Late last week the largest commercial real estate development in U.S. history, known as Hudson Yards, opened on Manhattan’s west side. The development, which was built atop the heavily active West Side Yards, has been rising at a breakneck speed over the last four years.
The development is being billed as New York’s newest neighborhood and boasts multiple skyscrapers that now dominate the Midtown skyline. The development is positioned to link several iconic Manhattan locales together for the first-time bridging Chelsea to Hell’s Kitchen. The famed High Line also ends at the southern edge of Hudson Yards, making the area easily accessible to visitors.
When one first comes upon Hudson Yards, visitors can see the Vessel, an interactive sculpture designed by Thomas Heatherwick that is comprised of multiple flights of stairs leading up to a viewing platform that offers sweeping views of the neighborhood.
Although currently identified as the Vessel, developers hope to have the public select an official name for the structure sometime soon. Surrounding the Vessel is a park area, soon to be filled with gardens and planters as the weather gets warmer. Interactive wayfinding kiosks are also plentiful across the park area.
Hudson Yards offers much more than just new Instagram-worthy vistas. The development is home to a one-million-square-foot retail center just off the main plaza.
Billed as “The Shops & Restaurants”, the center brings together branches from leading fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton to fast-fashion brands for the everyday shopper. Not to be overlooked either is the extensive selection of culinary offerings, many of which will be unique to New York.
Beyond the new amenities that the project will add to Manhattan’s west side, Hudson Yards is poised to be one of New York’s newest economic engines. According to documents released by developers, Hudson Yards has contributed over $10 billion to the city’s GDP during construction and is expected to contribute over $19 billion once fully operational.
The project will also provide a new cash-flow for the floundering MTA; paying the transport system just over $2 billion during construction and an additional $66 million annually. Outside of the new cash flow, the project has landed multiple high profile tenants. Corporations such as L’Oréal USA, SAP, Tapestry (formerly known as Coach), and Warner Media have all inked leases.
The project wouldn’t live up to its neighborhood name without a residential component. If you plan to live in the new neighborhood; be prepared to shell out north of $20 million for a condo.
The project is adding even more ultra-luxury housing to a Manhattan real-estate market that is seeing prices skyrocket to levels unseen in the city before.
The nature of the development has caused many to label the project as a ‘playground for billionaires’, a sentiment shared by junior diplomacy major, Lakshmi Vemuri. Vemuri, who only recently learned of Hudson Yards, didn’t seem sold on paying a visit. “The [Vessel] is strangely shaped, and the fact that you have to book free tickets fourteen days in advance is a bit ridiculous,” said Vemuri. “The area looks cool, but it also looks very expensive. I don’t think I will plan on visiting,” she concluded.
Hudson Yards has however won many people over, in part through a well-planned social media advertising campaign.
After seeing the project publicized extensively on social media, sophomore diplomacy major Mariah Braman plans on visiting. “I saw it a lot on social media, but I didn’t know too much about it or what it even was. After seeing it posted about extensively on Instagram, I think it’s definitely worth a visit,” she added.
As Hudson Yards begins to fully open for operation over the coming days, extensive crowds can be expected. To get to Hudson Yards from Seton Hall, take NJ Transit from South Orange to Penn Station; then head west on 34th Street, which will take you directly to the development. Of note, if you plan to visit the Vessel, timed entry tickets must be reserved fourteen days in advance. The rest of the development is open to the public to visit and explore.
Zachary Shaw can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @zach_shaw_.