Written by: VISUALHOUSE
Photography: Timothy Schenck
Little Island, a new, free public park pier within the larger Hudson River Park, is now open to the public, providing New Yorkers and visitors from around the world with a unique green space unlike any other in New York City.
Components of the pier, nestled among more than 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs, include a 687-seat amphitheater and an intimate stage and lawn space, along with dazzling views of other portions of Hudson River Park, New York City and the Hudson River.
Little Island was designed by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, with landscape design by Signe Nielsen of MNLA. The landscape provides a visually surprising and inspiring experience as visitors walk across the park. 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.
Little Island’s distinct exterior is supported by concrete piles. On top of the piles, 132 concrete “tulips” make up the structure of the park. Each tulip’s shape is unique and has a different weight load capacity to hold the soil, lawns, overlooks and trees. The original Pier 54 piles remain to provide habitat for aquatic life.
Beginning in June, 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.