Without doubt, it will be one of the most extraordinary works of art in the world – and an irresistible challenge to anyone who enjoys an outdoor workout.  It’s the Vessel:


From the New York Times:  

A $150 Million Stairway to Nowhere on the Far West Side

Big, bold and basket-shaped, the structure, “Vessel,” stands 15 stories, weighs 600 tons and is filled with 2,500 climbable steps. Long under wraps, it is the creation of Thomas Heatherwick, 46, an acclaimed and controversial British designer, and will rise in the mammoth Far West Side development Hudson Yards, anchoring a five-acre plaza and garden that will not open until 2018. Some may see a jungle gym, others a honeycomb.

But Stephen M. Ross, the billionaire founder and chairman of Related Companies, which is developing Hudson Yards with Oxford Properties Group, has his own nickname for “Vessel”: “the social climber.” And the steep price tag Mr. Ross’s privately held company is paying for Mr. Heatherwick’s installation? More than $150 million. …

The design reflects Mr. Heatherwick’s belief that city natives are always looking for their next workout. “New Yorkers have a fitness thing,” he said. (It will test many city folk who can barely climb into their Ubers, but there will be an elevator for anyone unable to reach the top.)

Inside the piece, the 154 interconnecting staircases may put visitors in mind of a drawing by M. C. Escher, especially given that the open-topped structure will have 80 viewing landings. …


One of Mr. Heatherwick’s main goals for the piece is to raise people significantly above ground level so they can see the city — and one another — in a new way.

“The power of the High Line is the changed perspective on the world,” Mr. Heatherwick said.

The interactive feature of “Vessel” was partly a reaction to what Mr. Heatherwick sees as previous failures in public projects: Plop art. “We’ve gotten used to these 1960s, 1970s plazas with obligatory big artworks plunked down,” he said.

“Vessel” is only 50 feet in diameter at its base, rising to 150 feet at the top, meaning that it has a “small bum,” Mr. Heatherwick said, and does not take over the plaza’sground level. …

“It’s a leap of faith in terms of scale,” said Susan K. Freedman, president of the Public Art Fund, who has seen the “Vessel” renderings and likes them. “ I admire the ambition,” she added. “You can’t be small in New York.”

But Ms. Freedman had her reservations. “The bigger problem may be traffic control,” she said, given that the work will be near the already crowded High Line, the tourist attraction whose northernmost segment winds around Hudson Yards. “I think people will want to experience it.”