The Vessel will reopen for Memorial Day weekend, with one of the suicide prevention measures being to bar single people from visiting alone. The 150-foot sculpture at Hudson Yards was closed in January after the third suicide in less than a year.
The Executive Board of Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4) reiterated at their meeting on Monday evening that the only way to prevent further suicides at The Vessel is by installing barriers.
Yesterday, Related Properties (the owner of Hudson Yards) delivered a new plan to MCB4 that included:
- All tickets for visits need to be bought online beforehand
- Tripling the security staff, extra training and new protocols
- Partnering with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation on a “Please Stay” initiative
- Only groups of 2 or more will be allowed to book/visit
The immediate reaction from MCB4 was Related had ignored the community’s position that The Vessel could not reopen without higher barriers. Lowell Kern, the Board chair, wrote in January after the closure that “because the Vessel’s chest-high barrier is all that separates the platform from the edge, the likelihood of a similar, terribly sad loss of life cannot be ignored.”
Board member Christine Berthet said yesterday that the idea that singles could not visit The Vessel was clear “discrimination” — Kern questioned (in a light-hearted quip) “what does that do for Romeo and Juliet?”
“Related made a $120 million mistake, resulting in three deaths. They’ve hired a bunch of fancy consultants to give a whole bunch of window dressing. What’s that going to stop?” said Joe Restuccia, a board member. “The only thing that will stop this is barriers. No if, ands, or buts.”
Kern said that Related had cited “technical problems” including west side wind for not installing barriers.
Related had not responded to our request for more information at the time of publication. Currently, The Vessel is not accepting bookings for Memorial Day weekend. We will update this story.
UPDATE 5/26/2021 8:30am: The New York Post is reporting that The Vessel “for the first time, previously free-all-day tickets will be $10 for visitors above 5 years old after the first hour of each day’s opening times. The $10 price will go “directly” toward covering the safety enhancements. Tickets go on sale Wednesday at noon.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741