The Vessel, New York City’s newest attraction raised many eyebrows, but so did Eiffel Tower in Paris, Metropol Parasol in Seville, and even Mount Rushmore here in the USA. Facing disapproval at first, these structures slowly gained their popularity and eventually became a magnet for tourism. Breaking grounds, going out of ordinary often faces disapproval, but many projects eventually earn their time to shine. Will this happen to New York’s controversial attraction? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, if you want to judge on your own, here is all you need to know about how to visit the Vessel.
How to visit the Vessel in New York – all you need to know
When I first stumbled upon the news about the Vessel, most comments I read were negative. Some people called it ugly, others saw no purpose of having a building that serves no purpose. From the pictures I saw, I formed a different opinion.
Symmetrical, shiny brown structure reaching to the sky looked intriguing to me and not ugly at all. So when the opportunity came, I decided to verify my initial judgment. Before my flight from Newark airport to the South of Spain, I spent one night in Jersey City, my favorite base for visiting New York, just for the purpose of seeing the Vessel.
NYC Vessel – location
The Vessel is located in New York City’s far west section of Midtown. Not so long ago, there were only train yards there, but now, it’s a brand new $25 billion real estate development called Hudson Yards. The neighborhood is open to the public, offering an experience of culture, art, and commerce.
The site is home to more than 100 diverse shops and culinary experiences, offices, and public art, including the Vessel. It is also home to an art center The Shed, and Edge – the tallest observation deck in the Western hemisphere. Other establishments include modern residences, 14 acres of public plazas, gardens, groves, and the world’s first Equinox Hotel.
What is the Vessel in NYC
The Vessel, part conventional structure and part sculpture is practically a spiral open-air staircase. It comprises 54 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs, almost 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings offering remarkable views of the city from many different angles.
This enormous bronzed steel honeycomb-like stands at 15 stories tall. The Vessel’s eight levels are made up of 332,000 square feet of plated steel. If you walk up and down Vessel, following a circular path, you will walk one mile.
NYC Vessel Architect and the construction
“The commission to build the Vessel was awarded to the British-based designer Thomas Heatherwick. The developer went to extreme lengths in keeping the design a secret. So much so that a 20-foot fence was constructed around the steelworks in northwest Italy where the bones of the Vessel was being constructed so that no one could see what the design was going to be.
Bit by bit, parts of it were brought to the U.S. and floated to the construction site via tugboat along New York’s Hudson River.” -(Architectural Digest). The project was opened to the public on March 15, 2019.
What to do at the Vessel in New York City
The answer is simple, you can climb it (or take the elevator) to enjoy the views and take pictures. No benches for sitting, so it is pretty much in-and-out experience. But do not assume that the Vessel was constructed strictly for photographic purposes.
Its other role is to get people to visit Hudson Yards and spend their money there when shopping and eating. So, the Vessel itself does not offer any activities, but you will find lots of things to do around in Hudson Yards.
Are there any restaurants at the Vessel?
No. The Vessel is practically hollow. No services are provided inside of the structure. During my visit, an outdoor beer-garden type of bar was serving drinks at the base of the structure.
Hours of operations
The Vessel is open every day from 10 am to 9 pm.
What is the cost of visiting the Vessel?
You can visit the Vessel for free, though you must get a ticket. Reserve in advance or even better obtain a Flex Pass for a $10 convenience fee.
Tickets to Vessel in New York
Same- date tickets, free
These tickets are free, but the quantity is limited.
Advanced tickets, free
There is a very limited number of free tickets that can be reserved online for up to 14 days in advance. You can choose a date and time to arrive.
Flex Pass Advance Tickets, $10
If you want to reserve tickets for a date beyond 14 days in advance, you can reserve a Flex Pass ticket. It allows you to choose your date and time for a future visit up to six months in advance. Flex Pass tickets can only be reserved online or by contacting the Vessel at (332) 204-8500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a $10.00 convenience fee per ticket.
Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards, as seen from the Vessel.
The Vessel in NYC at night
I was not able to see the Vessel at night, but I am sure it must be a memorable experience. Try to arrive when it is still light and stay until it gets dark. Keep in mind that the last entry time is 8 pm and the Vessel closes at 9 pm.
Is it worth to visit the Vessel?
Absolutely! I have no idea why some people do not like it. The Vessel deserves recognition for its artistry and stunning views. It is also one of the best NYC spots for photography. Instagrammers, like myself, love it!
But there is more to it then eye-pleasing experience. The Vessel gives you a happy feeling of being at the top of the world, as close to flying as you can get.