Little Island is a unique ‘floating park’ at Pier 55 on the west side of New York City along the Hudson River. The topography of the 2.4 acre park features rolling hills, lush greenery, a large amphitheater that are all built upon “pots” that resemble a tulip or even the back of a woman’s high-heeled shoe.
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.
The park was deisgned by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio and was largely inspired by what remained of Pier 54 after it was decimated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Heatherwick also designed the climbable sculpture “Vessel” that is just up the street in Hudson Yards.
Heatherwick Studio explored the idea of designing a new pier that could draw from the remaining wooden piles from Pier 54. ‘My studio and I became interested in the remains of the old piers on the west side of Manhattan, where their top surfaces had long gone, leaving only hundreds of ancient structural wooden piles sticking out of the river.
The architecture of the landscape was provided by Matthews Nielsen.
MNLA’s landscape design was conceived as a leaf floating on water – a space that could be both visually surprising and inspiring for New York City.
The park was the brainchild of New York City businessman Barry Diller in 2013, in partnership with the Hudson River Park Trust, who, after the destruction of Sandy, wanted to build a public space for the people of New York and those who visit. Funding for the park was largely provided by The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation and a proposal was made in 2014.
In 2013, Barry Diller, in partnership with Hudson River Park Trust leadership, embarked on the unique opportunity to envision a solution for the repair and reactivation of Pier 54, recently damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Diller chose to reimagine an entirely new type of public space for New York, one that would create an immersive experience with nature and art.
The park sits just outside Diller’s office at the IAC building in Chelsea designed by Frank Gehry. The riverside location provides incredible views of the Empire State Building and other iconic New York City sites.
The park opened to the public on May 21, 2021 and admission is free and open until noon. Reservations are required for visits after 12 PM.
Every day through September 30, timed entry reservations will be offered every half-hour starting at 12:00 through the remainder of the day. Once you enter the park, there is no time limit to your stay. 6:00 am to 12:00 pm: No reservations required for entry. We will monitor the park for crowding and safety at these times. 12:00 pm and on: Free timed entry reservations required for entry.