In front of his terrified family, a 14-year-old boy leaped to his death from the eighth storey of the Vessel at Hudson Yards, Manhattan, on Thursday afternoon, July 29.
The teen is the fourth individual to commit suicide at the facility, which opened to much excitement in March 2019 and is located at West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue. According to police and authorities, he died just before 1 p.m on July 29.
“We are heartbroken by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the family of the young person who lost his life,” said Kimberly Winston, the Hudson Yards representative.
“We thought we did everything that would really prevent this,” Stephen Ross said according to the Daily Beast. “It’s hard to really fathom how something like that could happen,” continued the billionaire chairman of the Related Companies, the multinational real-estate corporation behind Hudson Yards. Following the latest suicide at the Vessel, he is considering whether to shut it down forever.
The New Jersey boy was with his four family members at the time of the fateful leap and had said nothing to indicate his intentions, reports the NYPost.
“It’s horrifying that this keeps happening. You can see looking at the barriers that they’re easy enough to climb over”, said Anthony DeMayo, a building worker who was across the street when the incident happened.
A tourist from Massachusetts, Irina Popov, said that there are only so many safeguards that can be taken.
“Once you’re inside, nobody makes you stay close to your buddy,” she noted. “There are a couple of security guards on every level, but if you want to jump, there’s no way anyone can really stop you.”
After a series of suicides, the 150-foot vertical sculpture was closed for four months earlier this year.
A safety strategy was implemented that required visitors to come in groups of at least two as it reopened in May, along with “Screening procedures to detect high-risk behaviors.”
Some neighborhood leaders, however, believe Related Companies could have done better.
Lowell Kern, the chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, which covers parts of western Manhattan, including Hudson Yards, acknowledged as much. “For Related to claim they did everything possible here is just not true,” he said. “They could have raised the height of the barriers, and that would have prevented this tragedy. For reasons unknown to us they decided not to do that.”
Within less than a year since the Vessel opened, a 19-year-old New Jersey man dropped to his death from the top of the structure in front of a crowd of tourists. Two more suicides occurred soon after, in late 2020 and January 2021.