7 Cool Things to Do in Hudson Yards

Danielle Contray

Hudson Yards, a series of towers built cantilevered over a swath of rail yards, opened March 15 on the far west side of Manhattan around 30th Street. It’s easy enough to reach. The Metropolitan Transit Authority extended the 7 subway line in 2015, and the final stop is located at the northern end of the $20 billion development. It’s also just a two-avenue walk from transit hub Penn Station. What you’ll find at Hudson Yards is a true novelty even amid New York City’s constant change: a brand-new neighborhood. The complex comprises offices, apartments and a hotel, as well as some of the City’s newest must-see attractions, restaurants and shops. Here’s everything you need to know about what to see and do at Hudson Yards.

The Vessel. Courtesy, Getty Images

Ascend the Vessel

The most striking outdoor attraction at Hudson Yards is what’s known for the moment as the Vessel—a 150-foot-tall honeycomb-like structure designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick. The steel-and-shining-copper edifice is a series of 154 staircases (some 2,500 stairs in total) with 80 viewing platforms for stopping and snapping shots of your surroundings. The Vessel is considered a public art piece. Admission is free for children under 5 and for all ages for the first hour each day. Tickets are $10 at other times and sold in pairs.

Renée Fleming and Ben Whishaw, “Norma Jeane Baker of Troy.” Courtesy, The Shed. Photo: Dan Wilton

See a Show at The Shed

Another centerpiece of Hudson Yards is this new arts center. Its boxlike exterior has a quilted effect on the outer shell, which is mobile. It was designed on wheels so that the building can expand and contract to accommodate the performances inside. What happens inside, at The Shed’s theaters and galleries, will be high-profile as well. The Shed officially opens on April 5, with inaugural events including Soundtrack of America celebrating African American musicians and a limited run of Anne Carson’s play Norma Jeane Baker of Troy starring Renée Fleming and Ben Whishaw. The most anticipated early performance, though, will be an elaborate concert by Björk, commissioned specifically for the space, slated to run from May 6 through June 1.

Neiman Marcus. Courtesy, Francis Dzikowski

Explore the Shops

Retail therapy is also a big part of the Hudson Yards experience. The neighborhood features a seven-floor shopping complex packed with high-end jewelry and watch brands such as Cartier and Rolex, designer labels including Coach and Kate Spade and fast fashion from Uniqlo and H&M. Smaller, specialized brands such as British swimwear line Heidi Klein and men’s basics brand Mack Weldon will have their first US stores here too. The biggest news is the New York City debut of Neiman Marcus—a massive 188,000-square-foot store that will anchor the shopping center with exclusive pieces, pop-up shops, a salon and multiple restaurants. Another notable opening also has Dallas roots. Forty Five Ten, known for carrying established designers as well as up-and-coming creators, will open its second-largest American store here, selling womenswear, menswear, housewares, accessories and a curated vintage collection.

Snap a Selfie at Snark Park

Located among the shops will be Snark Park, an exhibition space from design firm Snarkitecture. The installations will change periodically but will all adhere to the second floor’s white-and-gray color scheme (dress in bright colors to really stand out). The opening exhibit, titled Lost and Found, is a series of cylinders of different heights arranged in a labyrinth-like layout around the space. If Instagramming your experience works up an appetite for something sweet, stop by the on-site Kith Treats, a dessert stand known for its crazy soft-serve combos.

Be Wowed at the Observation Deck

The most buzzed-about attraction at Hudson Yards is a 100th-floor outdoor observation deck, which will provide breathtaking views upon its completion in 2020. This will not only be the highest publicly accessible outdoor deck in the City but also the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The deck, on the south-facing side of 30 Hudson Yards, juts out from the building 65 feet with views down the length of Manhattan as well as east to Brooklyn and Queens and west to New Jersey. The 9-foot glass walls are angled, allowing visitors to lean out for an even better view. If that’s not enough to get your heart racing, there’s also a glass floor so you can feel like you are floating above the scene 1,100 feet below. The observation deck isn’t the highest point you can access, though. One floor up will be a 10,000-square-foot dining room and event space run by the restaurant group Rhubarb. Its floor-to-ceiling windows are sure to make sunset reservations popular.

Hudson Yards High Line entrance. Courtesy, Related Oxford

Stroll the Final Section of the High Line

The High Line starts some 20 blocks south of Hudson Yards and splits at 30th Street. From there, the elevated park heads west, giving visitors an opportunity to walk toward the Hudson River instead of alongside it. The opening of Hudson Yards brings the unveiling of Plinth, a revolving contemporary art installation at 30th Street. The inaugural piece is a 16-foot-tall bronze statue by Simone Leigh that will remain on view through September 2020. Closer to the river, you’ll find Pershing Square Beams—a climbing area for kids made from beams crisscrossed over a padded surface. Back at 30th Street, the High Line also connects with the gardens and plaza around the Vessel.

Gallery Hop

The neighborhood now known as Hudson Yards isn’t technically limited to the new high rises. The stretch of Tenth Avenue just south used to be casually referred to as West Chelsea, and there are notable galleries just a short stroll away from the new complex. Heller Gallery, located between West 27th and 28th streets, recently moved from the Meatpacking District and is known for displaying glass sculptures (many artists championed by the gallery now have pieces at the Met, MoMA and other museums worldwide). Keep heading south to Kasmin Gallery, on the corner of Tenth Avenue and West 27th Street, to see contemporary art and sculpture from a global collection of artists.


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