The Vessel at Hudson Yards to Reopen

I remember back the very first day The Vessel was unveiled. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon back in 2019 when we decided to visit Hudson Yards. Besides visiting the mall, we wanted to see the latest attraction in NYC that was unlike anything else before it. Once inside the Vessel, we climbed all the way to the top. As I looked around I immediately knew this place would quickly become one of New York City’s iconic landmarks. It was outstanding, shiny, beautiful, super unique and offered cool views. I was right! For the next few years, The Vessel gained huge popularity and became one of the most visited NYC attractions. Sadly, later a few unfortunate events happened that led to the closing of public access. 

Recently it was announced that The Vessel, the iconic and controversial centerpiece of New York City’s Hudson Yards development, is set to reopen to the public later this year with significant safety upgrades. Here is everything you should know about it. 

The Vessel: An Iconic Centerpiece

When the Vessel first debuted, it was hailed as a stunning addition to the New York City’s skyline. Designed by renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick, the 150-foot-tall structure invites visitors to climb its 2,500 steps. As you climb the structure, you can enjoy the views of the Hudson River and the surrounding skyscrapers. Here are a few interesting facts about its visual aspects:

  • The Vessel is a 150-foot-tall structure made up of 154 interconnected flights of stairs. There are 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings.
  • The structure is clad in a polished copper-colored steel, giving it a distinctive honeycomb-like appearance.
  • The stairs and landings are designed to encourage exploration by visitors who can enjoy 360-degree views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline.
  • The underside of the Vessel features warm, reflective metal paneling that distorts the glass towers around it. This feature creates an interactive and visually dynamic effect.
  • The overall design, inspired by Indian step-wells, is intended to make the Vessel stand out as a unique architectural landmark and a gathering place within the Hudson Yards development.
  • The Vessel’s striking visual presence and interactive nature have made it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Both are drawn to its photogenic qualities and the views it offers.

Tragic Incidents and Closure

It was so sad to hear that the Vessel’s open design soon became a source of concern. Between February 2020 and July 2021, four people under the age of 25 took their own lives by jumping from the structure. This prompted the developer, Related Companies, to temporarily close the Vessel and consult with suicide prevention experts on enhancing safety measures.

Enhanced Safety Measures

After extensive consultations, Related Companies has announced that the Vessel will reopen with a series of safety upgrades. Most notably, the developer, in coordination with Heatherwick Studio, will install floor-to-ceiling steel mesh barriers on several of the Vessel’s twisting staircases and platforms. This approach will preserve the unique experience while prioritizing visitor safety. However the top level of the Vessel will remain closed to the public.

The steel mesh barriers are designed to be cut-resistant and weather-resistant. These features ensure that they cannot be easily tampered with or damaged. Additionally, the previous requirement for visitors to enter the Vessel in pairs or groups will no longer be enforced. The new safety measures are expected to provide sufficient protection.

As the Vessel prepares to welcome visitors once again, the focus will be on ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Whether you are inside or outside of this giant structure you can truly enjoy the architecture and take many creative photos. What do you think about the Vessel reopening? Are you planning to visit it? Let me know in the comments as I always love to read them and reply 🙂

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