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Karen’s Quirky Style: Visiting the Littlest Island

BY KAREN REMPEL | Jutting into the Hudson River, Little Island is a bite-sized, low-commitment park. You can follow the path to the peak in less than 10 minutes, enjoying stunning views of Manhattan, Jersey and the Hudson along the way.

Personally, I think the supporting concrete pilings look like white mushroom stems, though they are called “tulip” pots. You can find this petite public park in Hudson River Park, just above the Whitney Museum, at the end of W. 13th Street.

I first visited Little Island soon after it opened in May 2021. I loved the idea of a tranquil oasis, and so did every other New Yorker in the neighborhood. On that visit and subsequent trips, I have found the Island to be a bustling place, but there are little nooks throughout where you can sit and enjoy the beauty of the city views, nature and human antics.

Speaking of antics, this is the fourth anniversary of my column. Something lovely is sparking, after four years of creating quirky styles and writing about it. I did my first, almost accidental “Karen’s Quirky Style” in March 2019 — together with another column I wrote called “Style on the Street,” an homage to Bill Cunningham. Since then it’s become a New York love affair, with neighbors and friends bringing their quirky clothes to me as offerings for this column.

This month’s outfit was even more of a thrill for me than the first. Each piece of the puzzle fell into place effortlessly, from the moment I asked my favorite designer, Andrea Thurlow, if she had anything new I could wear. She graciously lent me her newest collection piece, which has her characteristic edgy, structural design and gorgeous fabrics. I admired my friend Betsy’s shaggy jacket, and she offered it up freely. Soon after, my neighbor Nanette called to me across the lobby while I was getting my mail. She had a vintage suit that she wondered if I might like to wear. The skirt fit perfectly. And the socks were a gift from my dearest friend Sally.

The gnosis of bringing these dear people, places, colors, fabrics and patterns together gives me tremendous delight when it all clicks into place. I am so glad that you groove on it, too.

As I look back at the past 48 columns on my Web site, I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished, and so grateful to Lincoln, Andrea (nine couture gems, starting with this gorgeous ball gown), Phil and Amy, and all my readers who keep tuning in every month, especially those of you who dare to share your quirky thoughts (BruceS, PatD, LewM, PhilM, LindaZ, SuzanneZ, LynnS-R, KimR, JanetE, LiessiH, DorothyB, JeffR, GeorgeS, MaggyK, MaryR, LouiseB, AnilaC, TraceyM and so many others).

I’ve kept going because of you. I hope you are inspired to confound your peeps with the ecstasy of combining plaid, zigzags and polka dots whenever you have a mind to!

Style Notes

Couture bouclé tailored top in pink, gold thread, black and white, with patent leather trim and gold zippers, fully lined in silk charmeuse. Engineered by Andrea T., 147 W. 35th St. (by appointment only).
Vintage black-and-white zigzag tweed skirt with hot pink peekaboo lining. Sun and Moon (local designer on Greenwich Avenue circa 1983 — please reach out if you know anything about this designer). Gift from my neighbor Nanette.
• Retro Willow & Clay shaggy burgundy fun faux fur. Loan from my friend Betsy.
Ballet-slipper pink Prada 5 1/2” satin pumps. Collette’s Basement, 10 Main St., Southampton.
Sheer socks with black polka dots. Gift from my friend Sally.
Pearl, onyx and crystal necklace. Made by Karen, author of “Complete Beading for Beginners.”

Rempel is a New-York based writer and artist. For her past columns and more Philip Maier photos, see


  1. Khloé Khloé March 11, 2023

    Hi Karen. Congratulations on your 4th anniversary! What an amazing variety of looks and places you’ve captured over the past 4 years. I always look forward to seeing what you will come up with next.

    Mazel tov! Love, Khloé

    P.S. Thanks for the playlist you shared on the longer version of this column at Your love of New York really shines through!

  2. Pat Duffy Pat Duffy March 11, 2023

    Wow, I never knew Piers 54–55 were where survivors of the Titanic landed and the ill-fated Lusitania departed! I’m always learning something new about NYC history from KQS! And Congrats on your 4th anniversary! And here’s to many more years of informative articles–and outfits that allow you to do your “photographic performance pieces”–to illustrate the NYC era your writing is about!

  3. Jeff Jeff March 11, 2023

    Thank you for that playlist!

  4. Lynn Shaw-Ringham Lynn Shaw-Ringham March 11, 2023

    Hi Karen: Your statement, I sense, after following your NY journey over these last several years, seems very true to your soul. “It’s been a creative touchstone in my life, something positive and uplifting that I can contribute in the midst of all the tribulations of everyday life.” Great shot of you and the yellow front-lifter! Who’d have ‘thunk’ it! Also, I love your rooster tail! Keep on finding joy in creative expression!!! Love, Lynn

  5. Eileen Millan Eileen Millan March 11, 2023

    Always enjoy reading and seeing your blog – keep up the great creative work! Eileen

  6. Linda Zagaria Linda Zagaria March 11, 2023

    Congratulations, dear Karen, on your quadrennial of quirky fashion! Always imaginative, superbly stylish, innately inventive, and totally YOU. Always looking forward to upcoming sensational scenes. Please keep it up –- for the sake of your adoring fans!

  7. zaphyrella z zaphyrella z March 11, 2023

    i LoVe thIs,,
    ThAnK yOU!!,, you HeLp uS AppRecIatE EveRytHINg
    eVeN mORE!.❀✿..★☆꧁:..::♥✸♥꧂☆★.꧂☆.❀✿

  8. Prof W Prof W March 11, 2023

    I am just so excited my fuzzy coat got a moment in the limelight, I was thrilled when you asked to borrow it! I love hearing how it all came together, and describing Little Island as a “bite-sized, low-commitment park” is spot on. Add “bloomers” to the list of monikers for its underside! And the history was SO interesting! Thank you for sharing all of this. xo xo Betsy

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