09/06/2012 07:06 pm ET Updated Sep 19, 2012

Lower East Side Hosts 'Opening Night' For Art Galleries And Fashion Boutiques (PHOTOS)

The Lower East Side celebrated its growing status as a go-to destination for the arts Wednesday, with a massive, open-to-the-public event: Lower East Side Opening Night: Art+Fashion.

Natalie Raben of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District talked to HuffPost about organizing the event in just two short weeks to help raise public awareness of the burgeoning scene:

There are over 80 galleries in the neighborhood and many of big Chelsea galleries are quickly finding new homes in the area. People [outside of the art world] may not necessarily be aware of what's taking place, so we're trying to help promote that as much as we can for everyone to enjoy. And foot-traffic benefits everyone in the neighborhood from the bars, restaurants, and particularly the retail stores that stay open longer for the opening night.

And plenty of foot-traffic there was. From the very start of the event at 6PM, crowds gathered along Orchard Street and throughout the neighborhood for a block-party affair filled with the young, the old, the hip, and the always curious.

Click through below for photos from the celebration:

Lower East Side Opening Night September 5, 2012