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Nearly three years after a series of suicides resulted in the closure of the Vessel, the 150-foot-tall centerpiece of the Hudson Yards complex in Manhattan, the developer has announced that the attraction will reopen this year with new safety measures. The beehive-shaped sculpture, which features a labyrinth of about 2,500 steps and 80 landings, opened in 2019 and quickly became a popular tourist destination. However, a series of suicides, including the death of a 19-year-old in 2020 and a 14-year-old in 2021, led to the closure of the stairs.

The reopening of the Vessel will include the installation of “floor-to-ceiling steel mesh” on several staircases to prevent further tragedies. The developers hope that these safety measures will preserve the unique experience that has drawn millions of visitors to the attraction. The reopening is expected to take place sometime this year, with the necessary safety measures in place to protect visitors. Tourists visiting the area have expressed mixed feelings about the new safety measures, with some acknowledging the need for such precautions.

The Vessel, designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio, is the centerpiece of the $25-billion-dollar Hudson Yards project, the largest private development in American history at the time of its opening. Critics had previously voiced concerns about the safety of the structure, particularly due to low railings that could pose a risk to visitors. Following the series of suicides, additional safety measures were implemented, including increased security and rules against ascending the stairs unaccompanied.

Despite these efforts, the deaths continued, prompting the developers to take further action and install steel mesh enclosures on several staircases. The first two levels of the attraction will remain fully open, while the top level will remain closed. For many, the reopening of the Vessel brings mixed emotions, with some expressing excitement at the prospect of visiting the attraction again, while others feel that more could have been done to prevent the tragedies.

For the DeSalvo family, who lost their son to suicide at the Vessel, the reopening of the attraction feels inevitable but also disappointing. They believe that the developers could have done more to prevent the deaths that occurred at the site. Despite the new safety measures being put in place, the family wishes that the Vessel had been closed permanently after their son’s death to prioritize safety. The developers have stated that they are committed to ensuring the safety of visitors to the Vessel moving forward.

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