Manhattan: Tourist site ‘The Vessel’, closed after suicides, to reopen later this year | Travel

Manhattan: Tourist site ‘The Vessel’, closed after suicides, to reopen later this year | Travel

The Vessel, a climbable sculpture that drew hordes of tourists to the Hudson Yards megadevelopment on Manhattan’s west side before a string of suicides forced its closure in 2021, will reopen to the public later this year with added safety measures.

The “Vessel,” a 150-foot-tall structure of climbable interlocking staircases in the Hudson Yards development in New York. The Vessel, a climbable sculpture that drew hordes of tourists to the Hudson Yards mega-development on Manhattan’s west side before a string of suicides forced its closure in 2021, will reopen to the public later this year with added safety measures. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The towering honeycomb-like attraction will feature new steel mesh barriers on several of its twisting stairways and platforms, according to a spokesperson for Related Companies, which owns Hudson Yards. The top level of the 150-foot (46-meter) structure will remain off limits.

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The spokesperson did not confirm an exact date for the reopening but said the developer looked forward to welcoming visitors back later this year.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick and fabricated in Venice, the Vessel opened in 2019 as the centerpiece of the glittering new Hudson Yards neighbourhood, quickly becoming one of the city’s prime tourist destinations. But after three people took their own lives by jumping off the structure in less than a year, it was closed to the public in early 2021.

The Vessel reopened soon after with new safety features like enhanced security, suicide prevention signs and a ban on hiking up the steps alone — but without the barriers requested by some Manhattan officials and the local community board. Just two months later, it was closed once again, after a 14-year-old visiting the city with his family fatally leapt from the edge.

The structure has remained locked to the public ever since as developers have investigated the feasibility of additional protections, such as netting.

A spokesperson for Related said the new steel mesh would be cut-resistant and able to withstand the outdoor elements without compromising the Vessel’s form or views.

Jessica Chait, the chair of the Manhattan community board, praised the upgrades but said they should have happened sooner.

“While we think it took Related four lives too many to make these physical adjustments, these are the changes we requested, which will allow for prioritizing the safety of everyone who visits the Vessel,” she said.

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