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New York's Hottest Instagram Site is.... The Vessel

New York, NY, United States
10 Kudos
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Part art installation, part sculpture, part experience, part work-out, part Instagram bait, part M.C. Escher painting come-to-life, The Vessel is the newest addition to New York's newest shopping mall-meets-#lifegoals, the area of NYC otherwise known as Hudson Yards. Finally opened after years of architectural planning and money raising, this area that was once home to a huge train depot is now the premier destination for luxury apartments, high-high-end shopping, and decent views of New Jersey. It's also the northern end of The High Line, the public walkway/garden/trail that makes use of an old train line to run through Manhattan's west side neighborhoods, from the Meatpacking to Midtown West. But if you've been to New York before, there's a good chance you've walked the High Line already. So is it worth it to go back to this area to see the new stuff? Yes and no. The shopping part of Hudson Yards is, to me, not worth it. It's really just a shopping mall. But The Vessel? It's kinda cool! It looks like a giant sish kebab from the outside and a giant honeycomb from the inside, and here's the best part - tickets are FREE. You do need to reserve a timed ticket ahead of time - slots open up at 8am on the Vessel's website, and while isn't a ton of availability, I had no problem securing a ticket for a date two weeks in the future.

Two things to note about exploring the inside of the Vessel: First, it's an active experience - get ready to climb some stairs. While there is one elevator that would allow you to stop at all the levels, it's slow and crowded. The structure is 16 stories tall and has a total of 2,500 steps, but you don't have to climb them all. I personally didn't have a problem with any of the stairs, but I'm in decent shape. I saw a handful of people tire out before they reached the top. Second, the entire structure is outdoors and exposed to the elements. While there are chest-height railings everywhere, there is not much more between you and the ground. Again, I was fine wandering around the top - but I am not afraid of heights. I would NOT suggest going to the top if you are afraid of heights; however this would make a great group activity if part of your group wanted to stay on the first few levels while the rest climbed to the top.

I spent about 30 leisurely minutes climbing up and down, taking photos, and enjoying the sweeping views of the Hudson and the city. I didn't need much more time than that, but if someone in your group tends to be slower at stairs, then I'd allow a full hour to explore.
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Points of interest

Hudson Yards
This experience is free, but it does require a timed ticket that you reserve online. Slots open up two weeks in advance, so I suggest booking these tickets as one of the first things you do when planning a trip to NYC.

Special activities

Hudson Yards
Wear comfy shoes, hold on to your hats and glasses, and prepare for some outdoor stair climbing! Getting to the top took me about 15 minutes, but I'm in my 30's and in relatively decent shape. If you're on the slower side when it comes to stairs, budget an hour for the entire experience (from the bottom to the top and back down again).

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