Walled Off

Related Companies backs down on building a wall around Hudson Yards

There won't be a giant wall blocking off the High Line from Hudson Yards after all. (Courtesy Timothy Schenk)

After outcry from city officials and local New York community groups, the developers behind Hudson Yards have backed down on building a 720-foot-long wall the neighborhood’s southwestern perimeter. In a tweet today, Related Companies and Oxford Property Group said the site’s upcoming second phase will instead be open and connected to the High Line instead of overshadowing it as previously reported. 

“Our plan has always been to build an open space along the lines of this years-old rendering and we are working to manage the technical challenges to achieve this,” the tweet reads. “There has never been a wall along the High Line and there will never be a wall.” 

Rendering of green space underneath two tours and next to the High Line

Preliminary rendering of Western Yard (Courtesy Related Companies)

Last week, The New York Times broke the news that the real estate giants planned to place a 20-foot-high concrete wall around Western Yard, its official name, and include a new parking garage below a Nelson Byrd Woltz-designed “green deck.” Civic leaders including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson expressed anger over the wall, even calling the proposal a “breach of to public trust.” Robert Hammond, a cofounder of the High Line, sent out an email blast to the park’s supporters, asking them to prepare to take action. 

But today, Hudson Yards issued a series of tweets rebutting the entire idea: 

“Unfortunately, there currently appears to be a lot of misinformation in the public domain, which is disheartening,” the statement continued. 

Initial renderings of the project revealed a large green space set below a series of new towers that edges up to the High Line towards 34th Street. This landscape, or green deck, would cover the active rail yard below and help promote ventilation from underneath the development. Crain’s New York pointed out that the original environmental impact statement released by The Related Cos. in 2009 claimed both Hudson Yards or Western Yard would be accessible and open. 

Phase one of the site opened last March along with The Vessel by Heatherwick Studio. Immediately after welcoming visitors, Husdon Yards was forced to update its controversial photo policy related to the Vessel. Once the public found out that climbing the spiraling structure meant giving up rights to personal images, audio, or video without credit, the terms and conditions were changed. 

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