Landscaping Work Continues on Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Little Island’ at Pier 55 in Chelsea

Pier 55. Rendering by Thomas Heatherwick

Work is moving along on Thomas Heatherwick’s 2.4-acre Chelsea park at Pier 55, aka Little Island, as more trees and greenery are being planted at the elevated waterfront park. The project is being managed by the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), and MNLA is designing the landscaping, which was conceived to resemble a leaf floating on water.

Tectonic shot several photographs from the Hudson River waterfront by the two entrances to the park. The hollow steel frame that was once part of Cunard’s Pier 54 is preserved at the southern gateway, while the second access point is a short distance to the north.

Pier 55. Photo by Tectonic

Pier 55. Photo by Tectonic

Pier 55. Photo by Tectonic

Pier 55. Photo by Tectonic

Pier 55. Photo by Tectonic

Pier 55. Photo by Tectonic

The railings that go along the eastern perimeter of the island facing Manhattan have been installed and can be seen from the Chelsea waterfront. Meanwhile, trees and shrubbery of varying species, shapes, and sizes have been planted on top of the funnel-shaped pods and are now visible. Over 100 types will be planted on Little Island. Most of the greenery seen now is on the eastern side of the park. The western end of Pier 55 will feature a winding path to the highest elevation, a height of 62 feet, and feature a lookout point facing the Hudson River surrounded by tall trees. This section incorporates some steep inclines and breaks in the undulating surface to create pocketed voids looking down at the water below.

The park is a short walk from the High Line with staircases at the corners of Tenth Avenue and West 14th Street and West 16th Street. The pier will offer visitors wide vistas of the entire Manhattan skyline from the Financial District to Midtown, along with uninterrupted panoramic sunsets over the Hudson River and Jersey City.

Little Island is slated to be finished next spring.

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9 Comments on "Landscaping Work Continues on Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Little Island’ at Pier 55 in Chelsea"

  1. Even though not even finished yet, this ‘floating leaf’ feels like a relic from a NYC that no longer exists in quite the same way..

  2. A breath of hope in the midst of a pandemic and riots! Magnificent design and execution.

  3. Excited to see this project continued. I pass by it often on my bicycle. Free “visual art” and an architectural treat for all New Yorkers, which will help to bring tourism back to the city.

  4. Jeffrey LeFrancois | June 4, 2020 at 9:26 am | Reply

    This pier is in the Meatpacking District, not Chelsea.

  5. This is Chelsea. The Meatpacking District runs from West 14th south to Gansevort.

    • Actually I think he’s right. Access to the island is just south of 14th Street. And if you were to extend the street grid out into the water, the island would be between 13th and 14th streets. So it’s Meatpacking, but right next to Chelsea.

    • Howard Karren | June 10, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Reply

      The entrance is opposite W. 13th St., below 14th St. It’s in the Meatpacking District.

  6. Roy M Warner | June 4, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Reply

    I’m a semi-retired NY trial lawyer who no longer lives in the City. I was a “hack” (yellow cabbie) while I attended law school. It was at that time that I learned how to navigate the City; a feat for a kid from Flushing. As it turns out, the piers were numbered from the Battery up. Thus, Houston street was Pier 40, and Pier 55 was, in essence, an extension of 15th St. in Chelsea (57-40= 15).

  7. Meat or xhelsea? All pwrspective. Show me the 1925 map. And show me the 2000 map.

    The space will work for ultra parties in the warm days. Nice concepts as for the revolving plant options and seasonal fiztures.

    Wat a spare 200 mil can bring

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