The Hudson Yards development in midtown Manhattan is facing calls to dismantle the ship, its massive sculptural centerpiece, after a fourth person in less than two years jumped off the 150-foot structure.
A 14-year-old boy was the last to die on Thursday. His death came two months after the stairs were reopened following two suicides earlier this year, along with a series of measures designed to reduce that risk.
The ship has proven to be controversial. When it opened in 2019, one reviewer compared the honeycomb structure, designed by Briton Thomas Heatherwick, to a massive kebab. Some residents have called it a “stairway to nowhere”.
This week, the Curbed website simply said, “It’s time to dismantle the ship. “
Entrance to the structure was initially free, but after a third suicide, Related Companies, the company that controls Hudson Yards, imposed a $ 10 entry fee and a rule requiring visitors not to climb the structure alone. .
“It only made the horror worse because the boy who jumped yesterday did it in front of his family,” Curbed reported this week. Despite the ship’s popularity on Instagram, the site said, it has become “largely famous as a place of death.”
The first suicide at the ship occurred in February last year. It was closed in January after two people committed suicide within a month. It reopened in May.
The operating company did not lift its chest-height barriers before reopening, as requested by community leaders and suicide prevention researchers.
Lowell Kern, chairman of Community Council 4, a local government agency, told The New York Times he called for such design changes after the first suicide.
“I am very sad,” he said. “It was completely preventable. “
Kern added, “The community board has informed Related that the only surefire way to prevent this from happening is to increase the height of the barriers on the ship. We are facing life and death issues. Art and architecture must take a back seat.
Hudson Yards developer Stephen Ross told The Daily Beast the facility may shut down for good.
“I want to see all the possibilities we can do,” Ross said. “I mean, we thought we had it all covered. “
A spokeswoman for Hudson Yards said an investigation was underway.
“We are heartbroken by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the family of the young man who lost his life,” said the spokesperson.
Heatherwick Studio said it was “clueless” and told The Times it had explored ideas to improve safety. These ideas “required more rigorous testing,” he said, adding that he had yet to decide what would be “feasible in terms of engineering and installation.”
- In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, Samaritans can be reached on 116 123. In Australia, the Lifeline crisis helpline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines are available at www. befrienders.org.