Completion of “Vessel” at Hudson Yards is a year out and Stephen Ross is in love

People are already wondering whether it will be New York's greatest success or an epic, costly failure

New York Weekend Edition /
Mar.March 11, 2018 04:34 PM

Thomas Heatherwick and Stephen Ross in front of Vessel, which topped out in late 2017. (Credit: courtesy of Related-Oxford)

The legacy of Stephen Ross and designer Thomas Heatherwick’s “loving” collaboration hangs on the future of a skeletal “365-day Christmas tree,” as Ross told journalists when he unveiled the design in 2016.

The monumental project, named “Vessel,” is costing Ross’ Related Companies an estimated $200 million to build, but it’s an expense the billionaire chairman is willing to incur in order to build New York the 150-foot Eiffel Tower-like landmark (in his own estimation) it deserves. But, a year ahead of its scheduled completion, people — both outside and inside Related — are wondering about the project’s future as Ian Parker reports in The New Yorker.

Vessel topped out in late 2017. (Credit: courtesy of Related-Oxford)

Most public spaces consider the programming of events and details like crowd control first before designing the park — that’s how Bryant Park Corporation’s Dan Biederman did it and would recommend to others. Ross, however, did the opposite, commissioning British designer Heatherwick in 2013 to create a sculpture, which will sit on a landscaped garden  among the towering buildings of Hudson Yards, and consist of 154 flights of stairs; then Ross tasked Related president Jay Cross to come up with programming to ensure strong footfall.

“This will be a real test,” Biederman said to the New Yorker. “I’m absolutely undecided whether Hudson Yards will be the greatest success or a failure.”

Cross, for his part, seems to be lost as to what to do with Vessel, which he himself called “forbidding” before correcting himself: “It really depends on where you stand.”

Cross has brought on Super Bowl halftime producer David Saltz to help him plan the Vessel’s rapidly approaching grand opening, but even then, Cross admitted to the magazine: “I don’t know how it’s going to work.”

But Ross is not concerned; he’s in love and he’s admitted it to himself.

“I fell in love instantly,” Ross told the New Yorker. “My guys around here thought I was out of my goddamn mind. It was too big, too this, too that. ‘How are we going to build it?’ ‘What’s it going to cost?’ I said, ‘I don’t care.’”

For Heatherwick — who is widely acclaimed for his unusual architectural works, but is not a licensed architect and has been recently embroiled in scandal over a cancelled London project involving public money — Ross is the dream client. According to the magazine, the design of Vessel’s intricate stairs was first iterated in 2006 in an unbuilt design originally intended for a hilltop in Azerbaijan.

Time will tell how their work and relationship ultimately ends, but, to Boston Consulting Group’s  Ross Love, it’s not necessarily a bad sign that there is no discernible use for Vessel.

As Love told the magazine, “you have this thing that is pointless—and that is the point.” [The New Yorker]Erin Hudson


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
(Image by Wolfgang & Hite via Dezeen)
Hudson Yards megadevelopment inspires a new line of sex toys
Hudson Yards megadevelopment inspires a new line of sex toys
Related's Jamar Adams and Steve Ross with 14-06 Gateway Boulevard (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)
Related is the latest developer to target the Rockaways
Related is the latest developer to target the Rockaways
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Hudson Yards (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia)
Facebook close to finalizing Hudson Yards office deal: report
Facebook close to finalizing Hudson Yards office deal: report
Stuart Elliott
Editor’s note: Tales from the crypto meltdown
Editor’s note: Tales from the crypto meltdown
Who’s crazy enough to build office?
Who’s crazy enough to build office?
Who’s crazy enough to build office?
Clockwise from left: Stefan Soloviev, Steve Cohen, Marc Holliday, Stephen Ross, Steven Roth, and Joseph Sitt (Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Going for the jackpot: A look at the high rollers competing to build NYC casinos
Going for the jackpot: A look at the high rollers competing to build NYC casinos
198 Scholes Street, 65 Kent Avenue, 506 DeKalb Avenue and 11 Gunther Place (Illustration by the Real Deal with Getty, Google Maps)
Avi Philipson deal to acquire All Year portfolio is back on
Avi Philipson deal to acquire All Year portfolio is back on
From left: McSam Hotel Group's Sam Chang and SL Green's Marc Holliday with 711 Seventh Avenue  (Getty, Google Mpas, SL Green)
Times Square hotel developer sues neighbors over delayed demolition
Times Square hotel developer sues neighbors over delayed demolition
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...