New York never stands still even amid a global pandemic. Thus, after more than three years of work on the west bank of Manhattan, Little Island was born in May 2021.
Little Island is a small artificial island with vegetation floating in the waters of the Hudson, the river that separates Manhattan from New Jersey.
Here I explain what you can see on Little Island, especially what you can do there on your next trip to New York City.
Why was Little Island built in New York?
After the terrible passage of Hurricane Sandy, Pier 54 was severely damaged, so the authorities decided to rebuild this area, and why not give it a new look like the one New York knows so well, with an ambitious project!
In 2013, the Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation with the Hudson River Park Trust proposed this Little Island project that promises an immersive experience in nature and art.
Work began in April 2018, and Little Island opened to the public in May 2021.
The English designer Thomas Heatherwick proposed with his company this project. He has done other projects such as The Vessel or the Google offices in Mountain View or the 1,000 trees in Shanghai, placed on tulips that resemble those of Little Island.
Thomas Heatherwick said he had “raised the surface to create relief and make the island a dynamic experience that offers many views of the city.”
If you’re curious, here’s a timelapse video of its construction, just below. And for architecture enthusiasts or those who want to know more about this project, there are more videos here:
Now then, it’s worth noting that Little Island is located at Pier 54, wherein 1912, the survivors of the Titanic disembarked.
What is Little Island made of?
Little Island is kind of on piles. They appear to be some concrete tulips, each weighing 68 tons and measuring from 16 ft to 52 ft (5 to 18 meters), creating the base of Little Island.
They then placed soil on these tulips, which serve as giant pots where they planted a multitude of different species:
– 35 species of trees
– 70 species of shrubs
– 200 species of perennials, herbs, and flowers.
Of course, they did not put any species of plants, but only those that survive the harsh climate of New York City. Thus, each season will have its own ambiance.
There is a large esplanade called “The Play Ground,” a mini-stage called “The Glade,” and a magnificent wooden amphitheater called “The Amph” facing west, which promises terrific sceneries at dusk. The latter has 624 seats for theater performances, concerts, and all kinds of shows.
Here is the map of Little Island:
What can one do on Little Island?
Of course, you can go for a walk, take a nap, have a good time, watch the sunset, have a picnic? But you can also watch shows or do activities for children.
The best is that they are free events this summer:
– Sunsets Sounds: every Wednesday at 6 pm at The Glade: small concerts with quiet music to enjoy the sunset.
– Live! at Lunch: every Thursday at noon at The Amph: concert in the theater by multiple artists.
– Music at the Glade with Michael McElroy: every Thursday at 9 pm at The Glade: musician Michael McElroy welcomes a different artist to accompany him every Thursday.
– Late Night in The Play Ground: every Saturday at 10 pm at the Playground: all kinds of shows (cabarets, dances, songs…).
– Weekend Wind Down: every Sunday at 7 pm at The Glade: family show with music, puppets, comedy, shadow play….
There are four permanent artists at Little Island: Ayodele Casel (dancer-choreographer), Tina Landau (playwright and director), Michael McElroy (actor and singer), and PigPen Theater Co. (actors and musicians), who offer performances throughout the summer.
Plus, dozens of artists perform all over the Little Island for free. You can find them here, and you can even register if you are over 18. So if you live in New York and you are an artist, this could be a good opportunity for you, why not!
If you’re visiting New York with your children, there are also free activities scheduled throughout the summer:
– Creative Pause: Wednesdays at 11 am and 3 pm and Thursdays at 11 am at The Glade: art activities.
– Art Cart: Thursdays at 3 pm at The Glade: “Do It Yourself” art workshop.
– Little Library: Fridays at 3p m at The Glade: grab a book and take a literary break.
– New Victory LabWorks: offers a behind-the-scenes look at how artists create and develop a family show.
Is access to Little Island free?
Yes, Little Island is free.
Until noon, everyone can enter without worry. But until September 30, 2021, between noon and midnight, it’s like The Vessel north of the High Line. You must reserve a ticket to get in. This measure prevents having too many people visiting Little Island at the same time.
You will see that you can only book within the next 20 days. So if you are planning your trip to New York well in advance, think about checking the Little Island website 15-20 days before you go.
What are the hours of operation to visit Little Island in New York?
Little Island is open to the public from 6 am to 1 am.
Where exactly is Little Island in New York, and how can I get there?
It is located at Pier 55 on the Hudson River in the Meatpacking District between 13th and 15th Streets.
The south entrance of the High Line, the Whitney Museum, and Chelsea Market are about 10-15 minutes’ walk from Little Island.
Address: Pier 55 at West 13th Street, New York NY 10014
Little Island is, in my opinion, a new must-see in New York. Located on the banks of the river and a few minutes from the High Line, Little Island is waiting for you so you can enjoy its vegetation, calm ambiance, shows, the sunset. In short, this beautiful city of New York never ceases to make you want to go.
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