New York’s towering ‘Vessel’ structure open to public

The Hudson Yards ‘Vessel’ structure under construction. Rhododendrites image. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

NEW YORK (AP) – New York’s $25 billion Hudson Yards development is open to the public.

People lined up Friday to climb the 2,500 steps to the top of a massive sculpture named Vessel.

It’s the visual centerpiece of a complex of high-rises on Manhattan’s West Side with luxury commercial and residential space, including about 100 shops and restaurants.

The opening of the $200 million Vessel and the landscape around it will likely bring a wave of tourists to a rebuilt corner of the city that was previously characterized by a huge rail yard, parking lots and weedy sidewalks once known as a cruising ground for prostitutes.

The 3,200-ton structure was assembled from steel-and-concrete pieces manufactured in Monfalcone, Italy. Accommodating 600 visitors at a time, it’s 150 feet tall and rises from a narrow point at its base to a width of 150 feet at its peak.

“We needed to have a centerpiece, we needed to have an attraction, a destination –something where you would say, ‘I’ll meet you at,’” says Jay Cross, president of Related Hudson Yards, which partnered with the Oxford Properties Group to develop the site. “And we thought monumental art is the way to go.”

The concept was to make something “participatory,” he said of the sculpture, created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick. “The idea was that everybody would just come in and climb it, be able to propose marriage up here, or run up and down, do whatever they want.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper hosted the inaugural ceremony, which included Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and other New York elected officials.

CNN will be a tenant at Hudson Yards along with its parent company, WarnerMedia.

Also at the opening was developer Stephen Ross, whose company, Related, partnered with Oxford Properties Group to build Hudson Yards.

Half of the 28-acre mini-city by the Hudson River is completed. The rest will be done by 2025.

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AP-WF-03-15-19 1716GMT