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Midtown Musings: The Vessel

It’s new. It’s shiny. It’s a blast.


This spring, the megadevelopment on Manhattan’s West Side known as Hudson Yards, unveiled a sparkling new addition to the cityscape: The Vessel. Shaped like a honeycomb, it’s an elaborate sculpture of steps that rises 150 feet, offering skyline (and High Line) views. And the best part of visiting the Vessel? Unlike other observation spots, it’s free.


The Refinery team ventured over to Hudson Yards on a recent morning to check out the new addition to the neighborhood. Approaching the Vessel from the 7 Train, you’re immediately impressed not just by the gleaming structure, but by its equally shiny high-rise neighbors. Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the U.S., is a towering complex of glass-and-steel built over train tracks. The Vessel, plopped in a massive courtyard between several new skyscrapers, fits right in.

British designer Thomas Heatherwick is behind the gilded beehive, whose name is, apparently still open to change. One popular suggestion: The Shawarma, nodding to its resemblance to the Middle Eastern meat dish.


To enter its spiral network of stairs, you’ll need a ticket. Reservations open up two weeks in advance, and tend to run out relatively quickly, so book early. Once you’ve shown the guards your pass, you enter on the ground level, immediately surrounded by the outward and upward sloping stairs on all sides.

Pick a side, and let the exploration begin. Weave your way up and over, as the steps lead you higher up the Vessel. Photographers (i.e. anyone with an Instagram), will want to snap a pic in the corners, which have the most interesting view downwards.


At the top of the Vessel, you have a clear view over much of the Hudson Yards development, including the Shed culture space, the new Hudson Yards mall, the High Line, and still-under-construction high-rises.


Depending on how many photos you’ll want to take, the Vessel doesn’t actually require a lot of time. For us, 15 minutes was enough, but we saw others who were staying around longer. And though it’s not a huge time commitment, it definitely is a great addition to the roster of attractions. Throw in its nonexistent price, and you’ve got a perfect afternoon activity! The Vessel in Hudson Yards is 100 percent Refinery approved.

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