On Thursday, a 14 year old boy committed suicide by jumping off the Vessel in Hudson Yards just two months after the structure was reopened with anti-suicide preventative measures put in place. In total, since the spiraling structure was first unveiled to the public in 2016, four people have committed suicide by jumping off the Vessel; after this latest death, many are calling for the structure to be dismantled entirely. Earlier this year, in January, the Vessel in Hudson Yards was shut down indefinitely after two people committed suicide by leaping from the structure within the span of two months. The first suicide took place last February.
While the Vessel was shut down this year, many critics urged developers to increase the height of the structure’s barriers, a move which has been proven to prevent suicides in similar settings. However, Related Companies, the Hudson Yards developer, decided against raising the barriers. Instead, they elected to implement different measures: security was tripled, visitors were newly required to climb the structure in pairs and the Vessel staff began to carry signs bearing messages discouraging visitors from committing suicide.
It’s now devastatingly evident that these half measures were ultimately ineffective. “It’s hard to really fathom how something like that could happen,” Stephen Ross, the developer who oversaw the construction of the Hudson Yards complex, told NBC News in a statement. “But I feel terrible for the family. I want to explore every feasible possibility we can, but for now the Vessel is closed.”
“For Related to claim they did everything possible here is just not true,” Lowell Kern, the chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, retorted to The Daily Beast. “They could have raised the height of the barriers, and that would have prevented this tragedy. For reasons unknown to us they decided not to do that.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741