We were on Little Island recently ~ A new sculptural open park island floating in the Hudson River off Manhattan. Notably, 132 concrete piles supporting “tulips” in unique shapes arise out of the river. Indeed, it is a spectacular undulating phenomenon for viewers from shore. This new cluster of tiny islands is a recent project designed by the London-based Heatherwick studio. I posted about the Vessel in this New Year’s post, another significant project designed by their studio in New York City.
Approaching towards the park and you feel it is almost saying we are in the same city. After all, we love being together. Although, we are off the mainland. And, here on this island, it is our green paradise.
Once you enter the park, rocks, wooden steps, and Corten steel create steep slopes. They are adorned with greenscape, foliage, and flowers that change with seasons. There are small open spaces broken into compartments. Every nook and corner is thoughtfully laid out for a moment worth exploring.
A few percussion installations on the way and an optical spinning illusion add more activity stops. Promontories are cantilevering out with a view of Jersey City and the Manhattan skyline. Just a way to pause and experience some fresh air.
For us, the best part was enjoying a live music performance at the wooden-benched amphitheater. It is a perfect place to lounge and forget there is a big city right behind you. I always get this same feeling when I am on the Great Lawn of Central Park.
It did feel like the pathways were more directive and restrictive rather than free-flowing as we were following a hedge labyrinth. Almost counterintuitive to the concept of a park, which offers more freedom, relaxation, and openness.
The comparisons of Little Island are abundant with the Vessel and the Highline. All of them aspirational, sculptural, open spaces set in urbanscapes. In New York City, every such endeavor is almost triumphant with crowds, and at the same time, it flounders in vain because of the mob. So, when it is a Little Island, will it eventually come to nothing?
Nevertheless, for June 2021, I think this place has been a great fresh addition to the cityscape after a pandemic year. We all need a little bit of brand-new, just out, even if it is a Little island.
Just a Little Bit More …
~ If Ping Pong is on your mind, head to The Standard Biergarten