5 Things to do at Hudson Yards New York City
Trust The Big Apple to build an entire district literally from scratch. Earlier this year, Hudson Yards New York threw open its doors. This is the largest development in the city till date and it’s set upon railyards on the West Side. What to expect? Polished residential towers, office spaces, a hotel, shopping centres, restaurants, a theatre, and more. Here are 5 things you must do in this spanking new neighbourhood on your next trip to New York.
Stairway (to nowhere)
There’s no missing The Vessel, the centrepiece of Hudson Yards in all its gleaming copper-coloured glory.
It’s designed by the British architect Thomas Heatherwick who drew inspiration from India’s stepwells for this installation. The 16-storey, honeycomb-like structure is a spiral staircase of sorts. Lace up your trainers and climb the 154 flights of stairs comprising nearly 2,500 steps. Catch your breath at one of the 80 landings for unexpected perspectives onto the city. At the top, look back at Downtown and Midtown Manhattan and then, turn around for a sweeping view of the Hudson River. As the sun sets, the burnished copper glows with an otherworldly beauty.
Entry is free but you need to buy time-specific tickets, either at interactive kiosks on-site or online here.
Walk the line
If you plan to get active at Hudson Yards New York, crash a SoulCycle ‘cardio party’. Hop on an indoor bike and follow the choreography of your instructor set to some seriously high-energy music. If that sounds too intense, get on the High Line from its southern entrance at Gansevoort St. From here, you can walk the 2.3km elevated railroad all the way to Hudson Yards.
There are art installations to admire on the way and great views of the city.
Don’t miss The Spur, a newly opened section of the High Line that feeds directly into Hudson Yards. It features planted balconies, vertical gardens, and cascading wooden seating steps in an open piazza. There’s also The Plinth, a dedicated space for monumental art installations.
The inaugural artwork is Brooklyn-based sculptor Simone Leigh’s Brick House, a 16-foot magnificent bronze bust of a Black woman.
NYC’s cultural landscape has a new addition in the form of The Shed. This exciting multi-disciplinary arts centre can physically transform itself to accommodate each performance, installation, or exhibition.
Its enormous shell made of translucent Teflon-based polymer can be pulled up over the eight-storey venue or can be rolled out to encompass the surrounding open courtyard. The space hosts theatre and music performances, art exhibitions, literature events, and more. I watched one of the opening acts – Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, a two-actor, spoken and sung performance piece that superimposes Marilyn Monroe over Helen of Troy. While the play was interesting and engaging, the highlight for me was that Benedict Cumberbatch was seated right in front of me!! Check out what’s playing at The Shed and book your tickets here.
Hudson Yards New York is a mecca for the shopaholic.
The city’s first Neiman Marcus is located here and there’s a massive Muji outlet as well. Depending on your wallet size, you have everything from Chanel, Dior, and Fendi to H&M, Uniqlo, and Zara. There’s also Forty Five Ten where art meets fashion, and upcoming talent and luxury designers rub shoulders. Sephora, M.A.C., Origins, and other usual suspects in beauty are present. A cool spot is Atelier Cologne where you can create your own perfume. Browse through Hudson Yards’s complete shopping directory here.
Food for thought
You can spend an entire day eating & drinking at Hudson Yards New York. Grab a breakfast of artisanal pastries and savoury entrées at celebrity chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. Get your coffee at the California-favourite Blue Bottle Coffee or the Aussie-style Bluestone Lane. Drop by for lunch at the lively Mercado Little Spain, celebrity chef José Andrés’ upscaled version of a Spanish market like Barcelona’s La Boqueria. It features two sit-down restaurants and an all-day diner, but the focus is on the central Mercado (market). Trawl the farm stands and grocery stores for fresh produce, sausages, cheese, bread, etc. Then do an impromptu food crawl through the kiosks, sampling an empanada here, some tapas there, and churros to finish off. The Mercado has 3 bars with Spanish wines to keep you in high spirits.
End your day at Milos Wine Bar where you can choose from nearly 100 varieties of Greek wines. Then, head to Estiatorio Milos for a taste of Greek and Mediterranean seafood specialties by acclaimed Chef Costas Spiliadis.
Alternatively, try Mar at Mercado Little Spain. Don’t miss their razor clams cured in saffron sauce, shrimp sautéed with garlic, and the seafood paella. The full list of dining options at Hudson Yards New York is available here.
Where to stay near Hudson Yards New York City
Hudson Yards is surrounded by the Chelsea & Midtown neighbourhoods so there are plenty of hotels to choose from. I stayed at 2 hotels during my trip.
- If you like boutique design hotels, check into Staypineapple located in Midtown. The rooms are done up in bright colours, comfy beds, and come with a Keurig coffee machine. The hotel is dog-friendly and they also have a cute stuffed dog in each room (available to buy if you’re so inclined). There’s no breakfast buffet on the premises but they do offer coffee through the day, some breakfast bites (muffins, pastries, etc.) in the morning, and a range of sweet treats early evening; don’t miss the pineapple cupcakes!
- If you prefer chain hotels, the Courtyard by Marriott in Chelsea is a good option. The rooms are quite spacious and have all the amenities you’d expect in a 3-star Marriott. Again, breakfast is not available but their on-site cafe offers a few quick bites & Starbucks coffee. There’s also a pub on their outdoor patio where you can grab a drink and perhaps watch a game on the TV. A word of appreciation for the front office staff all of who were friendly, helpful, and went out of their way to track down one of the packages that I had delivered but had gone astray.
Read one of my earlier blog posts on what to see and do in New York. Have you visited Hudson Yards? What did you think? Leave us a comment below.
This article was commissioned by National Geographic Traveller India. A version of this appeared in their print issue of September 2019, also online here.