Does NYC Need The Shed?

The Shed opens tonight. That’s New York City’s newest art institution. It’s inside the $20 billion Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s Far West Side. And as Camille Petersen finds, reactions to it are mixed.

PETERSEN 1: The Shed is at the end of the High Line’s walking path. And you can’t miss it. It takes up more than half the block.

It’s mostly glass, but partly covered by a steel shell that looks like a quilted blanket.

It’s the day of The Shed’s opening. But the building still sounds a little like a construction site mixed with a middle school band rehearsal.

(SOUND: construction noises and band rehearsal)

James Pugh showed up at 10 this morning hoping it would be open to the public.

PUGH 1

I wanted to get here before the crowds arrived. (0:02)

PETERSEN 2: But it wasn’t. Still, Pugh is excited about The Shed. He doesn’t mind that it cost nearly half a billion dollars.

PUGH 2

Eh, peanuts. Peanuts for what they’re getting. (0:02)

PETERSEN 4: Most of the funding for The Shed came from private donations. But a report from the New School’s economics department found that the city spent $76 million on the project.

Zachary Small is an art critic and writer. Small worries The Shed is a big trophy for Hudson Yards. A way for the luxury development to claim it’s doing something good for the city.

SMALL 1

The Shed didn’t need to be built. There are many other art institutions around The

Shed like Lincoln Center that are providing the community the same resources.

The only difference is that The Shed is a shiny new building. (0:12)

PETERSEN 5: Scott Larson teaches urban studies at CUNY. He says projects like The Shed attract capital from investors and draw in tourists.

LARSON 1

But is that really what the people of New York want? I don’t think anybody asked

the people of New York. (0:05)

PETERSEN 6: And Larson says there’s a better way to expand the arts in New York City.

LARSON 2

Using public space for art would be a great idea but that doesn’t require an

investment of millions of dollars. And there are plenty of street

artists and community artists who could use some support and help. (0:13)

PETERSEN 3: Hours before The Shed opens, construction workers are still sweeping up debris with big industrial brooms.

Andre Jackson is a lifelong New Yorker. He also showed up early to check out The Shed. And he’s not so sure it’s the best use of city resources.

JACKSON 1

A lot of money that the city takes is not being used for what it should be used for.

(0:05)  

PETERSEN 4: The Shed’s first show is tonight. It’s a Steve McQueen-directed concert.

Tickets are sold out. But selling for later dates at $95 each.

Camille Petersen, Columbia Radio News.

HOST OUTRO: Uptown Radio reached out to The Shed for comment but has not heard back.

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