Date of Degree

2-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Karen Miller

Subject Categories

American Politics | American Popular Culture | American Studies | Architectural History and Criticism | Architecture | Broadcast and Video Studies | Critical and Cultural Studies | Economics | Finance | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Modern Art and Architecture | Other Film and Media Studies | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Political Economy | Public Economics | Public Policy | Social Justice | Social Media | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning

Keywords

Hudson Yards, real estate state, kinetic elites, Bloomberg, neoliberal, transnational capital

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the material and metaphysical aspects of the Hudson Yards, the largest private development in US History. With its roots in the administration of Michael Bloomberg, the site is representative of neoliberal ideology. It is also one in which cultural production is central. This is in terms of the rationalization and mythos of the building of the space itself and the dreamworlds created to obscure the mechanisms of extraction and accumulation that make such a complex possible. The Hudson Yards is particularly interesting because, as Cindi Katz might suggest, topography lines connect it to transnational capital. And as Samuel Stein would argue, it emerges out of the “real estate state.” The topography lines extend further, related to how the kinetic elites, as described by Mimi Sheller in her book, Mobility Justice, move through borders and spaces in entirely different ways. Hudson Yards’ business model depends on international travel and tourism, as well as foreign and domestic real estate investment. Furthermore, it is part of a continuing trend of nations selling full American citizenship or lifetime visas for investment—something that is unavailable to most human beings.

From groundbreaking in 2011 to the grand opening of Hudson Yards in 2019, a new lifestyle is being created in this complex, one that is at the service of transnational capital and the kinetic elites. Appropriately, the Hudson Yards is home to large media conglomerates like AT&T, HBO, CNN, Meta, and Alphabet. Media representations of the Hudson Yards, whether in a CNN story or a popular HBO show like The Flight Attendant (2020), attempt to sell this bizarre, sleek, disorienting space as the future of city living. Hudson Yards lies at the intersection of some of the most pervasive ideological and material forces in our society today. Its architects are attempting to remake New York: not only physically, but psychically as well.

This work is embargoed and will be available for download on Sunday, July 10, 2022

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