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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The "Little Island" floating park on the hudson river - NYC

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Following the success of the High Line elevated park, New York has debuted another innovative public space: Little Island, a floating park on the Hudson River. Little Island Wikipedia.

From afar, the island looks like something out of an Avatar universe, but its green mounds and corners have already become one of the city's most visited attractions.

Official website:

The "Little Island" floating park on the hudson river - NYC

Little Island NYC
Little Island NYC
Image source: Wikimedia


It's a park? In an island? Is it a spaceship just landed in the Hudson to abduct unsuspecting New Yorkers? Let's see…

  • Little Island is a floating public park on the Hudson River, around 13th Street and the Chelsea neighborhood.
  • It is part of the Hudson River Park, a park that, in recent times, has turned the banks of the Hudson and its old industrial docks into rest and recreation areas for New Yorkers.
  • It is built on Pier 54 and Pier 56, two old abandoned piers. The only thing that survives of these structures are the wooden poles emerging from the water, and the creators of Little Island were inspired by them to imagine a park that rises from the river.
  • And it is that Little Island is made up of more than 1000 concrete columns of different heights that emerge from the water in the shape of a tulip or a high-heeled shoe (what do you think?) and create a floating island covered in nature and unevenness.
  • A groundbreaking design that combines nature and art  in equal parts, although we must admit that, the first time we saw it, we couldn't stop thinking about the universe of Pandora from the movie Avatar.
  • But any addition to New York that adds nature instead of skyscrapers is always welcome, so it's no wonder Little Island is already as iconic as its High Line neighbor!


And now, to the important thing: how can you visit Little Island on your next trip to the Big Apple?

Little Island NYC
Little Island New York
Image source: Wikimedia


  • Little Island is free and open every day from 6 AM.
  • If you visit from May to September, during the day you will have to book a free ticket  through the website if you want to visit the island after 12 noon.
  • If you go before that time, you do not need a ticket. This is how they control the capacity, especially at sunset, when it gets quite crowded.
  • If you are going to visit Little Island in autumn or winter, you do not need to book a ticket, you can go whenever you want.
  • Go when you go, we are big fans of enjoying places calmly, so we recommend you go first thing in the morning.


  • The island is very small and can be visited in less than 1 hour. Although, as you will surely want to sit in a corner or have a drink at the  food trucks, save a little more time.
  • It's not visible on the map, but to get to Little Island, you'll have to cross a busy highway. And the crosswalk is not exactly in front of the park, but a little to the north, at the height of 14th Street
  • Access to the park is very easy. There are two footbridges that connect the shore of Manhattan with different levels of the island, the South Bridge and the North Bridge.
  • Little Island has public restrooms  and food carts.
  • The island is fully accessible.
  • On the official website you have all the information.

Tip To New York: If you plan to visit Little Island on a cold day, remember to bring a good coat, especially in autumn and winter. The park is by the river and there are icy drafts.


Welcome to Little Island! After contemplating its curious columns from different angles, it's time to cross the walkway and enter the park.

The first thing you will see is that the island is divided into different levels, connected by stairs and zigzag paths and covered with trees, flowers and bushes.

Where will you start exploring? In this video we go around the island and show you every corner!


In this guide, we will start visiting Little Island from the south. Climb to the top of the mound (don't forget to turn around on the way to see the Empire State Building silhouetted between the Manhattan skyline) and you'll find the Southwest Overlook.

In addition to seeing One World Trade Center rising from the Manhattan skyline, on clear days you'll also see Staten Island on the horizon and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which connects it to the borough of Brooklyn.

The towns that you will see on the other side of the Hudson belong to New Jersey, to the cities of Jersey City and Hoboken.

If you look to the south, in front of Little Island you will see a construction site. In a few years, it will become the Gansevoort Peninsula, one of the great parks in the Hudson River Park. Look how good it looks!

Little Island NYC
Little Island at Pier 55 in Hudson River Park along West Street in New York City.
Image source: Flickr/Elvert Barnes


After the southern overlook, take one of the trails that lead to The Amph, Little Island's amphitheater. It has capacity for 700 people and it is there where the program of concerts and shows of the island is represented.

Many of them are free: check the official website to find out if you match any of them! If not, you can always sit in its stands to rest.

This corner is one of the best places to watch the sunset on Little Island. Take a seat and wait for the sun to set behind the Hudson!


To the north, another mound topped by an overlook awaits, the Northwest Overlook. From there, the views are not as interesting as from the south.

You will see the river, you will see the Chelsea Piers building (the neighboring pier, with golf, bowling, a gym and other recreational areas), the skyscrapers of the Hudson Yards neighborhood …

What we like the most about the north lookout is the views it has of Little Island, with the different levels and paths unfolding and the One World in the background.


How are those energies? After coming down from the mound, you will arrive at The Play Ground, an area with tables, chairs and  food trucks where you can rest and recharge your batteries.

In the carts you can buy from a sandwich to a coffee or a beer, although you can also take your own food and water to the park.


We still have one last corner to say that we have visited Little Island in full: the Southeast Overlook, a viewpoint located just above the south entrance walkway. From there, you will have a very nice perspective of the park.


And now yes: it's time to say goodbye to the island! But, when we return to the mainland, we still have a secret to discover.

Can you distinguish the wooden poles in the water? In the early 20th century, this area of ​​the Hudson River was filled with working docks, some of them owned by large shipping companies.

If everything had gone according to plan, on April 17, 1912, the Titanic would have made its triumphant arrival in New York just a few meters north of Little Island, at Pier 59, the headquarters of the White Star shipping company.

On that fateful morning, the RMS Carpathia, of the Cunard company, rescued the survivors of the sinking and headed for New York.

The company's pier in the city was Pier 55. Yes… right where Little Island is today!

The survivors of the Titanic and the rest of the passengers of the Carpathia arrived at Pier 54 on the night of April 18, 1912 in heavy rain.

But that didn't stop thousands and thousands of people from flocking to and around the pier to welcome them, seek out friends and family, and hear the news of the sinking firsthand.

In the Titanic movie, arriving in New York in the rain and as the survivors are being named, Rose looks up into the sky and beholds the face of the Statue of Liberty.

Pier 54 is a long way from the Statue, but passengers on the Carpathia must have seen it when they arrived in town.

And why are we telling you this story? Because, at the entrance to Little Island, you will see a rusty metal arch. Along with the poles in the water, it is the only remaining vestige of Pier 54 of the Cunard – White Star shipping company.

And, as you can see, it is a forgotten piece of New York history next to one of its most modern places!


What other places can you combine a visit to Little Island with? Very close to there, you have:

  • The Pier 57 Rooftop. Right next to Little Island, you can go up to the  free rooftop  of Pier 57 for great views of the island and the river.
  • It's a terrace with several little gardens, so it's a great place to eat on a nice day or for a quiet moment by the Hudson.
  • The High Line. Walk through this elevated park from south to north and enjoy a morning surrounded by nature in New York. And be careful because, from some sections, you will distinguish Little Island in the river.
  • The Chelsea Market. For when you feel hungry or want to visit some curious store, Chelsea Market is only 5 minutes away.
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art is great and it's only a 10 minute walk from Little Island. It is included on most New York tourist cards.
  • The Hudson River Park and its Piers. On a nice day, take the opportunity to take a walk along the river following the Hudson River Park. Heading north, you'll be in the Hudson Yards neighborhood in about 30 minutes.
If you head south, you'll be in the West Village in 30 minutes, or if you prefer, you can go another 30 minutes to the southern tip of Manhattan, the Financial District, and Battery Park.

We hope you loved visiting Little Island with us! If you've already been, what did you think of the new park in New York?

Related articles:

• Meatpacking District - New York City

 Broadway Street that crosses Manhattan diagonally 

• Manhattan attractions


Thanks for reading The "Little Island" floating park on the hudson river - NYC

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