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