufman Management Co.

Kaufman, chairman of the District Management Association, the not-for-profit corporation set up to oversee the FCBID, said the FCBID “is the success of a two-year effort by the property owners to create a fashion center.”

“We will improve security and sanitation, and we are going to make this area a real international mart,” said Kaufman, whose company is one of the large building owners in the district.

In addition to separate, uniformed sanitation and security forces, which are to hit the streets this month, the FCBID aims to develop marketing programs to bring more buyers to New York, as well as creating a fashion information hotline, opening information kiosks at airports, improving street lighting and developing an overall beautification project for the district.

Carvel Moore, executive director of the FCBID, said the events “demonstrated the support of the city and the industry, from the chairmen of the major companies to their secretaries who were there today.”