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Hudson Yards, Hudson Square, and Hudson Heights: What's the difference?

If you're new to NYC, don't be fooled by the names. Hudson Heights, in the northern part of Manhattan; Hudson Yards, and Hudson Square are very different neighborhoods.

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2020
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If you’re new to New York City, it can be hard to keep all of its neighborhoods straight. (It doesn’t help that real estate brokers tend to invent new ones—or, more precisely, new names, for parts of the city that have long existed.) 

It's also challenging when neighborhoods have very similar names. Case in point: Hudson Yards, Hudson Square, and Hudson Heights, with the first two getting lots of buzz for the major development projects and major companies like Amazon and Facebook leasing space in Hudson Yards, and Google and Disney opening offices in Hudson Square. (Brick Underground recently wrote where to live if you land a job offer at one of these companies and want a decent commute to one of the spanking new HQs.)

All three Hudson neighborhoods are located on Manhattan’s far West Side (as far west as you can get), and take their name from their proximity to the Hudson River. (Named, of course, for British explorer Henry Hudson, who sailed his ship up the waterway in the 1600s in search of the Northwest Passage.) 

So while these three neighborhoods do have a couple things in common, they are, of course, not the same. Here’s the difference between Hudson Yards, Hudson Square, and Hudson Heights. 

Google Maps 

Hudson Yards

Where it is: Rough boundaries are West 30th to 34th streets, between 10th and 12th avenues. It is bordered by Hell’s Kitchen to the north, Chelsea to the south, and Midtown to the east. 

Nearest subways: 7 at 34th Street Hudson Yards, A, C, E at 34th Street Penn Station 

Fresh, flashy, and spanning 28 acres, Hudson Yards is New York City’s newest neighborhood, officially opening to the public in March of 2019. The development project has been nearly 15 years in the making (depending on when you mark the beginning). The massive project transformed the West Side Rail Yard into a gleaming complex including numerous luxury residential buildings, office space, and a high-end mall that one New York Times critic likened to a "gated condo community targeted at the 0.1 percent." Tourists flock to the Instagram-friendly Vessel walkable structure by Thomas Heatherwick at its core. In our survey of the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan, Hudson Yards nabbed the top spot, with a median sales price of $3,929,223. 

Google Maps 

Hudson Square

Where it is: Hudson Square is bordered by Clark Street on the north, Canal Street on the south, Varick Street on the east, and the West Side Highway (or the Hudson River) to the west. Bordering neighborhoods are Greenwich Village to the north, Tribeca to the south and Soho to the east. 

Nearest subways: A, C, and E at Spring Street, and the 1, and 2 at Houston or Canal.

Another hotbed of development, but with a smaller footprint (measuring about five blocks by nine blocks) Hudson Square is to the south of Hudson Yards. Formerly a largely industrial area, once home to many printing plants, it is now becoming a center for big name tech and media firms like Google and Disney. Both companies are developing millions of square feet of office space to accommodate thousands of employees over the next several years. Residential development is happening here too, although may be slower to gain traction than other areas, given its proximity to the Manhattan entrance to the Holland Tunnel.

Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University, previously told Brick: “No one in their right mind would live next to the Holland Tunnel. You might as well drink pollution.”

Looking to overcome that antipathy are a trio of brand-new buildings with 269 new units. The high-end buildings line the entrance to the Holland Tunnel along Varick and Broome streets and have distinctive facades and luxe amenities: 565 Broome Street designed by Renzo Piano Workshop; 570 Broome Street designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; and 111 Varick Street designed by S9 Architecture.

Google Maps

Hudson Heights 

Where it is: The boundaries of Hudson Heights are less precise than those of some other neighborhoods in NYC. Roughly, its borders are Fort Tryon Park to the north, 173rd Street to the south, Broadway to the east and the Hudson River on the west. Technically, it is the northwest corner of Washington Heights—number three on our list of NYC’s most affordable neighborhoods for 2020—and largely surrounded by that neighborhood.

Nearest subways: 1 at 191st Street and A at 175th Street

In Manhattan, it’s hard to get more north than Hudson Heights. (You can: but only in Fort George and Inwood.) It’s a largely residential area and is a longtime bastion of “affordability” in Manhattan and the city overall. Housing stock is mostly prewar, with many apartment buildings in the Tudor or Art Deco style. This is a neighborhood for people who appreciate natural beauty: it is flanked by green space in the form of Fort Washington Park and Fort Tryon Park, the latter of which is home to The Met’s northern outpost, The Cloisters. The neighborhood also provides beautiful views of the Hudson River, the New Jersey Palisades, with the extra pizazz of the George Washington Bridge.