HUDSON YARDS — A $200 million structure that’s been touted as New York’s version of the Eiffel Tower began its ascent in Hudson Yards Tuesday.
Construction workers used a crane to lift the first piece of the sculpture with the working title “Vessel” into place near West 34th Street and 10th Avenue Tuesday morning.
The structure, made up of 154 winding flights of stairs, will rise more than 15 stories or roughly 150 feet in the middle of a five-acre public plaza Hudson Yards developer Related Companies is constructing at the site.
“This is a very, very important day for us at Related, and for the city of New York,” the company’s chairman and founder, Stephen Ross, said Tuesday. “[Vessel] will be to New York what I believe the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.”
All 75 pieces of the structure — each of which weighs around 100,000 pounds — were shipped to the Hudson Yards from Italy and will be completely assembled by the end of the year, Ross explained.
Related plans to give New Yorkers a chance to name the structure at some point within the next year, he noted.
Credit: The Related Companies
Ross also acknowledged that Vessel's $200 million price tag was more than the company had anticipated during talks with British architect Thomas Heatherwick about the design.
“After several meetings, [Heatherwick] presented to me the idea of this Vessel, and… I looked at it, and I said, ‘Hey, this is unbelievable, it doesn’t exist anywhere, it’s iconic, it’s unique, let’s go for it,” he said. “We had no idea at that point what the cost would be, and it was a lot more than we had budgeted [for].”
Visitors to the sculpture will be able to climb a mile of stairs that will wind around its interior, and admission will be "free for all New Yorkers," Ross said.
“People who come to New York won’t want to miss walking to the top of it — I think it will be an event,” he said. “We’ll probably have a few races on there, [see] who can do it [in] the fastest time.
Added Ross: “It [won’t just be] a static piece of art."