Toasting New York’s Newest Island: Little Island

As mentioned last week, all of New York City is built on islands. We are island community (except The Bronx – they’re too cool for the rest of us).

We love islands, so it’s no surprise that we’re building islands. The newest of our manmade islands is appropriately called, “Little Island.”

Built on 2.4 acres of tulip-shaped pillars, Little Island boasts three event spaces, a food court, several observation platforms, and multiple walking paths and lounging areas. The gardens are beautiful and sweeping, featuring English-style techniques and plants, and the lawns are pristinely manicured.

How Did Little Island Happen?

New York City taxes are no joke, and the amount of money that the city puts into arts and culture is really incredible. I had figured that Little Island was another tax-funded parks and recreation venture. But, I was wrong.

The $260 million little park was funded by mega-mogul Barry Diller as a pet-project. It took nearly 10 years to negotiate, fight for, develop, and build. And, the city negotiated that Diller would handle the upkeep of the park for the first 20 years. Diller anticipates that by the end of his association with the project, he will invest $380 million in total.

He envisions a place to watch the sunset on the Hudson, a place that will host small and inexpensive concerts for the entire community in the amphitheater, a place that will bring education to children in the smaller “Grove.” And, given the work the entertainment team is putting into the initiative, I can imagine that the arts communities will be in full support of these ideas.

Visiting Little Island

Anything “new” in New York City is immediately popular. To keep the crowds at bay, Little Island has free timed-entry tickets that you can procure here. If you visit early enough, you can just walk-in without tickets (before noon daily).

I didn’t know until I was researching the location for this post, but Little Island is actually built on fascinating history! The park is located on the previous Pier 54. Pier 54 is where the R.M.S. Carpathia docked with the survivors of the Titanic! So, not only are you enjoying a quaint little park and engineering marvel, but you’re also standing in the same location where the Titanic survivors first stepped onto dry land. That’s pretty awe-inspiring!

A Little Tour of Little Island

Upon reaching the entrance, I was left dumbfounded by the pillars. They are massive and charming simultaneously. I was also surprised by how often you were reminded of them from inside the park. It makes the whole experience very whimsical, like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

The gardens are understated and beautiful. Many of the flowers attract honey bees and seem to be a natural and healthy long-term plan for the park. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bees and the subtle breezes dance around the gardens.

The winding pathways, staircases, and lawns fit beautifully in the space. A grid walkway would’ve taken away from the whimsey and charm created by the gardens and pillars. That “Wonderland” expression is accented at each turn.

Finally, the dining and performance spaces will allow everyone in the community to enjoy this space and participate in the arts and culture in New York City. Little Park promises to keep the performances free or inexpensive so that all groups will be welcome.

I’m excited to come see shows here, while overlooking a sunset on the Hudson. I know that the build-out was controversial, but I’m thankful for donors like Diller who have dreams for the city and the funding to see them into fruition. I think that this idea was beautifully realized and will be a welcome addition to the ever-expanding west side of the city for many decades to come (or at least 20 years!).

More Posts About New York

Should I Come to New York in 2021?

YESSSS!!!! If you live in the U.S.A., then go get your vaccine and come visit! As of April 1, quarantine and testing will no longer be mandated. Quarantining for a few days is still recommended, but we are reaching the end of the formal testing, paperwork, and quarantines for domestic travelers! Huzzah!

***UPDATE*** On April 1, 2021  New York will no longer be requiring quarantines for domestic travel. International travelers will still be required to quarantine. All travelers will need to fill out a NYS traveler form upon arrival. 

***UPDATE*** On May 17th the MTA Subway System will resume 24/7 service!

***UPDATE*** On May 19th NYC restaurants will resume indoor service at 100% capacity

***UPDATE*** On September 14th Broadway will re-open at 100% capacity

You’ve waited patiently, and New York is still here! Start planning your trips!

As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!


Noah and Majhon

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