New York City - After three young people committed suicide at the Hudson Yards Vessel, the interactive sculpture installation closed earlier this year. The temporary closure began in January 2021, shortly after the third death by suicide.
On Friday, the Vessel will reopen for visitors, but no one will be allowed to enter the structure alone. If you wish to set foot inside the vertical art exhibit, offering impressive views of the city, you will need to find at least one friend to go with you. Only groups of two or more will be allowed.
The three deaths at the Vessel - a 21-year-old from Texas, a 24-year-old from Brooklyn, and a 19-year-old from New Jersey - were all solo travelers who visited the Hudson Yards structure. The Vessel had been open for less than a year before the first suicide in February 2020.
Another change: All visitors will have to pay a $10 entrance fee for the exhibit. Before closing in January, anyone could enter for free. If you want to avoid the fee, you will need to show up during the first hour of each day’s opening time. This would mean showing up by 10am for the current available time slots. Anyone who arrives after 11 am will need to pay the $10 fee.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline messaging will now be on display at the entrance for the exhibit, as well as on the ticket stubs. During the Vessel's closure, the developers behind the Hudson Yards sculpture, Related Companies, consulted for several months with suicide-prevention experts. Although critics have argued for higher guardrails along the intricate stairways, the new changes do not implement any such measures.
Instead, there will be added security at the exhibit, which is part of the reason for the new entrance fee. The security guards on duty have tripled, and they now have an extensive training program for identifying those at risk of suicidal behavior. New messaging on the landing page for the Hudson Yards Vessel is possibly meant to acknowledge the suicides, as well as the intention for a group-oriented experience, rather than a solitary activity.
Vessel is made extraordinary by the people who visit, and by experiencing it with others. Each of you matter to us, and to so many others.
Sometimes compared to a beehive or shawarma, the spiral staircase, designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio, includes 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs. The 2,500 steps equate to about a mile of walking. Visitors can also opt for an elevator, if the 15-story climb feels too daunting.
Tickets for the Hudson Yards Vessel went on sale today at noon.
If you are considering suicide, or you know someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts, you can find immediate help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Update: a previous version of this article stated that the opening hours were 11 am. The operating hours for the Hudson Yards Vessel are Monday through Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm.