Before Friday’s opening of the fabulous new Hudson Yards complex of office towers and apartment buildings and shopping and parks and culture and a No. 7 subway station, there was nothing but an open rail yard on Manhattan’s Far West Side.
We know. For years the Daily News was at 33rd and 10th Ave., looking right over the LIRR trains waiting to be dispatched into Penn Station.
The trains remain, but they are now underneath an incredible 35,000-ton steel and concrete platform covering the depot’s eastern half. That $1.5 billion public improvement was paid for by developer Stephen Ross and his Related Cos. Related also paid the MTA more than $1 billion for the air rights, part of $16 billion in private money plowed into a bleak neighborhood that this page rightly called fallow.
And $10 billion more in private investment is coming, including a $1.5 billion platform over the western side of the yards.
What’s on top of the platform is what makes New York, including the second tallest building in the city, with the highest outdoor observation deck in the New World. There are millions of square feet of office space and hundreds of apartments, about 30% of them affordable rentals. There are eight acres of open space, accessible to all, and a mall with more than 100 retailers.
Add in a 15-story high permanent art installment called Vessel, open to the public for free, and a new performance space called The Shed, all wrapped by the High Line.
All this will be alive, with new streets open to traffic, not like the barren superblock plaza of the old World Trade Center.
The taxpayers put in about $3 billion to pay for the subway extension, new boulevard and parks. Later on there will be a new 750-seat public school, paid for the developers.
Foolish folks are calling it an exclusive playground for the rich, because (horror of horrors!) the market-rate apartments are expensive.