Vessel (In Transition)

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Calculatingly alien and corporate-creepy, Vessel contains nearly 2,500 steps leading nowhere -- an Escher drawing made real. It's also a Temple of Endless Cardio: once you entered, there was no place to sit down except for the steps themselves, and good luck trying to do that in New York City. Vessel is a $150 million, 16-story artwork clad in fake mirrored bronze -- built for selfies -- and yet it's lost amid the surrounding skyscrapers. It would be far more impressive if Vessel were out in a field somewhere, and almost all New Yorkers would agree. They hate the thing.

When Vessel first opened to the public, buried in its terms and conditions -- which everyone who climbs Vessel had to sign -- was language giving its property developer ownership of all photos, videos, and audio recordings made by all visitors, forever (Public outcry forced the developer to back down a week later). The sculpture's dedication on March, 15, 2019, was suitably excessive, featuring appearances by a gospel choir; the Alvin Ailey Dancers; senator Chuck Schumer invoking Emma Lazarus's "give me your tired, your poor" poem; and Big Bird, who set off a confetti bomb.


Vessel is an exposed, open-air attraction that you might want to avoid on days that are too hot or too cold. It was built with one elevator (for visitors with disabilities) and in late 2019 the federal government ordered it to build more. For everyone else: be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

August 2021: Vessel was closed after the fourth jumper suicide since it opened occurred on the site. The builder has said that it might be closed for good.


10 Hudson Yards, New York, NY
On the east side of 11th Ave., at the intersection of what once was 31st St.
Daily 10-9
Adults $10 to climb.
In Transition
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