Class Enemy: Stephen Ross and Related Companies’ Hudson Yards Behemoth

Illustration by James T.

by AJ M

New Yorkers are more than familiar with real estate giants detailing their ‘innovative’ visions to transform the city.

We confronted it most recently in the face of Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s doomed HQ2 in Long Island City. But Stephen Ross and the insidious Hudson Yards project continue to reveal themselves as a serious threat to affordable, equal opportunity in the city. Hudson Yards is a massive, unnecessary housing development located smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. This ‘new neighborhood’ opened in March, as nothing more than an overly-glorified gated community.

Developed by Stephen Ross and Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, Hudson Yards has already received more than six billion dollars in tax breaks. At the same time, Related has also been embroiled in a bitter dispute with local labor unions. Union labor exclusively built the now-largest private development in the city, but executives are desperate to move away from long-standing trade workers.

Hudson Yards is an ugly, unnecessary development that directly harms the workers and tenants that call New York home, seemingly benefiting no one – except Stephen Ross and his associates.

Its immense uselessness is best summarized by ‘The Vessel’, a nondescript structure that stands in the center of the laughably ‘public’ space. Standing at sixteen stories, this monument represents nothing, and could be renamed on a whim. The Vessel, Hudson Yards, and Stephen Ross’ public campaign to change the city are just the latest demonstration in a trend of the rich getting richer while abusing and misleading the working class.