New York City’s Little Island Is Finally Open To Visitors

Move over, Central Park—there’s a new trendy outdoor spot in town. After seven years of planning and development, New York City’s Little Island is now officially open to the public in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, and it serves as yet another green space for visitors to explore.

Built along the Hudson River on what was formerly Pier 54 on West 13th Street, Little Island is one of the first green spaces to open in New York City since the pandemic started. While it’s nowhere near as big as Central Park, the 2.5-acre venue will surely provide people with a sense of refuge from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core.

There are several points of interest within Little Island to check out, including an outdoor amphitheater with 687 seats, a central plaza called ‘The Playground’ where people can get food and enjoy the views, and a lawn stage called ‘The Glade’ which can be used for performance and cultural events. The entire area was designed by Thomas Heatherwick and funded by the Diller von Furstenberg Family Foundation. After a tough year of strict closures around the city, the opening of Little Island is definitely a breath of fresh air.

“I hope Little Island will serve as a whimsical oasis for everyone who visits, a place to wander around and be happily surprised at every turn, to lounge and graze the landscape, and to be entertained, educated, and stimulated by our programming,” said Barry Diller, the media mogul who donated $260 million to the Little Island project.

Diller hopes that New Yorkers will embrace the new green space and enjoy the free independent arts programming that it has to offer. In fact, Little Island will already host hundreds of local talent as early as this June to entertain new visitors right away.

Currently, Little Park is open daily and completely free of charge to visit. However, due to the ongoing pandemic and the restrictions that are still in place, Little Park will be taking timed reservations between the hours of 12 pm and 8 pm. Those interested in visiting the park will have to first book a time slot online at LittleIsland.org before heading out.

“In the midst of all these other crises we are all facing, we are in a crisis of place,” says Heatherwick. “We have become so digitally connected, but that tends to put us in different tribes. With this project, we were just as interested in how it would work in the day-to-day experience of people just wandering around—all of us with each other.”