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The Vessel in New York | Is it Open?

Updated: February 10, 2024

This post is about The Vessel, a 150-foot tall (47 m) sculpture/spiral staircase in Hudson Yards. 

It's a must-see for anyone who loves architecture or snapping photos for Instagram!

Though currently closed to the public indefinitely, when it opened in 2019, guests could get free tickets to climb the spiral staircase to get great views.

Many of our local tour guides know The Vessel well, having either been to the top or by taking guests past it. The information in this post is based on their experiences.


WHAT IS THE VESSEL?

Part conventional structure, part sculpture, the Vessel is probably the most unusual staircase you have ever seen.

The design by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studios is unique. Heatherwick's ambition was to build an installation that would be to New York City what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.

Made of concrete and bronzed steel, the Vessel is a spiral staircase that is 150 feet tall (47 meters), with 154 interconnecting flights of stairs with 80 landings that you can stop at along the way.

This “one-mile vertical climbing experience” has over 2,000 individual steps. There is an elevator and a ramp reserved for those with disabilities.

Regardless of how you get to the top of the Vessel, you will enjoy a different perspective of the city and the Hudson River.


TICKETS TO THE VESSEL 

Note: The Vessel is currently closed but you can walk around the Hudson Yards area (see our virtual video above).

The information below is for when the interior is open to the public.

The Vessel is open Monday-Sunday 10 am-8 pm. There is an entrance fee of $10 per person, but children under 5 can enter for free.

You must visit the Vessel you must come with at least one other person.

If you are a solo traveler, the Vessel has a special "Come With Us" ticket where you will join a group of other solo visitors! The cost is $10 per person.

Tickets can be reserved online. You are allowed to request a maximum of 14 tickets.

To purchase tickets for groups of 15+, email groups@hudsonyardsnewyork.com 

When you reserve in advance, you choose a date and time to arrive, which will be printed on your ticket. You have up to an hour to enter from your chosen time slot.

Once you enter, you can stay as you'd like, though allow yourself at least 30 minutes to visit the Vessel.

Keep in mind that the Vessel closes at 8 pm. If you want more than an hour at the Vessel, try to get a time slot earlier than 7 pm.


How to Get Free Tickets

There are limited quantities of free tickets available per day for both groups and solo travelers. 

When these tickets are sold out, no more will be released for that date. So if you want to go for free, reserve tickets way in advance.

Holders of several tourist attraction passes can enter the Vessel for free without making a reservation. These include:

Simply show your pass at the main entrance and you will be given a free ticket for the next available entry time.

Read our post comparing NYC tourist attraction passes to see which one, if any, is best for you.


WHERE IS THE VESSEL

The Vessel is located in the center of Hudson Yards, a large complex of includes shops, residential apartment buildings, public green space, and commercial space. 

Hudson Yards is in the Chelsea neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan at 10th Avenue and 33rd Street.

Use this Google Maps link to get directions from your starting location to The Vessel.

Or you could just let us take you here. Take a look at the tours we offer below. 

Some nearby attractions are High Line Park, Pier 66 and Pier 64 with great views of the Hudson River and Midtown Manhattan.

The Empire State Building at 34th Street and 5th Avenue is five long city blocks away on foot or a quick subway ride away.

If you are new to the NYC subway, then you might find the following posts helpful:


WALKING TOURS

Before or after your visit to the Vessel, consider taking one of our pay-what-you-wish guided tours of the High Line.

A tour of this amazing elevated park can easily be combined with your visit to the Vessel.

Our All-in-One Downtown Manhattan Tour concludes at the northern end of the High Line which is just blocks away from the Vessel. 

Check our tour calendar to see if our tour times work well before or after seeing the Vessel.

If you can't make it to one of our guided tours, there are other options, such as our GPS-enabled audio tour of the High Line or taking a tour with a different tour operator.

See our post on High Line tours to read reviews of companies that offer tours.

If you are considering purchasing a New York tourist attraction pass,  a daily tour of the High Line is included with both the Explorer Pass and the New York Pass.


VESSEL CLOSURE STATUS

The Vessel closed indefinitely in the summer of 2021 after a string of suicides since its opening in 2019. The lack of physical safety barriers made it possible for the four individuals to jump from the structure.

As of 2024, it remains unclear if The Vessel will ever reopen.


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About The Author

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: February 10th, 2024
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