The Vessel at Hudson Yards


I went over Monday to see Hudson Yards’ giant inverted copper pinecone (or shawarma) which is temporarily (and pretentiously) named “The Vessel”. While it does look cool with my superwide 14mm lens, that's an illusion: in person, this selfie tower to nowhere feels sterile and soul-less (and, fortunately, my photos are now safe from Hudson Yards’ breathtaking rights overreach). And that fits in Hudson Yards, because the whole development looks like a real life version of an over-polished computer-generated architectural rendering.

I guess the endless steps could be an existential metaphor for life’s meaningless trudge, or something, since there’s no humor or joy or whimsy to be found here. There’s also not even a bench to be found, and that’s fine, because, despite the literal copper-colored reflectors, there’s not really anything to reflect on. I guess they want to process tourists through getting their Instagram selfies as fast as possible. There is a pretty cool elevator to accommodate guests in wheelchairs, but it looks like an afterthought, slapped on the inside of the cone, ruining the symmetry. They could have put it outside but I guess they didn't want to ruin the billionaires’ view from the surrounding buildings. There’s a glass wall of buildings keeping the real city at bay (you can spot the Empire State Building beyond the mall and through exhaust stack waves), and a narrow view of the river beyond the train yards.

The whole structure, which could have been a fascinating, stonehenge-like monument that feels a part of nature, or works with the sun in fascinating ways, instead will rarely even get much of a sunrise or sunset because of the wall of glass towerblocks that surround it.And the copper panels are positioned to reflect down.

This spire of geometric hype, a paean to mall culture, could at least someday be a place for the billionaires who occupy this inhuman monstrosity of a development to station their para-military snipers to keep out the riff raff.