Ya gotta love New York. The city that never sleeps also is
never completed. Hence its newest, gob-smackingest attraction: The US$25
Created over 28 acres of unloved and unlovely railway yards
on Manhattan’s west side, this imaginative combo comprises condos, office
towers, hotels, a shopping mall, cultural space, 6 acres of park and one
massive climb-able sculpture. Much of
the project, which has proven to be a massive exercise in coordination and
collaboration, opened last March to a great deal of noise.
How do you get there?
Parking in Manhattan is notoriously expensive, so the good news is that
the No. 7 subway has been extended to have its very own Hudson Yards stop.
Additionally, the uber-popular High Line (a disused elevated railway track
which has been repurposed to be a green-space walking park) delivers what seems
like a conveyer belt of tourists and locals alike directly into the attraction.
Once there, one of the main drawing cards is the shiny-new 7-storey
mall, home to an array of options from New York’s first, chic, Nieman Marcus
but also more mainstream brands such as H&M. I was surprised to also see an actual Amazon
The biggest buzziest and most fun area the day I visited is
the Mercado – a mash-up of food-court, wine-bar, food and souvenir shops all with
a Spanish theme. Suit-and-tie office
workers mingled with tourists from Topeka to Tokyo enjoying tapas,
gazpacho-in-a-glass, ice cream and flatbread sandwiches.
Outside, dozens joined the line to climb The Vessel, a 150
foot tall honeycomb of open staircases.
There’s no charge to climb The Vessel, but advance tickets seriously
recommended. It’s the perfect attraction for the Instagram age.
Adjacent to The Vessel is a massive, boxy, windowless
cultural space called The Shed, cleverly designed with moveable walls and
floors to be a highly flexible venue for concerts, plays and other live
Adjacent, looming skyscrapers house condos and offices; and
linking it all are public squares and gardens. To come? A 100-storey glass viewing deck called The
Edge, due next year.
So. Should you
recommend your clients visit it? Architecture critics have been vocal (“Clumsy
and soulless”), and locals grumble that it’s all a “non-descript mall for the
wealthy”. I’m of two minds: Yes, it’s a
bit of a hodge-podge, design-wise. No, I don’t have US$1,700 for a pair of shoes.
And yet…in an era of such boring blandness, you have to applaud the panache and
the sheer New Yorkiness that Hudson Yards represent. It takes guts to take a grimy
and vast space in one of the world’s great cities and create something
completely daring and new. Bravo, New
Martha Chapman Columnist
An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.