I got an inside look at the brand new, 7-story 'vertical shopping experience' in Hudson Yards, which the developers insist is not a mall - here's what I saw on opening day
Katie Warren/Business Insider
- The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a seven-story luxury shopping center, opened to the public on March 15.
- The one-million-square-foot shopping center includes more than 100 shops and 25 cafés and eateries, including Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Cartier, and the city's first Neiman Marcus department store.
- The developers are reluctant to call the shopping center a mall, instead dubbing it a "vertical shopping experience" and an "urban retail center."
- I walked through the shopping center on its opening day, and despite the developers' insistence that it's not a mall, it pretty much felt like a mall.
The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a seven-story shopping center with more than 100 stores including Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Fendi, and the city's first Neiman Marcus, is officially open to the public.
Hudson Yards is New York City's new $25 billion neighborhood, which includes office buildings, luxurious residential towers, and a seven-story luxury shopping center with stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior.
In addition to retail stores, the shopping center includes restaurants from Shake Shack to Thomas Keller's TAK Room, a co-working space, and an interactive art exhibition.
Jeff Blau, the CEO of Related Companies, the developer behind Hudson Yards, said on Bloomberg TV that the shopping center is "not a mall," but is instead an "urban retail center." The developers have also dubbed it a "vertical shopping experience."
The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards is not called a mall because it's designed differently than a traditional mall, and it has a more curated mix of tenants, Kathleen Corless, Related's director of corporate communications, told me on the phone following my visit. And on top of that, she said, Related Companies is not a traditional mall developer.
"We are urban planners and we build cities and mixed-use developments, so we think about the retail center as part of the whole neighborhood," Corless said. "It's about the Shed, it's about the 14 acres of open space, several commercial office buildings, 40,000 people a day are going to work there, 4,000 residences ... It's all about thinking about, who really lives here?"
I took a tour of the shopping center on its opening day. Here's what it looks like.
The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, the $25 billion megadevelopment's seven-story shopping center, opened to the public on March 15.
I was one of the first to go inside the one-million-square-foot shopping center on opening day.
The shopping center opened at noon, and as I made my way inside shortly after that time, it was already starting to get crowded.
The shopping center is seven stories tall, but from the main foyer, I could only see up to the fourth floor.
The shopping center includes more than 100 stores. I passed by Cartier, as well as Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels, both brands that sell luxury watches and jewelry.
There will also be a Tiffany & Co.
The Shops and Restaurants are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Throughout the shopping center, Hudson Yards features artwork by 13 artists, including this mural by Jamilla Okubo.
On the first floor is a gallery showcasing the residences at Hudson Yards, which include luxury towers 15 Hudson Yards and 35 Hudson Yards, where condos range from $4.3 million to upwards of $32 million. There's a model of Hudson Yards ...
... along with tablets where prospective buyers can swipe through virtual tours of the residences.
The shopping center seemed to be dominated by luxury retailers; the Kate Spade store was full of the brand's signature bright colors and prints.
The Coach store appeared to be bustling, so I stepped inside to check it out.
I quickly realized why the store was so crowded: They were serving free Champagne to celebrate opening day.
Some of the shops were offering opening day discounts and special offers.
I headed for the escalators to go up to the next level. One side wasn't functioning so people had to walk up — an unfortunate snafu for opening day.
Near the main entrance of the Shops and Restaurants, a mini red carpet was laid out so people could pose for photos in front of a Hudson Yards-branded backdrop.
As I continued my tour of the shopping center, I realized that many of the shops were serving Champagne or other beverages, and they didn't seem to mind if shoppers walked right out of the store with the glasses.
I passed by what appeared to be a future entrance for Edge, which will be the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. It will open to the public in 2020.
The shopping center has more than 25 places to eat and drink. One of these is Citarella, a gourmet food market. It sells grab-and-go meals from sushi to hot soup ...
... as well as flowers and produce ...
... and fresh seafood, meats, and cheeses.
There's also a Shake Shack, which was massively crowded on opening day.
Bouchon Bakery from chef Thomas Keller sells French-inspired baked goods, pastries, coffee, and other snacks.
For more upscale dining, there's queensyard, a British-inspired restaurant by luxury restaurant group D&D London. Attached is a more casual café.
There's also Wild Ink, an Asian-inspired restaurant and lounge.
The shopping center includes cosmetics and beauty retailers such as Kiehl's, MAC, and Sephora.
In addition to all the luxury stores, the shopping center had a Madewell, the J. Crew sister brand ...
... as well as more affordable options like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo.
The shopping center is also home to the city's only Neiman Marcus department store.
"Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards will be all about providing physical and digital experiences in a way not seen at other stores, creating a personal customer experience that is seamless and magical," Geoffroy van Raemdonck, CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, said in a press release.
The 188,000-square-foot department store spans levels five, six, and seven at the Shops and Restaurants.
Neiman Marcus had its very own DJ on opening day.
In addition to the typical luxury brands including Coach, Burberry, and Chloé, the department store had a pop-up flower shop ...
... a chocolate shop ...
... and a demonstration kitchen where people were watching chefs make pasta.
In addition to its retail and dining options, the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards offers experiences such as Snark Park, an interactive art exhibition space that costs $28.
3DEN is a mash-up space that includes elements of cafés, co-working spaces, and hotels, where you can find Casper nap pods, a lounge, a meditation room, soundproof phone booths, showers, and more. It costs $6 for 30 minutes.
Jeff Blau, the CEO of Related Companies, the developer behind Hudson Yards, said on Bloomberg TV that the shopping center is "not a mall," but an "urban retail center." The developers have also dubbed it a "vertical shopping experience."
But for not being a mall, it looked an awful lot like a mall, albeit a fancy one. Corless told me one of the reasons they don't like to call the shopping complex a mall because it's designed differently than a traditional mall.
Corless said it also offers a more curated mix of shops.
While I personally don't know many New Yorkers who would make a special trip to shop at this new luxury mall, Hudson Yards certainly seems to be betting that they will.
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