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