I climbed Vessel, the $200 million, 2,500-step sculpture in Hudson Yards — and the view from the inside blew me away

Katie Warren/Business InsiderThe Vessel is open to the public and free to visit.
  • The Vessel is a brand-new 150-foot-tall climbable sculpture in New York City’s new $US25 billion Hudson Yards neighbourhood.
  • The sculpture cost $US200 million to build and features 154 interconnected staircases, nearly 2,500 steps, and 80 landings.
  • I was one of the first to climb the Vessel on Friday, Hudson Yards’ opening day, and I found that the view of the inside was way cooler than just seeing the exterior.

The Vessel, a $US200 million climbable sculpture in Hudson Yards, is now officially open to the public.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, it’s the sculptural centrepiece of Manhattan’s new $US25 billion neighbourhood, which includes office buildings, luxurious residential towers, and a seven-story luxury shopping center with stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior.


Read more:
I got an inside look at Hudson Yards on opening day. Here’s what the glitzy neighbourhood is like, from the $US200 million climbable sculpture to the 7-story ‘vertical shopping experience.’

Called the Vessel, the 150-foot-tall climbable sculpture cost $US200 million to build, according to Curbed. It includes 154 interconnected staircases, nearly 2,500 steps, and 80 landings.

The Vessel “is going to be to New York City what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris,” Jeff Blau, the CEO of Related Companies, the developer behind Hudson Yards, told CBS.

I was one of the first to climb the Vessel on Friday, Hudson Yards’ opening day. Here’s what it was like.


I was one of the first to climb the Vessel, a $US200 million sculpture in Hudson Yards.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards, Curbed


Hudson Yards is New York City’s new $US25 billion neighbourhood, with office buildings, luxury residential towers, a seven-story shopping center, and a performing-arts center. It officially opened to the public on Friday, but it won’t be finished until 2025.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


The Vessel anchors a public plaza ringed by brand-new buildings including the performing-arts center, called the Shed, as well as the luxury shopping center and two residential towers, 15 Hudson Yards and 35 Hudson Yards.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Entering the Vessel is free, but you have to reserve a time slot online. It’s open every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Source: Hudson Yards


I didn’t need a reservation because it was opening day, so I walked right inside behind CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was a host of the Hudson Yards grand-opening event.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Depending who you ask, the Vessel resembles anything from a honeycomb to a giant shawarma.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Washington Post, Eater


But standing in the Vessel is a completely different experience from looking at it on the outside.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Looking up, I could see Hudson Yards’ glossy new towers jutting into the sky.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

At the bottom, you can choose to start at one of several staircases.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

The Vessel is made up of 154 interconnected staircases, 80 landings …

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


… and nearly 2,500 steps.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

The sculpture’s designer, Thomas Heatherwick, said it was partially inspired by Indian stepwells, where you take staircases down to the water.

ALEX OGLE/AFP/Getty ImagesA stepwell in Rajasthan, India.

Source: Walk Through India


It took me about 15 minutes to walk to the top, and that was with plenty of stopping to take photos.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

There’s also an elevator, making it accessible to those who can’t climb stairs.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Hudson Yards


Looking down from near the top, I couldn’t decide whether I felt like I was standing inside the rib cage of some kind of giant robotic creature or in an alien spaceship.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

From the top of the Vessel, you can look out over Hudson Yards’ remaining visible rail yards, toward the Hudson River.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

The silhouette of the sculpture against the skyline is striking.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

I’ve never seen anything like it.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

It was a bit windy at the top, but because it was an unseasonably warm March day when I visited, I didn’t mind. The Vessel is open regardless of rain or bad weather.

Source: Hudson Yards


Some people were literally bending over backward to get the perfect selfie in the Vessel.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

I can see why some people might not find the Vessel’s exterior particularly attractive, but the inside blew me away.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

The structure, which cost $US200 million to build, was made in Italy and arrived in New York in six shipments.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Curbed


You can’t climb the Vessel after 9 p.m., but it’s still impressive to see the outside at nighttime when it’s illuminated.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

The Vessel’s designer, Thomas Heatherwick, called it “one of the most complex pieces of steelwork ever made.”

Katie Warren/Business InsiderHeatherwick designed the Vessel.

Source: Curbed


Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau compared the Vessel to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. “We said we want to design a 365-days-a-year Christmas tree, so that every single person who comes here has to come to Hudson Yards,” he said on Bloomberg TV. “And that’s the Vessel.”

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Source: Bloomberg TV

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