New York based industrial design firm, Ecco Design (http://www.eccoid.com/) hosted New Year's Party 2009 at their office and they do it every year. I went to the party in 2007 and this year and I found out that far less people attended. I think it must be influenced by the recession of the economy. Many of designers at the party told that it seemed worse than they imagined.
However, as NY times article shows, design is a solution for the depression.
If you carefully look at the photo, you may find me at the left photo. The guy in the left, last line. ^^