The extension of the 7 train to west Manhattan’s eleventh avenue may have been one of NYC’s biggest stories of the season. The grand opening of the Hudson Yards Terminal brought New Yorkers out in droves, as it was the first major subway station opening since 1989. The pristine, expansive station is architecturally futuristic, and has an entrance that is unmistakably celestial. Quite apropos, considering that Hudson Yards is quickly building a Manhattan neighborhood for the future.

Hudson Yards Terminal and The 7 train

The Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project has had a few ambitious proposals in the past 10 years – notably the West Side Stadium for the New York Jets and hopes for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Though these projects failed to come to fruition, the 7 subway extension plan was approved and was underway in 2007, with it’s maiden voyage taking place on September 13, 2015.

Off the bat, it will make Jacob K. Javits Center the largest convention space in New York, accessible from just about anywhere, with the northern end of the High Line (at 34th Street and 12th Avenue) just a short jaunt away. 

Curbed recently toured the terminal at Hudson Yards with the architects who designed it. Travelers are greeted with a glass mural by Xenobia Bailey, that is positively futuristic and rhythmic, while remaining ethereal and forward leaning.

Ralph Gardner notes in the Wall Street Journal: “It hovers over the main entrance like a constellation of stars, imbuing a quotidian subway ride with a sense of cosmic adventure.”  He goes on to add: “The area surrounding the subway entrance is artfully landscaped with benches that serpentine around planting beds. There are also fashionable teal-colored tables and chairs.” The MTA predicts that this will be the busiest single-line station in the system.

Hudson on the Horizon

Hudson Yards is one of the most wide-reaching and ambitious developments that Manhattan has seen in years. There is rapid progress in the East Yard (between 10th & 11th Avenue/30th & 34th Street) promising a hotel, as well as office and residential buildings among wide open public space. A huge retail shopping, dining, and entertainment area is also highly anticipated.

The first of 12 coveted restaurant spaces will be in the hands of renowned Chef Thomas Keller.  The Wall Street Journal shares: “One of the places will be Mr. Keller’s own concept, a classic American eatery that will be part of the strategy guiding the selection of restaurants: dining at many price points. The dining component of the seven-story center being built by Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group will be critical to its success, real-estate experts said. One retailer that has already signed on is Neiman Marcus. The luxury brand announced in September that it will make its New York City debut at the complex, expected to open in 2018.”

Perhaps the most alluring and curiosity-peaking addition is the incredible Culture Shed project, a huge visual and performing arts venue with a retractable top, due to open in 2019.  “The Shed will commission artists from across the visual and performing arts, popular culture, and the creative industries to present their original work for the widest range of audiences in New York.”

Following that will be the West Yard, an area a bit more community minded and “featuring a slew of residential towers (with some affordable housing), more open space, a school, and another office building. This is all being built on the site of the MTA Rail Yards, which continue to operate below the construction site, along with a forthcoming Amtrak tunnel, which has already been placed below the deck,” according to The Gothamist

Chelsea, High Line and Hell’s Kitchen

The area surrounding Hudson Yards has undergone massive change in the past 3o years, absolutely flourishing with creativity and culture.

Chelsea

Reaching all the way back to the 18th Century, Chelsea has been a neighborhood in transition throughout the years. Beginning with a grand manor home, Chelsea developed as a mostly residential community of row houses and singe family homes in the 1800’s before the dawn of the Industrialization Age brought the Hudson River Railroad to the shore, while Mary Pickford fostered a growing theater community. Chelsea is host to the historic Hotel Chelsea, home and muse to many artists throughout the 20th century. The hotel is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen in 2016. 

The 1990s showed a mass migration of visual artists to galleries and lofts built in the remnants of airy, abandoned industrial buildings. Artists made their way north along the Hudson to escape the high rents of Soho. A flourishing arts district at Chelsea Galleries gave rise to the most prominent LGBT community in New York. In recent years, Barney’s Coop  boosted a community of fashion design while the former Nabisco Factory emerged as Chelsea Market, one of Manhattan’s premier foodie hubs. 

High Line

Abandoned elevated railway tracks built on top of an aqua duct for the West Side Line became a beacon of repurposing and rethinking of creative development in the 21st Century. Offering a breathtaking and undisturbed view above the bustle of the city, High Line Park transformed the tracks rather than tearing them down.

Melding tranquil green space and public art, High Line is the perfect spot for New Yorkers to take a break. The wild plants that took root in the formerly abandoned railway served as inspiration for the park’s distinct style of vegetation.  High Line Park has jumpstarted a real estate boom on the West Side since its opening in 2009 – most notably Hudson Yard.

Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton

Clinton – or Midtown West – was nicknamed Hell’s Kitchen, a moniker which has stuck with generations of New Yorkers. Home to working-class Irish Americans for much of the 20th century, Hell’s Kitchen faced big changes in the 1970’s and beyond, with the 1990’s seeing a boom of development and an increase in real estate valuation.

Extending north of Chelsea and High Line, the neighborhood has been a long standing community of budding actors, in close proximity to the Broadway theaters and famous Actors Studio.  In recent years, Hell’s Kitchen has become a progressively emerging spot for the LBGT community.

Offering eclectic and often times affordable dining options,the cozy and cash only spot Tulcingo Del Valle dazzles with fortifying ramen and authentic Mexican fare.  The community has become a go-to dinner destination for adventurous theater patrons.  

A longtime community of mostly residential buildings offering rows of older walkup apartments has expanded to include newer apartment buildings, and is expecting a new era of growth with the opening of the last phase of the High Line and upcoming Hudson Yards.  

The High Line brought a new wave of creativity and growth to Manhattan’s West Side. With this month’s opening of the sleek station on 34th Street and the 7 extension, the future of this neighborhood is developing at a rapid pace. Sandwiched by historic neighborhoods to the north and south, The Hudson Yard revitalization project will bring new life in the form of business, retail, arts and outdoor gatherings to the shores of the Hudson River.