The Mall, The Shed and the Shawarma

We returned to NYC and with a snap of the fingers, we are back to our favorite cadence. Not that we don’t love chilling in LA but we chill so we can do NYC the way we like to.

The big opening this week was the Shed. The Shed has been an idea sitting in Dan Doctoroff’s head since he worked with Bloomberg on giving a pass to Related to build the dreaded Hudson Yards. The diamond in the rough is that Doctoroff portioned off a piece of that land for a new culture institution, hence the Shed.

He raised capital, brought on Diller, Scofidio and Renfrew as architects and Alex Poots to oversee the institution and on Friday evening, the first performance of a 5 night event called the Soundtrack of America is a tribute to African-American music. The mission is to bring together art across all disciplines in a moveable structure that can accommodate anything from rap to ballet to an art installation. Poots is the master of thinking out of the box and merging artists from difference genres to create something unique.

I could go on and on but one key thing is that tickets will be as low as $10. There will be community outreach, as the High Line has done. Let’s make this a place for everyone in NYC. Unfortunately when you open the walls and that beautiful amphitheater opens up which houses the musicians or performers, you are sitting outside of an overbearing architecturally unattractive building that besides the restaurants and seating inside, screams 1980’s glitzy shopping mall. Close your eyes and you could be anywhere in America and more than likely in the suburbs. Makes you wonder who came up with this idea and why they wouldn’t think out of the box to create something amazing, unique and for everyone? (The picture above is in the Shed’s entry and above you can see the High Line)

What a missed opportunity that I thoroughly believe will haunt the amount of money that was poured into the mall for the wealthy to be a disaster. Same stores that you can find anywhere. Overtime the tourists will stop flowing in, the stores won’t make money on the tourists as it is and the restaurants will be dying on the weekends unless they sell enough apartments in the area and the people actually live there.

Worse than the mall is the big metal structure that looks like a shawarma next to it. I can’t even go there.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Tracey Jackson

    Too bad they didn’t take some of that land and invest in some decent low cost housing, not the 400 apts they purportedly have to go with endless ones that are so pricey they built. Like a real swath for even middle class families like doctors and buiness people with kids who can’t afford to live here. And as you know the city desperetly needs more schools. We need a mental hospital to home the poor people living in the streets. We need so much, another Cartier or a new Neiman Marcus are so not on that list. Glad to hear the tkts for The Shed will be affordable for many, somthing else we do really need!

    1. LE

      Agree 100%. Will admit that I know next to zero about this but it’s very interesting how the land ends up in the hands of developers who seem to throw crumbs of lottery style ‘affordable’ units vs. simply a project (paid for in part by the rest of NYC let’s say) which would be all affordable housing (haha by NYC standards). So the deal gets done by the crumbs and the impact is negligible.Will note that the NY Times is mostly silent on this topic. Why? Because a profit center for them is real estate section which is always filled with full page ads for expensive NYC housing ‘starting at $5m’ by same type developers.Glad to hear the tkts for The Shed will be affordable for many, somthing else we do really need!Yeah but honestly Tracey this (cheap tickets) is laughable at best. Another is a party for the opening no doubt filled with upper class people in fine clothes ‘A list’ but do some tribute to African American music. That could be considered patronizing. It’s like a candle at a bar mitzvah for the aunt that you never call (and never plan to call) but ‘hey here’s is a tribute to you Aunt Sadie’. [1]The upper class has decided that ‘culture’ is important but honestly it’s not really something that is super important for people that have bigger problems in life than that.[1] My parents slaved over the candle list at my Bar Mitzvah for a month to cull it down. Today parents just bring up groups of people for candles including one for ‘friends’ that was unheard of back when I had my bar mitzvah.

  2. awaldstein

    There next week for an event.I’ll walk up the High Line to get there and love that.You draw a grim pic of what I’ll experience at the end of the walk though, in a city that I think does pubic spaces exceptionally well.Oh–welcome back!

  3. William Mougayar

    Will visit it at the next NYC trip. What you describe kind of reminds me of the shopping culture of Singapore. Mall after mall is what the city is made-up of.How difficult is it to resist the big brands? Even in Rome and Milan, the traditional famous shopping streets that used to be all about the individual artisanal and unique/small designers are now filled with the known generic international brands- Zara, Kors, Adidas, H&M crap, Levi’s, Zadig & Voltaire, Dolce & Gabana, Kooples, etc…

    1. awaldstein

      Thing is that its a solid decade if not more since that happened in Rome and Milan, probably close to that even in places like NoLiTa as well.The driver is rents. That’s the bane of NY for certain, other cities not quite as obvious through vacancies but there.

      1. William Mougayar


  4. JLM

    .There are two kinds of tastelessness in the world — the inadvertent kind that is a product of a limited view of the world and limited means and the purposeful kind, the free range tastelessness that is the product of unlimited means.Inadvertent tasteless can be forgiven on the supposition that the poor dear didn’t know any better and if they did they couldn’t afford any better.Purposeful tasteless is a crime against humanity because the perpetrator not only has access to good design, they thumb their nose at it. It does however liberate the thought that money cannot buy class.In much the same way that an individual can screw something up, but a committee can really screw it up, tasteless when slapped with a checkbook can create something that becomes a monument to bad judgment.I love the shawarma reference though most folks won’t get it. The enclosed shopping mall is not dead; it just moved.It is scary to know that people with means and that abhorrent judgment are walking unsupervised in an otherwise great city.The $10 ticket thing is some small offset. Not enough.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. Shelly Lipton

    I couldn’t agree with you more Joanne. For one, does NYC really need another opulent, expensive, cookie-cutter mall? With Brookfield in FiDi and The Shops at Time Warner (soon to be Deutsche Bank) in midtown, there’s no lack of abundance or high-end choices. Hudson Yards feels sterile and unfriendly in an ostentatious way. The Vessel…ugh! Once the Instagram frenzy dies down, we will be left with shawarma for sure. But The Shed seems to be an architectural masterpiece of mechanical engineering. Quite a venue for the arts! And this might be the only thing that brings me (as well as other New Yorkers) back to Hudson Yards for a second or third time. With Alex Poots at the helm, we can only hope for something positive and cultural in this new and emerging ‘out of touch’ neighborhood.

  6. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Well, it’s a shame about the mall. But you made me laugh out loud likening the sculpture/building thing to a shawarma. I’ll never be able to think of anything else now when I look at it.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Great post title, too.

  7. jeffgrillo

    I’m sure you’ve read about how the Shaarma looking structure owns your social posts, which is quite interesting. What’re your thoughts? There’s so much targeting and social tracking that it didn’t really surprise me. I think it only impacts social influencers that’re used to get paid for their content.