I know you’ve probably been asking, “Where’s Lazer been?” At least I hope you have! Been busy with the band this summer as we transitioned from the Grayriders to the Graytrippers. I know you probably are saying “Really, Lazer?” Also been involved in this wedding thing coming up in a week or so, but truth be told, my wife and daughter have been the chief architects there, I’m really just eye candy for that one.
No, the truth is that I haven’t had a decent idea, nothing good to share, no interesting places to illuminate. And I don’t want to retread on old grounds, retelling old stories. I have done over one hundred and fifty of these essays and I want each one to be something special. So, I was pleasantly surprised when a recent consulting meeting left me close to Hudson Yards, because I hadn’t been there yet, and it presented an excellent opportunity to share with Rockaway.
If you are not familiar with Hudson Yards, let me give you some reminders—it’s the site that former Mayor Bloomberg wanted to have an Olympic Stadium built and then when that fell through, wanted to build a new stadium for the Jets. Given the current “war” on cars by New York politicians, it’s a good thing neither of those things happened. It’s hard to find a main thoroughfare that hasn’t been artificially narrowed by a bus lane, a bike lane, and parking lane one lane away from the curb. It’s really insane. But I digress.
Hudson Yards is a $25 billion project that spans about seven or eight buildings along the west side just south of the Javits Center. A piece of brilliant planning puts the Hudson Yards right at the northern end of the High Line. That’s right. You can now get on the High Line at the Whitney Museum in the Meat Packing District (there is no more meat packing there anymore) and walk to Hudson Yards; and, it is also now at the end of the newly extended # 7 Train. And let me tell you that station is a thing of beauty, too.
The area is bounded by 10th and 12th Avenues and runs between 30th and 34th Streets. So, it’s a large swath of the city. The buildings are very creatively designed and different than anywhere else in Manhattan. The main building houses some pretty cool restaurants and all the high-end retail stores. So, if you want to do some fun Christmas shopping, this is definitely a destination for that.
But what has gotten the most attention are two weird buildings that set the whole area apart: The Vessel and The Shed. The Vessel is a shell that has stairs that you can climb or an elevator you can take to the top and walk down. You get a free ticket that has a time frame to go in from a kiosk next to it. You use your phone to register your ticket. Believe it not, people line up to go in it. The Shed is an entertainment venue and it’s huge. It sits on gigantic rollers, and I guess at times it will be rolled back to allow for larger audiences. It’s very cool to see it.
The whole thing only began construction in 2012 after decades of failed attempts. The scale is massive, and it is almost a self-contained city within a city, which makes it fun to visit and be a visitor within our own city. I am amazed by the vision, the planning, the commitment to such a project. It just proves that our city is really the greatest city in the world, because nowhere else do cities build on this scale. This project is built over the train depot! And talk about providing jobs for the construction industry, wow! The best way to get there would be to take the ferry in to Manhattan, then walk up to the # 2 train at Wall & William to 42nd, switch to the # 7 one stop to Hudson Yards. Or take the # 1 from Rector Street to 23rd Street and walk west to the High Line ending at Hudson Yards, a great way to spend a Fall day in New York City.