(NEW YORK) — The Vessel at Hudson Yards — the landmark structure consisting of 80 platforms and spiral staircases — will soon be accessible to visitors with disabilities.The developer and operator of the vessel have agreed to install a one-of-a-kind platform lift mechanism on the upper levels of the attraction, according to a joint announcement from U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman and Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband.The agreement states that the developer, Related Companies L.P., design, construct, install and operate a platform lift mechanism that will allow individuals with disabilities to traverse the stairways and platforms at the top levels of the Vessel so those with disabilities can also enjoy the 360-degree views of Manhattan and the Hudson River.The structure consists of about 2,500 individual steps and 154 “intricately interconnecting flights of stairs,” according to the Hudson Yards website.Currently, the most traveled areas of the Vessel are inaccessible to people with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.At most, only three of the 80 platforms are accessible to those visitors, and they are all on one side of the structure, according to the announcement. Due to a high level of demand for the elevator, typically only one platform — at level 8 — is accessible to those with disabilities.The agreement also requires the developer to ensure that the elevator will stop at levels 5 and 7 upon request, to operate the elevator on a timed schedule and to modify the Vessel’s ticketing reservation options to allow individuals with disabilities to reserve priority access to the elevator.”As we approach the ADA’s 30th Anniversary, it is vital that individuals with disabilities have access to major new tourist attractions in our cities,” Dreiband said in a statement. “I am pleased that Related is taking steps to increase accessibility of the Vessel.”The Vessel is touted as the focal point of Hudson Yards, the $25 billion development nicknamed “Manhattan’s mini-city” that consists of both commercial and residential spaces as well as shops and restaurants.
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