In New York art, architecture and nature combine in a mix with surprising results, and Little Island is a perfect example of this. This reminds us of how man is able to devise real architectural miracles in perfect harmony with the environment and give them to us visitors who cannot help but fall in love with them.
- What is Little Island?
- Where is it and how to get there
- Tickets and Opening Hours
- Why visit and what to see
- Where to sleep in the area
What is Little Island?
Little Island is a floating park on the waters of the Hudson River which is supported on 280 pylons on which 132 tulip-shaped concrete columns rest, each different from the other. The park spans just under three acres at Pier 55 and was inaugurated on May 21, 2021. Inside you'll also find an amphitheater and a food court.
The idea was born in 2013 to remediate the area of piers 54 and 55 after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The architects Thomas Heatherwick and Signe Nielson by the MNLA architecture studio.
The project cost approx 260 million dollars, financed by The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, known for having also funded the rehabilitation of other areas of Chelsea, the High Line, some city parks and arts organizations such as The Shed, Carnegie Hall Society and Central Park Conservancy.
The project was also at the center of debates and controversies, causing delays in its implementation so that all possible precautions were ensured to safeguard the flora and fauna of the area.
Today Little Island is open to the public and has become a destination for tourists and New Yorkers who want to go for a run or a walk and enjoy the stunning views of Manhattan from a uniquely designed romantic park.
Where is it and how to get there
Little Island is located on the West Side of Manhattan between 13th Street and 14th Street. The park is accessible by two bridges, the North Bridge and the South Bridge.
The best way to get to Little Island is by public transportation. In fact, there are no parking lots on the island or in the nearby surroundings. If you come in taxi you can get dropped off on 10th Avenue.
In metro you can take:
- lines A, C, E, L and get off at 14th Street / 8th Avenue,
- lines 1, 2, 3 and get off at 14th Street / 7th Avenue,
- lines F and M and get off at 14th Street / 6th Avenue.
Details and tips on the New York subway lines are present in our article that I suggest you read.
If you come in bus, you can take the M11, M12 and M14D SBS buses and get off at 14th Street / 10th Avenue stop.
It is not possible to use your own bicycle on the island, but you can park it in the designated spaces in the Hudson River Park Esplanade before entering the island.
Tickets and Opening Hours
Little Island is open every day 365 days a year at the following times:
- from April to October from 6:00 to 23:30
- November to March from 6am to 00pm.
In the event of severe thunderstorms, the park may close as a precaution.
The entrance to Little Island is free. During peak periods, especially in spring and summer, you may be asked to book admission, so I recommend that you look for updated information on their website or on their social networks before organizing your visit.
Some events held in The Amph may be subject to a fee, but admission to the island is still free. If you have a four-legged friend with you, remember that dogs are not allowed on Little Island.
Why visit and what to see
Entering Little Island park from North Bridge you have a wider view of the surrounding environment and the river than the South bridge which connects the mainland directly to the island and will take you through a green tunnel to the heart of Little Island. Both accesses were designed as a transition element from the real world to a unique and somehow magical environment.
There are 114 trees, all planted in 2020, although some are already large to give the impression that the park has always been there. Furthermore, every corner of the island has been designed with a different selection of plants and flowers and there are a total of almost 400 different species.
The park was conceived as a place of peace and the dissemination of culture so inside there are two spaces for shows and events: the amphitheater, called The Amph, can accommodate up to 687 people and is located in the northern part of the park, while The Glade it is a smaller theater for around 200 people. The main square, The Playground, where there is also a refreshment point, is finally a multifunctional space that could even accommodate up to 3.500 people.
Another factor why this park deserves to be visited is the view of Manhattan. There are three panoramic points: the Northwest Overlook, the Southeast Overlook and the Southwest Overlook and from each one you can enjoy a great view.
Where to sleep in the area
Little Island is located in the area between Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. This area is full of fashion shops and art galleries, as well as numerous night clubs. I'd say it's a good place to stay and I recommend you read our article for in-depth tips on where to sleep in Chelsea and all the other major neighborhoods.
Our tips on where to sleep in New York