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 tower colossus of Hudson Yards feel so cheap?
‘One thing that’s always been genuine in New York ,” says Dan Doctoroff,” is that if you build 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 identify hundreds of parties climbing up and down Thomas Heatherwick’s Vesselsculpture, like minuscule maggots crawling all over a decompose doner kebab.
The first phase of Hudson Yards opened last month and parties have indeed come- mainly to gawp at how it could have been allowed to happen. On a enormous swath of the west side of Manhattan formerly earmarked for New York’s 2012 Olympic bid, a developer has created a private fantasy of angular glass towers stuffed with places and costly accommodations, rising above a seven-storey shopping mall on an endless gray-headed carpet, sprayed with small-time clumps of “park”.
The surprising thing isn’t that such a development has happened. The real disturbance is that it’s quite so bad. Hudson Yards’ commerce hype is showered with superlatives: this is the largest and most expensive private real estate project in US history, a neighbourhood exploding with “never-before-seen” retail theories and “first-of-its-kind” dining destinations. It is billed as the ultimate in everything, a refined playground for discerning urbanites, with stores which allows you invest five figures on a wristwatch and $800 on a haircut.