The $25 billion urban complex on Manhattan's west side, is the city's most ambitious development since the rebuilding of the World Trade Center.

Visitors to
Visitors to "Vessel" climb its staircases on its opening day at Hudson Yards, Friday, March 15, 2019, in New York. (AP)

New York's $25 billion Hudson Yards development is open to the public, offering both basic daily life amenities and luxuries that have earned it the nickname "Manhattan's mini-city."

People lined up on Friday to climb the 2,500 steps to the top of a massive, honeycomb-shaped sculpture called Vessel — the visual centrepiece of a complex of high-rises on Manhattan's West Side with pricey commercial and residential space, plus about 100 shops and restaurants.

CNN's Anderson Cooper hosted the inaugural ceremony, joined by singer Andra Day, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and a lineup of New York business luminaries.

Confetti swirls around
Confetti swirls around "Vessel" on its opening day at Hudson Yards, Friday, March 15, 2019, in New York. (AP)

CNN will be a tenant at Hudson Yards along with its parent company, WarnerMedia. Other well-known corporate tenants include the BlackRock money manager, L'Oreal USA, Equinox and Coach.

Hudson Yards bills itself "the cultural centre of Manhattan's New West Side," and on its first day, the culture came in the form of familiar brands at the five-floor retail mall — from Dior, Fendi and Neiman Marcus to Uniqlo, Banana Republic and H&M. New employees being trained inside the shops got last-minute tips before customers arrived at noon.
A hungry crowd packed the affordable Shake Shack, with a line winding out the door.

The powerhouse figure at the opening was developer Stephen Ross, the CEO of Related Cos. that partnered with Oxford Properties Group to build Hudson Yards, where the price of apartments ranges from about $3 million to $32 million.

"Today, we created a dynamic hub of creativity and innovation," Ross told a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds gathered under Vessel. "Today, once again, we showed that New York will always be the greatest city in the world."

People tour the inside 'The Vessel,' a large public art sculpture made up of 155 flights of stairs, during the grand opening of the The Hudson Yards development, a residential, commercial, and retail space on Manhattan's West side in New York City, New York, US, March 15, 2019.
People tour the inside 'The Vessel,' a large public art sculpture made up of 155 flights of stairs, during the grand opening of the The Hudson Yards development, a residential, commercial, and retail space on Manhattan's West side in New York City, New York, US, March 15, 2019. (Reuters)

Only half of the 28-acre community by the Hudson River is completed, including the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere atop a 100-story building, and The Shed, a 200,000-square-foot art center with a telescoping outer shell.

The rest of Hudson Yards is to be constructed by 2025.

When fully complete, the 28-acre site will include 16 towers of homes and offices, a hotel, a school, the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, a performing arts centre, Vessel and a shopping mall. 

Source: AP