The Shed is still an Erector-Set-like structure of bare girders and safety netting, but next year it will be a new arts center and a lynch pin for Hudson Yards as a new cultural region of New York City. It will feature a movable shell on rails, nesting over a fixed core of the building. It will be able to alter sizes and shapes for different kinds of events. Finished, it will have a 1,200 seat amphitheater, a 500-seat black-box theater, and two open space galleries to house 25,000 square feet of art installations.
“The building is almost like a tool kit for artists of all kinds—whether it’s Kanye West or Björk or Kenneth Branagh, Steve McQueen, Matthew Barney or FKA twigs,” said Alex Poots, the Shed’s artistic director and CEO. It is scheduled to be completed in spring 2019.
Quite recently, that project has received a new inflow of cash. Michael Bloomberg, multi-channel billionaire and former mayor of New York City, has contributed $75 million to the project. With his donation, over $420 million out of the project’s $500 million capital campaign has been raised. That money is supposed to cover construction and start-up costs, such as the staff the project has been accumulating since 2014.
This isn’t the first time Bloomberg’s hand has doled out donations to the project. While he was mayor, his administration made a $75 million grant to the Shed, the largest grant New York City issued that year. That garnered a lot of criticism at the time, as the project had yet to break ground or exist on anything but paper.
It’s largely Bloomberg’s support that has continued to push the Shed’s progress forward. Compare its progress to the postponement of a planned new wing at the Met, a much-delayed renovation of the New York Philharmonic’s David Geffen Hall, or the foundering performing arts center being finished at Ground Zero. It’s clear where Bloomberg has pinned his hopes for his legacy, and he has the clout to see it through.