After three years and $ 200 million, Thomas Heatherwick opened up massive interactive public art, called Vessel, this weekend at Hudson Yards. And while we already know how a drone seems to fly into the middle of this hive / pineapple / shawarma / staircase to nowhere, Sunday was the first chance I had to come in and cross it, joining thousands of others like turned out to open the weekend. Here are some thoughts:
(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
- The deceitful excitement I felt throughout my hour-long vessel adventure was far more than I expected. The view changes constantly and dramatically, and everyone is cool and dramatic in different ways, whether you are high up or down low. Note: It can change when the construction starts on the western yards and blocks the wide Hudson River outlook.
- The capacity of the vessel is truncated to 700 ̵
- Climbing the vessel is free and you are encouraged to reserve a timed ticket online (it is currently sold out for the next two weeks, but every morning at 8 am a number of tracks available for the same day, as well as tickets for each Newly opened day two weeks out). You can also just go up to the site, wait in line and get into the next free slot … which sounds like a nightmare, but the wait even during peak Sunday afternoon, around noon. 14.30 was well under an hour. It is an effective operation at the moment, and there are a dozen or so "vessel information" people all over the ground to help you navigate the process.
- The vessel is high. On the upper levels you are 150 meters high, or about fifteen stories in the air, and the clear, protective walls just came up to my chest. It's all very outdoors too, which is good, but the western platforms got particularly windy yesterday. If you are afraid of heights – or if you easily experience the High Places phenomenon, which makes you feel like you can jump into the abyss, even if you don't want to – your feet may sweat up.
- If you don't want to or can climb fifteen stories (there are actually 2500 total steps in the vessel, or about a mile is worth walking if you do the entire route), there's a lift you can take right to the top.
- In the middle of the bottom floor is called a cement circle, with no apparent reason, of blue light. The thing to do here, apparently, puts the phone in the middle, sets the timer, and causes the crew to face the cute, sweet shooter.
- The public square and the garden that surrounds the vessel may well be a technological entertainment, but as the large shopping mall it feeds in, there are really no places to sit here. Some low walls in the north, which hit the flower beds, work just as well as a snack place, and the stairs facing the river will probably be a popular perch, getting in full in the spring. There are also benches near the entrance to 7 trains on 34th Street, and in the south, while going to the High Line, but it's almost as if Related didn't want people to actually hang out in their park.
The vessel is located in Hudson Yards, basically between the 10th and 11th Avenues, and 34 and 30 Streets. The Good News: What has been an inaccessible construction site for years is now completely open and can be reached from all four directions.
Here's our guide to the massive new developments, and a guide to what you find eating there.