2019-03-30 —

Hudson Yards is here after a dozen years of planning and $16 billion of construction -- and Manhattan won't be the same. The first half of a 27-acre, $28 billion, something-for-everyone mini-city between 10th and 11th avenues in the lower West 30s opens to the public on March 15. It's the largest privately built real-estate project in US history. Its current 15 acres are bigger than the 12-acre, original Rockefeller Center between Fifth and Sixth avenues. When fully completed, Hudson Yards will be twice as large as the World Trade Center. ... Hudson Yards is the crescendo to a march of new projects running west from Madison Square Garden -- the glass-domed Moynihan Train Hall (under construction between Eighth and Ninth avenues), mini-mega complex Manhattan West (poking its head up between Ninth and 10th) and, finally, Hudson Yards' monumental facade of two sharply-angled towers with a gargantuan shopping hall slung like a hammock between them. Many New Yorkers are baffled by the cluster of peaks that have come to own the formerly empty sky. Helen Rosner, a Brooklyn-dwelling writer for The New Yorker, might have spoken for more than a few recently when she tweeted a photo of the cloudbusters with the caption, "Maybe I don't come into Manhattan enough but what the hell is this." ... Although the complaints are mostly ridiculous, Related Companies founder and Chairman Stephen M. Ross sounded stung by the sniping. He said at a recent media walk-through, "This is not a project for the rich, not an enclave. We're hitting all income levels at every price point. It's a city within the city that's also part of the city." Ross is right. There are Body Shop and Sephora as well as Rolex and Stuart Weitzman; Shake Shack as well as pricey, fish-by-the-pound Milos. The plaza and the Vessel are free to all. But if the complex isn't quite a "new neighborhood," as Related claims, it's hard to say exactly what it is, because it's unlike anything we've seen -- which is part of what makes it fun.

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