What it’s like to visit Little Island, NYC’s newest public park built as an artificial island off Manhattan

Little Island
  • Little Island, New York City’s newest public park, opened on May 21.
  • The park was primarily funded by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation.
  • “What I’ve heard Mr. Diller say often is that the park just transports you to Oz,” Celine Armstrong, Little Island’s project executive, told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
New York City is already known for its landmark attractions like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park.

statue of liberty

But now, a new contender funded by a billionaire TV magnate and a fashion powerhouse’s family foundation has entered the cityscape: Little Island.

Little Island

Little Island is tucked inside of the larger waterfront Hudson River Park, which runs along the West Side Highway.

Little Island

Despite its name, Little Island – and its cost, but we’ll dive into that later – is anything but “little.”

Little Island

The 2.4-acre public park is perched above the Hudson River on Pier 55 …

Little Island

… just a few blocks away from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Chelsea Market, and Google’s second largest office.

Little Island

Source: Google

“[The park is] really important for mental health purposes,” Celine Armstrong, the project executive for Little Island, told Insider. “You need green space, you need people to have a place to relax, and in order to do that, you need private dollars.”

Little Island

The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, headed by power couple Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, funded the majority of the public park.

Little Island

Diller currently serves as the chairman of IAC and Expedia, but previously ran companies like QVC and Fox.

barry diller

His wife, Diane von Fürstenberg, is a fashion powerhouse with an eponymous fashion line.

sun valley barry diller diane von furstenberg
Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg.

The couple’s foundation has previously poured millions of dollars into public parks, and its long list of grantees include the Central Park Conservancy and the High Line.

Diane von Furstenberg

Source: Philanthropy News Digest, The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation

But the foundation’s latest push for Little Island may be the biggest yet: the park is the “largest private public donation to public open space in New York City’s history” …

Little Island

… and the second largest private donation to a public open space in the country, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

The foundation donated $260 million to Little Island, and will continue giving an additional $120 million through the next decade for upkeep and the park’s shows, Adrian Gaut reported for Wall Street Journal.

Little Island

Source: Wall Street Journal

In comparison, the city donated $17 million to Little Island, while the state chipped in $4 million.

Little Island

Source: Wall Street Journal

Diller’s decision to help maintain the park is “unheard of,” Armstrong said.

Little Island

Curbed recently referred to Little Island as Diller’s “big beautiful baby,” and it’s easy to understand why.

Little Island
  1. erstand why. 

Source: Curbed

Diller was so pivotal to Little Island, the project has been called “Diller Island.”

Little Island

Source: The New York Times

“He’s very involved with it,” Armstrong said.

Little Island

His wife, von Fürstenberg, was also involved by attending design meetings. Her attributions can be seen in the most minute of details on Little Island: she picked the bronze handrails, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

Little Island’s history spans back to 2013 when Diller partnered with the Hudson River Park Trust to reimagine Pier 54 – which had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy – as a public space and subsequently, a park.

Little Island

Source: Little Island

The starting team then tapped firms like Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects’ Signe Nielsen and Heatherwick Studio – which previously designed NYC’s controversial but flashy Vessel – to design and plan the logistics of Little Island.

Little Island

The park looks incredibly similar to its initial concepts, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

She believes this was possible in part because Diller and his family were patient, flexible, and able to fund all of the research and development necessary for the Little Island’s unique design and appearance.

Little Island

The majority of the park’s timeline was consumed by the design process, and not construction: “luckily if the design is good, you can efficiently build it because trades know what they’re doing,” Armstrong said.

Little Island

And after a slew of lawsuits, subsequent intervention from both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and issues with rising cost – as reported by the New York Times – the park was finally completed and unveiled to the city’s residents on May 21.

Little Island

Source: The New York Times

“Given how many revolutions this went through, from starting to dying and starting again, I was actually awestruck when I could actually look up and see it,” Diller told the Wall Street Journal. “I walked on [the island] and felt pure, actual joy, which is not something I can say happens very often.”

Little Island

Source: Wall Street Journal

Like most public parks in the city, Little Island is free for all visitors.

Little Island

It’s open from 6 a.m. through 1 a.m., but for now, guests are required to make a reservation for visits after 12 p.m.

Little Island

Luckily, I was able to visit the park a day before it’s grand opening. So let’s take a look inside.

Little Island

New Yorkers driving by on the West Side Highway have been ogling at the park’s unique foundation for many months now.

Little Island

And for a good reason: Little Island is visually unlike any other park in New York City.

Little Island

“What I’ve heard Mr. Diller say often is that the park just transports you to Oz,” Armstrong said. “You are transported into a different place and you have time to just wander around and be amazed at every turn, each pathway.

Little Island

The entire island sits on top of 280 concrete piles, the leftover structure from the pier, and 132 concrete “tulips,” according to a press release.

Little Island
An overhead view of Little Island.

Source: Little Island

The concrete tulips, which are all different shapes, are arguably the most eye-catching feature of the park.

Little Island

They tower above the Hudson River at varying cascading heights, mimicking the flow of the water beneath it.

Little Island

“I love high design and innovation and just pushing the boundaries of what could be built, and this does that,” Armstrong said. “It allowed us to tinker and really collaborate with everyone, so your ego is checked at the door.”

Little Island

From the outside looking in, the park looks like bundles of green foliage and bronze fences atop the concrete, tulip-shaped pillars.

Little Island

And inside the park, it’s unusually peaceful and lush compared to the bustle of New York City.

Little Island

Little Island also offers unique glimpses of the city through varying vantage points.

Little Island

The views of New York City from inside Little Island are unlike any rooftop Manhattan has to offer.

Little Island

Some parts of Little Island offer sweeping views of the Hudson River, while other sections provide a panoramic view of downtown Manhattan and One World Trade Center.

Little Island

These different viewpoints can be accessed by following the winding pathways sprinkled throughout the park.

Little Island

Seating benches and bunches of greenery and flowers also line every walkway.

Little Island

The park has over 350 species of foliage and flowers amounting to 114 trees and over 66,000 bulbs, according to the press release.

Little Island

Source: Little Island

And now that it’s springtime, the flowers are in full bloom, creating a colorful park that contrasts the city’s grey, sometimes drab skyscrapers.

Little Island

Now, let’s take a closer look at the different sections of the park.

Little Island

The “Play Ground” serves as Little Island’s central point.

Little Island

This is where you’ll find your typical park amenities, such food and drink options and seating under the shade.

The Play Ground at little island
The Play Ground at Little Island.

The amphitheater – known aptly as the “Amph” – is located just a short walk away from the Play Ground towards the northwest end of the park.

Little Island

One of the biggest changes from the original design of the park was the addition of this 687-seat amphitheater …

Little Island

… and subsequently, the dressing rooms, prop areas, toilet facilities, and general manager’s office, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

But the amphitheater isn’t the only public stage on Little Island.

Little Island

There’s also a conjoined stage and lawn area known as the “Glade” on the opposite end of the park.

Little Island

Yes, Little Island has two different stages, but that’s because the arts will be a cornerstone aspect of the park.

Little Island

Starting June, the island will have four resident artists and events like concerts, dance, and theater six days a week.

performers at little island
MeenMoves at Little Island.

“Little Island is going to spark inspiration for designers, engineers, general dreamers, and artists,” Armstrong said. “You’re experiencing the environment while you’re experiencing art.”

Little Island

All of this likely wouldn’t have happened without the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation’s donation and work, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

As a result, Armstrong hopes Little Island will encourage more private donations to public parks.

Little Island

“We need private donations for public open space, and this just shows what you can do with private money, Armstrong said. “You can have a bit more control and flexibility to test methods, and that’s how you reach excellence.”

Little Island
Read the original article on Business Insider

Business leaders like Snap’s Evan Spiegel and Barry Diller are conflicted about the App Store as Tim Cook takes the stand

Evan Spiegel
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.

  • Barry Diller said Apple overcharges “in a disgusting manner” on its App Store.
  • Spiegel said Snap is “happy” to pay the 30% fee and said the firm wouldn’t exist without Apple.
  • The comments come as Apple defends itself in a trial that focuses on if its App Store is a monopoly.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Business figures are split on Apple as CEO Tim Cook testifies in an antitrust trial focused on the App Store.

In separate interviews with CNBC on Friday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and Expedia Chairman Barry Diller came out swinging for and against, respectively, Apple as Cook took the stand.

Diller criticized Apple for using its “quasi-monopoly” to overcharge companies like his in “a disgusting manner” through its App Store commissions. The company requires developers to pay a 30% fee on purchases made in the marketplace, and many have long seen the practice as a way for Apple to obtain an unfair advantage in the market.

“The idea that they actually justify it by saying, ‘We spend all this money protecting our little App Store,'” Diller told CNBC. “I mean, it’s criminal. Well, it will be criminal.”

Spiegel later spoke with the outlet and said Snap is “happy” to pay the 30% commission fee on in-app purchases.

“We really feel like Snapchat wouldn’t exist without the iPhone and without the amazing platform that Apple has created,” Spiegel said. “In that sense, I’m not sure we have a choice about paying the 30% fee, and of course, we’re happy to do it in exchange for all of the amazing technology that they provide to us in terms of the software but also in terms of their hardware advancements.”

Snap and Expedia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read more: The App Store is Apple’s most valuable asset, but also its biggest liability

Cook’s Friday appearance on the stand comes as part of a trial that began earlier this month in California, prompted by a conflict between Apple and “Fortnite” creator Epic Games last summer.

Apple pulled the wildly popular “Fortnite” from its App Store in 2020 after Epic skirted the company’s rules and fees to add its own in-app payment system. Epic has argued that Apple’s App Store is a monopoly, while Apple says Epic simply broke the rules that govern its developers.

The trial is expected to conclude on Monday, and its results could majorly impact Apple’s business.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Policygenius review: Compare quotes for car insurance, homeowners insurance, and more

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Policygenius Review 4x3

Should you use Policygenius?

You may like Policygenius if you … You may not like Policygenius if you …
  • Want to compare multiple insurance options
  • Prefer a free option to shop for insurance
  • Want to chat online or over the phone with a human representative
  • Would like to learn more in-depth about different types of insurance
  • Want a user-friendly interface
  • Want to buy insurance directly from the insurer
  • Are shopping for permanent life insurance or homeowners insurance, since these policies require extra consideration
  • Can find a lower rate from an insurer Policygenius doesn’t partner with
  • Prefer in-person communications
  • Want a mobile app

What is an online insurance marketplace provider?

Online insurance marketplace providers offer you quotes from several insurance companies, allowing you to compare policy prices in a similar way to how you can use Expedia to compare airline ticket prices.

Not all insurance marketplaces give you quotes for all types of insurance. Quotes can be real-time or estimated, and you’ll receive them after entering basic information about yourself and your financial situation, depending on the type of insurance you want.

Policygenius review

Policygenius is an online insurance marketplace that offers quotes for several types of insurance policies. The platform is free to use and makes its money by getting paid a commission from insurance companies for the policies they sell.

Depending on the type of insurance you’re looking for, you’ll have to put in a varying amount of information to get your quotes. For instance, applying for pet insurance will require you to fill out basic information about your furry friend, its previous medical history, and the coverage you’re looking for. Then the system will spit out the low and high coverage limits for your pet.

Some insurance types are better suited to using a marketplace. For example, renters and car insurance processes are relatively straightforward. On the other hand, for bigger investments like homeowners or life insurance, you’ll want to talk to experts like your accountant or financial advisor as you think through this decision more thoroughly. Insurance marketplaces can give you a good rough estimate of pricing, but should not be the last stop on your insurance journey.

Insurance companies submit their prices to state regulators and each insurance marketplace has to use those prices, so you won’t get a discount at Policygenius. On the bright side, this means you won’t find a lower rate for a certain insurance company on a different marketplace.

A standout feature of Policygenius is the number of articles it has dedicated to breaking down the different types of insurance options they offer. Before taking you to a page to get a quote, Policygenius will redirect you to a guide explaining the type of insurance you are about to apply for and key steps to get the best possible rate.

Policygenius also offers a referral program where you can earn Amazon gift cards if a friend or family member goes through the process. You’ll receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card after your referral gets a decision from an insurer on their life insurance application, or a $50 Amazon Gift Card after your referral gives the info needed to calculate their home and auto insurance quotes.

Currently, you can only access Policygenius on a web browser – it doesn’t have a mobile app on either the Apple or Google Play stores.

Call customer support Monday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. You can also chat online with a representative 24/7, or shoot the service team an email at any time. Unfortunately, there is currently no option for face-to-face communication with an agent.

Insurance options through Policygenius

Homeowners insurance

With homeowners insurance, you are financially protected in the event something bad happens to your home, and many mortgage lenders will require that you have insurance for the life of your loan. Homeowners insurance might be the lengthiest process you’ll have to undergo to get a quote, but it’s with good reason – homeowners insurance is one of the most comprehensive coverage plans available on this list.

To start applying for homeowners insurance on Policygenius, you’ll need to enter information about your home, and if it’s new, when you plan to close on it. Then, you’ll fill out a bunch of specifics about your home, such as when it was built, the total square footage of your home, and your home’s primary heating system, among other questions.

You’ll answer miscellaneous questions about home renovations, additional natural disaster coverage, and what protective devices are installed in the home. Finally, you’ll enter basic personal information about your occupation, annual income, and credit score before inputting your contact information. In Insider’s test profile, Policygenius was unable to find a homeowners insurance option on its site, and instead directed us to a partner’s website.

Policygenius renters insurance

If you’re renting a place and your belongings are damaged or lost due to fire, theft, water damage, or other circumstances, renters insurance will pay to replace them.

When aiming for renters insurance, Policygenius will first ask you basic personal information about who you are and where you live, and then will follow up with questions about topics like current damage to the home and if you have or are planning on getting a dog within a year. Then you’ll answer a few more questions about the safety of your home and what other types of coverage you’d like baked into your renters insurance.

That’s all the information you need to enter – then you’ll choose how large of a policy you’d like to take out and Policygenius will give you an estimate for how much your coverage will cost per month.

Policygenius auto insurance

Auto insurance financially protects you and your car in case you get in an accident that injures someone or damages their property. Almost every state has a minimum amount of car insurance required.

To receive your auto insurance quote on Policygenius, you’ll enter information about yourself, your car, and your current policy, including answering questions about your Social Security number, when you got your license, and your employment status. Policygenius will provide you quotes within a couple of days of receiving your information and send you an email with your choices.

You can also get your quotes at the same time as your quotes for your homeowners insurance, should you select the option.

Policygenius life insurance

Life insurance provides a tax-free amount of money, called a death benefit, to a specified beneficiary, paid out after the policy holder’s death. It can offer financial stability to the family left behind after a loss. Term life insurance lasts for a certain period before you’ll need to renew it (often with a higher rate as you age), while permanent life insurance lasts forever and has a death benefit for your beneficiaries as well as a cash value that you can use during your lifetime.

Whichever type of life insurance you choose, it’s important to talk through the right life insurance policy for you with experts.

To find out your personal life insurance quotes, you’ll need to decide where you’re at in your life insurance process. Are you getting started, comparing quotes, or ready to apply? You’ll have to figure out if you match any specific criteria that can have an effect on finding the right policy, such as if you have kids or need coverage for a divorce. The next step in the process is to enter basic personal, medical, and contact information, and then you’re done.

After inputting your information, you won’t be presented with a list of quotes to evaluate. Instead, one of Policygenius’ licensed experts will call to review your quotes and verify your information over the phone. If you’re more comfortable handling insurance quotes over the internet, Policygenius’ life insurance quotes may not be for you. According to a Policygenius representative, the marketplace offers quotes for both term and permanent life insurance, and term policies can be converted to whole life later in their term.

Policygenius disability insurance

If you’re not able to work because of an injury or illness, long-term disability insurance (more than 30 days out of work) replaces your income. Disability insurance could be a good move to protect your income in the case of an emergency.

On Policygenius, you start off by entering basic information about yourself, your job, your education, and your income. Then, you select a monthly benefit amount, your waiting period (the amount of time between the start of your disability and when you begin to receive benefits), and how long you want your coverage to last. Finally, you’ll have to answer some questions about your medical history and acknowledge that you’ll have to take a medical exam.

After entering this data, you’ll receive a quoted price range.

Policygenius pet insurance

You may consider pet insurance to cover up to the entirety of your vet bill and protect you against large, unexpected costs.

Beginning the process to get a quote for pet insurance on Policygenius is simple – just enter the name of your furry companion. Then you’ll have to enter information about your pet’s breed, gender, age, and pre-existing conditions, as well as your zip code. Next, you’ll answer some questions about your eligibility for certain discounts and you’ll choose what coverage type you want. After that, you’re all set – Policygenius will give you the low and high limits for coverage options.

Policygenius health insurance

While you can’t get health insurance quotes directly on Policygenius’ website, the company breaks down the essentials about the topic for you with a lengthy informational guide about health insurance basics, types of health insurance, and common health insurance costs. It also provides a state-by-state list of where you can find each health insurance marketplace. Most redirect to healthcare.gov, the federal healthcare portal.

The open enrollment period for healthcare opens at the end of each year and is currently closed. However, you may qualify for a special enrollment period if you’ve experienced certain life events, like losing a job, getting married, or having a child.

Additional types of insurance available through Policygenius

In addition to the main types of insurance quotes Policygenius offers above, you can also get quotes on:

  • Vision insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Jewelry insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Identity theft insurance.

Depending on the type of insurance you select, you may be directed to an external site or be presented with a list of trusted partners to select from.

Beyond insurance options, Policygenius also allows you to create a will or trust through its site, starting at $120.

Is Policygenius trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau gives Policygenius an A- in trustworthiness because the company has several complaints on the website. The BBB evaluates trustworthiness by judging a business’s response to consumer complaints, honesty in advertising, and clarity about business practices.

Policygenius does not have any recent scandals. As a result of its clean history and solid BBB rating, you may decide you’re comfortable using Policygenius as your insurance marketplace.

How Policygenius compares to other insurance marketplaces

We’ve compared Policygenius to two other insurance marketplaces with similar offerings and sign-up processes: The Zebra and Insurify.

Policygenius The Zebra Insurify
Types of insurance quotes offered Life, homeowners, renters, auto, disability, pet, health, vision, long-term care, jewelry, travel, identity theft Life, homeowners, renters, auto, boat, condo, travel trailer, RV, motorcycle, mobile home Life, homeowners, auto
How can you contact the company? Online chat, email, phone Email, phone Online chat, email, phone
Mobile app? No No No
Shop for insurance quotes Shop for insurance quotes Shop for insurance quotes

Policygenius review vs. The Zebra review

Policygenius and The Zebra both offer an expansive list of insurance types you can receive quotes for. You may like The Zebra if you’re looking to get a quote on a unique type of vehicle like a motorcycle or RV, while Policygenius might be better for a niche type of insurance like jewelry or identity theft.

If you prefer to get your questions answered quickly via an online chat with a human, Policygenius may be right for you, as The Zebra doesn’t have this option. You can contact both companies by email or phone, and neither offer in-person service.

The Zebra will give you your quotes shortly after you input basic information, while Policygenius may ask you to call them to receive your quotes, though the exact process depends on what type of insurance you want.

Your choice may come down to what quotes you are looking for and how quickly you want to get your quotes.

Policygenius review vs. Insurify review

You may prefer Insurify if you want a more streamlined process to get your quotes. For car insurance specifically, Policygenius will direct you to partner sites to get quotes while Insurify lists quotes from multiple companies immediately after you fill out your information.

Both marketplaces have resources to help you understand the ins and outs of different types of insurance, but only Policygenius directs you to these guides before sending you to find quotes. Policygenius’ guides are also more comprehensive than Insurify’s articles.

Insurify only offers quotes on life, homeowners, and auto insurance, so you may want to consider Policygenius if you’re looking for a more specialized type of insurance.

Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.

Related Content Module: More Life Insurance Coverage

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