A West Side Story
I remember New York City during the less-than-glory days, where Times Square was a mess and the West Side was, arguably, uninhabitable because of sky-high crime rates. Over the last 30 years, this city has changed much for the better. Rudy Giuliani cleaned up New York and Bloomberg continued to allow the city to flourish.
Visiting Hudson Yards was a friendly reminder of how far New York City has come, and was also a moment when I had to catch my breath with the concept of how time has flown. About 15 years ago, offices began to head way out West for better rent opportunities. The belief was that ‘West was the Way to Go’. More space for your money. More apartment opportunities in brand-new buildings. I found myself working far on the West Side for most of my time in New York City. As offices moved West, apartment buildings were built – seemingly overnight – to accommodate all the people. I remember several parking garages on 11th Avenue, where I parked my car, were sold as new building sites because I had to keep finding new parking garages. Actually that was my husband’s job and for a good year or two, I had no idea where my car was! True story.
The West was booming. Until 2008.
I worked in the Associated Press Building on West 33rd Street between 9th and 10th (closer to 10th) and it was not the most convenient location. True, you could take the subway to Penn Station, but you had a pretty significant walk out West. Once you were West enough, as in “wave to your friends in New Jersey West”, shops, lunch spots and people watching became limited. I remember when it was a construction site with barely a pole in the ground and lots of signage that advertised “Hudson Yards,” and my reaction: “Who would want to be all the way over here?”
Mind you, I had a similar thoughts about Brookfield Place, where you may recall, I visited Saks Fifth Avenue and reported it here, but Brookfield Place has all of the Battery Park City community, making it more likely to attract shoppers. I love Brookfield but having visited both, with the exception of indoor shopping and art installations, the execution of the properties are quite different. Brookfield rolled out earlier and is luxury shopping at its finest but Hudson Yards is simply grander in every way. More stores, more restaurants, and more space. If you asked me to sum up Hudson Yards in one word or phrase, I would say “Excess…but in a good way.”
Hudson Yards was described as a work-in-progress that would be a village, of sorts, within the island of Manhattan. Economic uncertainty in 2008 left some wondering what would happen, but the buzz-on-the-street was that Hudson Yards would persevere and it did. Repeatedly, I heard about a Neiman Marcus coming to the city. People were calling just to let me know that information, as though I am a shopaholic or something…
Admittedly, back when the site was piles of metal, it was hard to imagine such a complex but there I was – standing in it – this past weekend; a pretty remarkable feeling.
The No.7 Train route was extended to what now is the last stop: “Hudson Yards,” meaning that I am dangerously close to Neiman Marcus…but I would like to thank the MTA for that.
A ‘less-than-20 minutes’ subway ride on the weekend – when trains run much slower – took us to the “34th Street Hudson Yards” station. Together with mobs of people, we disembarked the train and scurried up a steep escalator that reminded me of an entrance to a planetarium, although I can not pinpoint why. At the top of the escalator and out of the station, we stood in Hudson Yards.
This is the TKA (temporarily known as) name and the public can suggest a formal name on a dedicated website. The catch is that they get your e-mail address in exchange for your vote. An early social media favourite was “The Shawarma”, derived from the cone-shaped doner kebab so popular on street carts.
You can’t miss it. A spiral staircase that was imagined by Thomas Heatherwick and eponymous Studio allows visitors an interactive experience that allows for some excellent ‘cardio’ up 154 interconnecting flights of stairs to view the city from a variety of different heights and angles. There are 80 landings and almost 2500 steps, totaling nearly one mile of vertical climb.
Open daily from 10am – 9pm, tickets may be purchased online at www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com, or in person. I recommend online, at least for weekend plans because ticket queue was long that Saturday.
The Shed is a large structure that reminds me of an inviting pillow (in a good way), located at 15 Hudson Yards to border the public square and is a haven for artists in music, painting, media, theater and literature, where work will be showcased in a movable structure. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Lead Architect) and Rockwell Group (Collaborating Architect), the structure boasts features including two large gallery spaces, and a sky-lit event space titled The McCourt for large scale events.
The Snark Park
Located on the second floor of ‘The Shops’ at Hudson Yards, Snark Park is an exhibition space with installations designed by Snarkitecture, whose founders are Daniel Arsham, Ben Porto and Alex Mustonen. This is an ever-changing concept, so each visit will bring a different visual treat.
Reminiscent of the installations at Brookfield Place, but grander and more in-depth.
Snarkitecture is a New York studio whose work is centered on challenging visitors to investigate the familiar with a fresh curiosity. Their installations merge different approaches to art, design and architecture, reimagining everyday surroundings into extraordinary monochromatic concepts. The team creates unexpected and memorable moments within installations that invite people of all ages to come contemplate, explore, relax and play.
With full panoramic views, I would anticipate it to be the spot to watch the sunset with a nine-foot wall of angled glass allowing for viewers to lean over Manhattan. On the 101st floor, a 10,000-square-foot bar and restaurant programmed from hospitality group rhubarb (it’s first venture outside of London) is sure to be a must see. Note that if you do not like heights, you may not want to visit Edge.
The list would be much shorter to tell you what is not here yet: Brooks Brothers will open later in the Spring.
Already trading are Neiman Marcus, AG, Atelier Cologne, Uniqlo, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dunhill, Muji, Coach, Molton Brown, Tory Burch, Tods, Fendi, Jo Malone, Louis Vuitton, Patek Philippe, and Piaget.
Store after store after store. You definitely will not run out of shopping options on your visit.
BAR STANLEY AT NEIMAN MARCUS
COOK & MERCHANTS AT NEIMAN MARCUS
HUDSON YARDS GRILL
Other options include Fuku, Blue Bottle Coffee, Dylan’s Candy Bar and Citerella, where food-court seating is available. Of note, seats at the food-court are noticeably limited given the number of options and people. There were a lot of people sitting and eating on the floor. I don’t have word if additional seating will be added.
Hudson Yards Real Estate
Hudson Yards is the most expensive real-estate development in US history. Final completion set for 2025 includes residential towers, office spaces, and a school in addition to the boutiques, restaurants, art installation, park and observation deck described above. This $25 billion development offers condos at 15 Hudson Yards starting at $4.3 million. Some are priced around and above $32 million.
35 Hudson Yards will include a 60,000-square-foot Equinox fitness center, the world’s first Equinox hotel, shopping, and at least one restaurant. Condos start at $5 million and go up to at least $28.5 million, not including the Penthouse units. Stephen Ross, chairman of The Related Companies, the real-estate developer of Hudson Yards has plans to move into one of the Penthouses at 35 Hudson Yards, where the Penthouse is just a small bite of what is offered.
Ross told Forbes Magazine that Hudson Yards is “not a neighborhood for the rich” citing that Hudson Yards’ mall offers affordable options such as Shake Shack, H&M and Zara. I laughed a bit, because I suppose more ‘mainstream’ provides the property a “down to earth vibe?”
My belief is if you have the means and desire, jump in. This is one major community. Of the 4,000 apartments that are planned for Hudson Yards, about 10% will be rented at below-market rates as part of the city’s affordable-housing program. These apartments, which will be open to those who make between about $31,000 and $62,000 per year, will rent for $858 a month for a studio and up to $1,350 a month for a two-bedroom, according to ‘Curbed’.
30 Hudson Yards is located at the intersection of 33rd Street and 10th Avenue. The 2.6 million square-foot tower is taller than the Empire State Building featuring panoramic views and outdoor terraces. Warner Media has acquired 1.5 million square feet of office space and plan to consolidate divisions from CNN, HBO, Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. into one space and moving approximately 5000 employees.
Wells Fargo Securities and DNB Norway’s Largest financial services group is also set to occupy space at 500,000 and 44,500 square feet respectively. Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group also plans to move into 30 Hudson Yards.
Had I not seen the site prior to the development, I would still be impressed. Having seen the “before” and “after”, the semi-finished product is rather mind blowing. A few things to keep in mind:
- It is not finished yet, so check the website before you visit, as we cannot access certain features just yet.
- Go early in the morning on weekends. It is mobbed with curious tourists and New Yorkers.
- Be prepared to wait as all the opened restaurants had a wait-list at 1pm on Saturday, some over one hour.
- Last and certainly not least, take some time…..
VIDEO: Hudson Yards Opening Ceremony
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Writer with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. Her credits include Sales and Marketing for with PRADA USA Corp., followed by a jump in to the world of beauty as an Esthetician followed by Spa Manager at Jurlique, Spa Manager and Client Relationship Manager and Digital Business Development coordinator position at Amore Pacific where celebrity clients were and remain confidential and her column, “Ask Angela,” was featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. She has also been a contributor for Beauty to Shape and Fitness Magazines.
A side job as a Hospital Victim on “As the World Turns,” and a correspondent on the now defunct lifestyle web series “Tangerine Living,” Angela is no stranger to juggling multiple positions and has built quite the resume. A move to The New York Daily News as Training and Employee Relations Manager with a night and weekend gig as make up artist for runway shows, (she studies in Los Angeles with Amy Ward) including Vogue Bambino and multiple commercials, Angela became a Mom, her best and most important credit to date.
Since Motherhood, Angela has been a Brand Ambassador for the skin line Patchology, featured in Saks Fifth Avenue in store and on air with CBS News segment “Patch me Pretty.” She has been a beauty guest for QVC, and the founder of her own social media communications business, helping business owners to share their digital voice. Actively involved with Smart Children with Learning Differences, her most favorite down time hobby is discovering the best in beauty, travel and fashion around the United States.
Angela is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BS in Communications and Writing, where she appeared on the University Union News as an Anchor and on The Beat of Syracuse, Z89 as a DJ. Angela has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Working with Alphaluxe is a unique opportunity, “to share what I am most passionate about. Living your best life. In her spare time, you can find Angela running, practicing yoga, taking her son to one of his sports practices. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, son, and chihuahuas.