Confetti is showered during celebrations for the opening of New York's newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards, March 15, 2019. The program was followed by an inaugural walk up the urban landmark, temporarily known as the "Vessel" (seen at center). (Photo: AFP)
New York's $25 billion Hudson Yards development is open to the public, offering both basic daily life amenities and luxuries that have earned it the nickname "Manhattan's mini-city."
People lined up Friday to climb the 2,500 steps to the top of a massive, honeycomb-shaped sculpture called Vessel — the visual centerpiece of a complex of high-rises on Manhattan's West Side with pricey commercial and residential space, plus about 100 shops and restaurants.
CNN's Anderson Cooper hosted the inaugural ceremony, joined by singer Andra Day, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and a lineup of New York business luminaries.
CNN will be a tenant at Hudson Yards along with its parent company, WarnerMedia. Other well-known corporate tenants include the BlackRock money manager, L'Oreal USA, Equinox and Coach.
Hudson Yards bills itself "the cultural center of Manhattan's New West Side," and on its first day, the culture came in the form of familiar brands at the five-floor retail mall — from Dior, Fendi and Neiman Marcus to Uniqlo, Banana Republic and H&M. New employees being trained inside the shops got last-minute tips before customers arrived at noon. A hungry crowd packed the affordable Shake Shack, with a line winding out the door.
The powerhouse figure at the opening was developer Stephen Ross, the CEO of Related Cos. that partnered with Oxford Properties Group to build Hudson Yards, where the price of apartments ranges from about $3 million to $32 million.
"Today, we created a dynamic hub of creativity and innovation," Ross told a standing-room only crowd of hundreds gathered under Vessel. "Today, once again, we showed that New York will always be the greatest city in the world."
Another prominent guest was Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York that finally last week settled its bitter labor dispute with Related over use of union and non-union workers; the two sides are now collaborating.
Only half of the 28-acre community by the Hudson River is completed, including the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere atop a 100-story building, and The Shed, a 200,000-square-foot art center with a telescoping outer shell.
The rest of Hudson Yards is to be constructed by 2025.