Shannon Finnegan

Anti-Stairs Club Lounge at the Vessel

Anti-Stairs Club Lounge
A response to the inaccessibility and ableism of Hudson Yards’s “Vessel”

Anti-Stairs Club Lounge at “Vessel”

About 40 people posed in front of the Vessel sporting neon orange, Anti-Stairs Club Lounge beanies and holding Anti-Stairs Club Lounge Signs.
A close-up of Christine Bruno signing their pledge: “As long as I live, I will not go up a single step of the Vessel.” The pledge on colorful paper, riso-printed with blue hand-drawn text, and has a crossed-out-stairs symbol at the top.
Nimo Ali and Sam Handler read newspapers. The exterior spread functions as signage reading, “Anti-Stairs Club Lounge” in a stair-inspired font.
A group of about twenty people lounging in front of the Vessel. They are sitting, chatting, and reading. All wear neon orange Anti-Stairs Club Lounge beanies.
Sarah Hom, J. Soto, and Jerron Herman chat around a table.
A green, metal chair with a round cushion painted with an orange crossed-out-stairs symbol.
The moment when Christine Bruno first sees the Vessel. They look shocked. Nimo Ali looks at the Vessel dismayed and I grimace.
Simi and David Linton pose with their pledges in front of the Vessel. David leans on Simi’s power wheelchair.
Kevin Gotkin and a friend look at a newspaper together. In the background, Ezra Benus, Jordana Bernstein, and Kevin Quiles Bonilla look at a cushion.
Danielle Peers fills out their pledge with Megan Hafner. In the background, Chloe Crawford wheels up to the group.
A sea of orange hats with the Vessel in the background.
Jordana Bernstein fills out their pledge. Pelenakeke Brown looks at the Vessel with aversion.

This iteration of Anti-Stairs Club Lounge gathered fifty disabled and non-disabled people to protest Vessel at Hudson Yards. Vessel is a building-sized, basket-like structure made of 154 interconnected stairways created by designer Thomas Heatherwick. While Vessel does have what is touted as an “ADA-compliant” elevator, the elevator is not an equitable means to experience the structure. From its inception, Vessel has centered the experience of climbing stairs and imagines a public without people unable, unwilling, or uninterested in climbing stairs. For more about the ableism and inaccessibility of Vessel, read Kevin Gotkin’s article in The Avery Review.

The lounge included seating, cushions, snacks, signage, and custom florescent-orange beanies worn by participants that all signed a pledge stating: As long as I live, I will not go up a single step of the Vessel.

The protest called for a permanent Anti-Stairs Club Lounge with a budget of $150 million dollars (equivalent to the production budget for Vessel).

Year: 2019
Size: Dimensions variable
Materials: Custom beanies, cushions, large-print newspapers featuring Kevin Gotkin’s article about Vessel from The Avery Review, snacks, paperwork

Photos by Maria Baranova

A pledge that reads, “As long as I live, I will not go up a single step of the Vessel” in handwritten text. This copy has been signed and dated by me.

People are encourage to participate in Anti-Stairs Club Lounge by signing a pledge stating, “As long as I live, I will not go up a single step of the Vessel.”

Download a PDF of the pledge or email to request a hard copy.

Year: 2019
Size: 11 x 8.5 inches
Materials: Single color risograph on colored paper
Edition: Open edition

Published by Special Collections Press, University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.