Ten by Sea: Vessel’s Vital Components Arrive at Hudson Yards
BY BIANCA SILVA | Hudson Yards is one step closer becoming one of Manhattan’s iconic gathering places, now that construction has begun on Vessel — a structure that will serve as the centerpiece of the emerging neighborhood’s five-acre Public Square and Gardens.
The ambitious project was unveiled last September in a ceremony featuring Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross, renowned British architect and Vessel concept creator Thomas Heatherwick, landscape architect Thomas Woltz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This will be one of the great public squares in New York City,” de Blasio predicted. “And it’s going to be a place where people want to be, just to feel the energy of what’s happening.”
On April 18, the first 10 pieces of Vessel made their debut at the construction site — having arrived earlier this year following a 15-day journey from a fabrication facility in Monfalcone, Italy, a brief layover at the Port of Newark, and a five-hour trip by barge across the Hudson River. The Vessel’s remaining 65 pieces (each made of steel and copper and weighing 100,000 pounds) will arrive in the coming months via five additional shipments.
Ross sounded off the horn just after 10 a.m., and a single piece hanging on a crane to began to move. For Ross, this first step in Vessel’s construction marks a monumental event for the city. “A day like this can make you feel like all your dreams come true,” he said. “This is a very important day for the city of New York. We were able to really kind of show what dreams we’ve been visualizing for quite some time.”
Over the course of three years, Ross reached out to several artists for ideas on a design that would transform Hudson Yards, ultimately settling on Heatherwick, who came up with the idea of a Vessel-shaped design.
“We wanted to have something different, something very iconic, something that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” Ross recalled. “I spent hours talking to him and telling him what we really wanted and what we envisioned to be in the center of this great plaza.”
The 150-foot-tall Vessel will be comprised of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings — providing a “one-mile vertical climbing experience.” It is expected to top out by the end of the year, and open to the public in the fall of 2018. In the meantime, you can follow its progress from a vantage point on the nearby High Line, at W. 34th St.’s Hudson Park and Boulevard, and on social media by using the hashtag #vesselrising.
“There are so many buildings and projects I wish I saw being made,” Ross said. “So, for those who are interested, I hope it will turn out to have been worth heading onto the High Line to catch a glimpse of the complex geometry being pieced together like an incredible jigsaw puzzle.”
“As one of the most complex and ambitious pieces of steelwork ever made, the next months will provide a one-off opportunity to see a future extraordinary structure emerge for New York,” noted Heatherwick in a press release.
“The workmanship is incredible,” marveled Ross at the April 18 event, although he acknowledged that the project’s $200 million price tag was more than anticipated. Still, he insisted Vessel is a gift to New York City due to its uniqueness and ability to be compared to one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.
“It’s great for New York to have something like this, that will become to New York to what I believe the Eiffel Tower is to Paris,” Ross said of Vessel, which he revealed is the merely the structure’s working title. In a bid to ensure the towering centerpiece has a moniker that rivals its Parisian counterpart, Ross noted that Related will be launching an online competition where New Yorkers can vote on an official name.