Critiques

Celebrating at the New Hudson Yards Grand Opening Party

We attended the grand opening party at the new Hudson Yards. And it was spectacular – electric, energizing and just plain fun. We saw the Vessel, New York City’s first Neiman Marcus, and more. Have a look at our daylight photos of this newest mecca for modern luxury. For a peek at Hudson Yards after dark, and opening night party pictures, click here.

celebrating at the new Hudson Yards grand opening party

We were invited to the grand opening preview party for the ultra-luxurious Hudson Yards on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Here’s what we saw, and what to expect when you visit. Prepare yourself, dear reader: you are likely to experience sensory overload. But take your time, and you’ll have a splendid experience.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The Towers and the Shed

If you enter from the Hudson River side (which you definitely should), you’ll first want to pause and look up. The spires above you are the essence of the place – sleek, brilliant, edgy and elegant.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The people you’re likely to encounter at ground level could be described exactly that same way, too.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The performing and visual arts space, The Shed, opens on April 5, 2019. So for now, you can only check it out from its exterior. We’ll report back on what it looks like inside once it debuts.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The Vessel

Follow the curving pedestrian walkway up a bit further, and you’ll get stunning views of “The Vessel” (which may be renamed after the public has a chance to experience it fully).

The official opening of the massive public art installation was to occur the following morning. Still, we got to see it up close in all of its burnished copper glory. 

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Even in full sunlight, it’s more muted than you might expect, which is a happy surprise.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Copper and blue is one of our favorite color combinations, so we could have happily circled this structure, snapping pictures, for much longer.

But an army of workers was putting the finishing touches on the sculpture for its big reveal, and we were in the way, so we reluctantly moved on.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

But not before a gallant gentleman took our photo for our scrapbook! We don’t know who you are, but thank you very much, sir.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Just FYI, climbing The Vessel is free. But you need a timed ticket. And the first round of timed tickets is already gone. So check the Hudson Yards site, here, if you want to explore it for yourself.

The Plaza

Between The Vessel and the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, there’s a charming space to sit and people-watch, or bird-watch, or just soak in some sun. It’s going to be even better when spring actually arrives!

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The Lobby of the Shops and Restaurants

Entering the towering atrium at the ground-level entrance to the Shops and Restaurants complex feels like walking onto a movie set. Especially in late afternoon, when the sun comes streaming in.

The magical effect was amplified by the grand opening music (we hope this is a permanent soundtrack): groovy tunes from Motown greeted us, and a couple of spontaneous dance parties broke out. Not saying if we were part of one of them.

The Atrium

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

It’s a 7-story high ceiling. And as you work your way up through the complex, the ever-changing views are part of the fun.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

As we mentioned, it was a Tale of Two Cities on preview night. Inside, calm and chic. Outside, construction and clean-up.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Luxury Lane

Cartier occupies pride of place at this grand entrance, along with Watches of Switzerland. FENDI also occupies prime real estate, making it a can’t-miss. The Dior store was not completed in time for the grand opening. But when it’s ready, its central ground floor location will also be unmissable.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

FENDI Hudson Yards, New York. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The fastest way to explore is by escalator. Everything is well-marked. The hard part will be resisting the temptation to wander off down one hallway or another. As you ascend, look around. As always in New York, there is something interesting, odd, striking or comical around every corner.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The Stores

On to the shopping! There are a LOT of retail stores, with a good variety of price points. Here are just a few that caught our eye.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Even the handful of empty storefronts have something quirky or interesting on display to keep the luxury vibe going.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Neiman Marcus

The mother of them all, though, is Neiman Marcus. It’s the brand’s first store in New York, and they’ve spared no expense.

The handbag collections on offer are extensive. As are the shoe collections and the beauty offerings.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The store design is crisp, clean and modern. Contemporary art fills the walls.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The Cook & Merchants area features fresh and packaged food and beverages.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

In addition, the new Neiman Marcus has three restaurants, including the Zodiac, which has incredible views of Lower Manhattan.

In addition, there are numerous services and exclusives not usually seen at luxury department stores. They include a florist, a custom hat shop, a vintage clothing section, a custom cowboy boot salon, and a shave bar.

There are arcade games, a demonstration kitchen, and “smart” mirrors and dressing rooms. Plus loads of personalization services. It’s a new era for Neiman Marcus.

The Food

The food offerings at Hudson Yards are so varied and numerous that you’ll be very hard-pressed to try them all. For fine dining, there are 5 showcase restaurants. For those looking for a Food Hall, there’s one on the ground floor featuring all-Spanish cuisine. Neiman Marcus has its own fine dining restaurant, Zodiac. Plus a cafe and a casual spot in the men’s department. The store also has its own Food Hall, stocked with freshly-prepared food and beverages, and gourmet food gifts.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The Coffee

There are already rumors of a “coffee war” in this new neighborhood. The Wall Street Journal reported today that there are “at least 20 places to grab a cup of Joe” at Hudson Yards.

Hudson Yards, New York City. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

They include Jack’s Stir Brew, Blue Bottle Coffee, Queensyard and Neiman Marcus (all pictured above). Plus Citarella, Bouchon Bakery, and Muji. But no Starbucks. You have to leave if you’re jonesing for a Frappucino.

We have more coverage on the opening night festivities. And we’ll be back to check out the restaurants, The Vessel, the Snark Park. And the shopping. For sure, the shopping.

For now, though, that’s our report. What say you? Does this look like a place you’ll be spending some time in? Where are you going to start?

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