Built as part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project, a new upscale residential neighbourhood in Midtown Manhattan, The Vessel is a futuristic structure somewhere between a work of art and a tourist attraction that has become the emblem of this trendy district.
Designed by the prestigious architect Thomas Heatherwick, since its opening it has become a must-see attraction in New York, although it is currently closed indefinitely. The Vessel is one of New York's most popular attractions.
Step into New York's most sophisticated neighbourhood
You'll visit Hudson Yards and stroll through The High Line park with a local guide who will give you the lowdown on this popular area on the west side of the city.
This one-and-a-half hour tour of Hudson Yards and The High Line with a local guide won't take you inside The Vessel because, as I said, it's closed indefinitely, but you'll get an in-depth look at this sophisticated neighbourhood in western New York and you'll also be able to include a visit to The Edge, another impressive observation deck.
Renowned for its innovative buildings, Hudson Yards has numerous skyscrapers, restaurants, shops and art for you to visit. Along the way, you'll also stroll through The High Line Park, built on the railway tracks, for unique views of the city.
How to buy tickets for The Vessel
The best way to get your ticket for The Vessel is to buy it online in advance. This way, you'll be sure to get a chance to visit the inside of this monumental sculpture. As spectacular on the outside as it is on the inside, it rises over 45 metres from the ground with 16 levels from base to top floor. It is made up of 154 flights of stairs that connect 80 landings where you can stop to take in the views.
On the ground floor there are four paths that extend to the heights via a total of 2,500 steps. Although it may seem a bit daunting, if you choose your way up without wandering around this labyrinth (which is difficult because you'll want to do a good turn), you won't actually have to climb that many steps and the ascent will be well worth it.
Set aside time to enjoy your visit at your leisure and take a tour of Hudson Yards and the High Line, because this area of New York is not to be missed. And if you like photography, bring your camera (or mobile phone) with plenty of battery life, because you'll get your fill of playing with the optical effects generated by the building and the many surprises along the way.
What the exterior of the structure looks like
For starters, you should know that from the moment it opened in spring 2019, The Vessel has been an instant hit. Located in Hudson Yards, a new residential neighbourhood on the west side of the island along the Hudson River, it stands imposingly amidst towering skyscrapers and beautifully landscaped gardens.
It's easy to spot because it's a real eye-catcher. This futuristic structure, which many liken to a beehive, a vase, a rib cage or even a shawarma, is clad in copper-coloured steel plates that add warmth to the whole and reflect the surrounding landscape at the same time.
What the view looks like from the top
From the top of The Vessel you'll enjoy fascinating views of the Hudson River, the surrounding skyscrapers, The Shed cultural centre, the High Line Park. Even if you scan the skyline you'll see One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building. And, of course, the magnetic internal structure of the building. The views down to the ground are breathtaking. I insist: you won't stop taking pictures!
Where The Vessel is and how to get there
The Vessel is located at 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001, United States. You can comfortably walk there from Times Square or from the High Line (you're sure to visit it during your trip). Otherwise, it is easily accessible by public transport: the nearest underground stop is 34 St Hudson Yards (line 7). Consult the underground guide so you won't have any doubts.
As mentioned, The Vessel is currently closed indefinitely, but its regular opening hours are daily, from 11am to 7pm.
Buy tickets for The Vessel at the box office
You can try to get your free ticket for The Vessel at the Vessel box office, which opens at 11am. Earlier in the morning it may be easier to get tickets but due to the large number of visitors it is not guaranteed that tickets will be available and you run the risk of being left out.
- For visitors with reduced mobility who use wheelchairs, The Vessel has a lift to the top floor of the sculpture.
- Service animals are welcome
- Accessibility needs must be indicated when booking.
Fun facts about The Vessel
- It opened on 15 March 2019.
- It was designed by the English architect Thomas Heatherwick, author of the London 2012 Olympic Games cauldron.
- The Vessel looks like a jewel. Not only architecturally but also economically: it cost a whopping 200 million dollars, exceeding the initial budget of 75 million dollars.
- Although everyone now knows it as The Vessel, it once had a less catchy name: New York's Staircase. However, given the number of nicknames by which New Yorkers refer to this monument (beehive, corset, shawarma, vase...), the company that owns it opened a competition to find the best name for it - can you think of a catchy one?
- A ticketing system was set up to ensure that there are no more than 700 people touring the monument at any one time.
- Until relatively recently, the area where The Vessel is located was a large, industrial-looking concourse that served as a parking area for trains. However, this area has been revitalised and this innovative building acts as a ventilation canopy for the railway car parks, storage for drainage and a place for rainwater management.
But... what is Hudson Yards?
Just when we thought there was no more space in Manhattan to build new neighbourhoods, Hudson Yards was born, in what was once an industrial train depot along the Hudson River. But in a lively and constantly changing city like the Big Apple, where the square metre is highly valued, many set their sights on this centrally located and underutilised area to revitalise it and turn it into a luxury residential area in Midtown New York.
Hudson Yards is still under construction and new skyscrapers, cultural centres, gardens, offices and shopping centres will be opening in the coming years. For now, the best excuse to see Hudson Yards is The Vessel, but it's not the only one:
Take the opportunity to visit Little Spain Market
This is a Spanish gastronomic market with the stamp of renowned chefs such as José Andrés or the brothers Ferrán and Albert Adriá that brings authentic Spanish cuisine to New York. This restaurant space joins the trend started by other markets such as Eataly and Le District, which focus on Italian and French cuisine, respectively.
Check out The Shed
New York's new multi-arts centre created to present all kinds of artistic experiences (dance, theatre, technology, music...) for all communities.
The project hopes to bring together the most outstanding talents of the moment. One of its most amazing qualities is that it is built as two buildings in one, as the quilt-like outer shell has wheels and can be moved to reveal an entirely different second building.
Climb The Edge Observatory
At 345 metres high, the Edge Observatory at 30 Hudson Yards is the tallest open observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. It is located on the 100th floor of the building and has wonderful views of the Hudson River, Downtown and the One World skyscraper.
If you like New York's observation decks, you should definitely add the Edge Observatory to your list along with the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock and the One World Observatory. They all offer a unique and different view of the skyline of the City of Skyscrapers. I tell you what you need to know to visit them here: Climbing the Empire State Building, NYC Top of the Rock Tickets y The Edge New York Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules.
Stroll along the High Line
New York has many green spots that are oases of tranquillity in the middle of this bustling city where New Yorkers come to enjoy nature. However, High Lane is not like the others. It is an elevated park built on an old abandoned train track that was reclaimed and turned into a space full of greenery, wall art and sculptures that stretches along more than 20 streets.
A pleasant stroll along High Lane takes about an hour and I recommend visiting during the spring and summer when it's at its lushest and most beautiful.
Go shopping at The Shops
Whether you're in the mood for a pre- or post-visit drink or want to indulge in some luxury shopping, the shopping mall just across the street from The Vessel structure is perfect for that. Strolling through its luxurious corridors and taking in the views of The Vessel from inside is also well worth a visit.