Who designed 'The Vessel'? NYC tourist hot spot might close after fourth suicide

Hudson Yards Vessel was closed at the beginning of this year after a third suicide before reopening in spring with new rules to prevent suicides

                            Who designed 'The Vessel'? NYC tourist hot spot might close after fourth suicide
'The Vessel,' a public art structure consisting of 155 flights of stairs of the Hudson Yards development in New York City might close for good after a teenager jumped to his death (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A 14-year-old boy jumped to his death from New York City's tourist hotspot, the Hudson Yards Vessel, on July 29 while his family looked on. The teenager leaped to the ground from the eighth story of the structure, which stands at West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue, and was declared dead by 1 pm, according to the police. “We are conducting a full investigation. The Vessel is currently closed," Kimberly Winston, the spokesperson for Hudson Yards said. 

“That’s not a sound I’ll ever forget,” construction worker Anthony DeMayo, who was just across the street at the time the boy jumped to the ground, said. “It’s horrifying that this keeps happening. You can see looking at the barriers that they’re easy enough to climb over," he added. The structure which has seen four deaths in total might be closed for good said Stephen Ross, the billionaire developer behind Hudson Yards. 


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Visitors walk through 'The Vessel,' a public art structure consisting of 155 flights of stairs, on the opening day for phase one of the Hudson Yards development on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan on March 15, 2019, in New York City (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Who designed Hudson Yards Vessel?

One of the significant features of the Hudson Yards building is the vessel which is comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs — 2,500 individual steps — and 80 landings. The dramatically designed staircase which stands 150 feet in the air was fabricated in Monfalcone, Italy, and arrived on Manhattan’s West Side after 15 days at sea, a brief stay at Port Newark, and a five-hour barge trip across the Hudson River. The vessel was constructed from a steel frame that was covered by a copper-colored steel cladding. This intriguing structure is one of the highlights of the building but it was shut down in January this year after a third person committed suicide by jumping off of it. 

The vessel which opened in 2019 is one of the highlights of the structure. It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick from Heatherwick Studio and developed by billionaire Stephen Ross who said the 150 ft structure might close for good after the recent suicide. “We thought we did everything that would really prevent this,” Ross, the Chairman and Founder of Related Companies that developed the structure told The Daily Beast. “It's hard to really fathom how something like that could happen. But you know, I feel terrible for the family," he added.

Stephen Ross, chairman and founder of Related Companies, the developers of Hudson Yards building in New York City (Related Company's website)

However, community leaders say the company could have done more to prevent the recent suicide. “Related to claim that they did everything possible here is just not true,” said Lowell Kern, chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, which operates in parts of western Manhattan, including Hudson Yards. "They could have raised the height of the barriers, and that would have prevented this tragedy. For reasons unknown to us they decided not to do that," he added. Last year a 19-year-old New Jersey boy jumped to his death from the top story of the structure while the area was buzzing with people. Another suicide was reported in the latter months of 2020 and another in January 2021.