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Malverne Man Wins Ugly Sweater Contest in NYC

John Friia's sweater and dance moves earn him hundreds of dollars worth of prizes.

The award for New York City's ugliest sweater went to 20-year-old John Friia, of Malverne, Tuesday.

Friia, a student at Baruch College, won the Flatiron-23rd Street Partnership's Ugly Sweater Contest earlier today.

"I wasn't going to do it because I thought it was a little weird, but then I figured I'd give it a try," he told Patch. 

The Valley Stream North High School graduate and Patch reporter learned about the contest at noon and had only 45 minutes to go shopping for a sweater that would turn heads.

"I went to JCrew and found this and just put in on," Friia said of the multi-color knit holiday sweater that he modeled on a catwalk set up inside the plaza at 23rd and Broadway.

He didn't just strut in his sweater though, he pulled out some unusual dance moves to earn the applause of the crowd. 

"When my family goes to parties we always dance, we're known as 'The Dancing Friias, so I just used some of the moves that we have been using," he explained.

Well, it worked. The crowd sent Friia, his wacky moves and busy sweater, to the semi finals, where he went up against six other contestants and emerged the victor.

"Normally, I would never do something like this, but for some reason today I decided, 'Let me give it a shot,' and it worked," Friia added.

Friia walked away with a package of prizes worth more than $600. It included gift certificates and a two-night stay at the Mave Hotel in New York City.

The win has thrust Friia in the spotlight, garnering attention from various New York media outlets, but some critics, The New York Observer for instance, have questioned whether his winning duds were ugly enough.

Friia assures us though that while, from afar, his sweater may appear palatable, up close, it's quite nauseating.

"It has a mixture of color and looks really bad," he says. "If you had too many egg nogs and looked at it, it could make you queasy."

Nancy Fitzsimmons December 12, 2012 at 02:54 AM
The people at J Crew must be very proud.
Jen R. December 12, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Good for you John!

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