Thursday, August 19, 2021

New York's Little Island offers a creative, restful oasis in the busy city

Little Island is New York City's latest attraction, a brilliantly conceived "island" at Pier 55 in
New York, the gift of two philanthropists who wanted New Yorkers to have a calming place to unwind.
The old wood pilings are visible, adding character and set against spectaclar new concrete pilings.

Little Island photographed by Bruce Keller at 10 p.m.
from a Hudson River cruise aboard a vintage schooner.


Little Island offers a theater where concerts
are held on a regular basis. Tickets advised.


LITTLE ISLAND in New York City  has given new, imaginative life to Pier 55.
The gorgeous park, on an artificial island on the Hudson River, is an eye-stopping creation, a $256  million gift from two enthusiastic New Yorkers with deep pockets and love for their lively town.
Philanthropists Barry Diller and Diane vonFurstenberg visualized a place of beauty to  encourage rejuvenation and calm in a busy world. 
View of the imaginative pilings from the north entrance.

Their creation lies in west Manhattan in New York City, adjoining Hudson River Park.
Designed by London's famed Heatherwick Studio, its goal was to create a garden within the busy city, in the Meatpacking District neighborhood and Chelsea.
Suki Rae, composer and flutist,
performs for a delighted crowd.
Little Island offers ongoing treats.

SMALL, COMPACT and beautiful, the 2.4 acre park was fashioned on the same pier where Titanic survivors were welcomed in 1912. Pilings from the aging pier were left in the water for character and contrast. The project is near the intersection of West and 13th Streets in once lively neighborhoods which in recent years have fallen into disrepair and neglect.
WHEN DILLER and von Furstenberg  came up with the idea, they wanted a calming, beautiful place in the hustle and bustle of New York City.
Despite the pandemic, the sanctuary opened earlier this summer and so far the crowds have been busy, consistent but not overwhelming.
Construction took place over several years.
A SERIES of 280 concrete pilings, gracefully and artistically 
shaped, were brought in from upstate New York.  On top of those pilings, are 132 "tulip pots." All the new pilings are made
of concrete, flood resistant to weather, waves, aging and storms.
A beautifully designed theater, in the style
of Roman theaters, is one of the attractions.
WE WANDERED for several hours through the compact but wondrous gift. By chance, we happened upon a small concert near the lavish restrooms which lead the way to gardens, circular walkways and stunning views of the water and city skyscape. People were enjoying picnics and fresh air and all our fellow nature lovers were respectively masked.

Bruce Keller, photographer, and writer Christene Meyers at
Little Island, on the Hudson River, New York City.
 A WONDERFUL classical flute and guitar duo played Mozart and a delightful offering of baroque and modern jazz tunes. This was also free.
The ampitheater offers concerts and other productions from time to time, but that evening happened to be dark, so the flute-guitar concert was a real plus, a serendipity occurence for two musicians and music lovers. 
NEVER DID WE feel overwhelmed by our fellow visitors,  due in great part to a well monitored on-line ticketing system.  Before noon, admission is free and need not be pre-booked.  After noon, admission is by time slots, crowd sizes are monitored and reservations may be made by the half-hour.
For more information or to book a performance (for a charge) or free admission to the grounds, check out:

Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada-California border, and its
neighbor, Truckee, are next on our stop. Come along.
UP NEXT:  Tahoe and Truckee, California, are next on our list of explorations. We visit the beauty of Lake Tahoe, a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, then stop by Truckee, which straddles the border of California and Nevada. The two are very different, both appealing. While Tahoe is known for its beaches and ski resorts, Truckee is fast becoming a competitor for tourism. Minus the lake, it boasts magnificent mountain scenery, fresh air and eateries of every ethnic persuasion. Come "truckin' " to Truckee and Tahoe, remembering to explore, learn, live. Catch us each week for a fresh spin on art, travel, nature, family and more:


  1. Manhattan MavericksAugust 19, 2021 at 5:01 PM

    Fantastic! We have watched this beautiful escape going up for several years. Such imagination and generosity.

  2. Lovely look at a place dear to our hearts. Delightful to watch it develop.

  3. Brilliant! Such a gift!

  4. Exciting place you discovered. We will check it out.