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Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, a New Mecca in Luxury Shopping, Opens its Doors Today

The one-million-square-foot shopping and dining destination known as Hudson Yards opened to the public on Friday, with plans to continue its grand opening celebrations throughout the weekend.

Surrounded by 14 acres of public space, and next to the No. 7 subway line as well as an accessibility point under the green space of the High Line elevated park, the location on the West Side of Manhattan represents a new shopping district with over 100 stores across seven levels. The entire complex is also home to 4,000 residences, including affordable housing, and state-of-the-art commercial office space. Hudson Yards was developed by Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group.

On Thursday night, a private celebration before Friday’s official Grand Opening allowed guests to experience the new retail and dining concept.

For many, the highlight was the 190,000-square-foot Neiman Marcus store, its first in Manhattan, which occupies the fifth, sixth and seventh floors. Actress and celebrity Whoopi Goldberg is set to unveil her new line Dubgee at Neiman in Hudson Yards on May 15.

There are other firsts as well, such as four distinct storefronts of Forty Five Ten, a Dallas-based boutique that now occupies more than 16,000 square feet on the fifth floor, next to Neiman Marcus. According to Forty Five Ten, each storefront is dedicated to a particular category: women’s designer, men’s designer, vintage and 4510/SIX. The latter is a platform for emerging fashion and design. The four spaces were co-designed by company president and creator director Kristen Cole, while the artful storefronts were designed in collaboration with Snarkitecture, which also has its own space at Hudson Yards. Forty Five Ten said the artworks on display reflect the brand’s alignment with the New York cultural and art world, including its ongoing collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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And there’s the Floor of Discovery on Two that includes the first-ever Mack Weldon store, the first permanent store from performance activewear label Rhone, and the first U.S. store for European resortwear brand Heidi Klein. It also includes Frankie CoLab’s first permanent flagship store in New York, a concept store from L’Oréal, the first in-store in New York City for b8ta, and a new concept from food retailer Citarella, featuring dine-in services and expanded takeaway options.

Rhone, the men’s performance lifestyle brand, also recently opened its doors to a new retail pop-up concept at 1585 Broadway, in addition to the first flagship at Hudson Yards. Nate Checketts, co-founder and chief executive officer of the digitally native brand, said, “Physical retail complements our e-commerce business because we get to interact with our customers in real life, and better understand what’s most important to them.”

Retailers across the five floors, Neiman Marcus is the sole occupant of the retail space on Levels Six and Seven, include a wide range of categories from luxury to fast fashion.

On Level One, there’s Tapestry Inc.’s three brands–Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman—where the stores are essentially adjacent to each other; Tumi; Molton Brown; Rolex; Theory; Tory Burch and Vilebrequin. Tiffany & Co., Tod’s and Brooks Brothers have retail doors slated to open later in the year.

Level Two occupants include: AG Jeans by Adriano Goldschmied, Madewell, M.Gemi, Rhone, Muji and Uniqlo, among others. On Level Three, one will find Aritzia, Athleta, Sephora, Sundays, Verizon Wireless, Kiehl’s, Lululemon and M.A.C. cosmetics, to  name a few. Level Four houses The Body Shop, Micro Kickboard and PiQ.

Zara and H&M each occupy two floors, and are both on Levels Three and Four. Zara said the new 23,300-square-foot store incorporates the “green building criteria” stipulated by Inditex Group, Zara’s corporate parent, and sports an advanced platform using radio frequency identification technology (RFID). RFID helps to track the location of merchandise quickly, whether to enhance customer service or help with shorter delivery times through Zara’s integrated stock inventory management system.

Level Five, besides Forty Five Ten and Neiman, also includes Chanel and Louis Vuitton hard shops.

Hudson Yards Atrium
The view of The Shops from the atrium at Hudson Yards. Hudson Yards

Food and beverage dining destinations are located throughout the different levels, and include Mercado Little Spain, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, William Greenberg Desserts, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Blue Bottle coffee, Shake Shack and Teak Tearoom. Neiman houses three dining options, one on each floor: Cook & Merchants on five, Bar Stanley on 6 and Zodiac Room on 7.

Hudson Yards will also feature a rotating calendar of cultural and entertainment programming.

Although there’s affordable housing on the premises, as well as a much smaller mix of the more affordable contemporary fast-fashion chains Uniqlo, Zara and H&M, it’s clear that the developers were aiming for a unique shopping and dining experience for the well-heeled consumer, and maybe even the aspirational shopper. That’s no surprise given that information on available residences at 15 and 35 Hudson Yards distributed at Thursday night’s guest preview shows they’re priced between $4.3 million and $32 million. It’s an ecosystem that allows for one to live upstairs, and then head downstairs for a quick pick-up from a store or an evening “out” without needing to venture too far from home.

And the idea that the store and dining mix might be too focused on luxury isn’t exactly a criticism of the developer’s vision. But it does raise a question of what happens at the next economic downtown, and whether Hudson Yards can retain its unique mix of retail and dining experiences should the luxury consumer decide to pull back a bit on spending.