More Trees and Shrubbery Planted on Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Little Island’ at Pier 55 in Chelsea

Little Island. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick

Landscaping work is continuing on Little Island, Thomas Heatherwick‘s 2.4-acre Hudson River park at Pier 55 in Chelsea. More trees and greenery have been delivered and planted across the undulating mass of reinforced concrete and steel. The project, which was conceived to resemble a leaf floating on water, is being managed by the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), with landscape design by MNLA.

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Steel sheets have been inserted throughout the park to hold back dirt and create stepped hills. A diverse mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees of varying textures, colors, and sizes are scattered throughout, surrounded by smaller plants and a perimeter fence of thin cylindrical poles.

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

The view from Hudson River Park highlights the array of rounded concrete pillars upon which Little Island sits. The funnel-shaped pods are positioned at varying heights over the Hudson River and account for the striking architectural design and man-made topographical layout of the park.

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

The main hydraulic boom crane can be seen lifting dirt into place on Little Island to form the hills and layer of topsoil.

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

The preceding photographs show two ramps between the park and Manhattan. One of them connects from the south and passes underneath the preserved steel frame of Cunard’s Pier 54, which is currently being refurbished behind construction barriers and plastic sheets. The second ramp will link the northern section back to the Hudson River Park esplanade.

Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

The northern ramp of Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

The southern ramp of Little Island. Photo by Michael Young

Cunard’s old steel-framed pier structure. Photo by Michael Young

Little Island will feature a main lawn in the center of the design and a playground for children; a 700-seat amphitheater called The Amph; a southeastern overlook at the tip of the park with 180-degree views; a second stage area with a hidden garden called The Glade; and a southwestern overlook perched 63 feet above the water that is accessed by a winding, tree-lined pathway. This vantage point, the highest point of the island, will provide visitors with views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and sunsets over the Hudson River.

Little Island is on track to open next spring.

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11 Comments on "More Trees and Shrubbery Planted on Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Little Island’ at Pier 55 in Chelsea"

  1. “Conceived to resemble a leaf floating on water”..ok, if you say so..Anyway, it is ‘mucho’ better than Mr. Heatherwick’s Lantern House!

  2. I still think this is kind of nice.

  3. Look at the weathered concrete pier in the third-to-last photo to get an idea how this will look in a few years. I’m afraid this won’t age well.

  4. A provocative ‘sureal’ / Daliesque concept at the start.
    The execution that’s unfolding (what the hell are all those rusting steel palisades?!) seems stop-gap unthoughtout / improvised and really crude. The success of this concept depended on the creation of a credible thoroughly ‘naturalistic’ landscape perched patently artificially and improbably on a ‘futuristic’ platform. The landscape as now being rendered is more “low-budget suburban shopping center”, brash and vulgar, and lamentably ‘artificial’ than it is anything near credibly Olmstedian naturalistic. The purported ‘futuristic’ contrasting understructure seen now up close and in the light of reality resembles more an agglomeration of ‘stiletto high-heel’ shoes-turned planters— that is if one gets beyond exotic derivative associations to Ed Stone, Brasilia, and other diverse 1950s phenomena. Still provocative, but all that rusting inhospitable drek Inserted to function as retaining walls and edge safeguard must be re-approached and properly re-designed.

  5. An aerial view of this site would help..

  6. Richard Califano | October 7, 2020 at 11:51 am | Reply

    Very nice! Meanwhile, the East River Esplanade is crumbling into the river.

  7. Michael D. Skelly | October 7, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Reply

    No view of the high heels will change what it is a 35 mill. joke that is not finish now or in the next 5 years……./.

  8. OneNYersOpinion | October 8, 2020 at 1:57 am | Reply

    Boy, talk about arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. NYC squanders the opportunity to prepare for the next mega storm, and now must ride out a decade-plus of economic hardship. But we get our vanity trophy on the Hudson.

  9. Marcha Johnson | October 9, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Reply

    Truly unfortunate missed opportunity to engage with the Hudson River and support the life within it. The points of intersection with the water are the most sterile that humans can make.

  10. My first thought was “they look like high heels from the back !”
    Obviously, I’m not alone. And, yes, what will happen when another Sandy comes along.

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