NEW YORK | 30 Hudson Yards | 1,268 FT | 90 FLOORS



The name for the observatory is Edge.



The demand is there. When folks come to NY, they spend money. This will be just another check on your typical tourist hand book.

The city tourism scene has been booming for the last 15 years. 2019 promises yet another record high. So long as the prestige remains, the decks of NY will be packed.


Michael Kimmelman’s take on Hudson Yards:

It offers 14 acres of public open space in return for privatizing the last precious undeveloped parcel of significant size in Manhattan. But the open space looks like it may end up being mostly a fancy drive-through drop-off for the shopping mall, a landscaped plaza overshadowed by office towers and, for the coming western yards, a scattering of high-rise apartment buildings around a lawn — in effect, a version of a 1950s towers-in-the-park housing complex, except designed by big-name architects.

And while those apartment buildings look to be less enormous than the supertalls that have gone up so far, stepping down toward the river, the whole site lacks any semblance of human scale. With its focus on the buildings’ shiny envelopes, on the monotony of reflective blue glass and the sheen of polished wood, brass, leather, marble and stone, Hudson Yards glorifies a kind of surface spectacle — as if the peak ambitions of city life were consuming luxury goods and enjoying a smooth, seductive, mindless materialism.

It gives physical form to a crisis of city leadership, asleep at the wheel through two administrations, and to a pernicious theory of civic welfare that presumes private development is New York’s primary goal, the truest measure of urban vitality and health, with money the city’s only real currency.

The triumph of this view is a consequence of government’s dwindling capacity to plan, build or repair anything significant itself. City Hall, which demonstrates no grasp of urban design, doesn’t do planning, vaguely requiring half the acreage at Hudson Yards be open space but leaving Mr. Ross to decide what that means.


That piece is just an example of a writer looking to critique just for the sake of critiquing. The layout is the way it is because of precisely what the community wanted. They wanted lots of open space and less roads/streets.

As for the shiny glass and marble criticism, what did the author want the materials to be made of, wood and paper?


I don’t think the the New York Times architecture critic needs a reason write architectural criticism, but given tomorrow’s opening of the first significant portion of public space, this seems a good one. Of the four paragraphs I quoted, I’d be more interested in debating the larger issue of urban planning than the the sentence about choice of materials. I tend to agree with him about the failings of the public space.


Probably the closest historical parallel is Rockefeller Center. In terms of iconic public space, Hudson Yards is no Rockefeller Center. RC was not just designed as a passive space to meander between shopping destinations, it is a space of significant public ritual and performance-- while the architecture, sculpture and murals tell a specific mythology about who we are as a city. The only consideration of what humans do in HY is sit on a bench or look at that giant shiny basket: they are consumers of the space, no co-creators. It will play no larger roll in civic life, as far as I can tell, and the architecture and ‘surface’ as the critic describes has no story to tell, basically just trying to convey the interior of a luxury car. Sorry, but it sucks. I like the shed though. Maybe over time people will usurp the space and it will be interesting.


He also could have drawn a parallel to Battery Park City, another recent mixed-use development created out of thin air. BPC does a pretty decent job with public space. But, as implied, verdict is still out until the final product is revealed and phase 2 is complete.



Agree with you there. In the residential portion, BPC has an amazing and intimate park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, Teardrop Park, based on Hudson valley geology. He toured me through once. Plus it does a great job of using the water and boats as an active spectacle on the river side that reminds you of the port history. Too bad HY didn’t learn from the thoughtfulness of either, as far as I can tell it might as well be in Dubai.


In general I think the reviewer’s critique of the architecture of phase 1 is largely justified. With the exception of 35 and 15 the buildings are pretty amorphous huge structures—not a lot of character. Glass upon glass is getting old and boring. And I’m not at all “the community,” whatever that is, wanted a streetless plaza largely removed from the life of the city. The HiLine reduces the isolation but it still leaves the development as a largely isolated area for (mostly; yes there are some below market housing units but many with separate entrances) the rich and famous. It reminds me some of the original trade center complex—raised above the city as a huge hulk and disconnected from its street level vibrancy. To the extent the new WTC complex has restored some street presence that’s all to the good. Despite the height required by the phase 1 platform I think the planning could have engaged with the city a great deal more.


I, for one, am happy it is separate from the street grid! To me that is actually a feature, not a flaw. Let’s face it, our street grid is boring! One of the most exciting things about the High Line was that it was a public space that was off the street grid. Now, with HY, it will lead you to a grand open plaza that is also off the grid. We have enough gridded streets in NY (a plethora, really), not enough plazas separated from cars.


I wonder if the triangle will finally be lit tomorrow night.

Edit: Apparently, it was turned on last night!


I can’t remember which thread it was in, but yesterday someone was commenting that they thought there was some work done around coming up with a concept to connect the elevated plaza of Manhattan West with the High Line and ultimately Hudson Yards. I just saw this:


They need to do it. It makes complete sense.


I really want them to build it, Hudson Yards would be less isolated from the rest of Midtown


This is a nice idea.


Credit: FC