An Empty Vessel in the Big Apple

An Empty Vessel in the Big Apple

Hudson Yards has opened, a new office, upscale condo and luxury shopping development built over an active trainyard on New York’s West Side. The city and state chipped in $6 billion for the project, but maybe that’s not as bad as it sounds.

What is bad, undeniably, is the 150-foot-high, 16 storey, copper-covered selfie magnet looming over Hudson Yards plaza called Vessel. The structure, consisting of 154 flights of stairs, may be a perfect metaphor for New York: you keep climbing but get nowhere.

The $200 million dollar structure was designed by Britain’s Thomas Heatherwick, who has perpetrated comparable outrages on other cities.

“Vessel” is only a working title; Hudson Yards is asking the public to rename Vessel. The view of the Vessel from some angles has been compared to a giant shawarma.



“Stairway to Nowhere: On the Pleasure of Hating Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Vessel’ in Hudson Yards,” Andrew Russeth, ArtNews

“Hudson Yards Is the Hotel California of New York,” Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker

“At Hudson Yards, the future isn’t now,” Alexandra Lange, Curbed NY

   “My Hudson Yards Shopping List,” Nehemiah Markos and Jed Feiman, The New Yorker

“The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed,” Krston Capps, CityLab

“Subsidies Meant for Low-Income Communities Are Paying for Luxury Developments,”Sophie Kasakove, Pacific Standard


“Homeless living beneath Hudson Yards welcome the new development,” Edward Helmore, The Guardian


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Snapshots by Mike Licht. Download copies here and here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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