Hudson Yards
October 9, 2012 3:56 PM   Subscribe

In a few weeks, ground-breaking will begin on the far West Side. The project: Hudson Yards, the largest real-estate development ever undertaken in the city's history, an enormous mini-metropolis whose planning might have left even Robert Moses dumbstruck. - Wendy Goodman
Instead of selling general obligation bonds, the Bloomberg administration created a special debt-selling entity – the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation. The bonds will be repaid with so-called payments in lieu of taxes that developers will make once their buildings have gone up.

But the city is paying higher interest rates than it would have if it had sold general obligation bonds, said Parrott of the Fiscal Policy Institute. There is a risk that the payments in lieu of taxes will not be enough to repay bondholders – and the city has agreed to appropriate the money if there is a shortfall, he said.
posted by Egg Shen (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On the one hand I generally don't like these kinds of mega projects. You get the good (Roc Center), the weird (Sty Town, Roosevelt Island), but mostly just the glossy bad.

On the other hand it's just a total disaster from (and including) Penn Station west.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:20 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

As someone currently speeding past there in a cab let me just say fuck Hudson Yards
posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Definitely A page from the Time Warner center.

I am cautiously optimistic. I think developers have learned a lot about how to build massive structures in New York on a human scale. By that I mean they seem well integrated as opposed to the fortress-city feeling you get from older projects.

They include "destination" restaurants and shopping to maintain foot traffic and street appeal in order to avoid that crazy dead zone feeling you get from other megabuildings such as 55 water as well as smaller developments like multiplexes build in the 80s. With no foot traffic, and blank gray walls facing the street you end up with a space that looks desolate even during the day.

They mix uses. We will never have another Manhattan Mall that fails simply because nobody wants to go up 5 storeys to go to JC Penny's. People will go up 50 storeys to get home or to the office.

I know some bar owners in the area who have been renovating, anticipating first the massive influx of construction worker dollars and then a steady stream of more upscale customers.

I guess we will see how it turns out.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:03 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have the unshakeable feeling that in a decade people will look at these glossy renderings and laugh hollowly.

Also, The Related Companies sounds like it was named by a lawyer under instructions to disclose the absolute minimum possible.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:22 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

The road to hell is paved with glossy renderings.
posted by Flashman at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

In the early 80s, I worked in the back office of a bank at 33rd and 10th in the building that had the Skyrink in it. The only thing in that area was a McDonalds, a few dive bars and hundreds of used condoms every Monday morning. It was my first job out of college and there were 6 of us freshly minted graduates do bs work, but every afternoon at exactly 4:31 we were sent off into the night. We would run across the street to the bar, chug 3 or 4 beers and be on the 5:33 back to our parent's houses on Long Island. Even though that job only lasted 4 months before I quit, I got to know the locals real well. We knew by street name about 8 ladies of the night and about 4 or 5 homeless men pushing carts up and down 10th Ave. Boy do I miss those summer days. Doesn't sound like Mr. Ross is going to recreate that gritty NY Taxi Driver feel.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:53 PM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Of course, before they can start any kind of construction, they'll have to spend 15 years tied up in red tape.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:49 PM on October 9, 2012


Went there many times as a kid. I'm a regular at a couple spots on 9th, the blarney stone and billymarks, and a couple spots on 8th. I should ask Billy and Mark what they think about this.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2012

Looking at the skyline pictures in the attached article, the big triangular one is so lopsided looking that it looks odd against the rest of the buildings in the nearby vincinity. Surely they weren't consciously trying to re-create the leaning tower of Pisa. Ugh.
posted by LN at 7:19 PM on October 9, 2012

And, somehow, this still isn't as bad as the Atlantic Yards redevelopment was.
posted by schmod at 7:35 PM on October 9, 2012

JohnnyGunn: "We knew by street name about 8 ladies of the night and about 4 or 5 homeless men pushing carts up and down 10th Ave. Boy do I miss those summer days. "

Man, New Yorkers get nostalgic for the weirdest things.

I can certainly stand behind someone who hates what the city's been turned into, but you lose me somewhere around the nostalgia for dirt, homelessness, graffiti, and AIDS. The NYC of yesteryear was a quantifiably terrible place.
posted by schmod at 7:40 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Man, New Yorkers get nostalgic for the weirdest things.

I still have fond memories of Beefsteak Charlie's.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

schomd, you've just opened up a can of jonmc worms. duck and cover.
posted by spicynuts at 7:54 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Unlimited beer, wine, or sangria.

I miss Beefsteak Charlie's more than I miss just about anything.

We have had this discussion a couple times with a lot of venom on both sides. I miss certain things about Brooklyn but the list is way too long. I actually do miss graffiti.I do not miss crime though.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:00 PM on October 9, 2012

omg, mother-fuck Bloomberg. from the Atlantic Yards disaster-stadium ruining that part of Brooklyn for anyone who lives nearby (or anyone who will have to drive anywhere near there when there;s an event), to this ruining mid-town west. now all we need is some Olympics bullshit to really decimate the city. and what about his proposed giant ferris wheel for Staten Island?

the best thing that's happened on his watch is the M train and i'm sure his office had absolutely nothing to do with that. i mean, at least Giuliani has slithered off somewhere where we don't have to think about him.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 8:23 PM on October 9, 2012

Beefsteak Charlies is long gone, but you still have Tads Steaks!
posted by dr_dank at 10:19 PM on October 9, 2012

the big triangular one is so lopsided looking that it looks odd against the rest of the buildings

And yet the entire collection is tame when compared to the avant-garde shapes found, for decades now, in almost any non-American large city. Architecturally, we're staid. Where is our CCTV headquarters? Our Burj al-Arab? Even our Turning Torso? The most we generally get are some iceberg-style angles and an interesting facade treatment. For pity's sake, compare Two WTC and the 1984 Smurfit-Stone "Adventures in Babysitting" building. At least we have the elegance of Aqua though we're still largely in the area of façade treatment. *gripes*

I'm with cautious optimism on how well this will work, though. It seems like more thought is going into it being both self-integrated and city-integrated compared to the frighteningly imposing TWC. I also feel it improves on the almost 1930s-revival "tower in a park" concept of Trump's vision for Television City, and possibly also the as-built (and fairly middle-of-the-road) Riverside South. So, cautious optimism.

I'm not sure how you avoid the scale issues when you have these projects (cf. Atlantic Yards). It's almost impossible to imagine any of these going forward as any kind of low-density development (by local standards, naturally).
posted by dhartung at 12:48 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

this ruining mid-town west.

Man, has that ship ever sailed.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:50 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I thought the author would have mentioned (though I may have missed) that the development will sit on a platform above the Yards. I find it interesting that the MTA has leased the air rights to Related and co.
posted by mictlanian at 4:52 PM on October 10, 2012

Once upon a time, children, there was a city called New York, where all the most interesting people dreamed of living, and loving, and working, and making art. Interesting people don't dream of New York City anymore. I feel like these billionaires have paved over Oz.
posted by Scram at 11:13 PM on October 10, 2012

Living The High Life: Developers are erecting super-skyscrapers for the very wealthy, selling apartments with helicopter views for massive price tags. Why everyone's looking up; plus, the realities of life on the 90th floor
Living at 1,000 feet does have drawbacks. Outdoor terraces are generally impossible above 40 or 50 stories, because of the wind. Though most of the new buildings have walls of mostly glass to capture the views, the windows only partially open at the highest floors. Experts say that while asking prices go up with every floor, views improve only marginally above a certain height, depending on how tall the surrounding buildings are. "People are paying for the status and the exclusivity of living on that next higher floor," says Nancy Packes, a New York-based residential development consultant and marketer who has worked with many skyscraper developers. "There's a psychological component to living on high floors in a building. Even though views don't change materially."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:31 AM on October 13, 2012

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