In the heart of the new Hudson Yards district, the sculpture The Vessel is a real eye-catcher. But it is too insecure against candidates for suicide.
It was to be the emblem of this huge new district in the west of Manhattan what Hudson Yards. Imagined by the British design and architecture firm Heatherwick Studio, this structure called The Vessel looks great. An intricate tangle of copper stairs, this totem pole is eye-catching and also offers beautiful views of the neighborhood. Social networks have taken hold of it and we can find this construction in many pictures. Instagram.
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The problem, and some voices were quick to point out this point, is that the structure is very insecure despite its height. With its 16 levels, it rises to 46 meters high while its guardrails are just halfway up the height of an average adult. And if the public rushes there for the view, no less than three people have already committed suicide in recent months. The last death was at noon Monday when a 21-year-old Texan lost his life throwing himself from the top of the structure. It took this for Related Companies, the developer who developed the Hudson Yards neighborhood, to announce the closure until further notice of The Vessel.
A tourist attraction
Work will therefore be launched to secure this tourist attraction. As early as last February, local authorities had recommended raising the guardrails to avoid further tragedies. The promoter then did not want to touch the construction, preferring to hire additional guards trained in suicide prevention. That hadn’t stopped another desperate 24-year-old from Brooklyn from committing the irreparable in December. It now seems difficult to imagine that the height of these famous parapets will not be increased.
In New York City, like most major tourist cities, gazebos and other viewing sites are surrounded by numerous precautionary measures to prevent suicides. This is obvious for skyscrapers, but even for buildings some 40 meters high, like the Bobst Library at New York University with 12-storey balconies, it was necessary to hastily add additional protections. There too, three suicides took place in quick succession before securing the accesses.