The Vessel tourist attraction in New York City shut down after another suicide Thursday, about two months after it reopened from a closure prompted by similar deaths.
A person died by suicide at the 150-foot set of spiraling staircases Thursday afternoon, according to the New York City Police Department. The structure in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan closed in January after three similar deaths occurred on its premises, when operators said they would confer with suicide prevention experts to implement new safety measures.
Stephen Ross, the developer who built the Hudson Yards complex, told NBC News in a statement, "It’s hard to really fathom how something like that could happen."
"But I feel terrible for the family," Ross said. "I want to explore every feasible possibility we can, but for now the Vessel is closed."
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Ross said he was debating permanently closing the Vessel.
The Vessel reopened in late May with a new guidelines that guests were no longer allowed to enter alone, The New York Times reported at the time. Staff members were also being trained to detect whether guests might be acting in a way that indicated they might be considering self-harm.
But critics were skeptical that new rules would be a better prevention tactic than simply raising the barriers along the walkways.
“The only way to prevent future tragedies is to raise the height of the barriers,” Lowell D. Kern, the chairman of the local community board, told the Times in May.
Kimberly Winston, spokeswoman for the Hudson Yards, said the death Thursday was under investigation and that the Vessel has closed to visitors.
“We are heartbroken by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the family of the young person who lost their life,” Winston said.
The Vessel opened to the public in 2019, offering residents and tourists views of the western part of Manhattan and the Hudson River. It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick and the Heatherwick Studio and was initially free to the public, but now guests above the age of 5 are charged $10 after the first hour The Vessel opens.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.