Midtown Hudson Rising High

Buried on the West side of Manhattan between the Lincoln Tunnel and the Chelsea Parks, there lies a rare undeveloped brownsite in the heart of New York City --- the 26-acre Hudson Rail Yards. When last I visited NYC, I walked this stretch of the West Side Highway on my way from the Upper West side to a friend's place in Chelsea (yes, avid doesn't describe my approach to walking). The streets were wide and deserted, the buildings industrial and decaying, the parking lots more numerous than anywhere else on the Island I had been before or since. I remember feeling more than a little bit afraid for my welfare.

Now the Yards, owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, are going to be redeveloped with a truly Midtown mix of uses including thousands of units of housing, millions of square feet of commerce, interstate transit and more parkland (12-16 acres) than any Downtown development could hope to provide. Five teams are to participate in the competition to design this project.

As the above rendering illustrates, this redev is meant to create a new planned focal point on the West Side of the island's Midtown to balance the affluent East Side developments (much as the World Trade Center was programmed to do for Downtown when it opened in the early 1970s).

Bounding this project to the West is the the old High Line, site of a new deconstructionist conflation of parkland and industrial viaduct to be undertaken by Diller Scofidio and Renfro. Can't wait to visit this area again in ten years...may be a pretty hot little place if it keeps going at this rate.

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