The centerpiece of the public spaceat Hudson Yards was revealed Wednesday morning by Mayor Bill de Blasio andfounder and chairman of the Related Companies, a real estate firm, Stephen Ross.
Vessel, although the name might be changed, was a hush-hush design byThomas Heatherwick,who created the flaming cauldron for the 2012 London Olympics, and Heatherwick Studio. Not just an urban landmark to be gawked at, Vessel is meant to be climbed, comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs—almost 2,500 individual steps— and 80 landings.
"I’m struck by the notion that this could be a place – yes, for people to be active – but also a place that will cause us to reflect and think," de Blasio said in his speech. "And there’s something compelling and attractive about it. And certainly something that will make it a must-see and a must-walk for all New Yorkers."
Vessel was influenced by Indian stepwells,according to Hudson Yards. A stepwell is a well or pondthat can be reached by descending a staircase made of many flights of stairs. Construction of Vesselwill take about two years,Vanity Fair reported, with steel pieces fabricated in Italy.
When the pieces, resembling "dog bones," Rosstold Fortune,are brought in, the West Side Highway will be closed in the early morning hours.
“I wanted to commission something transformational, monumental!” Rosstold Fortune. “I wanted something that defines a city like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Saint Louis Gateway Arch. In December, everyone who comes to Manhattan wants to visit the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center. This will be the equivalent of the Christmas tree twelve months a year.”
Media reports have compared the gargantuan structure to a jungle gym, a beehive and"the world's largest Stairmaster."
The Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yardswill feature more than five acres of public plazas, gardens and groves that connect to the High Line and the new Hudson Park andBoulevard. When complete, this continuous chain of open spaces on the West Side will run from Gansevoort Street to Times Square, making it the largest network of public spaces developed in Manhattan since Central Park, according toHudson Yards.
Vessel, costing Related about $250 million,is just one piece of the 5-acre public space at Hudson Yards.The entire project is "thelargest private real-estate development in the United States and the largest project in New York since Rockefeller Center," according to Vanity Fair.
"This is going to be a home," de Blasio said about the public gardens, designed by landscape architect Thomas Woltz. "This larger development is going to be a home. Not only a home for tens of thousands of jobs that will make this city stronger, that will create opportunity for all New Yorkers – but a home for thousands and thousands of people. And there will be over 5,000 new affordable housings – 5,000 affordable apartments as part of this development."