The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation has announced a new name for Thomas Heatherwick’s 2.4-acre Chelsea park on Pier 55: “Little Island.” Work is continuing on the sculptural Hudson River promenade, and progress can be seen along Hudson River Park beyond the large steel frame of the old Cunard Pier 54. The funnel-shaped concrete pots are mostly in place, while a large amount of steel rebar and building materials are being laid on top. These will form the floor underneath a rolling terrain of landscaped hills, an amphitheater, and abundant greenery. The park is being built with a total of 132 piles that will hold each section 15 to 62 feet above sea level. Work is being managed by the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, P.C. is designing the landscaping, which will have over 100 species of trees and shrubs.
“It’s a joyous feeling to see Little Island rise up in the Hudson River, and now I can’t wait for New Yorkers and its visitors to cross the bridge, leave the boisterous city behind, and play, lie back, and be stimulated every which way by the island,” Diller said.
Photos from the waterfront show crews on multiple areas of the park. We could likely expect to see the first trees delivered and planted at the site next spring.
Temporary staircases on the steep hills have been built to let workers access various parts of the site without stepping over the laid rebar prepared for the imminent concrete pour. Meanwhile, large white styrofoam blocks can be seen on top of the pots and will be used for insulation underneath the soil and landscaping.
This will be the third New York City project by Thomas Heatherwick, following the completion of his 150-foot-tall sculpture in the middle of the Hudson Yards plaza and his first residential design along the High Line called “Lantern House,” aka 515 West 18th Street, which will be finished next fall.
Completion of Pier 55 is expected in spring 2021.