Horror on the Hudson: New York’s $25 bn architectural fiasco
It is a billionaires playground where haircuts expense $800 and high-rise duplexes go for $32 m. So why does the towering colossus of Hudson Yards feel so cheap?
‘One thing that’s always been genuine in New York ,” says Dan Doctoroff,” is that if you constructed it, they will come .” He is a reference to Hudson Yards, the $25 bn, 28 -acre, mega-project that he had a critical hand in originating while he was deputy mayor of the city under Michael Bloomberg in the early 2000 s. He can now look down on his co-creation every day from his new office in one of the development’s towers and attend hundreds of people climbing up and down Thomas Heatherwick’s Vesselsculpture, like minuscule maggots crawling all over a rotting doner kebab.
The first period of Hudson Yards opened last-place month and parties have indeed come- primarily to gawp at how it could have been allowed to happen. On a enormous swath of the west side of Manhattan once earmarked for New York’s 2012 Olympic bid, a developer has made a private fiction of angular glass towers stuffed with offices and expensive apartments, rising above a seven-storey shopping mall on an endless gray-headed carpet, sprayed with small-minded clumps of “park”.
The surprising thing isn’t that such a development has happened. The real surprise is that it’s quite far worse. Hudson Yards’ commerce publicity is showered with superlatives: this is the largest and most expensive private real estate project in US history, a place bursting with “never-before-seen” retail notions and “first-of-its-kind” dining destinations. It is statute as the ultimate in everything, a refined playground for discern urbanites, with stores where you can spend five people on a wristwatch and $800 on a haircut.