How Suicides At A Top New York Attraction May Change What We’ll Do For A View

how suicides at a top new york attraction may change what well do for a view

The Vessel at Hudson Yards in New York City has been the site of three recent suicides. Getty Images

It didn’t seem to matter that some critics called it “the stairway to nowhere” or likened it to “a colossal shawarma,” or even slammed it as the “perfect symbol for the grifter capitalism of New York’s Hudson Yards.” When the much-hyped Vessel opened in March 2019, the 16-story, 150-foot structure of spiraling staircases became an instantly Instagrammable tourist destination on Manhattan’s west side.

Now, after a young man jumped his death in the third suicide in less than 12 months, the Vessel is closing indefinitely. Related Companies, its development company, has confirmed to multiple news outlets, including the New York Times, that it is consulting suicide-prevention experts on steps that would limit the potential for future tragedies.

Might the designers, developers and even the community leaders have considered these risks more thoughtfully from the start?

Architects and builders “ought to be thinking about suicide prevention when designing their structures because one never knows who might be at risk,” said Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “And that has become more of a standard in the field because we have research that shows that barriers save lives.”

Even before the Vessel opened, there were warnings. In a 2016 critique for Architect’s Newspaper, Audrey Wachs, then an associate editor at the publication, wrote with eerie prescience, “As one climbs up Vessel, the railings stay just above waist height all the way up to the structure’s top, but when you build high, folks will jump.”

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