Related Companies has closed the Vessel, the Thomas Heatherwick-designed sculpture at the Hudson Yards megaproject, after a third person died by suicide by jumping from the structure.
The developer is working with suicide prevention experts in an effort to stop such events happening in the future, the New York Times reported. In the meantime, the attraction will be “temporarily closed,” a Related spokesperson said.
On Monday, a 21-year-old man leapt to his death from the structure. His was the third suicide at the Vessel since it opened nearly two years ago, following the deaths of a 19-year-old man last February, and a 24-year-old woman on Dec. 22.
Heatherwick’s sculpture, which reportedly cost about $200 million, is a series of 154 interconnected staircases and 80 platforms, and stands about 150 feet tall. There are Plexiglass barriers on either side of the stairs that lead to the top of the structure, but they only reach about chest height at their tallest points.
Lowell Kern, the chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, told the Times that the group would like to see the height of those barriers increased to prevent future deaths.
“That’s the only thing that’s going to work,” he said. Related has indicated it will run any new preventative measures by the community board before they are implemented, according to Kern.
Other landmarks have implemented such measures in an effort to prevent people from taking their own lives. The Empire State Building has a suicide prevention barrier around its observation deck. At the George Washington Bridge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey installed an 11-foot fence, along with netting.
A similar measure is planned for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island, though its implementation has been delayed, to the dismay of lawmakers who want the fencing erected immediately.
Those who are having thoughts of suicide are encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or contact the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.
[NYT] — Amy Plitt