Hudson Yards, the new luxury development in New York City, opened to the public and many reviews were pretty scathing. The project came about at a time when cities were more willing to let the ultra-rich remake the urban environment for themselves, but that’s less often the case and it leaves Hudson Yards already looking like a symbol of a fading era.
at the New York Times
called the development out for the government incentives it received, the tax breaks given to companies that are relocating there, and how it has failed to present a coherent architectural vision
, in comparison to Rockefeller Center.
Hudson Yards glorifies a kind of surface spectacle — as if the peak ambitions of city life were consuming luxury goods and enjoying a smooth, seductive, mindless materialism.
It gives physical form to a crisis of city leadership, asleep at the wheel through two administrations, and to a pernicious theory of civic welfare that presumes private development is New York’s primary goal, the truest measure of urban vitality and health, with money the city’s only real currency.
took a different approach in the Guardian
, calling Hudson Yards “an ultracapitalist equivalent of the Forbidden City, a Chichen Itza with a better mall and slightly better-concealed human sacrifice.” He skewered Stephen Ross
, the billionaire behind the development, for adding to the luxury towers in the city instead of actually addressing its needs, and went through how utterly terrible every aspect of it really is
It is always a little sad to see what the people rich enough to have everything actually want. They do not want to participate in the world at all; they want to build their own simulacrum of it and float away forever, secure in the knowledge that none of the lesser people or things that populate the earth will ever be allowed to intrude. This is the promise of Hudson Yards – the same as the promise of the Titanic. So lie back and enjoy it, my friends. The good life always lasts forever.
If manufacturers no longer make up a powerful capitalist constituency for lower central city land and housing costs, planners managing “the property contradiction” are really only hearing from real estate capitalists and those aligned with their growth agenda, who are calling for policies that push land and property values ever-upward.