Hudson Yards officially opened today on the west side of Manhattan. More specifically, the eastern half of Hudson Yards opened. There’s a second phase to come on the western yards. And the highly anticipated observation deck at 30 Hudson Yards — the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere — is also not quite ready. It is expected to open in early 2020.
Considered the largest mixed-use private real estate project in American history by square footage, Hudson Yards has been in the works for many decades and was previously part of New York’s (failed) bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. Dan Doctoroff, who is now the CEO of Sidewalk Labs, led the bid under the Bloomberg administration.
So today is a bit of a big deal.
To commemorate the opening, the architecture critic for the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, published this searing, but highly visual, piece about the project. I think it is fairly safe to assume that he isn’t a huge fan (he doesn’t seem to love developers either).
Here’s an excerpt talking about Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel:
Purportedly inspired by ancient Indian stepwells (it’s about as much like them as Skull Mountain at Six Flags Great Adventure is like Chichen Itza) the object — I hesitate to call this a sculpture — is a 150-foot-high, $200 million, latticed, waste-basket-shaped stairway to nowhere, sheathed in a gaudy, copper-cladded steel.
It preens along the critical axis between the High Line and the newish No. 7 subway station at Hudson Yards, hoping to drum up Instagram views and foot traffic for the mall, casting egregious shadows over what passes for public open space, ruinously manspreading beside the Shed, the most novel work of architecture on site, and the only building the private developers didn’t build.
If any of you have formulated your own opinions about Hudson Yards, I would love to hear from you in the comments below. I’m looking forward to exploring the neighborhood in person sometime soon. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, Curbed also just published, The ultimate guide to Hudson Yards.