A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 16, 2019
Dubai on the Hudson (Hudson Yards)

The Hudson Yards real estate development is on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan, and was built on a platform over the West Side Yard for Long Island Rail Road trains. When it opened to the public in 2019, people compared Hudson Yards to Las Vegas or Dubai—modern cities built out of context to the surroundings.

The nickname “Dubai on the Hudson” was first used for New York City itself, then for Hudson Yards. “In terms of debt, is NYC ‘Dubai on the Hudson’” was posted on Twitter by Daryl Cagle on December 2, 2009. “Dark alleys are hard to find now that we (New York City—ed.) are becoming like Dubai on the Hudson” was printed in The Times (London, UK) on January 11, 2012. “The city put up about $3 billion to build a one-mile extension of the #7 subway that would serve the exclusive multi-billion dollar Hudson Yards development, otherwise known as ‘Dubai-on-the-Hudson’” was posted on CityLimits.org on May 9, 2013. “Dubai on the Hudson=Bloomberg’s NYC” was posted on Twitter by Jeff Prudhomme on November 7, 2013.

“‘Dubai on the Hudson’: The trouble isn’t that Manhattan is changing. The trouble lies in what exactly it’s starting to become” by Hugo Lindgren was printed in the New York Times Magazine on November 24, 2013. “Is NYC becoming Dubai on the Hudson?” was posted on Twitter by Harper’s Magazine on February 13, 2014. “New York’s Newest Subway Station: A Gateway to Dubai-on-the-Hudson” by Alexander Nazaryan was printed in Newsweek on September 15, 2015. “But the man who really represented and enabled the notion of ‘Dubai on the Hudson’ was billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who once said in his Boston accent (or whatever that was), ‘We want rich people from around this country to move here. We love rich people’” was printed in the article “Jeremiah Moss and the Invisible City” by Michael J. Agovino in The Village Voice on August 3, 2017.

Similar nicknames for Hudson Yards include “Little Dubai” and “Hong Kong on the Hudson.” American short story writer O. Henry (1862-1910) called New York City “Bagdad-on-the-Subway,” which was often slightly changed by later writers to “Bagdad on the Hudson.”


Wikipedia: Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards is a real estate development in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York City. It is the largest private real estate development in the United States by square footage, and has been compared to Roppongi Hills, a Japanese development similar in scale and use. Upon completion, 13 of the 16 planned structures on the West Side of Midtown South would sit on a platform built over the West Side Yard, a storage yard for Long Island Rail Road trains. The first of its two phases comprises a public green space and eight structures that contain residences, a hotel, office buildings, a mall, and a cultural facility. The second focuses on residential space, along with an office building and a school.

Wikipedia: Dubai
Dubai (/duːˈbaɪ/ doo-BY; Arabic: دبي‎ Dubay, Gulf Arabic: Arabic pronunciation: [dʊˈbɑj]) is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country.

Dubai is a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major global transport hub for passengers and cargo.
(...)
Dubai has attracted world attention through large construction projects and sports events, in particular the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. As of 2012, Dubai was the most expensive city in the Middle East. In 2014, Dubai’s hotel rooms were rated as the second most expensive in the world.

Twitter
Daryl Cagle
@dcagle
In terms of debt, is NYC “Dubai on the Hudson” http://bit.ly/7jQmnx #tcot #p2
11:33 AM - 2 Dec 2009

Twitter
Mike McGinnis
@mikejmcginnis
?Dubai on the Hudson? development disappoints|Chelsea Now recently published an article on the rezoning of the .. http://oohja.com/x5Jq3
3:26 PM - 28 Jan 2010

11 January 2012, The Times (London, UK), “Vanishing alleys cast shadow on film-makers” by Will Pavla, pg. 28:
It was Professor Ken Soehner, 57, a library director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who lives in the area. “This is going to turn into a very chic hotel,” he said gloomily, pointing at the dilapidated building on one side. “A leggy model kind of place. Some people think it’s a good idea. I think I see enough leggy models, I don’t need a daily dose.” He said that he understood the dire implications for the industry. “Dark alleys are hard to find now that we are becoming like Dubai on the Hudson.”

CityLimits.org
Stop NYCHA Infill Plan, Save Public Housing
By Tom Angotti | May 9, 2013
(...)
The city put up about $3 billion to build a one-mile extension of the #7 subway that would serve the exclusive multi-billion dollar Hudson Yards development, otherwise known as “Dubai-on-the-Hudson.”

Twitter
Jeff Prudhomme
@PrudhommeJeff
Dubai on the Hudson=Bloomberg’s NYC. Let’s Face It, Bloomberg’s Legacy Is Terrible http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/let-s-face-it-bloomberg-s-legacy-is-terrible
9:23 AM - 7 Nov 2013

24 November 2013, New York (NY) Times, “‘Dubai on the Hudson’: The trouble isn’t that Manhattan is changing. The trouble lies in what exactly it’s starting to become” by Hugo Lindgren, magazine sec., pp. 54-55:
The other day, I found myself over in the far West 50s, near the river. Have you heard about the high-rises they’re building over there? On the old dirty waterfront, Dubai on the Hudson is rising, which fills me with equal amounts of awe and revulsion. This is not a New York City I know or understand or could ever love. But I also see a possible bright side, a way that Dubai on the Hudson could revive the Manhattan I do love - by acting like a giant magnet to attract all the Hot Money.

Twitter
Harper’s Magazine
@Harpers
Is NYC becoming Dubai on the Hudson? http://harp.rs/33grk7r
3:13 PM - 13 Feb 2014

Twitter
Jennifer Gould Keil
@JenGouldKeil
Is NYC becoming Dubai on the Hudson?Beloved Rizzoli books, in 1919 bldg, set 2 b blown up 4 another W 57 St lux condo http://bit.ly/1gEM855
11:10 AM - 14 Feb 2014

Twitter
John Fekner
@johnfekner
Audrey Hepburn starring in ‘Dubai on the Hudson’ just doesn’t have that certain ring to it.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  W. 57th Street #NYC
1:19 PM - 4 May 2014

Newsweek
NEW YORK’S NEWEST SUBWAY STATION: A GATEWAY TO DUBAI-ON-THE-HUDSON
BY ALEXANDER NAZARYAN ON 9/15/15 AT 6:37 AM EDT
(...)
Those are my first impressions of the new 34th Street-Hudson Yards subway station, which opened on the west side of Manhattan, where a massive luxury housing development is now taking shape. The station is the first in the city since 1989, and the 469th in a system that is more than a century old, often conspicuously so. The station extends the 7 line for 1.5 miles, from Times Square to pretty much the Hudson waterfront (New Jersey is so close, you can almost smell it). The whole project took $2.4 billion and some eight years to plan and build.

Google Books
Bright, Precious Days:
A novel

By Jay McInerney
New York, NY: ALfred A. Knopf
2016
Pg. 202:
TURNING EAST ON SPRING STREET, Corrine marveled anew at the upscale boutiques that had infested SoHo ever since Prada invaded—Chanel and Longchamp and Burberry—wondering when, exactly, Manhattan had become a collection of luxury brands and franchise outlets: Dubai on the Hudson.

Twitter
Dudley Saunders
@DudleySaunders
He stole my line about New York being “Dubai on the Hudson.” Or is everyone saying that? http://fb.me/7SgAUzKws
12:29 PM - 4 Oct 2016

The Village Voice (New York, NY)
Jeremiah Moss and the Invisible City
by MICHAEL J. AGOVINO
AUGUST 3, 2017
(...)
But the man who really represented and enabled the notion of “Dubai on the Hudson” was billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who once said in his Boston accent (or whatever that was), “We want rich people from around this country to move here. We love rich people.”

The Brooklyn Rail
DECEMBER 13TH, 2017
ANN MAGNUSON
with Katherine Dieckmann
(...)
Magnuson: Last year I went to the Howl Gallery on First Street, between First and Second, and I thought I was lost. I was like ‘Whaaaat? Where am I?!” This could be Minneapolis! I could be in San Diego! Branson! I have a friend who calls New York “Dubai On the Hudson.” It’s a steel-and-glass mall retail shop now.

Twitter
Preserve Our Brooklyn Neighborhoods
@infopobn
11 Oct 2018
The displaced-the destroyed-the dystopia REBNY demands & gets from this Administration:
http://thevillager.com/2018/10/11/deny-the-dystopia-big-real-estate-wants-for-us/
Big Real Estate + deBlasio=Dubai on the Hudson
@TribecaTrust @stoprebny @BANgentrifying @NMN4S_NYC #sbjsa @NYCSpeakerCoJo @Marni4Council @GVSHP @gracerauh @HDC_NYC

Stop REBNY Bullies
@stoprebny
Replying to @infopobn @TribecaTrust and 7 others
“Dubai on the Hudson” Haha! If you can go back in time, one of the first Tweets I did was a picture of Dubai, asking people to guess where they were. It looks like NYC, Paris, SF, Seattle, anywhere. The world has become cookie-cutter, steel and glass. So incredibly sad.
10:22 PM - 11 Oct 2018

Twitter
Emily
@Dudeitsemily
I’m already annoyed with the new Hudson Yards. An Equinox Hotel, a shitty one room instagramable “art” instillation that is $32 admission, an upscale mall, disgustingly expensive housing, the vessel looks cool but it’s already sold out.. its Dubai on the Hudson…
9:54 AM - 15 Mar 2019

Twitter
suketu mehta
@suketumehta
More suketu mehta Retweeted New York Times Arts
O. Henry called NYC ‘Baghdad-on-the-Hudson’. Hudson Yards is more like ‘Dubai-on-the-Hudson’.suketu mehta added,
0:17
New York Times Arts
@nytimesarts
As Hudson Yards opens, a video review of the biggest, slickest private development in New York in a century. “Hudson Yards glorifies a kind of surface spectacle,” @kimmelman writes, “as if the peak ambitions of city life were consuming luxury goods.” …
10:37 AM - 15 Mar 2019

Twitter
Magnus Ramage
@magnusramage
Dubai on the Hudson. Looks awful.
7:12 AM - 16 Mar 2019

Twitter
Warren James
@wjames_com
From Little Dubai to Dubai On The Hudson:
4:36 PM - 16 Mar 2019

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2019
Visiting Hudson Yards
For its opening weekend, Hudson Yards, aka Dubai on the Hudson, is crammed with people. They walk the glistening floors of the luxury shopping mall and climb The Vessel, aka The Giant Shawarma (h/t Eater).

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Saturday, March 16, 2019 • Permalink