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Vessel At Hudson Yards Closes Indefinitely After Teenager Jumped To Death

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Vessel at Hudson Yards is closed indefinitely after a teenager jumped to his death Thursday.

Officials with the development said they recently took measures to try to prevent such tragedies after three other people died by suicide there, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported Friday.

Hudson Yards opened to great fanfare in March 2019. It's centerpiece: Vessel, which was described as an interactive landmark meant to really be enjoyed from the inside.

CBS2 spoke with designer Thomas Heatherwick on opening day.

"This is about people climbing, coming together. It's deliberately meant to be social," Heatherwick had said.

A dark cloud has settled over the giant artwork. It's closed for a second time after a 14-year-old jumped to his death. Police said he was with his family.

Changes were made back in May after three others previously died by suicide there.

A spokesperson for Hudson Yards said the National Suicide Prevention hotline number was added at the entrance and other signage. Messaging was added on tickets. Staff and security was tripled, and training and screening procedures were enhanced to detect high-risk behavior. Visitors could not enter alone.

"As we unfortunately predicted, it wasn't going to work," said Manhattan Community Board 4 Chair Lowell Kern.

Earlier this year, the board sent its second letter to Hudson Yards Development Corporation and real estate firm Related Companies saying their security measures didn't go far enough.

"If you increase the height of the barriers to 7 or 8 feet, no one will be able to get over the railing," Kern said. "Or, you shut the Vessel down."

In a statement, Heatherwick Studios said it is distraught and that it worked with Related on physical solutions that they say require further, rigorous tests.

"And while we have not identified one yet, we continue to work to identify a solution that is feasible in terms of engineering and installation," the statement said.

Visitors who were unaware of the closure were turned away Friday.

"For a while now I've been planning to come here," said Weston Parchment from Brooklyn.

"We had only seen it in pictures," said Pablo De La Hoya, a visitor from Panama.

De La Hoya said he felt badly about the tragedy and will just make due without going inside.

"Actually, to look at it from here, it's pretty cool," he said.

A Hudson Yards spokesperson said it's conducting a full investigation. There was no word on when or if Vessel will reopen.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network at 1-800-273-TALK or text "Talk" to 741741.


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