It has been a long wait since Little Island project was revealed some years ago. After more than a year of restrictions and closures, the place was finally open to the public today and this place is special because it is more than a simple park. As the name suggests, Little Island is a “floating” park – an artificial island, right next to the beloved Hudson River Park – and provides the visitors with a unique greenspace unlike any other in New York City with serene spaces to explore, new venues for live performances and cultural events, and unique vantage points to view the surrounding area.
I was very curious about this place, not only because I always get excited about new places in the city, but because this is a very unique project. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, Little Island’s distinct exterior is supported by a structure that is made up of 280 concrete piles, which emerge from in between the leftover wood piles of Pier 54 that were largely preserved to maintain habitats for aquatic life. Cool right? And just like that, New Yorkers just got a new place to chill – and, of course, real estate investors have more reasons to increase prices of the apartments in the area, because why not, lol.
Jokes aside, I was there this morning to visit the place and see everything closely. So I will share some pictures, information and my impressions.
The plantings are varied to provide an environment that changes with the seasons, with flowing trees and shrubs, fall foliage and evergreens. More than 66,000 bulbs and 114 trees have been planted, some of which will grow to 60 feet tall. There are more than 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs. Also, there are some green areas where you can sit and relax.
There is a 687-seat amphitheater (“The Amph”), a central plaza with seating and serving food and beverages (“The Play Ground”), and an intimate stage and lawn space (“The Glade”). Little Island will host a season of programming to foster and support New York City-based artists – the majority of events will be free, and ticketed events will be primarily free or low-cost. There will be performances and educational programming six days a week, with offerings from music, dance, circus, spoken word, and more. Programming ranges from surprise performances with local performers to special events with renowned New York City arts organizations. You can check more details on the website.
Little Island, as you can notice, is not a flat park – it has some hills with lookouts that provide beautiful and unique views of the city – including the Empire State Building, the One World Trade Center, and the Hudson River. I’m sure the sunset must be magical from there.
Accessibility and more
Another cool thing about Little Island is that there are stairs and ramps all around the area, so people on wheelchairs and families with strollers are free to walk around without limitations. Also, there are public restrooms as well as food trucks! Everything you need to spend a beautiful and enjoyable day.
The park will be open daily from 6:00 am to 1:00 am, with timed reservations required from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. All admission is free. Located within Hudson River Park, Little Island’s main entrance is located at West 13th Street and the Hudson River, at Pier 55. Visitors can arrange a time to visit online at www.LittleIsland.org or in person at the park entrance.
The park is smaller than I imagined – but still is a big area if you consider that it is an artificial park, built from scratch. It is that kind of place to walk and enjoy the views – I don’t think the lawn area is that big, and probably is gonna be packed on summer days and weekends. I’m looking forward to getting back and appreciating the sunset from there. Also, a green area is always welcome in New York City, right? The residents in the area will probably enjoy it a lot! I really love the privilege and unique views from the lookouts and I loved the fact that is accessible. Finally, the cultural events will be a plus, something that is part of NYC’s soul. Last but not least, it is a pretty cool structure, different from everything we’ve already seen in the city. I’m sure it is gonna be a new landmark. At the same time, I feel that Little Island will be pretty packed at some times, like the same way it happens with the Highline Park, you know? So, plan ahead!
If you are visiting New York City and wondering how to include this place in your itinerary, remember that it is close to the Meatpacking District, so you can easily explore Little Island when you are in the area. Check out my post with some suggestions!
Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!