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  • Writer's pictureRaquel Weiss Fusco


Updated: Apr 19, 2019

This new neighborhood has put the spotlight on design. See how foodservice solutions in B+I are evolving.

Located at the heart of Hudson Yards, the Vessel is made of 154 staircases and 80 platforms zigzagging together to form a web of more than 2,500 individual stairs.
The Vessel

Posh. Exciting. Trendy. Dynamic. #hellohudsonyards

These words describe a remarkable location in New York City. On March 15, 2019, Anderson Cooper, United States’ Senator Chuck Schumer, singer Andra Day and even Big Bird, toasted to the unveiling of New York City’s newest neighborhood. I happened to catch the ribbon cutting ceremony on video because, apparently, Big Bird has more pull than me. In all seriousness, the video was fabulous, but it doesn’t compare to experiencing this new development in person. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Hudson Yards personally and professionally and must say, if you haven’t been yet, you’re missing out! You could spend a day or stay awhile because there’s so much to do ... and eat!

Speaking of eating, I’m amazed the possibility of a food tour hasn’t been offered yet.

Hudson Yards is a foodie’s dream — home to everything from your morning coffee and pastry to weekend brunch, happy hour and signature dining. Anchored by Mercato’s Little Spain, a 35,000-square-foot establishment, Hudson Yards is a unique culinary experience.

Other features are, of course, the shopping, the design and that beautiful Vessel, which feels like a significant landmark of our generation. The Vessel is a focal point of Hudson Yards, allowing visitors to enjoy new perspectives of New York City from various heights and angles. For me, it’s a symbol of this community and a celebration of the innovation it was built upon.

More than 125,000 people a day are expected to either visit, work in or call the 28-acre Hudson Yards their home by the project’s completion in 2025, according to AM New York. The final stage of the project is slated to include homes, offices, a hotel, school, performing arts center and the “Edge,” which is set to be the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.

What we’re witnessing is history in New York! And who would know better than a former history teacher? What was once this empty area is now attracting people from all over. A person can take the 7-line directly from Grand Central Station or walk the High Line and take a detour into Hudson Yards. But what’s attracting big name businesses like Markit and L’Oreal to the neighborhood?

At SAP, the view on the 49th floor is spectacular, which is why elite|studio e placed the coffee bar facing the windows. Not only do the sight lines remain unobstructed, but the concept gets the natural light it deserves.

For one, Related (the developer) has worked to create an amenity program that would help lure and keep tenants. Some of the office buildings offer restaurants and party spaces, while others provide large auditoriums and in-house catering services. There’s also a daycare center and a medical clinic, which, as a new mom, sounds likes incredible one-stop shopping!

But from an employer perspective, I think the design of the buildings is key. Hudson Yards has really put the spotlight on changing and evolving workplace design. Not only are the buildings exteriors clean, modern and sustainable, but nearly every office I’ve been to in Hudson Yards features center-core open floorplans that allow for flexible configurations and incredible views of the city. Take SAP for example. When the elite|studio e team designed and built its 49th floor barista bar, we didn’t want to tarnish the view of the skyline. By placing the coffee bar on an interior wall, our design didn’t interfere with the sheer beauty of New York and allowed all diners to enjoy it. This strategy is used in buildings throughout Hudson Yards because almost anywhere a person looks, there’s a view.

Another trend in Hudson Yards’ workplaces is making foodservice an office fixture by removing the boundaries. R/GA, which was among the earlier companies to move into Hudson Yards, prides itself on a connected employee experience. To achieve that goal, its CEO Bob Greenberg desired an office design that not only provided technical connections, but also increased casual interactions among employees. As a result, everyone enters on the 12th floor, and at the heart of the office, is a high-end coffee/juice bar and a café with tables scattered around for drinking, eating and impromptu meetings.

To increase casual collisions at R/GA, everyone enters on the 12th floor. The first impression to hit you is the positive and productive energy, and then there’s the coffee bar at the office’s center. Photo credit: Office Snapshots

It is a gratifying experience to be part of conceptualizing, designing, building and creating spaces for SAP, R/GA and other companies in Hudson Yards. Being part of this process has allowed the elite|studio e team to bring current trends like flexibility, demonstration cooking, sustainability and food forward experiences to the next level. It has challenged our ability to be innovative and allowed us to collaborate with some incredible architects. Speaking honestly, our team travels across the country to complete projects and it’s been fabulous to do some in our own backyard.

New York is always new, exciting and dynamic. I know I speak for my entire team when I say it’s an honor to be part of New York City history.

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