Hudson Yards says there won’t be a wall after pushback over possible plans

Construction hasn't started yet on the Western Yard, in foreground. (Related-Oxford)

It looks like part of Hudson Yards won’t be walled off, after all.

After an outcry earlier this week from Manhattan officials over reports that Hudson Yards was considering building a wall in its next phase of development, which would potentially block public access to its green space, Hudson Yards said on Wednesday that there will be no wall.

Phase Two of Hudson Yards, dubbed the Western Yard and between 11th Avenue and the West Side Highway, from 30th to 33rd Streets, has not started construction yet. It’s set to include six residential buildings, a mixed-use building, a school, and have 50 percent reserved for open space.

On Jan. 10, the New York Times first reported that Related Companies, developer of Hudson Yards, was considering an idea for a deck to rise as it reaches the High Line park on its western edge, instead of original plans for the deck to slope down.

The rising deck would have allowed for a parking garage underneath and created a 20-foot-high wall next to the High Line, spanning 700 feet along the park and potentially obstructing access from the High Line and street into Hudson Yards green space.

The idea received immediate and harsh condemnation from several officials, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of the High Line.

Now, days later, Hudson Yards has said that there will be no wall.

“We have always shared the vision that the Western Yard should include a great public open space,” Hudson Yards wrote as part of a series of tweets on Wednesday morning. “We don’t yet have a final design but have always understood clearly that our open space needs to work well with the High Line and the Hudson River.

“Unfortunately, there currently appears to be a lot of misinformation in the public domain, which is disheartening. Our plan has always been to build an open space,” the statement continued, “and we are working to manage the technical challenges to achieve this. There has never been a wall along the High Line and there will never be a wall.”

The Hudson Yards statement was met with relief from officials.

“This is good to hear,” tweeted Speaker Johnson. “The Western Yards must never be walled off from the High Line. Looking forward to working with my neighbors and my colleagues in government to develop a plan that prioritizes public access to the Highline.”

State Sen. Brad Hoylman was also glad about the news of no wall. “The High Line is—and always should be—a public space for all New Yorkers to enjoy,” Hoylman said in a statement. “I’m pleased to see Related backing down from their plan to build a 20-foot high concrete wall that would have cut off the High Line from new open space.

“Too many billionaires want New York City to be their private playground,” Hoylman continued. “But when New Yorkers stand together, we can ensure there’s a place for all of us in this city.”

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