Located on Manhattan’s West Side between 30th and 34th Street, an enormous new development is reshaping New York City — and causing a significant amount of controversy. Hudson Yards is a shelf of dramatic steel-and-glass skyscrapers ringing a swath of green space, all of it built over the rail yards that feed into Penn Station. Whether you think it’s a harbinger of New York City’s high-flying future or a cynical playground for the wealthy, one thing is clear: it'll be hard to visit the city in coming years without encountering at least part of Hudson Yards. Here’s what you’ll find there now, and what’s coming in the not-so-distant future.
An enormous selection of high-end shops. Opened to much fanfare on March 15, this glittery urban mega-mall is comprised of 100 shops, including many of the usual suspects (H&M, Madewell, Neiman Marcus, Sephora) and some unique offerings. The Conservatory features a highly curated selection of clothes and items for the home and also has a tea room. Avant Gallery will stage an opening exhibition with work by contemporary artists Skyler Grey, Will Kurtz, and more. Muji is offering its usual selection of useful, minimalist home goods, but there will be an embroidery station where you can customize your purchases. And Snark Park will function as a rotating gallery space with immersive exhibits; the inaugural is a partnership with fashion brand Kith.
A Spanish-themed food court by chef Jose Andres. Also currently open is Mercado Little Spain, a collection of kiosks, bars, and specialty shops focusing on Spanish food and modeled after the country’s grand food halls like Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid. Open all day, you can sample jamon iberico, manchego, churros, tapas, octopus, and Spanish wines in a handsomely designed underground space done in bold reds and yellows.
A selection of other high-end restaurants. In its quest to be a bona fide New York City culinary destination, Hudson Yards will be home to some recognizable names and brands, including Thomas Keller and Momofuku. The former’s TAK Room will feel like a glamorous 1950s grill, while Momofuku’s offering, Kawi, will be helmed by chef Enjoy Park, who trained with David Chang.
The highest observation deck in the western hemisphere. Called New York Edge, this glass-floored, 1,100-foot-high balcony will offer unparalleled views and will be accompanied by a 101st-floor fine dining restaurant and event space. It’s slated to open in 2020.
The first hotel by fitness brand Equinox.This luxury property will open in June and promises to deliver cooly soothing rooms, a rooftop pool, an eye-popping spa, two restaurants (one by restauranteur Stephen Starr), and the largest Equinox fitness center on earth.
6. The newest portion of the High Line park. This park, which spans 20 city blocks and is situated on a disused elevated rail platform, has become a true New York City classic in the decade since its unveiling. It’s become such a classic that it’s now the single busiest tourist attraction in the city, with more than eight million visitors in 2017. It’s newest and final section, Section 3, skirts the edge of Hudson Yards and feeds directly into it. If you’re strolling uptown through the park on a summer day, you’re likely to end your journey somewhere in Hudson Hards. Parts of the development are even built on the same level as the High Line so you can pass easily from one to the other.
7. An art piece that’s made for Instagram. It doesn’t have an official name yet, though it’s been informally called The Vessel. This circular progression of staircases is the showpiece of Hudson Yards, and it's a guaranteed selfie magnet. Entry is free but tickets are required.
8. An architecturally distinctive theater.The Shed is the city’s newest — and possibly most striking — performing arts venue. With an outer shell that looks like a quilt or a series of geometric bubbles, it has a retractable roof that, when expanded, increases the theater’s capacity from 1,250 to 2,000.
9. The newest (and shiniest) portions of the NYC subway. Once relatively cut off from the rest of the city, the West Side of Manhattan and Hudson Yards are now reachable from the 7 train. With new, gleaming stations, towering mosaics, and easy-to-follow signage — all of which were installed specifically for the Hudson Yards expansion — this is one of the most uncomplicated, impressive portions of the subway system.
10. A cozy tavern with a next-level wine collection. The Tavern by WS opened in Hudson Yards in November, 2019 and has distinguished itself with stylish, approachable, brasserie-style dishes courtesy of chef Eli Kaimeh, who did previous stints at French Laundry and Per Se. And as you can imagine, as a restaurant that calls out Wine Spectator in its very name, the available wine list here is expansive, and literally surrounds you while you dine. Look out for the “Seven Before Seven” happy hour special that includes a $7 wines by the glass from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., and the special striated wine glasses, made by Riedel, that allow for optimal aeration. Try the iceberg caesar salad with parmesan fried anchovies or the heritage chicken. For true devotees, the restaurant offers a members club that lets guests wine and dine, and enjoy special events, in a private upstairs space.