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A shot of the mall at Hudson Yards, which has bright lights, multiple floors, balconies, and people walking throughout

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So Who Actually Eats at Hudson Yards?

A closer look at the people eating and shopping at the shiny new mall

Alex Staniloff/Eater

The first phase of the glitzy $25 billion Hudson Yards development opened in March, bringing with it a whole new roster of restaurants — many of them backed by big-name chefs — to a part of Manhattan that had little to offer before, especially in terms of dining.

But even before its debut, the dining scene at the new mall known as the Shops at Hudson Yards was criticized as highly expensive, male-run, and culturally deprived, and the development itself was dubbed a playground for the rich. Despite this, New Yorkers and tourists swarmed Hudson Yards the day it opened, and continue to do so two months later.

On a recent Friday afternoon, people walking around the mall and dining in its restaurants ranged from nearby office workers to groups of friends looking for Instagram shots to tourists who heard about the big-deal project on the news. Whether they’re swinging by the mall for coffee, lunch, afterwork drinks, or simply pictures, these are the people visiting Hudson Yards.

Hudson Yards
Marianne Barcellos, left, and Samir Bantal

NYC resident Marianne Barcellos, 33, and Samir Bantal, 41, visiting from Amsterdam

What brought you to Hudson Yards?

Bantal: We’re friends; I’m from Amsterdam, and she lives here. I’m in New York for work. I’m an architect, and I wanted to come here for the Shed and the Vessel.

Barcellos: It was his idea to come. We came really fast, but I thought it was really beautiful.

Is this your first time here?

Both: Yes.

Where did you dine?

Barcellos: Belcampo. I was on a diet; I just had a kid and I wanted something light. We liked it. The food was good, fast, and light — I had a salad with kombucha and he had the burger.

Hudson Yards
Charlie Miller

Carroll Gardens resident Charlie Miller, 42

What brought you here today?

I’m getting black-and-white cookies at William Greenberg for my kids to bring home from work today. I work at 10 Hudson Yards for a company called Intersection.

Is this your first time here?

No, I’m here all the time since it opened. I’ve worked here for two years, and for most of that time, there was no shopping here. This is a pretty profound change, to have all this stuff available. I come here for coffee in the morning, and three to four days a week, I get lunch here.

Where do you go for lunch?

Citarella is a good place to grab lunch to go, Peach Mart is too, and I go to Bouchon Bakery to get sandwiches. I’ve also gone to Kawi, which is crazy good, Milos (also really good), and I’ve had dinner at Hudson Yards Grill. There’s also a nice bar in the men’s department at Neiman Marcus with a big window that overlooks the Vessel.

Sometimes my wife will meet me here, and we’ll grab a drink and have dinner. She works in the neighborhood, too. They’ve done a good job bringing in a variety of concepts.

What was your favorite?

Lunch at Kawi. It’s such an experience. They have these Korean rice cakes, which are really good and served theatrically — they’re cut with enormous scissors.

Hudson Yards
Polina Pletinskaya

Queens resident Polina Pletinskaya, 27

What are you doing here today?

We’re going to the Vessel. Of course, we want to get photos, but the goal is to walk up the whole monument.

Is this your first time here?

Yes. I think it’s really cool. It’s definitely big and has a lot of stores. It’s a cool spot that people can come hang out, walk around, and explore.

What did you eat?

A spicy fried chicken sandwich at Fuku. I had never tried it before. There’s a Shake Shack here too, but everybody has had that before.

Hudson Yards
Matt Bogart (left) and Brian Anthony Hernandez

Brooklyn residents Matt Bogart, 33, and Brian Anthony Hernandez, 32

What’re you doing here?

Bogart: We work at 10 Hudson Yards. We’re taking a snack break at Peach Mart — it’s the only cool place here. Everything else is boring, and the type of stuff that you can get anywhere else in the city. Peach Mart is the only thing that’s original to Hudson Yards.

So this isn’t your first time here, is it?

Bogart: No. I’ve been here like seven times, usually to eat. It’s convenient, but everything is too expensive.

Hernandez: I come every day for food, coffee, and I do a lot of walk-and-talk meetings with colleagues here. I’ve also come up and bought clothes if I’m going out and need, like, a jacket or something.

Where else have you eaten?

Bogart: Fuku, and I like seeing what they have at Peach Mart because it rotates every day.

Hernandez: There’s always the buffet at Citarella.

How do you feel about the Shops?

Hernandez: We were just talking about the escalators. There are a lot of tourists here, and they don’t have escalator etiquette. Also, you can never memorize where anything is because it’s so big. We just went to Dylan’s Candy Store, and we had to look at the digital map to find it even though we’ve been there a few times.

Hudson Yards
Angellica Ceballos (left) and her son Zaidan Diaz

New Jersey resident Angellica Ceballos, 29, and her son Zaidan Diaz, 8

What brings you here today?

Ceballos: I work at 10 Hudson Yards for L’Oréal, and my son came with me to work today. Today we went to go see the Vessel, and now my co-worker is picking up lunch at Shake Shack.

Is this your first time at the Shops?

Ceballos: No, I come often for lunch. There are a lot of new choices, especially for the area, since Hudson Yards didn’t have much of anything before the mall came. I used to only eat at my cafeteria. Now I’m definitely checking out all the different restaurants and coffee shops that are here.

What restaurants have you dined at?

Ceballos: Shake Shack, Fuku, Milos Wine Bar, Citarella, and Mercado Little Spain. All the coffee shops. I like the wine bar because it was all Greek wines — I wouldn’t eat there though because it’s a bit expensive and the portions are small. But the wine glass prices aren’t bad.

Today we went to Snark Park for Kith ice cream. I love Kith, and now I don’t have to go all the way to Soho to get it.

Zaidan, what was your favorite part?

Zaidan: Snark Park! I like the ice cream, and I like how they have lots of merch.

Hudson Yards
Arielle Vavasseur (left), Natalie Mathews (middle), and Jasiri JaNa

Former NYC residents Arielle Vavasseur, 31, Natalie Mathews, 31, and Jasiri JaNa, 31

What brought you here?

Vavasseur: We’re on vacation, visiting from LA and Naples, Florida. We all used to live in New York.

What do you think about Hudson Yards?

Vavasseur: We like that it’s a mall; NYC normally doesn’t have many malls. So when there’s bad weather outside, you can still shop and walk around.

It’s also cute aesthetically. We’ve taken a lot of photos.

What did you eat?

Vavasseur: We ate before we came, but I got Kith ice cream, the one with Cap’n Crunch Berry and Fruity Pebbles. I knew about the brand Kith, so I wanted to try Kith treats.

Hudson Yards
Albert Lee (left) and Lauren Eastman

Canadian tourists Lauren Eastman, 28, and Albert Lee, 27

What brought you here today?

Eastman: I just heard about Hudson Yards opening when I was researching things to do in New York City, and it was a rainy day so it was the perfect reason to come inside.

Is this your first time in NYC?

Both: Yes.

What did you think about the mall?

Eastman: It’s really nice and spacious. I like it better than shopping on Fifth Avenue because it’s a little bit quieter.

Have you eaten anywhere here?

Eastman: We haven’t. We brought our own snacks. We’re flying home today.

Hudson Yards
Dan Rosenthal (left) and Raymond Chu

Palm Springs, California, residents Dan Rosenthal, “50s,” and Raymond Chu, “50s”

What brought you to Hudson Yards today?

Rosenthal: We were here years ago when they were building it, so we wanted to see what it came it out to be.

What do you think about the final product?

Rosenthal: It’s clean, nice, very new, and has an upscale feel. We recognize a lot of the brands, like Muji and Uniqlo.

Chu: It has a variety of different stores from upscale to midrange.

Have you eaten yet?

Rosenthal: We were considering Fuku, and it’s interesting. But now we’re deciding between chicken and ice cream. I saw somebody with the ice cream, and I looked at their cup and thought it said “Mith.” Then I looked at the directory — the directory is very good — and realized it was Kith. We’re going for the ice cream.

Are you familiar with Kith?

Rosenthal: No, what is it?