From the Vessel to New York City’s High Line
We only had a couple days in New York City, but tried to pack as much in as possible. In the same day we had visited the unreal Summit One Vanderbilt viewpoint, we turned our focus to the Hudson River, and the area near the Hudson Yards. There were a couple newer attractions that didn’t exist the last time we had visited the Big Apple, and we could’t resist checking them out.
We walked to the Hudson Yards from Times Square, enjoying the overwhelming action of the city — on one side of the street, we spotted a mobile pot dispensary (the legalization of marijuana was also new since our last visit!), and on the other side, we watched a small gathering scream their support for Rudy Giuliani (“the greatest mayor our city has ever seen”, in their words). NYC is never dull, but I had forgotten just how much sensory overload it could pack into every minute.
Soon enough, Hudson Yards came into view, along with the gleaming, bronze-colored architectural work known as Vessel. This bizarre monument opened in 2019, without much of a purpose besides simply existing. The intricate structure is sixteen stories in height, and cost about $200 million to build. I thought it looked like a honeycomb, while Mike thought it could be the mask of some Marvel supervillain. But both of us agreed that something was definitely missing — the visitors.
Vessel was closed to the public in 2021, after three people had climbed to the top and jumped to their deaths. It re-opened a couple months later, but two more suicides in quick succession (including a 14-year-old who was visiting with his family) caused them to close it for a longer time, until better safeguards can be put into place. We could still enter the foyer, and see the structure from the inside, but we weren’t able to take the elevator up, or explore the stairs and bridgeways. Mike seemed a little annoyed by the uselessness of such an expensive project. And although it’s true that, even when it reopens, all you’ll be able to do in Vessel is walk around in circles, the photographer in me loves it. It’s a shame to have found it closed, but it just gives us an excuse to return.
The area around Hudson Yards is being purposefully revitalized from the rough, industrial zone it used to be, into an attractive spot for residents and businesses. Probably even more of a draw than Vessel, is a park called the High Line. This 2.3km urban park follows a reclaimed section of old train tracks, and weaves between modern high-rises and over the tops of the neighborhood’s congested streets. It opened in stages, reaching completion in 2014, and despite the fact that it’s definitely no longer “new”, it seems to be a big hit — the entire path was packed with people hanging out on benches, taking in the amazing views of the city, admiring the occasional piece of art, or just walking in that brisk, no-nonsense way New Yorkers always walk.
Although it was amazing to see how much this section of the city has changed, from the last time we saw it, it was hard to be surprised. This is New York City, after all — the only thing which would be surprising is if nothing had changed at all.