Manhattan’s new hotspot is home to cutting-edge art and architecture, including the highest sky deck in the Western hemisphere
1 - The High Line
Hudson Yards is the name given to a new US$25 billion real estate project on the west side of Manhattan, between 30th and 34th Streets. There are many ways you can approach it, depending on where you are staying. One possibility is via the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side, which was saved from demolition and first opened in 2009. It runs from 14th to 34th Street. Get off at 30th Street next to Hudson Yards and the Shed culture space, which showcases the arts across all disciplines. The High Line also has lots of commissioned art to get you in the mood. thehighline.org
2 - The Shed
Opened last year, this new cultural centre and arts complex was designed by lead architect Diller Scofidio and Renfro, and collaborating architect the Rockwell Group. It has a roof that can be wheeled out over part of the plaza in front of it, although it’s hard to imagine when you are looking at it, which is why most people watch a video on their phones to see it in action (dsrny.com/project/the-shed).
Inside, there is a cultural programme of events and exhibitions – a retrospective of artist Agnes Denes is on until March 22, featuring photos of her public work Wheatfield – A Confrontation (1982), for which she grew a field of wheat on waste ground in sight of Manhattan and the Twin Towers. In May it will stage Particular Matter(s), an exhibition and installation involving “spiders, air and the cosmic web” by Argentina’s Tomas Saraceno. Open Tues-Sun 11am-6pm (8pm Thurs-Sat); exhibition entry US$10. theshed.org
3 - Vessel
By now, you won’t have failed to notice Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s giant installation in the centre of Hudson Yards. Many critics don’t like it – The New Yorker asked: “Is it genius or is it folly?” – but it has become a must-Instagram feature of the city and tens of thousands have already used free timed tickets to climb its 154 interconnecting staircases and 80 landings. A Flex Pass (US$10) allows you to visit at any time on your chosen day. Open 10am-9pm. hudsonyardsnewyork.com/discover/vessel
4 - Equinox
Either while you are up on Vessel, or back on ground level, take a look at the buildings around you. Equinox is a mixed-use development from the eponymous luxury gym brand that encompasses a fitness centre, a co-working space, private apartments and the first Equinox hotel (you can see its outdoor pool from the top of Vessel). If you aren’t staying there, your best bet of getting a taste is to book a table at the 24th-floor Electric Lemon, which serves mid-Atlantic cuisine from restaurateur Stephen Starr. 33 Hudson Yards; equinox-hotels.com/nyc
5 - Shopping
You’ve ignored it long enough; now visit the Hudson Yards shopping mall. It has 100 shops, 25 restaurants, cafes and bars and, from this month, the new Edge viewing platform – the highest sky deck in the Western hemisphere, suspended in mid-air 100 storeys up. It’s estimated that New York’s other high spots – the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building – each attracts nearly one million visitors per year.
Tickets for Edge cost US$31-$36 – if that’s too steep (ho ho) or you hate heights, head to Mercado Little Spain, where there’s a huge range of affordable food in a market-style arrangement. Alternatively, hang out at one of the bars. Vinos offers an extensive Spanish wine list at an attractive bar where you can rest after all that exploring. You could spend all four hours propped up here… edgenyc.com, littlespain.com