New York City’s 1.8-million-square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side, is one of the busiest convention centers in North America. The center hosts more than 150 events each year, and more than 2 million people visit the facility annually.
The Javits Center is undergoing a large-scale renovation that will nearly double its footprint and increase its meeting space by a factor of five. The project includes the addition of a 55,000-square-foot ballroom—the largest in the Northeast—a rooftop terrace that will accommodate up to 1,500 attendees and a four-level truck garage with 27 loading docks. Construction began in December 2016 and is expected to wrap in 2021.
Whether you’ve already booked your Javits meeting or are still in the early stages of planning, our guide will help you make the most of its offerings.
The recent extension of the 7 subway line to 34th Street/Hudson Yards has made it easier than ever for attendees to travel to and from the Javits Center using public transportation. They can reach Times Square and Midtown in under 10 minutes, or ride the 7 line out to Queens to take in Long Island City’s contemporary arts scene, sample food from around the world in Jackson Heights or cheer on the Mets at Citi Field.
Using the subway is not only a fast way for groups to get around, it’s extremely cost effective at just $2.75 a ride.
Layout and Meeting Space
The four-story Javits Center occupies an entire city block in Manhattan’s rapidly developing Hudson Yards neighborhood. Exhibition space is largely concentrated on Levels 1 and 3, while Level 2 is home to a variety of services ranging from a business center to a shoeshine stand. Level 4 is given over to the American Express OPEN Business Lounge, where American Express OPEN Card members can take a break from the show floor.
At present, the Javits Center’s 760,000 square feet of meeting space is spread out over nine exhibition halls, with 100 discrete meeting spaces ranging from a cavernous 158,000-square-foot space to a handful of 324-square-foot offices that are perfect for quick one-on-ones—with rooms of varying sizes in between. The convention center also has its own trucking yard, making it easy to have exhibition materials moved in and out.
The Hook Up
It should come as no surprise that the City’s premier convention center is fully tricked out with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology. Javits offers a variety of options for Internet connectivity. Free 512 kbps WiFi is available to attendees and event staff throughout the facility and dedicated bandwidth wired Internet access at a variety of speeds is also available as an upgrade to any meetings package.
Wired and wireless microphones, sound systems and tape-recording equipment are available for rental, as is a range of telephonic services, which include analogue and VoIP phone lines, teleconferencing, fax lines (machines not included) and credit card lines.
Food and Catering
Attendees and event staff have plenty of choice about where to eat within the Javits Center. Options at the food court on Level 1 include Grazie Italiano, Koso Fresh Bibimbap and an outpost of Mendy’s Kosher Delicatessen, among others, and vending machines are open on event move-in and move-out days. On Level 2, there’s a full-service Starbucks and the Concourse Café serves hot breakfast items and has sandwiches to go. Level 3 features the Crystal Palace Marketplace at the back of the exhibition hall where exhibitors and attendees can dine on cooked-to-order fast-casual fare. The Marketplace menu is collaboration between Centerplate, the exclusive caterer of the Javits Center, and Chopped winner and noted Philadelphia chef Richard Landau, Dave Pasternak of Esca in Manhattan and Roberto Santibañez of Brooklyn’s Fonda.
Centerplate offers a variety of options for booth catering as well. Breakfast, lunch and dinner—as well as snacks and beverages—can be ordered ahead and delivered to your exhibitors’ booths at times they specify.
The Birds and Bees
The Javits Center’s 6.75-acre roof is home to some 300,000 bees, 26 bird species, five varieties of bats—and incredible views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. (Check out Javits’ Live Green Roof Cam for a sneak peek.)
In addition to fostering a home for local wildlife, the green roof—the second largest of its kind in the United States—plays an important role in reducing Javits’ overall energy consumption. The roof can retain up to 7 million gallons of water each year, which translates to an 81% offset of water used in the daily operations of the convention center.
From April to October Javits staff run informative daily tours of the one-of-a-kind landscape, which are available to attendees, exhibitors and event staff on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours can also be arranged ahead of time to complement event sessions.
There’s also plenty to do within walking distance of the convention center. Just a few blocks south of Javits is the northern end of the High Line, a 1.45-mile elevated park built over a decommissioned rail line. Extending from West 34th Street in Hudson Yards down to Gansevoort Street in the West Village, the High Line is popular with both locals and visitors to the City. Twelve blocks north of Javits is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, where retired civilian and military aircraft like the space shuttle Enterprise and the British Airways Concorde are on display year-round.
Along with the Javits Center’s expansion, the surrounding neighborhood is quickly developing. Later this year Vessel, a one-of-a-kind lookout and public art installation by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio, will debut at Hudson Yards. When completed, the structure will comprise 154 flights of stairs, some 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings—all commanding unbeatable westside views.
The Shed, a 200,000-square-foot mixed-used arts venue that has been in the works for close to a decade, will open along the Hudson next year. The innovative five-story structure from architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the team behind the High Line and recent renovations at MoMA, resembles an airplane hangar, able to expand and contract to create a variety of configurations. Once it opens, the Shed will host both local and international displays of visual art, design and media, as well as a variety of performances.
The Hudson Yards development will also be graced with the 1,296-foot-tall Observation Deck at Hudson Yards, which will offer river-to-river panoramic views of the City’s skyline when it debuts next year.