The Monocle Minute

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Taking centre stage

After years of construction, Hudson Yards – a huge new project in the west of Manhattan by master planners KPF – will bring a slew of new retail, F&B and architecture offerings to New York when it opens on 15 March.It’s the latest in a line of recent compact developments that combine well-known monobrand shops with leisure facilities. The expansion of Industry City in the Sunset Park neighbourhood of Brooklyn, FiDi’s South Street Seaport and the new Building 77 at Brooklyn Navy Yard are prime examples. But they pale in comparison to the scope and scale of Hudson Yards.Despite the density of Manhattan, this plot near Penn Station has long been a dead zone – visited to catch a bus or attend the Javits Center for a conference, but not for much else. No longer. Hudson Yards brings retail brands such as Forty Five Ten and Neiman Marcus to New York for the first time, as well as food concepts from the likes of David Chang and Thomas Keller. The standout, though, is cultural space The Shed, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group, which features a sliding shell structure that can stage musical and theatrical events inside and out.Some decry the homogenisation of New York. But there’s little doubt that Hudson Yards is a coup for an area that was once deemed a lost cause due to its expansive railyards – as long as the public has an appetite for this sort of experience. We’ve already seen new businesses – from residential blocks to the excellent Legacy Records restaurant – spring up in anticipation of the project. Now we’ll have to wait and see whether the regeneration draws the crowds from Penn Station.

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