Hudson Place

On the West Side of Manhattan lie the old Hudson Rail yards. Owned by the MTA on what has become some of the best located property in the City, ideas as to how to redevelop the site have circulated over the last many years. At one point, the site was to be the new location for the Jets Football stadium and the center for New York’s proposed 2012 Olympics bid, but the stadium plan was hotly contested and the Olympics were awarded to London. Given the growing population in New York City, the aging infrastructure and the need to stir new development, the site of the rail yards are now in the middle of what will be one of five proposed bids for the area. Last night, I had the chance to peruse the five development plans on display at Grand Central Terminal.

Each of the proposals agreed on the following: to incorporate the High Line Park, or the park currently being built on an old elevated rail line on the West Side; to create green space and parks leading to the Hudson River waterfront; to build large and intimate public spaces as well as large amounts of residential and commercial space; and to create an environmentally friendly and sustainable living, media and commercial center to fit within Manhattan’s vast diversity. How each developer took this approach, however, was remarkably different. I was impressed with the five plans, but must admit that the new West Side, Hudson Place, as it may be called, will definitely stand out among the aged buildings of most of Manhattan. But the City needs new development. The agreed upon plans for the World Trade Center site are also impressive, but six years later, few changes in future development, if anything, are apparent to the naked eye. I am reminded of the bridge construction occurring near our apartment that has taken well over a year to date and is still ongoing. My wife recently remarked with some disdain, “In Singapore, this would have taken no more than a month to complete.”

To me, the development plan for the new rail yards is a welcome one. I just hope local, state and federal politics don’t get in the way and that the best plan can be chosen and proceed quickly. But even if it does, New York only has to look to the number of construction cranes in Dubai, Shanghai and Beijing to know that it can’t stop with Hudson Place. There is more work to be done.

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