- Robyn Turk |
New York City's much anticipated The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards has opened the doors today. With the support of a range of retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Muji, Lululemon and Zara, the district has the potential to become one of the city's most popular shopping areas, both for locals and tourists. However, Hudson Yards is not just a retail space; it's a full-fledged neighborhood.
Real estate developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties put 25 million dollars into the district set on Manhattan's West Side. In addition to its shopping and dining offerings, Hudson Yards is replete with luxury residences, office buildings, a hotel, two art centers and a 150-foot tall interactive public work of art tying the neighborhood together.
With something to offer for just about everyone, Hudson Yards is intended to be a destination to attract business from both New Yorkers and tourists. Here's what you can expect of your visit to Hudson Yards.
The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards encompasses one million square feet over seven floors. Along with Neiman Marcus' first New York store, over 100 retailers across womenswear, menswear, footwear, childrenswear, home goods and electronics have either opened a store in the space or will open a store later this year.
Hudson Yards' retailers range in price point from fast fashion brands such as H&M or Zara, to luxury brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton. Several brands are hosting consumer-facing events for the grand opening weekend. For example, MUJI is offering its shoppers an embroidery station for personalizing custom fabrics, along with a photo booth, and Louis Vuitton is giving shoppers the option of customization and hand-painting on its items, done by Northeastern Region Artist for Louis Vuitton, Chiharu Sei.
Retailers understand that in order to bring foot traffic into physical stores, especially new stores, they must offer shoppers an experience they can't get online. Former head of the Neiman Marcus iLab Scott Emmons told Yankeemagazines in an email that New York especially is one of the world's toughest places for retailers to stand out from competitors.
"At the end of the day, traditional retail must be weaved together with modern tech to enable customers to be seen and treated like individuals, and not market segments," he said. "Technology for the sake of it will never respond to basic human needs of having emotional connections when purchasing luxury.”
“At a time when so many department stores are failing, what Neiman Marcus has pulled off is an inspiring example of what luxury retail should be It’s a combination of great experience, great staffing, great environment and the right tech," added Emmons, who is currently the CTO of retail innovation consultancy the Current Global.
Quite a few retailers have included dining experiences into their shops, allowing the in-store customer experience to be even more involved than e-commerce. Along with Bar Stanley at Neiman Marcus and the Teak Tearoom at clothing store The Conservatory, visitors to Hudson Yards will find an array of food and drink options.
Popular New York coffee chains like Blue Bottle Coffee, Jacks Stir Brew and Maison Kayser have set up shop in Hudson Yards, as have other of the city's staples like Dylan's Candy Bar and Sweetgreen. There are also a number of full-scale restaurants such as Queensyard and the Hudson Yards Grill.
Photos: Hudson Yards press site