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Vessel, the maze-like vertical structure, opens in NYC's Hudson Yards

It’s made up of 154 staircases and 80 platforms, zigzagging together to form a web of nearly 2,500 individual stairs.
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New York’s newest neighborhood opens Friday. Hudson Yards, the new development complex on Manhattan’s west side, is hoping to attract tourists and locals alike with a shopping mall, restaurants, skyscrapers and manicured outdoor spaces.

At the center of it all is Vessel.

Part art, part park, Vessel is a maze-like vertical structure that winds up 150 feet into the air. It’s made up of 154 staircases and 80 platforms, zigzagging together to form a web of nearly 2,500 individual stairs.

“The geometry of the project is quite mesmerizing because of it’s repetitiousness,” said Stuart Wood, a senior designer with Heatherwick Studios, the design firm behind Vessel. “Once you’re inside it, it’s really calm. You’re in the middle of New York, and yet, it’s calm.”

Vessel’s eight levels are made up of 332,000 square feet of plated steel that stands 194.5 feet above sea level. If you walk up and down Vessel following a circular path, you will walk one mile.

The name Vessel is temporary. Visitors are being encouraged to submit ideas for a permanent one from their mobile devices as they exit the structure.

Image: US-architecture-urbanism-real-estate-urban-planning
People take an inaugural walk up an urban landmark, temporarily known as Vessel, during the opening Friday of New York's newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards.Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images

“We hope that it’s a really attractive social heart to Hudson Yards where people can look out. They can look out to the Hudson, or at this architecture, or also just look inwards, and reflect and talk and meet or just chill,” said Wood.

Vessel will be open daily between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. It’s free to the public, but tickets are required.

Hudson Yards is the largest privately funded real estate development in U.S. history. The billion-dollar project is not without controversy. Reported government tax breaks and limited affordable housing have drawn criticism from residents who say the city doesn’t need another billion-dollar neighborhood.

But its creators believe in Hudson Yards, and the impact it can have on the city.

“We saw what New York needed was really, and what they were looking for, was a new neighborhood,” said Stephen M. Ross, chairman of The Related Companies, at the opening. “A neighborhood where you can live, work and play, that would attract the best and the brightest. The best corporations from New York and the brightest people. ”