Look across the East River in upper Manhattan this weekend and you can just make out something huge and red next to an enormous white pavilion. That's "Balloon Dog," an 80 foot tall inflated sculpture by artist Paul McCarthy, and just one of a few installations decorating the lawn outside the Frieze Art Fair.

The contemporary art festival—which came to New York City via London for the first time last year—is housed in a giant tent, showcasing the stock of nearly 190 galleries from New York City and beyond. The sheer size of the structure is staggering, and with the thousands of art pieces on display, also somewhat daunting. But intrepid art fiends know to bulk up on the caffeine and don some sensible shoes to make the trek through the maze of booths.

Yesterday's VIP preview saw folks of all ilk taking in the sights—both the art and the people watching. It's a fascinating cultural study, where icons like Chuck Close and John Waters mingle with frenzied young collectors and wealthy scenesters... and tech millionaires? Like its contemporary the Armory Show, Frieze's many booths and attractions hope to lure buyers from art institutions to personal collectors, who will cram into the temporary structure on Randall's Island to gaze upon paintings, sculptures and art pieces to see if anything fits their collections... and their budgets.

Monica Bonvicini's "Belt Couch" (which is a functional piece of art) sees an asking price up to $500,000, while sculptures by Lynda Benglis fetch over a million, as does a painting by the late artist Joan Mitchell. And it's not just the artwork that's pricey—just pray you don't get thirsty.

Frieze runs through Monday, with day passes still available for $42.