I got an inside look at Hudson Yards on opening day. Here's what the glitzy neighborhood is like, from the $200 million climbable sculpture to the 7-story 'vertical shopping experience'

hudson yardsKatie Warren/Business Insider

  • Hudson Yards, New York City's $25 billion megadevelopment, is officially open to the public.
  • The public can now visit the Vessel, a 150-foot tall, climbable sculpture in the center of Hudson Yards that cost $200 million to build.
  • The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a luxury shopping center with stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior, are now open as well.
  • I got to spend the day at Hudson Yards for its grand opening. Here's what it looks like, from the $200 million climbable sculpture to the 7-story luxury shopping center.

Hudson Yards, New York City's $25 billion megadevelopment, officially opened on March 15.

The public can now visit the brand-new neighborhood on Manhattan's West Side, which includes luxurious residential towers, a luxury shopping center with stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior, and a $200 million, 150-foot tall climbable sculpture called the Vessel.

I went to the grand opening ceremony at Hudson Yards and spent the day there. Here's what it looks like.
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Hudson Yards, New York City's $25 billion neighborhood, is officially open to the public. On March 15, I attended the grand opening ceremony in the central plaza.

Hudson Yards, New York City's $25 billion neighborhood, is officially open to the public. On March 15, I attended the grand opening ceremony in the central plaza.

To get there, you take the 7 train to the Hudson Yards stop, a new station that opened in 2015.

To get there, you take the 7 train to the Hudson Yards stop, a new station that opened in 2015.

Source: Curbed

If you turn your back on the glossy new skyscrapers as you walk down the West Side Highway to Hudson Yards, you can see the remaining visible rail yards just across the street.

If you turn your back on the glossy new skyscrapers as you walk down the West Side Highway to Hudson Yards, you can see the remaining visible rail yards just across the street.

People gathered in Hudson Yards' central plaza for the morning's opening event. Chairs and a stage were set up for the planned performances and speeches from notable New Yorkers.

People gathered in Hudson Yards' central plaza for the morning's opening event. Chairs and a stage were set up for the planned performances and speeches from notable New Yorkers.

I saw some noteworthy individuals including David Childs, the architect who designed 35 Hudson Yards, one of the development's luxurious residential towers.

I saw some noteworthy individuals including David Childs, the architect who designed 35 Hudson Yards, one of the development's luxurious residential towers.

Childs also designed One World Trade Center.

Musician Andra Day performed ...

Musician Andra Day performed ...

... and CNN's Anderson Cooper told the crowd about how his company will eventually be moving into a Hudson Yards office.

... and CNN's Anderson Cooper told the crowd about how his company will eventually be moving into a Hudson Yards office.

After some words from the major real estate players involved in Hudson Yards and Senator Chuck Schumer, most of the crowd headed over to climb up Vessel.

After some words from the major real estate players involved in Hudson Yards and Senator Chuck Schumer, most of the crowd headed over to climb up Vessel.

Vessel is a 150-foot tall climbable sculpture that cost $200 million to build.

Vessel is a 150-foot tall climbable sculpture that cost $200 million to build.

Source: Curbed

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the structure is made up of 154 interconnected stairways, nearly 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the structure is made up of 154 interconnected stairways, nearly 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings.

Source: Curbed

It's free to visit, but you'll still need to reserve a time slot online.

It's free to visit, but you'll still need to reserve a time slot online.

Source: Hudson Yards

Standing on Vessel offers a clear view of Hudson Yards' towers, including 35 Hudson Yards, one of the luxurious residential buildings where condos start at $5 million.

Standing on Vessel offers a clear view of Hudson Yards' towers, including 35 Hudson Yards, one of the luxurious residential buildings where condos start at $5 million.

Source: Business Insider

Across the plaza is 15 Hudson Yards, another brand-new residential tower where condos range from $4.3 million to $32 million.

Across the plaza is 15 Hudson Yards, another brand-new residential tower where condos range from $4.3 million to $32 million.

Looking north, you can see that some parts of Hudson Yards are still construction zones.

Looking north, you can see that some parts of Hudson Yards are still construction zones.

Hudson Yards opened to the public on Friday, but it's only about half-finished, according to Crain's. It's expected to be completed by 2025.

Hudson Yards opened to the public on Friday, but it's only about half-finished, according to Crain's. It's expected to be completed by 2025.

Source: Crain's

Looking east, you can see the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a seven-story, one-million-square-foot luxury shopping center with more than 100 shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Looking east, you can see the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a seven-story, one-million-square-foot luxury shopping center with more than 100 shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Source: Hudson Yards

On the south side of the courtyard is the Shed, Hudson Yards' performing arts space that will feature artists in fields including hip hop and classical music, theater, dance, and more.

On the south side of the courtyard is the Shed, Hudson Yards' performing arts space that will feature artists in fields including hip hop and classical music, theater, dance, and more.

Source: Hudson Yards

The structure's outer shell will be able to glide back along rails onto an adjoining plaza. It's not yet finished, but once it's open, it will be able to accommodate a seated audience of 1,250 people or more than 2,000 standing.

The structure's outer shell will be able to glide back along rails onto an adjoining plaza. It's not yet finished, but once it's open, it will be able to accommodate a seated audience of 1,250 people or more than 2,000 standing.

Source: Hudson Yards

I climbed back down Vessel to join the crowds that had gathered in the courtyard.

I climbed back down Vessel to join the crowds that had gathered in the courtyard.

My next stop: the Shops.

My next stop: the Shops.

The seven-story shopping center, which the developers prefer to call a "vertical shopping experience" rather than a mall, includes dozens of luxury boutiques, from Cartier ...

The seven-story shopping center, which the developers prefer to call a "vertical shopping experience" rather than a mall, includes dozens of luxury boutiques, from Cartier ...

Source: Marketwatch

... to Kate Spade and Coach ...

... to Kate Spade and Coach ...

... to Fendi.

... to Fendi.

The shopping center is also home to New York City's first Neiman Marcus department store.

The shopping center is also home to New York City's first Neiman Marcus department store.

Source: Forbes

The focus of the center seems to be on retail ...

The focus of the center seems to be on retail ...

... but there are also several bars, cafés, and restaurants, including one from acclaimed chef Thomas Keller.

... but there are also several bars, cafés, and restaurants, including one from acclaimed chef Thomas Keller.

Source: Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards was already bustling with people on its opening day.

Hudson Yards was already bustling with people on its opening day.

People were taking advantage of the new public space in the mild weather.

People were taking advantage of the new public space in the mild weather.

As I left, I passed the side of 35 Hudson Yards that will soon be the entrance to the world's first Equinox hotel.

As I left, I passed the side of 35 Hudson Yards that will soon be the entrance to the world's first Equinox hotel.

I also passed the still-under-construction 30 Hudson Yards, which will eventually house companies such as Warner Media, which includes CNN.

I also passed the still-under-construction 30 Hudson Yards, which will eventually house companies such as Warner Media, which includes CNN.

Source: Hudson Yards

As I walked toward the 7 train, construction cranes made it clear that Hudson Yards still has a way to go before it becomes the "city within a city" that it hopes to be.

As I walked toward the 7 train, construction cranes made it clear that Hudson Yards still has a way to go before it becomes the "city within a city" that it hopes to be.

Source: Hudson Yards

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