Metro Gala, the anti-Met Gala, brings ‘Garden of Glitz n G’rhyme’ to Union Square

walking the red carpet at Metro Gala in Union Square
Co-founder Michelle Joni doing her thing on the runway at the annual Metro Gala in Union Square Park
Photo by Bob Krasner

For Michelle Joni, just about any excuse to throw a party will do – there’s Tutu Tuesday, Pineapple Day, Skipping Day and, in what has become an annual happening, the Metro Gala.

Held on the southwest corner of Union Square Park on the Monday following its more-famous and upscale uptown counterpart, the evening is a free chance for anyone whose invite to the Met Gala got lost — or maybe for the ones who were just a little short of the $75,000 required to attend that prestigious event — to take a spin for the paparazzi and compete for a trophy (a new addition to the festivities this year).

Miss Mary Moss flying her flagsPhoto by Bob Krasner
Alexandra Dane Klausner, co-founder of the Metro Gala, wearing an outfit that was inspired by the Chrysler BuildingPhoto by Bob Krasner
An illuminating idea for an ensemblePhoto by Bob Krasner
Harmony Hardcore, Miss Subways 2023, was a special guestPhoto by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Dana Humphrey mixed the garden theme with a bit of Barbie vibePhoto by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner

Every year at the Metro Gala, the red carpet gets rolled out, DJ Vito Fun cranks up the tunes and some of the most colorful characters in the city show up to walk the runway in outfits that are as festive as they are creative. This year’s theme, “Garden of Glitz n G’rhyme,” resulted in some outfits that referenced both flowers and grit.

“My favorite thing about the Metro Gala is the ‘wearable art’ creativity on display, served with a side order of New York City wit,” said artist/graphic designer Marlene Weisman. “And the inclusivity: everyone feels welcome. It makes it a really fun event to check out and participate in.”

Michelle Joni’s little man , Skylo Jazber, heading into the futurePhoto by Bob Krasner
We are all flowers in the gardenPhoto by Bob Krasner
Photo by Bob Krasner
Madame Vivien V. on the runway before taking over as emceePhoto by Bob Krasner

The party packed up after awhile and headed into the subway, where the red carpet was rolled out in various spaces and inside subway cars — giving anyone who wanted to a chance to be a star on the runway, even for a brief moment.

Joni’s Gala has a purpose beyond just creating a spectacle.

The annual Metro Gala – it doesn’t get more colorful than this !Photo by Bob Krasner

“I’m so pleased that people see my vision,” she relates. “Dressing up empowers you to have a new experience. Change your outfit, change the world! People don’t know how to seek out what I’m offering, so I have to put it in their faces. The magic factor is best where you least expect it.”

Get notified of upcoming events by following @michellejoni and @glindathegoodbus on Instagram.