The easily predictable disaster has been a disaster:
…two years before The Vessel opened, architecture critic Audrey Wachs was warning that the waist-height railings around the staircases would fail to prevent deaths: “When you build high, folks will jump.”
Even an “easy solution” came with predictions.
Three suicides in the early 2000s at New York University’s Bobst Library – which originally featured internal open-air balconies – offered both a warning and an easy solution.
This story just gets worse and worse.
Carla Fine, who has spent 40 years writing about and talking to those affected by suicide… lives in Chelsea, eight blocks from The Vessel, says the danger of the structure was obvious from the moment it was unveiled… “I knew what was going to happen… It’s a suicide machine.”
Despite the predictions, despite the easy solution and despite clear warnings… the deaths continued due to alleged negligence.
After the first death at The Vessel in February 2019, Fine raised the matter at a public meeting of the local community board. In March, representatives of the board wrote to Andrew Cantor, senior vice-president of Related, urging the company to install higher safety barriers – but it took no action. Over the next year, Fine wrote repeatedly to Related, as well as to Heatherwick Studios, urging them to take the matter seriously. When the next two suicides happened, she was still waiting for a reply that never came.
The total disregard for others comes through in another element of this story.
[Developer of the suicide machine] claimed that it could use, for promotional purposes, any photo of The Vessel posted online, without awarding royalties or due credit.
People visiting the site may not lose their life, but they will lose their assets. I’m surprised the developer didn’t say they could rob people visiting the site or enslave them.
Indeed, the developer decided that it would add a $10 entry fee so it could collect a small fee from people before their lives were taken.
“If you want to kill yourself, usually you go ahead and kill yourself. Ten dollars doesn’t make the difference,” Fine says. The fact that Related was about to make a profit from the deaths to which its site was linked is also fairly unpalatable.