Manhattan's newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards, opened to the public today at noon. The neighborhood is the largest development in the city since Rockefeller Center, with 28 acres of mixed-use civic, office, residential, retail, and hospitality spaces developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. The public-use space includes 20 Hudson Yards, a one-million-square-foot shopping and dining destination brought to life by Elkus Manfredi Architects and KPF. It also includes a landscaped public square featuring Vessel, a 150-foot-tall, copper-plated staircase to nowhere by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio.
After years of fanfare accompanied by massive changes to New York City's skyline, the new neighborhood toasted 20 Hudson Yards and the public square on the night before its debut. It was a glitzy, guest-list kind of affair—a testament to the might of the developers who invested in the once-barren parcel of land along with the architects and designers who have made it into a destination.
While the public spaces—the presence of which were city-mandated—are thoughtfully designed, at no point can visitors forget for whom the neighborhood was intended. The 20 Hudson Yards entrance adjacent to both the 7 subway line and the public square greets shoppers with a barrage of luxury marquee retailers: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Fendi, and Rolex. Neiman Marcus is the upscale department store anchor, although more moderately-priced retailers such Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers also have a presence in the shopping center. Avant Gallery is located on the first floor, while Snarkitecture's Snark Park resides on the second floor.
A stellar marketing strategy for last night's grand opening had editors abuzz on the internet and inside the opening party itself, while influencers were shepherded around by their managers for photos. At present, Instagram posts tagged "Hudson Yards" are numbered at 78,000 and counting, while a cursory Google search of "Hudson Yards" yields over 90 million results and pages upon pages of news coverage. What will be left by way of public regard, and how that will impact the development's financial performance once the novelty wears off, remains to be seen.