Hudson Yards opened on Friday to a crowd of locals eager to get their first glimpse at the $25 billion development that was years in the making. But the project — the city’s largest development since Rockefeller Center — drew mixed reviews from New Yorkers.
“We’re losing so much of the city,” said John Lind, 82, of the Upper East Side. “We used to go up on Lexington Avenue and there would be all these unique shops, you could always find something different that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Here, you may as well just be in suburbia.”
Hundreds of people ascended the escalators early Friday to shop high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton and Coach and get a first bite from the new eateries. In a ribbon-cutting event of sorts, Sen. Chuck Schumer gave opening remarks, calling the development a “city within a city.”
Although construction began in January 2015, the project has been in the works for over a decade. The new neighborhood includes a recently opened No. 7 train station, luxury residences, shops, restaurants, an observation deck, public gardens and art installations.
A seven-story retail and dining complex called “Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards” features a mix of trendy, high-end and affordable outlets, while a five-acre gathering space outside accommodates for the expected crowds to come.
“I just wanted to see it, all the hype and everything,” said Sabrina DaCruz, 60, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. “A lot has changed … [but] it’s a good change. It sort of brings this area to life. It was nonexistent before the 7 line.”
More than 125,000 people a day are expected to either visit, work in or call the 28-acre Hudson Yards their home by the project’s completion in 2025, according to a release. The final stage of the project will include homes, offices, a hotel, school, performing arts center and the “Edge,” set to be the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.
The complex also includes the Vessel, the sculpturelike centerpiece of the complex made up of staircases and platforms, designed for New Yorkers to climb for a breathtaking view of the West Side. The structure will be open everyday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
While some are eager for the new influx of West Side visitors, others remain unimpressed.
“What I’m not excited for is the traffic,” said John Goodman, 35, who commutes to a neighboring office building from Edison, New Jersey. “I drive everyday, so I’m not looking forward to it. I think it will make the traffic worse, and I hope there is a plan in place to help [that].”
Joel Campana, 27, of Prospect Heights, an employee at the L’Oreal headquarters nearby, said, “I don’t know if the West Side really has a community. Just seeing [the complex] being built for the past couple of years … the timing seems just about right.”
If You Go: Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 p .m. daily.