I took this picture last week, with my back to the Hudson River, standing at the northern end of the High Line. The building rising on the left, along with the High Line itself, is part of the massive Hudson Yards project, an example of the major rearrangement of New York’s landscape through the initiatives of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
For 30 years, a relative of mine, away from New York City since 1979, could truly say that he could still find every significant point in the Big Apple all these years later. In a couple of years, though, that will no longer be the case.
In a prior post, I talked about Brookfield Place. And that’s just a small part of the new city-within-a-city rising from the ashes of the bombing of the old World Trade Center. But development has hardly stopped there.
The High Line itself is reclaimed space, the remnant of a freight line elevated above the streets of a portion of Manhattan’s West Side. After nearly two decades of disuse, it opened in 2009, preserved as an unusual, elevated public park.
When I visited the High Line first a year and a half ago, it was open from Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street. This past September, the last portion of it, up to 34th Street, opened. It offers two views that are each, in their way, something to behold: New Jersey, to the west, and Hudson Yards, to the east. I took this photo in the new section.
Hudson Yards, involving a rezoning of the Far West Side, will be the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States. When completed, this newly created neighborhood will comprise more than 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops, a collection of restaurants, approximately 5,000 residences, a unique cultural space, 14 acres of public open space, a 750-seat public school and a 175-room luxury hotel.
Five years hence, we will see how much all of this development worked out to the advantage of New Yorkers hoping for a sustainable future. In many ways, however, much of the landscape will look different from what we see now.