The Hudson Yards Vessel, a spiral tower that has become a New York tourist attraction, might close for good following another suicide. A 14-year-old boy jumped to his death while visiting with family Thursday afternoon, and the owner of the structure is considering closing it for good.
The incident happened at West 33rd and 10th Avenue where the attraction is located. The boy jumped from the eighth floor and was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. According to police reports, he jumped while his family, including his parents, sister, and grandmother, watched in horror.
The boy has not been identified to the press and the family hasn’t made any comment about the incident.
Anthony DeMayo, a construction worker, who was across the street at the time of the incident, heard the moment when the boy hit the ground. “That’s not a sound I’ll ever forget. It’s horrifying that this keeps happening. You can see looking at the barriers that they’re easy enough to climb over,” DeMayo said.
The Hudson Yards Vessel opened in March 2019 and was part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. There was a lot of excitement around the art installation and the structure soon became very popular with tourists and people who wanted to find the perfect New York picture for their Instagram accounts.
But it didn’t take long for tragedy to strike. Since the opening, the vessel has seen four tragic suicides. The first happened in 2019 and another followed in 2020. The death of this boy is the second Hudson Yards suicide of 2021.
After the suicide in January 2021, the Hudson Yards Vessel closed for four months to improve safety measures. More security was added to the installation and tourists were required to climb the vessel in groups of two or more. Security was also trained in recognizing the signs of suicide.
Stephen Ross, the man behind Hudson Yards Vessel, says that they thought they had taken the needed safety measures to prevent more deaths. “We thought we did everything that would really prevent this,” Ross said. “It’s hard to really fathom how something like that could happen. But you know, I feel terrible for the family.”
Others disagree with Ross’ assessment and believe that more should have been done to protect people’s safety. After closing the vessel in January, Ross decided not to make any changes to the safety gates to save the aesthetic of the installation. He instead preferred to rely on the security safety plan.
Many believe that higher railings could have prevented more deaths. Irina Popov, a tourist from Massachusetts, says that “Once you’re inside nobody makes you stay close to your buddy. There are a couple of security guards on every level, but if you want to jump there’s no way anyone can really stop you.”
The vessel is currently closed to the public and will remain closed until Ross and his team decide whether they want to open again or close for good.