The Compact Jewel of Little Island

Little Island - New York, New York

Little Island – New York, New York

The odd concrete structure with trees on top, which I featured yesterday, is a highly engineered park built on stilts above the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan Island. Called Little Island, this 2.6 acre, $260 million public park — funded privately — is a testament to the desire for New Yorkers to have green space even at an exorbitant cost. I read about it on the internet, and unexpectedly seeing it on my walk through Manhattan compelled a visit. Opening on May 2021, I visited a year after in June 2022.

New York is an expert at building a lot in a small space. From this first vantage point, you get a grassy area with a wandering path, a hill, and distant trees, with no hint it’s built on an artificial island. The park rises as you move west, giving a multi-dimensional feel.

Little Island - New York, New York

Towards the back, you see concrete tulips that create the island’s base. It breaks the illusion that you’re at a regular park. A path meanders through 65 species of shrubs, 290 varieties of grasses and vines, and 114 trees — more than enough for visual interest.

Little Island - New York, New York

Little Island is not just plants and shrubs. A performance area faces west towards the river. I’m looking north, and you can see the new Hudson Yards development that I visited earlier in the series.

Little Island - New York, New York

Looking South from the highest point, we see a commanding view of the Financial District. The tallest building is One World Trade Center and the redeveloped and expanded neighborhoods around Ground Zero.

Little Island - New York, New York

This section was my favorite of Little Island. Near the highest point and surrounded by trees, it gave the feeling of an overlook.

Little Island - New York, New York

Finally, we are looking downhill toward the exit. Concrete tulips form an archway to a connecting bridge. There are two bridges to the island. This one is more dramatic, framed by the tulip structure.

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