PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Dallas

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59 The opening took place Thursday, March 14, with a red carpet at the entrance and searchlights scanning the Manhattan sky, like an old-fashioned movie premiere. It was a celebrity-filled affair including Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Whoopi Goldberg, Andy Cohen, Tom Brady, and Gisele Bündchen. At Neiman's, Liza Minnelli sang "New York, New York." The gleaming marble floors and wide-open walkways are home to some impressive top-shelf retail: Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Cartier, Piaget, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tory Burch, Dunhill, and, of course, the trio of Texans: Neiman Marcus, sprawling over three floors; Forty Five Ten, with four separate shops flung along the fifth floor; and The Conservatory, a brand-new concept by Forty Five Ten's f o u n d e r, B r i a n Bolke. Opening soon are Christian Dior, Tod's, Brooks B r o t h e r s , a n d Tiffany & Co. (while m o r e m o d e r a t e retailers include H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, and Muji). "Wow," said Becca Cason Thrash, whom I ran into on her way into Neiman's. "I've never seen so much marble!" We were standing outside the department store, looking out over a balcony with a wall of glass framing the burnished copper form of the Vessel, near one of the new restaurants on the fifth and sixth floors, which Becca had already spotted. "My favorite new place in New York will be al fresco dining on the terrace of TAK, Thomas Keller's latest," she told me. "Having cocktails and bites on the terrace directly in front of the Vessel and adjacent to The Shed. As far as new views are concerned, that's as good as it gets." The Vessel, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, is a monumental, 150-foot- high stairway and sculpture that some have likened to New York's answer to the Eiffel Tower. The next day, I tried it out (tickets are free). Climbing up and the down the stairs, pausing on the landings, reveals an extraordinary series of views: downward into the structure, out to Hudson Yards, and a variety of views of New York, framed b y t h e l a t t i c e - like structure. It is an impressive experience, one that has instantly become a social- media magnet. Even while Hudson Yards was being built, however, there was no shortage of sniping. One New York Times critic dismissed it, amusingly enough, as, "An architectural petting zoo." In the crescendo of coverage for the inauguration, much of the criticism was even more pointed. In a scathing review, The New York Times called Hudson Yards "Manhattan's Biggest, Newest, Slickest, Gated Community." And that was just the headline. Some of the most negative press was for The Shops. As Vanity Fair wrote, "In the end, it's something Clueless' Cher might have dreamed up, a little slice of Dubai in New York." The most-often- heard criticism is that Hudson Yards is a playground for billionaires, a flashy development that turns its back on what New York is all about. My response is: "Have you really seen Manhattan lately?" Yes, Hudson Yards is glittering. But there are also plenty of elements that are accessible to most: casual restaurants such as the Shake Shack or Belcampo, prepared meals at Citarella Gourmet Market, coffee at Jack's Stir Brew, and pastries at Bouchon Bakery. And one of the most exciting new elements is Mercado Little Spain by chef and philanthropist José Andrés, a collection of kiosks, bars, and restaurants, along 30th Street under the High Line, serving impeccable Spanish cuisine. It's also important to remember that Hudson Yards is built on reclaimed land — far from taking anything away, it is a net addition to New York. The first platform, completed in 2016, is a 10-acre surface that covers 30 working tracks carrying traffic into and out of Penn Station. Pillars, between 20 feet and 80 feet in height, were drilled into the bedrock between the tracks. The structure is made of 25,000 tons of steel and 14,000 cubic yards of concrete. While skepticism is always welcome, I would be very surprised if Hudson Yards is not a tremendous success — I have already seen delighted crowds streaming into the shops on the weekends and the marching band from Howard University kicking off the opening of The Shed. Some of the harshness by New Yorkers reminds me of a similar occasion: all of those 19th-century Parisians who were positively horrified by the Eiffel Tower. — William Middleton "I had a front-row view of the building of Hudson Yards. Its debut was like that moment in The Wizard of Oz when the film shifts from black and white to color." A building on wheels, The Shed can expand or contract. The Shed at Hudson Yards, as seen from the author's home, Abington House. The 28-acre Hudson Yards complex

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