New York is building its newest park in the middle of the Hudson River

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It is not uncommon for a park to contain a river. It is rather less common for a river to contain a park.

On the banks of Manhattan Island, a stone’s throw from Greenwich Village, lies what will soon be New York’s newest, and perhaps most unusual piece of green space, a man-made marine meadow known as Little Island.

New York is not renowned for its abundance of space, so developers turned their eyes offshore to build this oasis in the urban jungle. The result will be the latest addition to the Hudson River Park, stretching 4.5 miles (7.2km) down the riverbank and second only to Central Park in size.

Little Island will sit suspended 15ft (4.5m) above the currents of the Hudson on 132 tulip-shaped support structures, each cast from concrete and anchored to the riverbed. The area above will cover 2.4 acres, a tad under one hectare. and host roughly 100 species of tree and shrub, including oak, pine, and at least one cherry tree.

Little Island will replace the remnants of Hudson River Park’s Pier 54, the site where Titanic survivors arrived to safety by rescue boat after the disaster in 1912. Additionally, it will boast a 700-seat amphitheatre featuring live performances and workshops throughout the year.

The island is the work of British architecture firm Heatherwick Studio – the company behind Manhattan’s famous ‘Vessel’ structure further up the bank, the spectacular cauldron in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and the city’s ill-fated Garden Bridge – with landscaping by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.

Roughly 50m from shore, the park will be accessed by two elevated walkways and will host an array of arts and educational programming.

As one of the world’s leading metropolises for art, fashion, food and theatre, it’s no surprise that New York City attracted a record 66 million tourists last year. Little Island is set to be a respite from the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets for tourists and residents alike.

The park was in the works as far back as 2014, but the park encountered several early stage issues including lawsuits and permit problems, which led to its temporary scrapping in 2017. Construction work is now well underway, and the park is due to open to the public in the spring of 2021.

What do you think? Shall we build on top of rivers or keep the natural features of the land?

– With PA

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