by Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN – Ugly holiday sweaters came out of the closet Wednesday night, squaring off in a competition that would have made grandmothers proud.
Bryant Park's first annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Party invited knit-lovers to the Southwest Porch Wednesday to show off their most hideous holiday wear for the chance to win a free pair of tickets on Southwest Air.
Linda Kozik appeared the clear winner of the evening. Her elaborate masterpiece was trimmed with sparkling red and green garlands, adorned with staples and safety pins with dollar-store-bought present bows, golden ornaments, a sprig of "fake ugly cheesy" poinsettia, and hand-cut snowflakes, "to bring out the kindergarten in me," she explained.
Topping it off was a giant Santa and reindeer stocking stuffed with coal that Kozik, 50, who lives in Long Beach, plans to donate to Toys for Tots.
She said she'd considered finishing off the ensemble with a string of flashing Christmas lights, but decided that would be too much.
"I thought it would take away from it," she said of her outfit.
Looking over her competition, she said she felt proud.
"I have to pat myself on the back," she said. "I'm one of a kind."
Friends Risa Battino and Lisa Rubin, both 30, also donned their holiday best for the event, which they'd heard about through a friend who works at the park.
Battino, who lives on the Upper East Side, borrowed her ensemble from a friend, including an oversized red turtleneck decorated with thousands of mini white Christmas trees and snowflakes, which she topped with a knitted vest featuring fake plaid scarfs, candy canes and even working bells.
"This one jiggles!" she laughed as she demonstrated.
Her friend was impressed.
"That is the ugliest vest I've ever seen," said Rubin, who lives in Midtown East and wore a sparkling green hat and an oversized red sweatshirt with "beautiful teddy bears" that appeared to be praying.
Both said they were having fun getting into the holiday spirit, despite the unseasonably warm temperature that made the sweaters unnecessary.
"It's fun and festive," she said.
Those who didn't come prepared in their own festive gear were also given the chance to pose for pictures dressed up in decorations provided by the park, including several sweaters, Santa hats and garland boas.
Five-year-old Liam Cain stopped by with his parents, Travis Cain and Carol Cain, who runs the NY City Mama blog, and helped host the event.
"He's very much about the dressing up," said Carol, who lives in Washington Heights.
Organizers said they will be posting photos from the evening Thursday morning on the park's facebook page, where fans can cast their votes. The winner will be announced once the polls close next week.