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Brooklyn Public Library
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library

The Brooklyn Public Library is holding a People's Ball before the Met Gala

The free event encourages people to wear their fanciest, most creative outfits.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

The Met Gala is the pinnacle of fashion and celebrity in New York City, and while we all love to gawk at the gorgeous and whimsical getups, it remains out of reach for most of us. According to The New York Times, a single ticket to the Met Gala was $35,000 and the event is invitation-only, so you already have to be a buzz-worthy, beautiful and/or successful person to even walk the red carpet.

But this year, the people will have their own gala at The Brooklyn Public Library. On May 1, the night before the Met Gala, BPL will celebrate The People’s Ball, a free event that invites New Yorkers "of all stripes to express their individuality and flaunt their unique style as they walk the runway and dance the night away in a safe, inclusive space."

RECOMMENDED: NYC libraries are offering free digital library cards to people across the U.S.

Anyone who attends the free event, which simply requires an RSVP, can wear their fanciest, most extreme or creative outfit that expresses who they are.

"Open and welcoming to all, the People’s Ball is a chance to showcase Brooklynites in all of our creative, idiosyncratic, resilient glory," says Linda E. Johnson, the president and CEO of BPL. "We are thrilled to welcome people from across the borough to celebrate one another in one of the most democratic and creative spaces in the borough."

The People's Ball is actually celebrating the library's 125th anniversary. Authors Isaac Fitzgerald and Scaachi Koul will host the night, which will have performances by Rimarkable, Inyang Bassey, Opera Gaga, and Paris the Hip-Hop Juggler. Special guests include fashion curator Souleo; Grandassa models from the historic African American fashion show, “Naturally '62;” Lenape Center co-founder, Joe Baker; models from the legendary Harlem institute of Fashion’s HARLEM WEEK runway shows; and multi-disciplinary artist and fashion designer, Damian Jöel—an alumnus of the BPL’s BKLYN Fashion Academy.

According to the library the event is one of many initiatives to foster inclusion and celebrate the rich diversity of Brooklynites.

"Brooklyn is home to some of the most diverse communities on the planet. The People’s Ball is a celebration of free expression and creativity; we ask our guests to show up simply as they are," says László Jakab Orsós, the vice president of Arts and Culture at Brooklyn Public Library. "Over the past 125 years, Brooklyn Public Library has always been committed to embracing our incredible Brooklyn community. This event is a celebration of the best that Brooklyn has to offer."

All you need to to do attend is RSVP! Masks are strongly encouraged. You can follow @bplpresents for updates about special guest hosts, DJs, and food and drink specials, and join the conversation and share photos by tagging #BPLPeoplesBall and #BPLPresents.

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